Game Review

Wrecking Crew Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

I'm gonna wreck it!

It’s common knowledge for most gamers that Mario has been in countless games over the years, in which he has taken on a bevy of different roles and occupations. From race-car driver to boxing referee, Mario has done it all. Curiously enough, just about the only job Mario hasn’t performed in a video game is that of a plumber, but that’s completely beside the point. Wrecking Crew, the latest 3DS Virtual Console release, has Mario donning his hardhat for a bit of construction, or, more accurately, destruction.

Originally released as a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Wrecking Crew is an early entry is what is now known as the puzzle platform genre. Each stage takes place in a vertically scrolling arena filled with breakable walls and ladders. Your goal is to destroy all of the breakable objects with your giant hammer while avoiding enemy characters and frantic fireballs. What sets this one apart as a puzzle game rather than a straight platformer is your inability to jump. Because of this, you’ll have to pay close attention to the stage and figure out the safest path for Mario to travel, without blocking yourself off from reaching a particular platform by accidentally destroying a ladder that you may need to climb.

While the concept may be simple, this is definitely not a puzzle game for the faint of heart. Early levels tend to be fun and light-hearted, but it quickly takes a nasty turn with a difficulty curve that isn’t to be scoffed at. Luckily, you can choose which stage you would like to start at from the menu screen, so losing all of your lives on a particularly difficult level does not necessarily mean starting the whole game over. There are 100 different stages to complete, with bonus stages staggered between, so being able to choose your starting level is almost necessary for anyone hoping to experience them all.

With simple gameplay comes a simple control scheme. The 3DS D-Pad or Circle Pad is used to move Mario around, while pressing either A or B will cause him to swing a crushing blow with his hammer. As mentioned before, you don’t even have the ability to jump, so the controls remain simple, and they’re responsive. There is also a two-player mode in which a second player takes on the role of Luigi, but the gameplay involves trading the 3DS off to player 2 once the first player’s turn is over rather than sharing a screen, much like Super Mario Bros. Also like the aforementioned 3DS VC game featuring the pair of plumbers is the necessity to hold L and R while pressing Y to switch to the second player’s controls. This requirement to swap controllers is a strange inclusion, but necessary for anyone craving multiplayer action.

One of the more fascinating things about this game is that it features an additional play mode titled “Design,” which is essentially an archaic level editor. While level editors are becoming more common in modern games, with an emphasis on community sharing, there aren’t too many games from the NES era that allowed you to customize your own stages. Design mode allows you to create a short campaign of four customized stages that you can then save and play whenever you’d like. Creating stages is easy as it only involves moving around the stage area in a grid pattern and pressing either A or B to cycle through and place objects, but it gets the job done. While this definitely isn’t the main selling point, it is a good way to spend some extra time on the title once you’ve exhausted the campaign.

As with many early NES games, Wrecking Crew doesn't have the most impressive artwork to look at, but the pixel sprites and environments get the job done. The soundtrack is satisfyingly 8-bit, and many players will be surprised at how familiar the music may be, with certain elements making appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series. Like the graphics, the soundtrack is not the most remarkable in gaming history, but iconic nonetheless.


Wrecking Crew is a solid puzzle platforming game that manages to be just as entertaining on the 3DS today as it was on the NES nearly 30 years ago. While the multiplayer and design modes may be simplistic and slightly flawed, they still add a bit of variety and replayability to an otherwise straightforward game. With its iconic music and lasting appeal in terms of gameplay, fans of the genre won’t want to miss out on this piece of gaming history.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (38)



DarkCoolEdge said:

It's not a bad game but isn't remarkable either. It is average ( in the world of numbers I'd give it a 5 or a 6).



HawkeyeWii said:

Got this as an ambassador. Tried it once and didn't like it much, same goes for Ice Climber, which I had really high hopes for and then... it kinda sucked...



Kyloctopus said:

Wrecking Crew is my least favorite Ambassador game by far.
It does have some catchy music however.



KnightRider666 said:

I never could get far in this game b/c I couldn't figure it out.

@Hyperstar96: You need to watch it again because your opinion convinces you must have missed something.



RR529 said:

I got it as an ambassador, but was never hooked by it. May get around to trying it out again someday, though.



