Kickin’ It Old School – All Request Edition

Since the groundbreaking first edition of Kickin’ It Old School, Old School HQ has been bombarded by requests for games to be reviewed in this column. Unfortunately, time constraints and the fact that I actually only got 4 requests have relegated the amount of games I can talk about to 4: Little Nemo: The Dream Master, Rush ‘n Attack, The Adventures of Lolo, and (*sigh*) Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. I’ll be achieving this feat through the magic of Console Classix, like Gametap but cheaper and with better games (free for Atari and NES games, $5 a month for SNES, Sega Genesis and Master System, and Gameboy). Let’s get cracking!

Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Specially requested by forum Insyder A Faceless Name. He actually mentioned more than one but 1) I liked this one best and 2) everyone else only requested one. Fair is fair, my faceless friend.

Based on the comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Little Nemo: The Dream Master was released to the NES in 1990. The game starts out in 1905 New York. A blimp descends upon the city and lands outside a young boy’s home. A clown/court jester of some kind emerges from the blimp and invites the boy, little Nemo, to Slumberland.

Nemo, probably equally tired and bewildered, replies, “What???” “The Princess has chosen you to be her playmate,” the clown replies. This sounds like something a kidnapper would say to convince a boy to get in his van.

Nemo is apprehensive over the idea of playing with a girl, since, as we all know, girls have cooties. The clown entices Nemo to join him by giving him a present from the princess herself. I swear to God, my first thought upon reading that line of dialogue was, “Knowing this game’s established shadyness, it’s probably candy.” And what was the present revealed to be? Candy. No joke.

Nemo decides to join the clown to Slumberland, as “Anyone smart enough to give me candy can’t be all bad…even if she is a girl.” I guess parents didn’t teach their children about the dangers of kidnapping until the Lindbergh baby got kidnapped. Then again, apparently he’s dreaming this whole thing, so whatever.

So Nemo and the clown make haste for Slumberland. Upon his arrival, Nemo is met by a man named Flip, who informs him that the animals around are dangerous, but will allow him to ride them if he feeds them candy. You, as Nemo, traverse over 8 different lands, enlisting the help of several animal friends including a frog, mole, and gorilla. In each level are several keys you must obtain to get to the next level. The final level, Nightmare Land, is, obviously, a very scary place guarded by the Nightmare King, who must be defeated to restore peace to Slumberland.

Graphically, it looks like an NES game. The backgrounds for the levels are okay looking. The music is upbeat for the most part, which I always like; no complaints there. Aside from the questionable message being sent to kids to take candy from strangers and feed it wild animals in exchange for rides, this game was pretty fun.

Rolling on:

Rush ‘n Attack

This one was requested by our own Danny Cox, or CaptainSpaulding from the forums. Rush ‘n Attack was an arcade game ported to the NES in 1987. The object of the game, as given in the opening scene is to “destroy the enemy’s secret weapon.” Easy enough.

You take control of an American commando, invading what appears to be a Soviet base (Rush ‘n Attack = Russian Attack? Never too early for kids to start fighting communism!) with naught but a knife. I don’t know about you, but knifing down commies has been the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. There are six stages to play through, each representing a different part of the enemy stronghold. You can get power-ups, including a gun and bazooka, with limited ammunition.

One flaw in this game is immediately apparent to me. If you get hit once, you die and have to start over again. What? It’s a video game! You’re supposed to have a life bar and be able to withstand near-superhuman amounts of bullets before falling. What the hell is this realistic, one-hit-and-you’re-dead crap?

The enemies are relatively easy to get by. Most of them just run up to you, and can be easily knifed down. One group of enemies always jump kicks you, but they jump right over you if you don’t stop to try to kill them. The ones that shoot at you can also be easily avoided.

The graphics of this game aren’t terribly good, but chalk that up to the game being released in ’87. The music was pretty awesome for an early NES game though. Aside from the difficulties involved with dying in one hit, I greatly enjoyed this game. There’s nothing better for an American than to single-handedly bring down an oppressive dictatorship.

Moving right along:

The Adventures of Lolo

Requested by Insyder Triggs. This is a fun little puzzle game for the NES released in 1989. It is heavily based on a series of Japanese games called Eggerland.

The game opens with sentient egg/blob Princess Lala being kidnapped by the evil King Egger, right in front of the game’s hero, Lolo, another egg/blob. Lolo marches right up to King Egger’s castle to rescue her, and must navigate through 50 levels full of traps and enemies.

To advance a level, you must collect all the “heart” icons on screen, some of which give you the power to spit two eggs at an enemy; the first shot traps the enemy in the egg, the second destroys it. Once all the hearts have been collected, a chest in the room will open, and by collecting the orb/pearl/whatever it is that’s inside, the enemies disappear and the door to the next level unlocks. There are 50 levels to go through. Enemies in this game take many forms, such as a caterpillar, a gremlin that shoots things at you, another that runs wildly around the level, only stopping when it touches you, which is usually, and frustratingly, always in your way.

I really like the music in this one. It’s nice and upbeat to keep your mind off of how frustrating some of the puzzles can be. The graphics are what you would expect for a 1989 NES game. Nothing special there. All in all, this was a fun little puzzle game.

And now…oy…

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

Requested by Insyder Notherguy. You sick bastard.

This game was adapted from the movie of the same name into an arcade game and later into a Sega Genesis and Master System game. The game revolves around Michael, dressed like he just came off the set of a James Cagney gangster flick, trying to save a bunch of children that were kidnapped by the maniacal Mr. Big (played by Joe Pesci in the movie). Of course, these days we would probably rather have our kids in the hands of a mobster than Little Michael, but back then he was an acceptable superhero.

Michael dancefights through 6 levels, taking down Mr. Big’s underlings and rescuing the children as he goes along. His moves include a kick such as the one he uses while dancing, a spin, and he also throws his apparently magic hat, which causes enemies it hits to explode (!) if it touches them. His kicks also send magic sparks into the air which do damage to enemies if it hits them. During the first level, there are various women, (possibly showgirls for the gangsters?) who get in your way, apparently fawning over Michael. You immediately dancekick them out of your way, presumably since they aren’t 11 year old boys. That wasn’t nice.

Anyway, once all the children in the stage are rescued, Michael’s pet chimp Bubbles makes an appearance to point you in the direction of the stage’s boss, which is a gang of bad guys. Mr. Big sends them to attack you after declaring “Haha, you’ll never catch me!” which would no doubt be hilarious if Joe Pesci did the voice acting for this.

I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the music of this game. Each level is set to a different Michael Jackson song. The first is set to Smooth Criminal, which I was enjoying more than the level itself. The other levels, according to the options menu, have Beat It, Another Part of Me, Billie Jean, and Bad. In addition, you also get to hear Michael’s trademark “woo!” and “ow!” but unfortunately “shimon!” is glaringly absent.

Well, I couldn’t take much more than the first level, so that’s all I can actually discuss here, but it’s pretty clear that Michael saves the little children and they all go back to Neverland to…well you can probably guess where I’m going with this. Anyway, aside from the music and the Michael sprite that people seem to like to use for flash cartoons, I see absolutely no reason for this game to exist.

And that concludes this super amazing all-request column! Hooray!

Next…Time: I’ve learned that real life is intervening far too often to be able to throw out one of these a week, but I will try for all…I’ll be generous and say 5 of you that read it. Anyway, next time we’ll delve into PC games for a little Day of the Tentacle action, because…well why not? Feedback and such may be directed to me by email or the Official Kickin’ It Old School Thread. Later!