Movie tie-ins from the ads of the past – The Goonies

This ad, which ran in UK magazines such as Computer Gamer and Crash in ’86, did double duty with an insert from DataSoft’s other game, Zorro. The art insert used for The Goonies was also used on the game packaging which included the release for the Commodore 64 (in ’86) and the original Apple II release in 1985. As for U.S. Gold, they were the British distributor for US imports like these two titles from DataSoft.

One of the best “coming of age” films doesn’t involve moody teens or angst ridden decisions before prom night — it involves ruthless criminal thugs, Cyndi Lauper, dead bodies,  the Truffle Shuffle, booty traps, a search for pirate treasure, and a troop of friends who call themselves the Goonies sticking together on through to the very end. Directed by Richard Donner from a story written by Steven Spielberg with Chris Columbus doing the screenplay honors, the 1985 classic still resonates today as an amazing film.

And of course, back then, it had to have a movie tie-in which DataSoft relesaed in the same year the movie came out. The good news was that the film had a lot of pieces a video game would be at home with stringing along traps, puzzles, and dangerous challenges that the Goonies have to overcome on their way to One-Eyed Willie’s hidden treasure.

Programmers Scott Spanburg and Rick Mirsky along with Kelly Day who handled the graphics end would take those basic elements and turn them into eight screens of “Rube Goldberg style mazes” inspired from the film. It even had an 8-bit version of Cyndi Lauper’s “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” as the main title theme (the rest of the game was played in silence).

There's a lot of adventure underneath that former restaurant.

There’s a lot of adventure underneath that former restaurant. And all that brown? Blame the limited palette on the Apple II.

It was also incorporated multiple characters — in this case, two. The player switched between controlling two different Goonies on the screen to solve the puzzles in each. Neither Goonie stood out apart from their appearance but juggling both was required in manipulating each area’s various levers, switches, pressure plates, and doorways to get their partner through. Control-wise, it could be a bit dodgy with some of the running jumps, but things were relatively simple with only two things to remember — switching between characters and jumping.

The first stage captured the elements from the film with the counterfeiting machine in the upper right (to lure out Ma Fratelli to keep her busy) and the water cooler below. Mikey's in position!

The first stage captured the elements from the film with the counterfeiting machine in the upper right (to lure out Ma Fratelli to keep her busy) and the water cooler belowwhich, in this shot, was already toppled over revealing the secret passage beneath the fireplace. And Mikey’s already in position! Now Chunk has to race down those ladders and a pixel ahead of Ma Fratelli to get dow the hole. This was a lot harder to pull off than it sounded when I tried it.

Stages were only a screen and it was up to the player to figure out how to work their way through each whether it was tricking Mama Fratelli in the beginning with money from the sky to the climactic ending with Sloth and Chunk saving the day. Players started with five lives which were essentially attempts at making it through each screen with BOTH Goonies. If one bites the dust, it was back to the start although for some puzzles, not everything was reset to the point where you had to repeat every step.

The second stage was based off of the giant rock trap that crushed renowned treasure hunter Oswald Cobblepot and which the Goonies discovered much to their horror. Here, we've got...Data?...and Mikey ready to run the gauntlet.

The second stage was based off of the giant rock trap that crushed renowned treasure hunter Oswald Cobblepot whose corpse the Goonies pickpocketed to find out who it was. Here, we’ve got…Data?…and Mikey ready to run the gauntlet.

The variety of puzzles were also as inventive in the game as they were in the movie. The first scene brilliantly works in a counterfeiting machine and the water cooler (that ultimately led to the Goonies discovering the underground tunnel beneath the Fratelli’s hideout). There’s also a scene in the game based off of the organ scene from the movie complete with disappearing floors and another based on the steam pipes the Goonies were banging on to try and signal for help when they just wanted out from the scary underground.

Remember when the Goonies were banging on all of those pipes to get out from those tunnels? This stage is based on that scene, but the goal here is to blow up a pipe to get through to the next area. Took me quite some time to figure out the trick with the valves.

Remember when the Goonies were banging on all of those pipes to get out from those tunnels? This stage is based on that scene, but the goal here is to blow up a pipe to get through to the next area. Took me quite some time to figure out the trick with the valves. Here, we’ve got Brand and Data…I think.

Tripping that bowling ball in the movie has turned into a huge trap here. Every time the bowling ball makes it to the bottom, the hammer clocks back a notch. When it's fully wound up, it'll swing unleashing a flood of bats. The trick is to figure out how to use the cannonball to open the way to the next area. Both Steph and Andy are figuring this one out.

Tripping that bowling ball in the movie has turned into a huge trap here. Every time the bowling ball makes it to the bottom, the hammer clocks back a notch. When it’s fully wound up, it’ll swing unleashing a flood of bats. The trick is to figure out how to use the cannonball to open the way to the next area. Both Stef and Andy are figuring this one out.

Finally, no more brown but a lot of...blue. Taking the scene where we see a giant stone skull in the film (Pee break!), it's now transformed into a giant cave where Andy and Mikey have to figure out how to pile up skulls to get to the next area.

Finally, no more brown but a lot of…blue. Taking the scene where we see a giant stone skull in the film (Pee break!), it’s now transformed into a giant cave where Andy and Mikey have to figure out how to pile up skulls to get to the next area.

Instead of Andy figuring out the notes to the organ with Mouth's help, the scene has Brand helping her out instead as platforms appear and disappear depending on where the drops of VERY DANGEROUS WATER fall on the three tiles in the center of the room.

Instead of Andy figuring out the notes to the organ with Mouth’s help, this scene has Brand helping her out instead as platforms appear and disappear depending on where the drops of VERY DANGEROUS WATER fall on the three tiles in the center of the room.

