A childhood frustration....
Cobra Triangle released in July of 1989 was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo. It is in my opinion one of those Rare gems. It's an action boat race/shooter game in the isometric perspective. The game puts you in control of a lone boat as you battle your way across 25 levels with various challenges in each. Cobra Triangle has you race against other boats and the clock while collecting pods that you can then use to upgrade your different abilities. This upgrade system works just like the fan favorite Gradius. Collect pods then when the ability you want to upgrade is highlighted press select. Abilities include Turbo, Fire, Speed, Missile, and Forcefield. The controls are simple enough. Right and Left for steering, B for gas, A for guns, Select to apply ability, and Start to pause the action.
There are six mission types and bonus stages in the game. There is the Race where you have to reach the finish line before the clock runs out all while blasting other boats, collecting pods, and avoiding shark attacks and land turrets. Mine disposal mode puts you in charge of well disposing of mines. You must grab the mines and get to the designated bomb disposal area while avoiding land turrets and a NPC boat that will try and steal back the mine. Next we have the race upstream mission where you struggle to get to the finish line. These stages can be frustrating to finish. You have to go against the current and avoid being bashed by deadly spinning log formations and dancing whirlpools. There are also land turrets and the occasional fly by, but those aren't the problem. Protect the stranded swimmer is the next hill to climb. Here you will be put in charge of keeping some helpless swimmers from being taken. Surviving this round without losing a swimmer is no easy task. NPC boats will come from every angle to try and snag those little guys. Watch out for the flying saucers that shoot paralyzing missiles at you. Those leave you helpless to watch as all your Lil buddies are whisked away. Now lets jump some waterfalls YEAH! I hate these stages more than I care to say. Here you have to hit moving ramps in order to jump large waterfalls. This wouldn't be so tough if it wasn't for those darn dancing whirlpools. Good luck reaching the finish line. The other stages are bonus levels that have you collecting pods to buff up your ship, and a level where your not in control of your boat. All you can do is rotate and try to hit targets which increase your speed so you hit the finish with enough momentum to reach the extra life.
Every fifth stage is a boss battle. The first boss you encounter is the sea serpent from the box art and the title screen. Then you fight a giant crab that is a pain to beat. Next up is a giant squid also tough. Fourth boss is the return of the sea serpent with a new outfit. Apparently beating him made him made so he decided to dress in red and black. Finally you battle against the infamous Jaws..wait what....OK not the Jaws, but its a big ol' shark anyway. These boss fights are pretty challenging. They are big and take up a good portion of the screen. Their attacks do massive damage to your little boat. It doesn't help that the controls prevent you from moving quickly enough to dodge attacks while being able to shoot in the direction of the boss.
This game is certainly not the greatest NES game ever, but is one of my personal favorites. My childhood was spent trying to beat this game with my cousin. I have to say I love this game even with its control issues and ridiculously hard boss fights. If your looking for an old school fix and are ready for a challenge I highly recommend tracking down a copy of Cobra Triangle.