The Game: As a daring spy, you break into a top secret enemy facility, trying to grab vital secrets and evade or kill as many enemy agents as you can. Your only means of getting from floor to floor through most of the game is via the elevator – which gives you an advantage and also makes you vulnerable. (Taito, 1991)
Memories: I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, audiovisually (and, for the most part, game-play wise as well), the original B&W Game Boy’s version of Elevator Action is incredibly faithful to the arcade game. On the other hand, there are major changes to the structure of the game that I’ve never been crazy about. Put simply, Elevator Action on the Game Boy adds some NES-era conventions to a game that just didn’t need them.
The basics of the game – skulking about, taking out enemy agents (and I don’t mean for dinner), grabbing enemy secrets and trying to make off like a bandit in the night – are the same. But this version of Elevator Action adds a fighting-game-style “life bar” to your spy, as well as added weapons that you occasionally find hidden behind closed doors (like all those enemy secrets). The weapons can be as much a hindrance as a help, with stuff like grenades that just don’t help in close-quarters combat. Maybe I’m being too much of a purist here, but I liked the original Elevator Action just fine without these “enhancements”, and an option to simply turn them off and just play the original game wouldn’t have come amiss.
Maybe the biggest surprise is that this game comes much closer to the look and sound of the original than its NES counterpart did. For that alone, I give this one pretty good marks…I just wish there was an option to ditch the stuff that wasn’t a part of the original game.