Wait, octopus??? An actual octopus was cut from the film, but DataSoft used the cut scene to make this giant trap instead, throwing both Andy and Stef into danger.

Wait, octopus??? An actual octopus was cut from the film, but DataSoft used the cut scene to make this giant trap instead throwing both Andy and Stef into danger.

The climactic pirate ship scene! As Ma Fratelli greedily gathers up the treasure, Chunk and Sloth need to find a way to get her off the boat...

The climactic pirate ship scene! As Ma Fratelli greedily gathers up the treasure, Chunk and Sloth need to find a way to get her off the boat…

In the end, players were given a score based on how many lives they had left along with a short cinematic showing the silhouettes of the Goonies and their new buddy, Sloth, as they watch One-Eyed Willie’s ship sail off on one last voyage just as it did in the movie.

The Goonies with their newest recruit watch as One-Eyed Willie's ship sails off on a final journey.

The Goonies with their newest recruit watch as One-Eyed Willie’s ship sails off on a final journey.

But that’s not the end of the story for this game. Konami had apparently also bought into licensing the movie for two games of their own. The first was released for the MSX in 1986 as a Japan-only game featuring a completely different structure from the DataSoft version.

According to the English text on the back of the Japanese packaging, players starred as Sloth in the game (even though the in-game character looked nothing like a tall, bald-headed giant and more like Mikey) and their goal was to collect a series of keys, unlock doors, and rescue all of the Goonies in each stage to move on to the next one. Special items such as a helmet to protect against falling rock or a coat to guard against water damage were part of the play mechanics including an experience bar that awarded a lump of points every time it filled up.

Konami's MSX version was very different from the DataSoft version.

Konami’s MSX version was very different from the DataSoft version.

Another Goonies game by Konami was also released in 1986, this time for the Nintendo Famicom (although would only apparently show up in America thanks only to the Nintendo PlayChoice-10 cabinet in the arcade) which relatively followed the same formula from the MSX version with updated graphics, stages, and gameplay. It also showed up on the PC-88 and the Sharp X1, both Japan-centric PCs and would remain a Japan-only title on those platforms and the Famicom (NES).

The movie would also get something of a sequel with The Goonies II, again from Konami, which was like an early Metroidvania-style adventure. Released for the NES and in the arcade, it featured Mikey on a new quest.

This time, he’s off to not only rescue his fellow Goonies but also Annie the Mermaid while avoiding the Fratellis and one new addition with Cousin Pipsqueak. Players could explore rooms for gadgets to add to their arsenal or talk to NPCs for hints, a password system ‘saved’ their inventory, and “3D” rooms added a nice addition to the side-scrolling stages that covered a wide variety of climates from brick layered Castlevania like rooms to ones frozen over with ice and snow.

But the original Goonies from DataSoft was a great game. Short but incredibly imaginative with its arcade-styled puzzles, it really stands out as an old classic. It was also an early precursor to other team-based puzzle solving efforts found in titles like Ocean Software’s Head Over Heels in ’87, Interplay’s The Lost Vikings in ’92, and even Ratchet & Clank especially with the time-duplication feature found in A Crack In Time. Or even World of Illusions with its two-player co-op support, also in ’92.

Other fans took their appreciation for the film a step further both for the original DataSoft title and for Konami’s MSX entry. A remake for the DataSoft game was released in 2010 by a team of super-fans: Luis Barrachina (coding), David Vassart (graphics), Steve Fenton and Mihaly Horvath (music).

New graphics, sound effects, music, and tweaked puzzles have created a fresh challenge with an old formula.

It looks and sounds great and it even changes up a few of the puzzles to refresh the challenges.

Not only does it have new graphical updates to all of the stages, but the challenges have also been a bit tweaked with one or two stages shuffled around. Also, there’s new music that accompanies players throughout the game loosely based off of the film’s soundtrack. Challenge-wise, a few puzzles have even been tweaked to make it harder than the original. Remember how you could stay on one of the lower platforms safely in the steam pipe stage and avoid bullets? Yeah, that won’t work here.

Indie devs, Brain Games, competed in the Retro Remakes competition for 2006 with a remake of the MSX version of The Goonies by Konami which they made available on their official site. It features updated graphics but also seems to be a bit buggy — rescued Goonies don’t seem to be registered on the status bar at the bottom, or keys — but it has music, neat sound effects, and this time, there’s no mistaking that you’re definitely playing as Sloth.

There’s also another remake floating around there from the MSX community thanks to Kralizec, a group of MSX fans that were well known for continuing to build games for the MSX computer.

Yes, you read that right — the MSX — just as the homebrew community continues to support the Dreamcast and Neo Geo with releases like Last Hope. Or create projects like Halo for the Atari 2600.

From what I’ve been able to see, this new Goonies remake is Kralizec’s vision of what Konami’s original MSX title was trying to be like featuring more story, better graphics, music, and a new title: Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.

New graphics, sounds, music, more text make Kralizec's remake a re-imagining of epic proportions. It even looks like something from the Sega Master System here.

New graphics, sounds, music, more text make Kralizec’s remake a re-imagining of epic proportions. It even reminds me of something from the Sega Master System here.

You could have bought it in cartridge format for your MSX when it was initially released a few years ago in 2010, but as a final farewell a few months after leaving the scene, Kralizec made the ROMs for their games available for free and will run with the help of an MSX emulator.

“Goonies never say die” …and apparently, neither does the hope for a new movie and, perhaps, a new game to go with it.

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One response to “Movie tie-ins from the ads of the past – The Goonies

  1. Pingback: Cold War Memories from the Past – Theatre Europe | World 1-1·

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