If you played this game in the arcades in the '80s, take a look and see. If not, you're not missing anything.

User Rating: 5.2 | Elevator Action NES
Back in the mid 1980s, arcade culture was in full swing. Some of the biggest franchises got their start there...Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., and Pac Man all trace their origins back to those heady, quarter-poppin' days. One of the quirkier games of that era was Taito's Elevator Action. This game emerges from the mists of gaming pre-history to live again on the Wii Virtual Console. It has its issues and won't appeal to many people, but it's a cheap nostalgia trip that will entertain you for a few hours here and there.

Elevator Action was a moderate arcade hit, enough so that it was ported to several home gaming platforms, including the NES, whose 1987 version we see now. Agent 17, aka "Otto", must infiltrate a skyscraper from the top down, entering rooms to nab documents on the way to the ground floor and his getaway car. The doors leading to the documents are red to let you know where they are. And that's about it -- games of this era weren't exactly deep on plot or back story. Each time down the building gets tougher. The primary means of getting to the bottom are the eponymous transports, and you must avoid a metric buttload of agents with fedoras and guns to get the goods. You can shoot back, kick, jump, and duck as you make your way to street level. You can even shoot the lights out and do it in the dark. You can die by being shot by an enemy agent, falling down an elevator shaft, or being on top of an elevator when it reaches the top of the shaft. The NES version is a reasonable rendition of the game, with simple graphics and audio typical of the era. Simple in the extreme, with blocky buildings and pixelated bad guys everywhere, it hasn't aged well. Sometimes you get two bad guys stacked on top of each other, and you may shoot one just to find the other hidden one nails you back. The audio is minimal, with tinny monophonic ditties at the beginning and end, and blips and bloops for effects. Low end even by 1987 standards.

The gameplay with the Classic Controller is troublesome. It can be somewhat frustrating to get onto and off of the escalators in the center of the building, and getting into the red doors successfully almost seems like random chance. The analog joystick seems a bit squirrelly, especially when getting onto and off of elevators, and you may do either without intending to. Crouching down works as it should, and you have to stand up before you can move again, which matches the original game.

Since was even that good of an NES title in its day, whether it's worth the 500 Wii points to get it depends largely on how much you liked the arcade game or the original NES version. It has issues and won't win any converts, but it may have some nostalgia value for you. If that's the case, it's only $5, right? Just be sure to temper your expectations.

David V