Blast from the Past: Wrecking Crew (NES)

Retro Review


I often love scrolling through the WiiU and 3DS virtual console listings on the Nintendo eShop and quite often will come across something that I’ve never played or heard about before. Wrecking Crew is just one such game and depending on how you look at it, it’s about to wreck your world.

There is no explanation out there that explains this game more than its title and that’s simply a crew that wrecks. In this case, it is an unusual duo that most people know as heroes or saviours, the Mario brothers. Who many may know as plumbers (a title since given up recently apparently) but have in fact many other job descriptions such as a referee (Punch Out), a doctor (Dr Mario) or even a ghost hunter (Luigi’s Mansion). So it’s not surprising to see that they’ve also tried their hands as demolition experts. However, if you’re expecting a backstory as to why they’re wrecking a level filled with doors, ladders, brick walls and just causing chaos in general, there is unfortunately none.

By this hammer

The game begins with the player taking control of Mario (Luigi for the second player) who’s in possession of what can only be described as Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer). The player then has to move across the level and destroy doors, ladders and often set off bombs to stun enemies or cause the player to fall a few levels down, this is helpful in some stages to not only escape your enemy but also acquire access to lower levels within the stage. The goal is simple: wreck everything. And since the enemies are practically unable to die, the player has to often consider every move before the next.

The level layouts remind me of another game filled with ladders, Lode Runner. The intriguing bit about Wrecking Crew however is that you can in fact wreck something that blocks off the players path from proceeding within the game. For example, if you wreck a ladder to a platform that holds two doors, then your basically wrecked yourself and that level ends in failure. Some enemies look like they are wearing space or hazmat suits whereas others resemble the appearance of the cookie monster. As mentioned before, they cannot be killed so it’s up to the player to try and avoid them or stun them as best as possible whilst trying to wreck everything in sight. Apart from the enemies, taking too long results in a fireball appearing out of thin air that begins to fly across the level that players will have to dodge as a touch from this will result in death.

All in all the music is fun and catchy and exactly what you’d expect from a game that released in the 80s. No fancy symphony or orchestra playing, just a plain old melody. The game itself has no back story, no princess to save and just makes no sense. It is however fun to play as the later levels become a tad more difficult to figure out since the game in itself is a puzzle title and the fact that players are allowed to select any level they’d like to play, that is in fact a plus to the game. The down side however is that even though there may be two players, light puzzles, catchy and fun arcade music, the game becomes monotonous fast. It is great to experience another spin-off title in the long range of the Mario Bros. franchise. But wrecking just becomes old a little too fast. Let’s just say that I’m glad that the brothers gave up on this career choice.


  • Wrecking, Wrecking, Wrecking
  • Light Puzzle action
  • Co-op
  • Music


  • Repetitive & just not enough


The Marios Bros. get a bit destructive in this puzzle game, but the puzzles wear thin far too quickly.


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