The Retro Critic


If you’re at all familiar with The Gremlins, chances are you’ve also come across its cartoonish sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. And, if you’re really lucky, you’ve also tried out this little NES gem back in the day!

What? You’re unfamiliar with The Gremlins’ plot?

Let me fill you in:

Billy’s an idiot who couldn’t take care of a plastic goldfish (let’s hope he doesn’t procreate).

Let alone this little guy:

Gizmo’s not big on bright lights, being fed after midnight and…


Now you’ve done it, you stupid…

So yeah, poor old Gizmo craps out a bunch of balls and next thing you know, you’ve got yourself a Gremlin infestation.

All because three simple rules were just too much for one dude to handle.

I bet he never washes his hands when he goes to the bathroom.

For shame.

Sunsoft’s attempt at pinning down a movie this chaotic and goofy should have been a disaster, and yet the game we got was surprisingly very decent. If only all movie-to-game adaptations were this inventive…

Unlike several other Gremlins games where you’re playing as Billy McDumbass, here, you’re good old Gizmo going around that out-of-control building, battling a strange array of enemies and dodging dangerous surfaces. It’s a top-down (ish) type of adventure game and although the angle you’re playing at makes some of the jumps a bit tricky, it allows you to actually see the character you’re playing as, unlike a lot of other top-down games.

So that works.

Though some of those jumps are pretty scary sometimes…

Luckily, the controls are straight-forward enough that the game is a challenge without being irritating and only being challenging because it is, in fact, broken. Like oh-so many games…

The music alone is worth it, those hypnotic little tunes are impossible to resist. They get you hyped-up throughout, to the point where stopping the game is just… not an option anymore. It’s a short one also so it’s very tempting to just keep going until Gizmo brings those furry (and electrical) bastards down!

As soon as you begin playing, you come face-to-face with giant genetically modified tomatoes…

…and you know you’re in for a surreal ride.

Other enemies you’ll encounter include totally non-threatening-looking bats:

Really irritating spiders which you shoot until they give birth to more, tinier spiders:

And of course the Gremlins themselves:

Gargoyle Gremlin.

Swamp Thing Gremlin.

Creature From The Black Lagoon Gremlin.

The bosses you face aren’t too hard, by the way, especially this guy:

He looks the part but basically just walk up to him and punch him in the groin repeatedly, that should do the trick.

As for Electric Gremlin here:

Just make sure you’ve got your paperclips handy and you’ll be fine.

Others require a bit more movement and patience, though, I’m thinking of this guy:

He’s got spikes all over the ground popping up every so often and… an audience! The last thing you want to do is look foolish in front of your own baby monsters. That’s just embarrassing.

We’ve ALL been there.

Oh, you also need to beat a giant spider:

Good luck with that one.

In terms of pick-ups, you’ve got a good bunch, most of which you’re awarded after beating a boss. They’re occasionally a bit hard to make out at first:


MacGuyver’s desklamp?

Whatever, you figure ’em out pretty quickly.

If anything, this is the most self-explanatory one:


That’s a paperclip.

Need I elaborate?

Just watch the movie, it’ll all kinda makes sense then.


Anyway, you can also pick up pogo sticks:

I know when I’m being attacked by adorable bats, if I break out the pogo stick right there and then, it shuts ’em up. They know who’s boss.

That pogo stick is great, you’re basically invincible while you’re on it. Just try not to drop into too many gaps, that tends to happen.

A lot.

The game ends the way you’d expect:

Billy FINALLY makes himself useful…

And they all live happily ever after…

Having once again learned nothing and destroyed an entire building as well as a whole business through bad pet-ownership.

Though, to be fair, it was kind of Gizmo’s fault in the second movie but he’s an animal, he can talk but he doesn’t know any better. He’s like a really small, really dumb, really hairy child. Besides, after what happened the first time, putting him in a drawer was hardly gonna do it, now was it?

To sum things up, before I go on Gremlin rantin’, this NES title is definitely one to check out whether you’re a fan of the movies or not. It’s a fun, addictive little game which sucks you in right-off-the-bat with its crazy music, colourful visuals, uncommon gameplay and sense of humor. It gets the spirit of the films exactly right and it does really well to provide you with more than enough mindless entertainment to guarantee a fun retro gaming experience. Sure, they could have potentially done more with it like include more problem-solving and discoveries or even include the option to change “camera” angles or spread the game out a bit more into further levels but really, Gremlins 2 is a game you play in one go. You start playing it, get hooked and only stop once the job is done.

It doesn’t need to be longer, more gimmicky or complicated.

It’s a good batch as it is.

And considering it’s based on a film that contained THIS scene:

That’s pretty darn cool.

Check it out. ;)

Also check out our NES guru’s review over at for more Gremlins 2-related shenanigans.