If you follow me on social media, you may have seen that my laptop’s hard drive recently died on me. I did all of my blogging on that laptop, including capturing game footage for screenshots. I’m now using my desktop, which is connected to my TV because I couldn’t get my monitor to work for some reason. I have my keyboard and mouse sitting on my coffee table and I am sitting on the floor. As of right now, I don’t have the capture software installed on my computer, so for the sake of time, I thought it would be best to play something that didn’t require capture equipment to make screenshots. So, I returned to Rare Replay this week.This time, the random number generator gave me the number 10, which lines up with Cobra Triangle. Like Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll, this is a game that I do own a physical copy of, however unlike it, I didn’t grow up with it. I don’t even remember ever playing it. It certainly looks interesting though. The cover art depicts a speedboat driving head on into a massive sea serpent while narrowly avoiding mines and a shark. Looks pretty awesome to me.
Looks are often deceiving though, especially in NES box art. This is an era before the internet, where if you wanted to know about a game before release, you pretty much had to read magazines. Thus, a lot of people discovered games in the stores, meaning that box art meant a lot more back then than it does now. Thankfully, the box art for Cobra Triangle actually does a great job of describing what the game is all about.
I guess you could call it a minigame collection. You progress through the game in stages, and all stages have drastically different objectives than the ones before it. I’m not sure if they eventually start to repeat, but in the time I spent with the game before writing this, every stage I played was completely different, with one exception. You are always in a speedboat.
The first stage is a simple race against the clock. Just get to the finish line before the time runs out. There are other boats in the race who will knock into you and generally just get in the way, but it doesn’t really matter if you beat them to the end. You can actually shoot them, which gets rid of them. Later, there’s a stage where you have to take mines from one box in the water to another without turrets and another boat stopping you. The variety keeps the game interesting, and it’s really cool to see just how many different things you can do without changing the fact that you’re in a boat.
The game has a very nice look to it. It’s viewed from an isometric perspective, but it doesn’t have the pseudo-3D look that Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll would adopt later. Instead everything is much more traditional looking 2D sprites. Eventually, you reach a stage where you have to fight the sea serpent from the box art. Each of his segments that are poking out of the water are a different sprite that moves independently, creating the illusion of a massive creature. It’s a great touch and really stands out.
Controlling the game is very simple. One button accelerates, another shoots, and another uses power-ups. I have to imagine that in the NES version, one of those was mapped to select, since there are only two face buttons on a NES controller. But on Xbox One, all three functions are on the face buttons. Steering your boat is easy too, but you have to keep in mind that the direction you push is based on the direction your boat is facing. So, if the nose is straight down, you would push left to turn right, because to the perspective of the driver (captain? pilot?) you are actually turning left.
There’s not much to say about the music in the game, unfortunately. There’s a little on the title screen, but for the most part, it’s all sound effects in this game. They sound good though, a few of them I believe were reused later for Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll. Given that Rare soundtracks are some of the best in the business, in my opinion anyway, it is kind of disappointing to not have more music.
Cobra Triangle is a really unique game from one of my favorite developers. It’s an extremely unique game and offers much more variety than you expect from something on the NES. I don’t ever hear anyone talking about it though, which is a shame. If you like Rare’s games or just want to check out a great NES game that you may have never heard of before, Cobra Triangle is absolutely worth a play.