CREATED BY: Vinnie Crisafulli

YEAR: 2012


Greetings, gamers! ‘Tis I, 8-bit aficionado and local indie horror maestro MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER with a review of the brand-new NES title DRAGON FEET.

What’s that, you say? “Brand-new NES title? This is 2012! We live in a world of iPhones, X-Boxes, cotton gins, and Victrolas! Has Mr. Mackner finally gone MAD?!” Well, while the NES has been succeeded by the SNES, the N64, the Game Cube, and the Wii, it still obviously holds a very special place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. Gamers who grew up with the original 8-bit adventures of Mario, Link, Samus, Megaman, and so many other iconic video game characters who were born from the NES.

But video games have come so far since those halcyon days of the 80’s. Why go back? What’s the appeal? Well, it’s just like in movies. Sure, the CGI dragons we’ve seen in the Harry Potter movies are all well and good, but that doesn’t make the stop-motion dragon of 1980’s DRAGONSLAYER any less awesome. Yes, nostalgia has something to do with it, but not everything. There’s a charming simplicity to 8-bit games that’s all but gone from today’s platform titles. There’s also my love affair with 8-bit music, but I could write an entire article on that alone.

So, some creative folks out there who, like me, are enamored with the unique personality of the 8-bit format, have begun an exciting new artistic movement, that of the “home-brewed” 8-bit game. These clever and gifted individuals are programming original NES titles in the comfort of their own homes. They’re the micro-budget filmmakers of the video game design world. So, much like micro-budget filmmakers, they are kind of limited in what they can do. But talent and passion can go a long way. Is there enough talent and passion in DRAGON FEET to make it worth your while? (Yes, that brilliant segue means we’re finally getting to the review!)

The story of DRAGON FEET is simple. The White Knight has slain the Great Green Dragon, and the baby Dragon is out for red blood. Since he hasn’t grown his wings yet, his DRAGON FEET must carry him along the path to vengeance. What’s interesting about the story is that it’s told from the monster’s POV. From the human perspective, the White Knight is the hero of the land. He freed the kingdom from the terrible Green Dragon once and for all. But the game tells us that these people need to be terrorized and devoured, and that’s where the little Dragon steps in. To set the wrong things right, and make the humans recognize their place on the food chain again.

Graphics-wise, they didn’t really push the boundaries of the format here. It definitely looks more like the beginning of the NES era than the later period stuff. So, if you’re like me and you still dig on BALLOON FIGHT, ICE CLIMBER, MACH RIDER, etc, you’ll find lots to appreciate here. The little Dragon is an adorable throwback to Bub and Bob, the dinosaur heroes of the classic NES title BUBBLE BOBBLE. And the bosses (all Knights) could’ve stepped out of KARNOV, or WIZARDS & WARRIORS, or something.

Still, the limitations faced by the home brewer (Vinnie Crisafulli in this case) are very clear. This is just a guy who loves video games. He doesn’t have CAPCOM or EA money. There’s only four standard enemies in the game: regular knights, crows, moving fire, and… some blocks. Or something. My guess is that they’re falling rocks. Anyway, they come right at you, and you can’t destroy them. You have to duck. You can’t defeat the moving fire, either.

Game play is pretty smooth. Talk about classic… “A” is jump and “B” is attack. Your only attack is your fire breath. Don’t press “B” repeatedly, or your fire breath won’t go anywhere. You can jump over all enemies, but there are no tricky parts where you must make a difficult jump to advance. The game is mostly set in a maze, where different doors take you to different places. The wrong door can set you back quite a bit, so it’s a good idea to have a pencil and paper handy so you can keep track of what door goes where. The “Select” button” takes you through the doors. As usual, the “Start” button pauses the game. But pausing is really glitchy. I have to press “Start” several times before it actually pauses.

One hit kills you, but you get infinite lives. The game is pretty short. I figured out the maze and beat it in one day. The last boss, the White Knight, is really tough though. I fought him for so long that I started to wonder if they forgot to program a death for him. But prevail I did, and the ending is funny and cute (though in a morbid sort of way. I won’t spoil it for you). The music is far from MEGAMAN 2 (which featured the best 8-bit soundtrack EVER), but it’s catchy enough that I found myself humming it long after I turned the game off.

DRAGON FEET made it’s debut at the TOO MANY GAMES video game convention in Oaks, PA recently. That’s where I picked up my copy. I’m not sure where you’d go to get a copy now, but I’m sure if you Google it, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.

My kids (Aged 7 and 9) love the game, and I’d recommend it, too. Here’s hoping I can get my hands on some more home brewed games in the near future.


And THAT is THE WORD, so sayeth THE MASTER!

Mark Mackner, that Megalomaniacal Maven of the Macabre and Mastermind of Monstros Madre, makes weird movies.  Watch them at!

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2 Comments to “MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER reviews the new NES game DRAGON FEET!!!!”

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  1. says:

    The last boss takes 100 hits to take down… unless you can find the gem.

    Get the shoe from the guy in the forest.
    Trade the shoe for the gift box in the castle wall.
    Trade the gift box for the cane in the cave.
    Trade the cane for the candy in the castle maze.
    Trade the candy for the gem on the roof of the castle.

  2. Wow! A reply from the actual game creator, with a game tip, no less! Thanks! If you’re ever in the mood to do an interview about the game for this site, email me and let me know. I’d love to help you get the word out!

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