4 Quattro Sports (NES) Review

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The Short

Pros

  • Four games in one!
  • Soccer some oddly manic fun
  • You can play BMX three player with the Nintendo four-score
  • The cartridge is a glorious “unlicensed NES game” gold

Cons

  • All the games are generally mediocre
  • Only one game (Baseball Pros) has any music
  • All the games are punishingly unfair against AI, except maybe Soccer
  • BMX is so bad you won’t want two friends to play it with you
  • Codemasters made this? Like…the Overlord and Grind and Dirt guys?
Cocane's a hell of a drug

Cocane’s a hell of a drug

The Long

Back in ye olde NES days, unlicensed games were everywhere. While Tengen (aka Atari) was the most famous for this, plenty of other companies skirted around the NES’s archaic licencing policies and would make their own cartridges to house their unlicensed games. One of these companies was Camerica, a publisher who was better well known for making the Game Genie (which Nintendo also hated). In addition to that, they published a series of Quattro compilations, themed gold carts each with four games on them all developed by Codemasters. While seven were made in total, only three came out on the NES (Quattro Adventure, Arcade, and Sports). I only own Sports, so that’s what you get.

If you were me as a kid and saw this on the shelf…well, I wouldn’t buy it because it was sports. But any other kid might be like, “Holy crap, four games in one! That’s a killer deal!” And it is! Killer, that is. As it in might kill you.

Quattro Sports has four games in its collection: Baseball Pros, Soccor Simulator, BMX Simulator, and Tennis Simulator. Why they were all simulators aside from Baseball is beyond me. All these game are multiplayer (which is a plus), but are generally lackluster. I found one to be tolerable, one to be competent but boring, one I really wanted to like but just couldn’t, and one that I wish would die in a fiery hell.

Let’s just cover them in that order, then.

Lifelike graphics in Soccer Simulator

Lifelike graphics in Soccer Simulator

Of all the games in this collection, I had the most fun with Soccer Simulator. It’s no Fifa, but it is extremely manic, frantic, and surprisingly competent. You can steal the ball by running at the other player at the correct angle to nab it (and the AI/opponent can do the same to you). You have a button for pass (which will pass the ball to whomever is nearest and selected on your team) and one for shoot (which you have to aim by pushing a direction when pressing the button). That’s basically the game. It looks awful but the characters move really quick and games can involve lots of goals (unlike actual soccer). The only things I didn’t like were the bad graphics, the complete lack of music, and the fact that the nets were really small. I’m also apparently the only person on the internet who, after reviewing this game (all three people), liked this game in the collection best. Well, too bad! I don’t even like soccer in real life!

A weirdly muddy screenshot of baseball.

A weirdly muddy screenshot of baseball.

Baseball Pros is competent but unfortunately dull. While not as bad as NES Baseball, I found playing on the pitching/receiving end against the AI to be super un-fun. While I could pitch, I could almost never strike, and the worst part was trying to catch the ball was overly difficult. The outfielders moved like slugs, and passing was stupid confusing.

On the flip side, playing batter was just as annoying. While I never had issues hitting the ball, actually hitting it well seemed an impossible dream. If I didn’t foul, the computer would make amazing catches in the outfield, or the one hit that went straight up in the air and the freaking catcher got it and got me out. Frustrating.

The teams have funny names and honestly I feel this is about as competent an NES baseball game as most, but the clunky controls and unfair AI really killed it for me.

Tennis Simulator simulates how I play tennis: badly.

Tennis Simulator simulates how I play tennis: badly.

Tennis Simulator seems like it should be easy enough. I mean, it’s freaking Tennis on the NES. That game is so simple it was basically unchanged in video games all the way up to Wii Sports. In this one, however, it has one really big problem: serving. It feels like you have no control over the power, direction, or anything the ball does, so 90% (not an exaggeration) of my serves would go out, and it would give the opponent a point. I tried everything (even reading the in-game tutorial and checking online) and there was almost no way to fix my error.

When I was on the receiving end I had a much better time. I still had no control over the dumb ball, but at least it felt like a video game and not a “hit the ball once, get punished” simulator. I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t finish a complete match; my opponent won five bouts and the game kept going so I figured I’d seen enough. I wish it was better, honestly, because I think it looks good and seems fun. It’s freaking TENNIS. Not that hard, Codemasters.

 

The BMX game can burn in hell

The BMX game can burn in hell

BMX Simulator is the absolute worst of the bunch. It plays akin to other top-down racing games, only the courses don’t feel designed around the turn speed your bike has, making every corner (all four of them; these courses are offensively simplistic) a challenge. Should you crash (which will be frequently), it takes a giant chunk of time for your racer to recover. And on top of it all, the AI drives near-perfectly (and there is no real collision detection between racers, so you can’t even cheese them). You can play this one three player with the four-score, though why you’d do that I have no idea. This sucks.

The most beautiful menu ever to grace an NES game.

The most beautiful menu ever to grace an NES game.

 

Overall, Quattro Sports doesn’t deserve the amount of time I’ve spent reviewing it (but I did it anyway?). It’s thoroughly mediocre and utterly forgettable in nearly every regard. While I did think the Soccer game might be fun against other people (if only because it’s frantic and ball-stealing seems kind of unfair in how easy it is), the rest are so bland it makes the extensive time it took getting it to work in my NES seem like an even bigger waste.

If you’re a collector, this isn’t worth getting. There are a near limitless number of sports games on the NES, and finding a stand-alone variation of any of these sports in better games shouldn’t be a problem. Hell, I’ll name one off right now (get Baseball Stars if you want the best NES Baseball experience).

Two out of five stars. 

 

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All that is gold does not glitter. Or…something. I dunno.

Author: Nathan Major

Spirit Shark: Hammerhead. Retro game collector, true ginger, and SNES fanatic. Goal in life is to become Karnov from the NES game Karnov.

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