Journey to Silius

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Journey to Silius NES box art

Journey to Silius is a horrendously underrated run and gun game for the NES. Read more on why you should play it.

Console Nintendo Entertainment System
Developer Tokai Engineering
Publisher Sunsoft, Mattel
Genre Run and gun, platformer
Release Year 1990
Purchase (NES) Purchase from eBay.

Journey to Silius is one of those obscure NES games that hardly gets any spotlight, even from Nintendo. This game was originally going to be a video game adaptation of The Terminator, but the developer lost the licensing rights before the game was finished. So, the graphics and story ended up being different for the final release, making this game kind of its own thing.

Nah, instead, THIS is The Terminator game.

And what an inspirational piece of crap it is.

Now, let’s make a comparison. Cue the footage!

You like it? I finally got around to video work for this word-heavy site. It may not be a review, but it’s about damn time for this reviewer to at least make videos, eh?

So here’s our story:

After many years of space colony development, Jay’s father has passed away. The evening news reported that Jay’s father’s death was an accident. Several days later Jay finds a floppy disk left in his father’s room.

“I hear the terrorist are planning against the colony development. You must complete my mission if I cannot.”

“They will pay the price for the death of my father.”

So that’s pretty much it. In the distant future (2373, to be precise), mankind is still using floppy disks as storage (lol). Your main character is Jay McCray (lol, again) and you must make way for future colonization at the Silius Solar System by annihilating the robot armies.

Wow. This game does not fuck around already. Sadly, that bit of story was the only cutscene in the entire game.

Run and Gun Fun

Journey to Silius gameplay

Journey to Silius plays very much like your typical run and gun platformer. While the shooting controls are not as flexible as those of Contra, Jay can equip different guns for various effects. However, using any other gun other than the default hand gun will decrease the ammo meter at the top.

You can collect new guns by defeating the stage’s ending mini-boss, right before the big boss battles. This is actually a pretty nice opportunity to see what those new guns can do—because let’s face it, the hand gun is a mediocre weapon.

Defeated enemies may drop health and ammo capsules, though keep in mind that this is uncommon. Because Journey to Silius is the kind of game that doesn’t fuck around.

Journey to Silius gameplay

The main difficulty here is that enemies come in fast and from many directions (sometimes out of reach). There are also quite a few that has fast-moving projectiles. So Journey to Silius is a game about quick reflexes and good dodging ability more than anything. While the secondary guns do help a lot, the ammo meter depletes pretty fast so you can’t rely on them all the time.

Journey to Silius gameplay

The bosses are also reasonably tough. Even the first boss can give trouble to those who are unprepared with fast-moving targets.

The graphics are bright and colorful, making this game brimming with life. And the soundtrack is so kickass if you can’t tell.

List of Tracks

And this is one of the coolest NES boss themes I ever heard.


As much as I like the game, there are some flaws. The main one for me is how Jay controls, while moving and jumping. Let me put it this way: it’s like pushing a hockey puck around. Jay is kinda slippery, making him hard to steer at times. This is especially true while you’re in mid-air.

There are also some stage designs where you have to drop downwards. Because you can’t see the enemies below, there’s a good chance you’ll get hit a lot from just dropping down. So the best way to avoid these obstacles is to simply remember them and dodge immediately.

Journey to Silius terminator boss gameplay

The final boss is also disappointingly easy. And I mean the easiest boss in the game. He’s the closest thing to resembling a terminator, but all he can do is walk up to you and punch—which you can easily duck and dodge. It’s a cool enemy design, but a boring fight overall.

Here’s a fun fact: before we got Journey to Silius in the states, the main character’s sprite was different in the Japanese and European versions. Instead of a guy with his helmet off, we get a guy with his helmet ON. Erm… licensing… issues…? Did Kyle Reese from The Terminator wear a helmet? I don’t remember.

Journey to Silius is a short game, having only five stages. However, you only have three continues, each with three lives. Lose all nine lives (what am I, a cat?) and you start all over. But if you’re one of those people who die easily, you can just go to the title screen and press the B button 33 times and press Start. Then you’ll be able to get anywhere from 0 to 9 continues.

I actually like this cheat because it’s probably the closest thing to a difficulty setting in this game. The actual game itself isn’t necessarily easier. Just finishing it would be easier. But if you’re feeling sadistic one day, you could do the three-lives challenge.

If you like challenging platformers in a similar vein to Contra, give Journey to Silius a shot.

Journey to Silius

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  • The game's challenge is fair and uses some good level design.
  • The bosses are challenging but doable. Usually, your new guns are the key in winning.
  • The graphics are bright and colorful, which is fitting for an action sc-fi platformer.
  • The soundtrack is great for the NES era.


  • The controls are a bit slippery, while moving and jumping.
  • Any part of a stage where you have to fall down.
  • The final boss is disappointingly easy.
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