Tom & Jerry (NES)
The Mouse Must Jump, the Cat to Trump!
This videogame brings back a lot of memories to me. My parents always bought me games to entertain me during Christmas. One year we went holiday shopping at a local mall. My dad looked after me and made sure I was deeply distracted looking at toys so that my mom could shop in peace. Unbeknownst to him, she secretly bought Tom & Jerry for me from the videogame store.
Later, while I spent some time with my mom, my dad went to the videogame shop and noticed that only one copy of Tom & Jerry remained, so he made a rush purchase. Afterwards in the cafeteria he whispered to my mom that he had bought the game. “And me too!” my mom replied.
Yes! One of them had to race back to the shop and return a copy!
I remember as a kid playing this game for hours and hours. My dad and I were always fond of the Tom & Jerry cartoons so I’m sure it was another reason for my parents to buy me this game.
Now let me tell you all about Tom & Jerry!
Hi Tech Expressions Company
The Hi Tech Expressions Company was an early 1990s developer of console games based in Lower Manhattan, New York. The company made games for Game Boy, NES and SNES, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and PC platforms.
Hi Tech mostly manufactured videogames meant for younger players, though it did create a few with teen and young adult gamers in mind. Hi Tech’s videogames included Mega Man for PC, Beethoven’s 2nd and Hunt for Red October for Game Boy, and The Chessmaster for NES.
Tom’s at it again, always furiously intent on entrapping the playful mouse, Jerry! This time, Tom has kidnapped Jerry’s nephew Tuffy and caged him in the attic. Jerry has to race against time to save his poor little nephew! On his way through the house and grounds he will encounter many homemade obstacles, hidden treasures and other surprises—not to mention of course having to battle Tom every now and then! Watch out for him!
- Use your control pad to move Jerry in any direction you please
- Press the A button to make Jerry jump
- Press the B button to make Jerry use a weapon (the default one is marbles)
- Press the Select button to choose among the weapons (once Jerry has obtained them)
- To stop the game at any time, press Start. To resume playing, press Start again.
The Bottom Screen
This screen will help you to check the following aspects:
- Score: This is the score you currently have.
- Jerry: This represents the total hearts you have. You start with three hearts. If you get hit three times, you will lose one life. It is not possible to obtain more hearts. However, you can earn an extra life every 50,000 points.
- High: This is “high score” for short. If you lose all your lives and wish to continue playing, you can check how many points you have obtained in your previous game by looking at this section. If, in your second game, you beat your previous score, your high score will keep changing again until you finish the game or lose all your lives.
- Lives: This indicates how many lives you have. Unlike cats which have nine lives, Jerry only has three.
- Weapon: In the centre of this screen, you will see the weapon you are using at that moment. You start with marbles, but you are able to obtain some other objects as you progress in the game.
Jerry’s primary weapon is the marbles. You have an unlimited quantity of them. As you go through the several levels of the house, you will have to keep your eyes open in order to find some other defensive objects. They can be extremely useful sometimes so as to avoid the attacks of spiders, bats and such enemies.
The defensive objects are:
- Chewing Gum
- Meat Knife
- Invisible Ink
- Water Cup
Bear in mind that in some cases you can use these defensive objects for a limited amount of time. Once you have acquired them, you can press the Select button to choose which one you will use for a certain enemy. Once you see the object you wish to use, you will also see under it a number indicating the amount of times you can use it. When you have exhausted its power, the object will disappear from the select option panel and you will no longer have access to it.
The number of times you can use an object varies greatly. For instance, you can use the hammer and knife each up to 30 times; however you can only use the bubble gum twice!
What are all mice crazy about? You’ve guessed it! Cheese!! In this game, you will encounter lots of cheese portions. There are two types:
- Small portions: Each of these will give you a hundred points. It may not seem very much, but keep working toward 50,000 points and earning an extra life!
- Big portions: These each give you 1,000 points! But wait, there’s more! If you have lost one heart, one of these portions will replenish it!
Jumping, Climbing, & Mouse Holes!
- Jumping: Like most mice, Jerry is really quick and agile and can jump long distances. However, he can also make shorter jumps! You can control the height and distance of these jumps by pressing the A button. For instance, if you wish to make a little jump, simply press the A button; if you wish to make a longer jump, press and hold the A button.
- Climbing: Jerry is also able to climb using some objects which are found throughout the house such as wires and cables. In order to do this, place Jerry in front of the object you desire to climb and then press the Up arrow of your control pad. Jerry will then jump and climb as long as you keep this button pressed. You can increase Jerry’s climbing speed by pressing the A button. If you jump while keeping the Up button pressed, you can stop jumping on one surface and start climbing another. Note: if you jump while you’re climbing and you forget to press the Up button, Jerry will fall, costing you one heart!
- Mouse holes: There are mouse holes hidden in the different levels of the house. Some of them will lead you to a bonus room in which you can find large proportions of cheese! Some others are simply exits to other areas of the house. You can enter these mouse holes by pressing the Up button on your control pad.
This game is divided into five different worlds. Each world consists of three stages. In the last stage of each world, you have to defeat a boss. Can you guess who it can be? That’s right! Tom!
You start in the basement. This is a good stage to become familiarised with the controls and the enemies. But don’t get too confident if you pass this stage; the level of difficulty will increase as you progress! You will encounter a variety of enemies here, for instance, a toy soldier (you can get rid of him with one marble), spiders (two marbles will knock them out!), wasps (pretty annoying I must say!) and the strangest of them all, a set of wind-up chattering teeth!!