Bass_X0 said:

Never cared for this. I remember being interested upon first playing it but i quickly grew bored of it. Its less a fun puzzle game, and more a tedious trial and error game.



Handy_Man said:

Curiously enough, just about the only job Mario hasn’t performed in a video game is that of a plumber

Mario has indeed done plumbing in Mario Bros. and the part in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga where the Bean Bean Kingdom's castle needed it's pipes fixed near the start of the game. (Memory's a bit fuzzy, but there was plumbing in M&L:SS.)

Mario should be an American football player, though. I'm surprised he's done Soccer, Basketball, and Hockey (in Mario Party 5), but he's never attempted to play arguably the most popular sport of them all.



ajcismo said:

This game makes me wish of a day when we'd see a sequel to Blast Corps. But that will never happen.



SnackBox said:

I've tried to play this game a few times now, hopefully seeing that video will let me know how to play it ><



Melkaticox said:

I don't think Mario Bros.'s "plumbing" counts as...plumbing, really. All he did was kick a bunch of koopas and spinies.



Wolfgabe said:

I loved the quote at the beggining. It would be funny if Wreck it Ralph really had a Wrecking Crew cameo



masterLEON said:

I had this game back in the day. I thought it was a more complex concept of Mr. Do's Castle. The basic idea is to clear each stage of all destructibles, i.e. brick walls, pillars, doors(?)/drywall panels(?), breakable ladders while avoiding the enemies that are running around. There's also a foreman sometimes, the guy with the brown hat and the beard, that walks the background plane. He destroys walls in the middle of sections, usually breaking your bomb's chain reaction, costing you potential points and giving you more work to clear the stage. Most things take one swing to break, but brick walls come in 3 strengths taking up to 3 hits. Bombs can chain-break 1-hit to either side until it reaches a gap, unbreakable object (oil drum) or the side of the screen (note at :25 in the video that Mario gives one hit to the wall sections before hitting the bomb). The more walls that go down in a single direction, the more the next wall is worth in points. A Golden Hammer (shown equipped at :41) can appear by doing some things specifically on a stage, usually by destroying stuff in a specific order which also usually involves blowing up a bomb. With it, Mario can swing faster and every wall goes down in one swing. There should be one on every stage except the early ones. Earlier stages can be cleared freeform while later stages almost always have only one way to clear them, making Wrecking Crew a true puzzle game.



RetrogamerFan said:

Have this through the ambassador scheme. This and Ice Climbers were the only two of the Ambassador games i didn't really like. Wrecking Crew gets too difficult too quickly for my liking, leading to a lot of frustrating trial and error, and then i hate the enemy/foreman character who appears a few levels in.



Beau_Skunk said:

Here's something fun to do. In the design level's screen, (the part where it shows the level building you're designing) use the second controller, (or switch to it with the L,R,Y option in the 3DS version) and press B+right (or A+right, I can't remember) at the same time, and you can customize the level you have it set to on the title screen. You can make earlier levels harder, or harder levels easier, and such now. (This of course, won't effect the levels on the title screen.) Or just use them as reference when designing your own.

You can also have other design options by pressing any other direction, paired with the A, or B button. (Like emptying the screen. or filling it with ladders, and such.) So there's actually some cool options for "Design" mode. Oh, and in the 3DS version, don't forget to switch back to the Player 1 controls. (With the L,R,Y) when you wanna go back to customizing.



StarBoy91 said:

@Nibelilt - thank you for preserving the movie's aspect ratio (2.39:1)! If the movie ever gets shown on TV outside of Blu-Ray and DVD, I really hope they do not resort to pan-and-scan like they do tons of other really widescreen movies that are shown on TV, 'cause I really hate that!! Who gives a damn about borders so long as you're watching the movie the director intended to show it to the audience?!
If they do resort to pan-and-scan (in which case they have no respect for the director's vision whatsoever), I'll always have the Blu-Ray and/or DVD to watch at home. Of course, this is just a pet peeve of mine.



StarBoy91 said:

@Anvil - thank you, for giving everyone nightmares for the next few days with that image; really appreciate that
Facetious mode



B3ND3R said:

@Hyperstar96 Did you even see that movie? It was awesome! Wreck-It Ralph is probably my favorite among the game-themed movies (right after Scott Pilgrim... I know that's a comic series, but it is based heavily around gaming).

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