If you don’t remember City Connection, we wouldn’t blame you. In 1985, arcades in the U.S. and elsewhere were booming in popularity, and as a result that particular industry was rather strong. This title came to NES owners a little later, however, releasing in the middle of 1988. It looks and feels like a relic of a bygone era, and serves better as a reminder of what games used to be rather than as a contemporary form of entertainment, especially when experienced on the Wii U.
The name City Connection was actually derived from the name of the car the main character drives, the Japan-only Honda City. The car wasn’t the only aspect of City Connection that never left Japan, however; in the Western releases of the game the main character, Clarice — one of the first female protagonists in console gaming — was replaced by a nameless male character.
In City Connection the goal is to drive around as many famous locales as possible and cover the roads in paint. Each level is broken up into multiple platforms you must drive across to cover each pixel; to travel between them you have the ability to jump your car horizontally or vertically. Throughout each course you’ll need to duck police and avoid obstacles, though the police can be spun off the road by shooting them with an oil can. When you’re not busy vandalizing roadways and slamming police off the road, you have to look out for obstacles in the form of cats and spikes. Both will randomly appear in front of your car, leaving you no option other than turn your car around and head the other direction or to leap over them, if you have enough time to react.
There are seven stages in total, each representing a famous city from New York to London to Tokyo. Particularly skilled players could beat this one in mere minutes, but we weren’t so lucky. Like so many mid-’80s arcade titles City Connection is a quarter-muncher. It demands quick reflexes, resulting in jumps that feel like they need to be pixel-perfect or you will meet your certain demise; it also won’t allow you to continue, so once you’re out of cars to wreck your adventure must start anew. Each stage has its own music, but each clip is short and can start to wear on one’s nerves after a period, especially when considering how long some levels can take.
City Connection is a poor port of an arcade game that was already lost to the ages. Putting it not only on the Wii U but the 3DS is a perplexing choice, as so many quality titles are still languishing in the NES’ back catalog; controls that weren’t exactly stellar in 1988 only look worse in 2016. Steer clear of this one.
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