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“City Trouble” for the NES

by Denny R. Walter
(November the 8th, 2017)

Synopsis

Screenshot 1

The Jackal Gang is causing Trouble and it’s up to Amy to stop them.

You are Amy and your mission leads you to the rooftops high above the town’s not so pleasant districts.
So, take your trusty taser and electrocute all evil scumbags that stand in your way. Show those muscle-headed Goons and them jumpy Paradudes who’s boss. Use your agility to pass over deep and dangerous gaps and outrun that pesky helicopter.
It’s a tough job, but not all is dire: There’s your best friend Rachel waiting in the middle of the action to provide you some useful stuff to help you on your way.
You’ll need it since it’s only a matter of time until bad girl Scarlett bothers you again or you’ll have to face another one of the Jumbos.

Do you have the guts and the skills to rid the City of the Jackal Gang in this fast-paced arcade action game?

Buy the game cartridge from Mega Cat Studios

Watch the trailer on YouTube
Watch gameplay of level 2 on YouTube

Artwork

Screenshot 2 Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4

Development history

I wanted to have a game with a female protagonist in my list of NES games that I own. But none of the existing games were good candidates:
In “Metroid” you never really see that Samus is a woman. She wears a robotic suit throughout the whole game and you only see her face in the end if you were quick enough.
Other games have the female character as just one of many selectable characters. Or there are non-human females like Ms. Pac-Man. Or it’s just a conversion of a movie and the protagonist isn’t really a video game character. Or it’s not an action game where the heroine fights against evil.
Then there are games that match the criteria, but where I don’t like the games themselves for various reasons. (“Athena” just plain sucks.)

That’s why I finally decided to program my own NES game.
I had played around with NES programming in the past, but never really seriously. But now I had a definite goal and I was eager to really do this.

I planned a small highscore game, so that I would actually be able to finish it.
I wouldn’t have had the patience to write a whole game in low level Assembly language, but C was not a problem.
And since I wanted to do a game that fits on a standard 1985-era NES cartridge and I didn’t know how much space would be taken by the overhead of using C, I decided to do randomized levels.

The graphics style of the sprites was inspired by the NES version of “Kung Fu” as well as the early NES sports titles: “Tennis”, “Soccer”, “Baseball”. All four of these games have a pretty similar drawing style for the sprites that don’t look too cartoony and comparatively “realistic”. We took inspiration from that style to evoke the feeling of an early 1985-era game.
Since I had a game with a female protagonist, I wanted her to be prominently shown on the screen. That’s why I used a character size of 16 x 40 pixels instead of the typical 16 x 32 from most other NES games. (The same size is used for the characters in “Kung Fu” while the sports titles take different sizes.)

So, the overall idea was that my game shall look like it was finished in 1986 by a third party company who started their project after seeing the NES launch titles in 1985.

My colleague Katrin drew me a sprite of the main character, Amy, and I liked it so much that I asked her to do the graphics for the whole game. She did so and now we created the game together.
Not only did she do the graphics, but she also contributed gameplay ideas. Decisions were made by both of us.
When the game was about to be finished, Katrin also drew all the artworks for the box, cartridge label and for the manual.

I invented a name for us as the development label:
Den Kat Games.
Those are of course the first syllables of our names. And our logo is a cat sitting in a den:

Logo

Music, sound effects and all other things were done by external people that I found on the internet.

Programming started in June 2015 and was finished in November 2016.
The game was finally published on a real cartridge in 2017, complete with a physical box and manual. The publisher is Mega Cat Studios.

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