|Hm, which ladder should I climb?|
Released back when the NES was still in its infancy, Wrecking Crew succeeds in executing its concept particularly well. The player is thrown into the role of Mario, an Italian deconstruction worker. The goal of the game is to demolish every bit of wreckage in the level from ladders and bombs to generic debris, all by utilizing your one and only piece of equipment—the mallet. Assortments of enemies waltz throughout the stage and will perform various actions, most notably stalking Mario around in an attempt to hit him (which triggers an automatic loss). There are also doors that the enemies can walk through, which is a huge benefit to Mario. They appear in the background and can no longer attack him.
You must be dreadfully cautious with your destruction of the rubble, because if you destroy a ladder (the only method of reaching the upper level), you’ll be unable to break every obstacle due to inability to access the rubble in higher locations. On each floor, there is a crossover segment where you can head to the opposite side by simply going off one side of the screen. When all lives are lost your game is over. The gameplay is reasonably straightforward but challenging, so it offers a rationale to continue progressing through the game. One vexing issue you will often encounter is that if you get stuck where no enemies can get you, you’re stuck eternally (unless you reset the game data).
All in all, Wrecking Crew is a solid addition to the Virtual Console’s selection. Its arcade-style gameplay and simplicity will leave you crawling back for more fascinating level designs. While there are better ways to spend 500 Wii Points and the game can be frustrating, it may warrant a purchase if you’re a puzzle fanatic.
– Clark A