P.O.W.: Prisoners of War

a game by SNK

Platform: NESNES

Genre: Action

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War
  • Manufacturer: SNK Corporation of America
  • Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System

P.O.W. is a side-view, horizontally scrolling combat game with four challenging levels, each far more difficult than the one before. The player takes on the role of Bart (his code name), captain of the Army Special Forces Unit "M". Bart allows himself to be captured intentionally, apparently the only prisoner of war in the entire game. The enemy is GOON (Government of Offensive Network), a treacherous lot, bent on destroying the world economy. The challenge is to demolish GOON from within.

The game begins inside GOON's "escape-proof" camp. An explosion blasts away the end of Bart's cell as the violent battle begins. In the role of Bart, the player punches, kicks, slashes and blasts his way past soldiers of various combat skills. He begins with only his feet, fists and combat wits. Knives (good for one kill each) and machine guns (for up to ten kills) can be acquired by obliterating certain enemies. The player acquires "power-up" items by entering huts, armored personnel carriers and other rooms to do battle with one to three dangerous foes. If Bart is still standing in the end, he may receive a bulletproof vest, brass knuckles or extended "life force".

At the bottom of the screen the player's vitality is represented with a "life" bar. As the player receives hits, this bar recedes, and when it disappears completely, one of three lives is spent. As you find with many of these combat games, securing additional life force fully expands the current life bar, but does not accrue an additional life; they are awarded every 30,000 points.

In Bart's travels, he must fight past GOON foot soldiers, commandos and green berets, and later frogmen, bike soldiers and a behemoth named Angel, among others. All of these foes are amply equipped with knives, machine guns or hand grenades. The green berets are especially difficult to outwit, as they may jump and twirl in the air to attack from behind quite unexpectedly.

The scenery changes from section to section also. In the first level, for example, the player fights across the jungle-like prison yard, through tattered buildings, up ladders and across a platform, to meet the first "boss", an assault chopper. When you finish a level, there is no time for a breather; the action is constant. If you make it to the end of the game - provided the controller isn't completely pulverized by this time - a battle with the "mystery boss", the GOON leader, ensues. The documentation explicitly mentions four levels, but implies a fifth. Hey, I'm still working on the third!

The graphics and sound effects are fairly well done. Any time the player faces more than one opponent, though, the flicker of the fighting characters is very bad. As far as gameplay goes, there is no time limit to the game, but the longer it takes the player to complete an area, the more likely he will lose a life. Staying alive is further complicated when you enter a structure: the view is from outside the building, and from that perspective it's hard to get Bart in a proper fighting position.

Lastly, P.O.W. has a "continue" feature, but it's limited to the start of each level. If the player is only a few short steps from completing a level and then loses his last life, continuing will force replay of the entire round from scratch.

P.O.W. is an addicting, though frustrating, fast-action fighting game. It feels and plays much like a "formula game", as if Mario has gotten lost on the set of Rambo First Blood, Part XXI. But this formula is still selling a lot of NES games, and P.O.W. provides a good combination of adventure and action.

Similar Games

Viewing games 1 to 2
G.I. Joe
It seems the Cobra Organization has terrorized the world for decades. Now the G.I. Joe Team is mad, and they're not going to take it anymore!
Ikari Warriors 3: The Rescue
Paul and Vince must traverse jungles, battlefields, enemy hideouts, and the like in this six-Act mission of blood and steel.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War Downloads

NES P.O.W.: Prisoners of War download

P.O.W. is SNK's latest video game blockbuster! Based on the 1988 arcade mega-hit, Prisoner of War follows a lone warrior on a mission to eliminate the savage dictators who hold an entire country hostage. You must contend with all kinds of enemy soldiers and weapons as you master your punching, kicking, and shooting skills. We'll walk you through each intense level of play, and show you exactly what to do to reach the explosive conclusion!

LEVEL ONE

The first three huts hold special power-ups and even more enemy troops. The first building contains the Brass Knuckles, the second one has Body Armor, arid the third hut contains a Life Supplement.

BOSS VILLAINS...Can You Face Their Challenge?

  • Boss One - An attack helicopter hovers at the end of level one. Enemy troops will appear, some with knives and some carrying grenades.
  • Boss Two - The supply Captain waits with gun and grenades in the warehouse. He shoots a 4-shot burst and tosses grenades when you approach.
  • Boss Three - A large enemy Boss waits in the elevator. He rushes from one side of the elevator to the other, inflicting great damage if you get in his way.

POWER-UP FOR GREATER ADVENTURE

During your missions you will be invited to enter enemy buildings, trucks, and caves. Inside these special rooms you will discover additional troops waiting. If you defeat all of the bad guys in a room, however, you will be rewarded with Brass Knuckles, Armor, or Life. While the Knuckles don't noticeably alter the game play, you should ALWAYS fight for the Armor (which deflects enemy gun and knife attacks) and the Life Supplement only when your current health meter is low. Along the way you will also encounter certain enemy characters carrying grenades, knives, and machine guns. If you overpower these foes, they will usually leave their weapons behind!

