Elevator Action on the NES

So, imagine you’re a spy, and you have to infiltrate an office building to steal some information. It doesn’t matter what the information is; you must find it, take it, and escape from the building. To do this, you have to use the elevators and escalators.

Sounds simple enough, but there will also be an unlimited number of bad guys trying to stop you. Not only that, but you have to deal with your insatiable desire to get yourself killed. You’re not the best spy. If you were, then your employer would probably send you on some important mission.

This is basically what happens in Elevator Action. It is a simple arcade game made by Taito and ported to the NES. It is fun, but like other arcade games, it gets repetitive quickly.

TLDR: A fun arcade game that doesn’t have much depth.


There isn’t too much to the gameplay in Elevator Action. It is an arcade game that is designed to get your quarters. You’re playing for a high score and bragging rights over your friends.

You have two attacks in Elevator Action. A gun, which is the weapon I used the most, and a jump kick/butt smash thing. I didn’t use the jump attack; it isn’t like you get punished for not being stealthy in this game.

You can duck and shoot. You’re probably wondering why I need to point this out, but it is one of those simple things that you don’t realize how important it is until you can’t do it.

The enemies shoot at you when they aren’t staring at your character, trying to figure out who you are. To avoid the bullets, you can duck or jump. I found ducking to work better.

You ride the elevator instead of jumping or climbing from level to level. I know, this sounds obvious due to the game’s name. There are also escalators that help out a lot when waiting for the elevator to come back up.

You get three lives to start with and can gain more as you increase your score. This is standard for an arcade game, and the console port keeps this in. The only issue I have with this is a lack of continues. I would’ve expected the game to give you three continues, but that doesn’t happen.

It isn’t a big deal today, but a little annoying. Nowadays, you can use save states if you’re desperate to get a high score in Elevator Action. It would’ve been nice to have continues, but it isn’t some game-breaking flaw.

There are a few ways to die in Elevator action. You can get shot or crushed by the elevator, and you can die from falling too far. Our little spy isn’t Mario; if he falls down the elevator shaft, that is it for him.

There are some cheap deaths in the game. It isn’t too bad and something you might expect from an arcade game. Sometimes, you can’t avoid being shot; other times, you might not realize two or three enemies share the same space.

Elevator Action is all about getting a high score. To do this, you can shoot the bad guys and collect information from specific apartments/offices. These are easy to see as they have red doors.

Overall, it is a decent arcade game. It gets repetitive after a few levels, but this should be expected from an arcade game from the 80s. The controls on the NES are good. It is a good port of an arcade game.


Elevator Action is an average-looking NES game. It isn’t going to blow anyone away, and it isn’t one of the later NES released that looks amazing. It looks fine.

The levels look similar, aside from a color change and the lights being switched off. I don’t have a problem with this. It isn’t like the buildings are designed badly; they’re just okay looking.

It is easy to see the enemies coming if you’re paying attention. This is where some of the cheap deaths come in, but it isn’t too crazy. There aren’t too many enemies on the screen, which makes it a little more annoying when you die. I still can’t blame most of the deaths on the game.

The jump kick’s animation is the only thing that confuses me about the game. It looks like a flying butt stop or like you’re using both of your legs to hit the enemy. I’m not sure what you’re doing.

Overall, the graphics are middle-of-the-road for an NES game. It isn’t as colorful as the Nintendo-made games, but it isn’t bad. There are several visual cues to let you know when the enemies are showing up, and the bullets are easy to see.

7/10. Elevator Action is an average game on the NES. It is a well-made port of an arcade game, but it isn’t anything special.


  • Pick-up-and-play
  • Good Controls
  • Decent Graphics


  • No Continues
  • Cheap Deaths
  • Repetitive


There isn’t much to complain about in Elevator Action. You don’t have some elaborate story; the controls are decent, and everything looks okay for an NES game made in the 80s. It is another game about getting a high score and bragging rights.

It has a fun premise. Being a secret agent trying to steal secrets from the bad guys is a good idea for a video game. It is a little strange for an arcade game, but Taito made it work with Elevator Action.

I have seen some criticism of the getaway car. When you reach the ground floor, your character escapes in a little red car. It isn’t what most people think a spy would have. It makes sense because he is trying to blend in. Having a flashy car would get him caught!

Strangely, Taito picked this last moment to make something realistic, but I like it. It gives me the impression that this spy and his mission aren’t all that important. Why waste a ton of money on a mission suited to hiring a janitor?

Realism aside, I like this game. It isn’t one of my favorite arcade-style games, but it is a fun one. The NES port is good, but it is an average game on the system.

Published by Paul Werkema

Hi! I'm here to share my hobbies with all of you. I love video games and books, so I write about the books that cover video games or are novels about video games.

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