Popeye Review (1986 Game)

Though Popeye never came close to reaching the status of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and other bona fide arcade classics, Nintendo nonetheless included Popeye for their NES as part of their ³arcade classics series. Whether or not Popeye is indeed a classic or just another old game could make for an interesting debate, but I can tell you that it is a cute, entertaining, and sometimes amusing game.

Popeye is a faithfully created port so fans of the semi-classic (how’s that for a compromise?) arcade game will enjoy it. The characters and objects move in similar patterns as the arcade game, and the level design is basically the same. Popeye even retains the strange way he walks (bobs?) up and down the stairs.

There are a few nitpicky problems such as when Popeye jumps up to catch Sweet Pea for extra points, he doesn’t actually grab the platform Sweet Pea is on and bring him down like he does in the arcade game. Popeye just sort of makes contact with the platform and gets the points. Like I said, this is nitpicking, but this example helps illustrate how minor the differences are between the two games.

One thing some gamers may not like about Popeye is its lack of fighting. If Popeye is not pumped up on spinach, he can only run from Brutus. When he does eat his spinach, one hit sends Brutus flying. There are no head-to-head slug fests in this game. On the other hand, some gamers will appreciate Popeye’s lack of violence as there are plenty of other games on the market where all the characters do is beat the snot of each other.

Popeye’s biggest weakness is redundancy. Each level requires you to do basically the same thing: gather floating objects. Even so, it is a fun game that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

P.S. I do have one question about this game: Since Popeye doesn’t have his pipe (thank you, political correctness), where do the toot! toot! sounds come from?


The Popeye characters from the famous cartoon are easily recognizable if a bit fuzzy. The platforms and the boat are very simplistic.


The music is a delightful version of the familiar theme from the cartoon series, and the sound effects are nice as well.


Those looking for a pleasant, non-violent gaming experience will enjoy Popeye.

Replay Value

The levels are a bit too similar in terms of the goals you are trying to achieve, but it is fun to try and beat your high score.


The manual tells you everything you need to know.

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