Be careful when entering the warehouses. Your visibility will be limited and oncoming attackers harder to see.

P.O.W. SUPER TIPS!!!

Successfully escaping the enemy stronghold and reaching the allied extraction point requires quick fists, fast feet, and plenty of skill. There are several playing techniques, however, that can help you reach the goal safely!

In the first two levels you should familiarize yourself with where to find the Armor power-ups, which provides invaluable shielding from enemy gunfire and throwing knives.

When you encounter the scuba divers in the water portion of level two, remember that the enemy will always attack from behind. When you see a diver emerging from the water, immediately turn and punch.

You should also work on the jump-kick, which helps in dealing with the mad motorcyclists and the Level Two Boss.

ENEMY ATTACK HELICOPTER

The first Boss you will face is a gigantic troop transport chopper that will hover directly over your position. You must punch or kick the grenade-throwing enemy infantry that appears (knife-wielding troops will also appear) from the copter, pick up the grenades they drop, and then return fire with four grenade hits.

RESUPPLY GENERAL

The level two Boss demands talented hand-to-hand combat. The Resupply General will fire his machine gun whenever you are faraway, and will drop grenades at your feet whenever you are near. Stay close to the General, jump-kicking into his face whenever he drops a grenade. When he fires his gun, jump and they will miss.

reggie posted a review
  • Machine: Nintendo
  • Manufacturer: Seal of Quality

Surrounded... Captured... Imprisoned in an enemy war camp! You'll have to fight your way to freedom with your bare fists. But if you can break into the ammunition depot, you'll find grenades, knives, and M-16's to tilt the odds in your favor. This is the prison camp they called "escape-proof". But they've never had to reckon with this P.O.W.!

reggie posted a review

Number of Levels: 5 Theme: Action Difficulty: Average Number of Players: 1 Available: 1990

Battle Behind Enemy Lines!

P.O.W. is SNK's latest arcade-war-fare epic. Adapted from the popular arcade title of the same name, Prisoners of War combines many of the play mechanics that were popularized in Double Dragon, and introduces a limited number of power-ups in a jungle-combat theme.

You control a Prisoner of War who has been kidnapped as part of a government plan to rescue other MIAs residing in an enemy prison. After breaking out of your jail cell, you have only your feet and fists against an army of enemy soldiers equally outfitted with knives and guns.

All of the action in P.O.W. is played out in front of a highly-detailed scrolling background. Several of the areas in this multi-level game even scroll in two directions, providing added depth to play.

In addition to the four separate rounds of battle that include prison barracks, ammunition depots, and secluded lakes, there are a number of hidden sub-rooms within each level. It is in these buildings, trucks, and caves that Armor (which deflects enemy gunfire), Brass Knuckles (which increases your fighting abilities) and Life (which recovers lost health) power-ups are found. Before you can recover them, however, you must face all-new dangers and additional attackers. Other weapon upgrades, such as a knife or machine gun, offer limited enhancements and can only be collected from the enemy troops that carry them.

People say:

8

P.O.W. is not an overly complex or diverse game, but it does have great graphics and play. The game would get repetitive if it weren't for the constantly changing environments. The lack of a 2-Player option is missed but it doesn't detract from the superior nature of this game.

7

Another war game from SNK. Nothing spectacular here, just a good solid game. Punch and kick lovers will have their hands full with a formidable enemy and challenging end-of-level Bosses. Other than Double Dragon 2, this is the best kung-fu type game this fall.

7

Good translation of the arcade. Has above-average graphics and game play and the difficulty is just about right (it stays challenging through all four levels). It's not hard to pick up but you won't finish it tight away.

7

P.O.W. has great background graphics and a very addictive play mechanic that is similar to Double Dragon. The game levels do get a bit repetitive, fighting the same enemies over and over again (with an occasional scuba diver thrown in). The end Bosses are also too easy.

reggie posted a review

The STORY CONTINUES

In the last review we walked you through the first two levels of battle in SNK's latest powerhouse, P.O.W.! With the second part in this special strategy guide you'll be able to continue your mission through the last two rounds, and bring the fight to the Big Boss waiting at the conclusion of the game!

Do you have what it takes to blast out of the enemy camp and make it to safety? Armed with this super strategy guide, you'll have everything you need to escape their torturous prisons, and overthrow the government!

POWER-UP TIPS

Remember, the most valuable power-up item is the Armor, which deflects enemy knife and gun attacks. Also, go for the Life power-up when your energy is low.