In the second stage of this world more surprises await you. You will have to go through the pipes! The enemies you will come across are crabs and snails! And sometimes a drop of water will cause you to fall down to the lower platform! You will find here a little help though—grab that bottle of invisible ink and make yourself disappear for ten seconds! You will be able to sneak past your enemies without getting hit!
In stage three you will encounter Tom for the first time. He’s to your right, throwing marbles at you. You have to jump onto two moving platforms (making sure you don’t fall into the water) while throwing marbles at Tom’s head! Good luck!
When you have finally defeated Tom, your next mission is to survive through . . . the kitchen! Here you will encounter a new enemy: beetles!! Be careful too with the saucepan that is making popcorn! But soon it will be over and you’ll reach the window.
Your next stage is a tree, which you will have to climb through without disturbing the busy ants! If you don’t move quickly, it’s very likely you’ll end up getting hit by a falling nut! A pink worm is your friend here. Jump on him so that you can reach the higher platforms!
You’ll soon see a beehive under which Tom is sleeping peacefully. You must climb the three moving platforms and strike the beehive. Once you do this, one of the bees will come your way to attack you! Quickly throw a marble at the bee so that instead of assailing you, it stings Tom! You have to repeat this procedure three times. What is the result? Tom wakes up with an enormous swelling on top of his head!
You are now in the garden! My! I’ve never seen such giant squirrels in my whole life! Watch out for them as they throw acorns at you in this first stage! Those leaves are aggravating too as they can make you fall onto the lower platform!
Stage two is dedicated to . . . the chimney! So what is your enemy here? Of course! The flames! There are two types though: the little flames can be eliminated if you manage to get the cup of water which is hidden on a platform. Simply make Jerry drink a little and spit out a bit of water onto the flame and it will be extinguished! The other type of flame is much bigger. You have to use the whole cup of water to douse it a little and quickly dash past it.
Tom however will try to make things difficult in stage three. He has blocked your path and he won’t let you get out of the chimney! You have to be really quick in this boss battle, as the flames and ashes are everywhere! Keep jumping while you aim (as usual) at Tom’s head!
Where are we now? In the living room! And what do we immediately see? Why, that’s a NES! With the control pad too! There is also something not too thrilling—purple marbles all over the place! They are very dangerous as usually if you aim at destroying them, you will not have enough time and will get hit. The best advice I can give you is to go under them, because they are bouncing all the time! Don’t stop! Run, run, run!
In stage two one object will be vital to you: the chisel! You will need it to cut through the wood and make your way to the next platform! However, not every piece of wood you can see can be chiselled through, so you will have to guess which the correct one is in order to keep going! Apart from this, you will have to avoid getting shocked while you’re climbing wires, and watch out for the cockroaches crawling around!
Tom this time is armed with an explosive device: rockets! You will first see his paw coming out and launching three rockets, and then he will show his head. This pattern will keep repeating over and over but you have to be very fast, avoiding the rockets and throwing marbles at Tom! Best of luck!
We have finally arrived at the very last world of the game. We’re getting close to rescuing Tuffy! Your first stage here is the bathroom! It is a similar level to the kitchen in that you will find exactly the same enemies and you will have to climb and time your jumps so as to reach the next platform! The only difference is that you have to watch for some nails placed throughout this level. If you are not careful, you will lose hearts very fast!
In stage two, you are finally in the attic! Here you will encounter two different enemies: ghosts and bats! The latter look pretty similar to Jerry himself, only that they are winged! Apart from this, you have to watch out again for the many nails which are scattered in this stage! You can’t complete this stage until you have found the key that opens the cage in which your nephew Tuffy is trapped!
In stage three, Tom will again attack you with a rocket! This time it is only one, but it sure goes fast! You will have to repeat the procedure explained in World Four: whenever you see Tom’s head, aim at it while you avoid the rocket! Arm yourself with patience as this world generally is the hardest of them all! When you have defeated Tom, Jerry will climb his way up and open Tuffy’s cage!
Once again, Tom failed to achieve his malevolent ends! Congratulations! You have finished Tom & Jerry!
And The Grading Is...
First of all let us consider this game’s originality. Even though the story in itself may seem simple in its concept—Tom kidnapping Tuffy—the levels are all varied and greatly executed. They are also filled with detail. You will encounter radios, televisions and that NES console in the living room! And don’t forget that in the kitchen level you can find a frying pan making popcorn!
Moreover, Tom & Jerry offers you the chance to grab new objects which you can use to defeat your enemies, adding variety to the gameplay. This game is plenty of fun!
The frustrating part is that this game is very difficult! As you progress in the stages and worlds, you will get killed many times. And the other sad news is that if you have lost all your lives, you have only two more chances to complete the game!
Even so, it is surely worth a try!
Jerry’s features and movements are also nicely done. Whenever he hits an enemy with marbles, or he enters a mouse hole, or he’s climbing, you cannot help but admire the character’s sweet motions.
The only negative aspect and one that should have been improved is that you cannot throw a marble and run at the same time! If you’re not aware of this, it is very likely you will crash into an enemy!
Regarding the music, the tunes are quite catchy and you will probably end up whistling them. However, there are only two different songs for the whole game! So even if you do enjoy them, you’ll eventually get bored with hearing them over and over again!
Overall, I would say that Tom & Jerry is seriously worth consideration. It has excellent graphics and variety of levels. Don’t be put off by its difficulty—try this game!
8 stars out of 10 possible ones