ENTER THE ENEMY WATERS FOR ALL-NEW CONFRONTATIONS

In your second mission you entered an enemy waterway only to be met by knife-wielding scuba divers! Even more frogmen guard the third level of play, supported by additional troops that can sustain multiple attacks. Use the same "turn and attack when they surface" technique for the scuba divers, and go after the other soldiers one at a time to wear them down.

LEVEL THREE BOSS

When you get near the end of the third level, as illustrated in the Game Map below, you will automatically enter the elevator. The scene will then shift to the interior of the elevator when the third Boss waits.

To dispatch this heavyweight, start punching when the Boss approaches. Once you connect with a punch, don't stop until he plows by. When you have little stamina left, you can also go after the Boss with jumpkicks.

MOVE ON - BUT BEWARE!

You may be tempted to run as quickly as possible to the goal at the right. This, however, is not always a prudent move. Since the game does not scroll as quickly as you move, it often places you at the extreme edge of the screen where you are more vulnerable. You can also keep multiple enemies from appearing by taking things slower.

START THE FIGHT WITH 20 FREE MEN!

Use this Super-Secret Power-Up and attack the enemy head-on with 20 free men! To accomplish this fantastic feat, enter the following combination of moves during the title screen: Press 'A', 'B', 'B', UP, UP, DOWN, LEFT THEN START!

The Final Battle is About to Begin

After defeating the third Boss, you must set out on the deadliest part of your journey! Throughout this level the enemy is more aggressive and more difficult to dispatch! You'll encounter obstacles that will put you in the line of fire! Motorcycle maniacs that are even tougher than before! The bonus rooms are also filled with more difficult enemies, including some of the Boss villains you've dispatched in earlier levels of play!

Sneak past the turret guards by slowly inching forward and keeping their line of fire away from your position. Since the guns can only shoot in three directions (left-diagonal, right-diagonal, and down) they're not too difficult to avoid.

ENEMY SUPER-TANK

After you complete the fourth area, you will face the enemy's super tank. This metal monstrosity fires guns and deploys troops while moving back and forth. Kill the explosives troops and throw the dynamite they leave behind back at the tank to destroy it. Remember to stay low on the screen and avoid enemy fire!

BIG BOSS

After fighting several troops off in a short "mini-round", you will finally come face to face with the military strongman who holds an iron grip on the country. This giant warrior will use his advanced martial arts skills to knock you out. Look out for his super jumps overhead, and use this vulnerability to score hits on the Big Boss when he lands. Victory is now yours!

reggie posted a review
  • Type: Action
  • Levels of Play: 4
  • Release: 09/01/1989
  • Difficulty: Avg.

P.O.W. is SNK's new arcade-warfare epic, that follows in the footsteps of Double Dragon. You control a Prisoner of War who must escape the enemy compound, traverse various hazards, and eliminate the enemy strongholds.

All of the action is played out in front of a highly detailed dual-scrolling background. Secret rooms offer additional dangers and power-up weapons that can aid you in your battle!

Can you escape the enemy?

People says:

8

P.O.W. is not an overly complex or diverse game, but it does have great graphics and play. The game would get repetitive if it weren't for the constantly changing environments and cast of characters. The lack of 2-Player option is missed but it doesn't detract from the superior nature of this game.

7

Another war game from SNK. Nothing spectacular here, just a good solid game. Punch and kick lovers will have their hands full with a formidable enemy and challenging end-of-level Bosses. Other than Double Dragon 2, this is the best kung-fu type game.

7

Good translation of the arcade. Has above-average graphics and game play and the difficulty is just about right (it stays challenging through all four levels). It's not hard to pick up but you won't finish it right away.

7

P.O.W. has great background graphics and a very addictive play mechanic that is similar to Double Dragon. The game levels do get a bit repetitive, fighting the same enemies over and over again (with an occasional scuba diver thrown in). The end Bosses are also too easy.

reggie posted a review

The runaway arcade hit of 1988 is coming home for play on the NES. While the two player simultaneous feature is unfortunately missing, P.O.W. still stands as one of the best looking and best playing Nintendo games on the horizon.

Similar in approach to Double Dragon and other fighting games, P.O.W. is set in the jungles of some far-away jungle land. Fantastic graphics, with amazing detail and animation, serve as the backdrop to the main combat action.

The home version of P.O.W. expands upon the coin-op with additional rooms that contain secret weapons and bonus power-ups. Great game!

Double Dragon style fighting action meets military combat in SNK's latest warfare epic, P.O.W. - Prisoner of War!

reggie posted a review

You are surrounded, captured and imprisoned in an enemy war camp. To escape you'll have to fight your way to freedom with you bare fists. But if you can break into the ammunition depot, you'll find grenades, knives, and M16's to tilt the odds in your favor. This is the prison camp they called "escapeproof." You're going to try to beat the odds.

reggie posted a review
X More on GameFabrique Demolition Man

Download Demolition Man