Little Nemo the Dream Master (1990) (NES) Review

“What do you dream, when you dream Little Nemo”

Game Box Art

Little Nemo the Dream Master was a game created by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the game itself was based on a series of comic strips titled Little Nemo in Slumberland which ran from 1905 to 1926.

comic strip

The comic depicted a young boy called Nemo and the adventures he went on in his dreams, the comic strip was very creative and completely original at the time.

I find it odd that Capcom who were very high in the industry decided to make a video game based on a comic strip which at the time was over 85 years old, but still its Capcom we have to give them credit since they were responsible for some of the greatest games of that generation (MegaMan, Ducktales, Ghost and Goblins), So how did Capcom’s attempt to make a video game based on a very old comic strip turn out?

opening cutscene

As you may have guessed the game takes place in Nemo’s dreams and within the fictional world of Slumberland, One night Nemo is visited by the royal messenger who tells him that the Princess of Slumberland has requested Nemo to be her playmate, Nemo isn’t fussed on the idea at first but after much persuasion he eventually agrees and is given a gift of candy, Nemo climbs aboard the Royal Messengers blimp and they both fly to Slumberland.

Knocked out Bumble BeeIn the game you take the role of Little Nemo and its your objective to collect a set amount of keys to open the door at the end of each stage, the game is a platformer so expect to be doing a lot of jumping, unlike most platformers of the time this game a has a twist as Nemo will need to take the abilites of the animals around him to reach hard to reach places and too pass certain obstacles, you take these animals powers by throwing candy into their mouths until they fall asleep and once they are sleeping you simply jump onto that animal in order to have full access to their unique abilities.

Animal form frog

You cant use the candy on all the creatures in the game but the vast majority of creatures do allow you too feed them the candy, depending on which creature you knock out will determine what new ability Nemo will gain, for example if you take the frogs ability Nemo will be able jump much higher than usual, taking the bee’s ability allows him to fly, taking the gorillas ability allows him punch things with brute strength and riding the lizard allows Nemo to walk up vertical platforms.

these are just a few of the many unique abilities available in the game.

Nemo wakes up

 

When you finish a stage you are presented a small cut scene of Nemo waking up and his mother yelling at him to go back to bed, these cut scenes are very cute but they are also a very clever nod to the original works by Winsor McCay as the comic strips he wrote also ended in this manner.

ghosts and goblins

This game is pretty adorable and it has a fairly innocent plot but be careful where you tread as this game is also very difficult, I personally find the game to have a similar feel to Ghosts and Goblins which is another very difficult platfomer made by Capcom for the NES, Little Nemo is not as difficult as Ghosts and Goblins but it definitely requires a lot more strategy due to having to constantly switch between the different animal abilities as well as needing to collect the keys before finishing each stage.

Nemo's_House

The game may be difficult but the level and character designs are wonderful, since the game takes place within Nemo’s dreams the levels are very imaginative, the first few levels are fairly basic with simple setting such as a forest and Nemo’s  backyard but the later levels are very cool and creative some of my favourite stages include Nemo’s House which has the player controlling a pint size Nemo through his home while helping him avoid everyday objects such as dishes and cutlery but at a much larger scale.

House of Toys

My favourite stage is called the House of Toys this stage is an on rails platformer, Nemo is in a toy room and is riding  a toy train, while riding the train Nemo will need to act fast to avoid enemy attacks and too collect the keys, the train is extremely well animated and the train noises are very impressive and to a point even quite realistic considering the restrictions of the NES and it honestly blows my mind every time I hear it.

From the opening cutscene to the end credits the games graphics are truly something to marvel, everything is extremely well animated, pixelation of the backgrounds, landscapes and general art style is smooth and nice to look at and the colours choices really suit the games innocent and charming atmosphere.

With this being a Capcom game as you might expect the music is absolutely superb, the music isn’t quite as fast and upbeat as the music you may hear in the Mega Man franchise nor is it quite as intense as the Music in the Ghost and Goblins or Demons Crest series, the music is very innocent and at times even quite relaxing and this suits the games atmosphere because before the final stage the game is not at all scary and Nemo isn’t not really threatened so the nice music is a good choice and when you do reach that final stage the music does change to a more darker and scarier tone, the music is very memorable and I often find myself humming it on a daily basis.

With such a difficult platformer you need good controls and luckily the controls are tight and very responsive, the controls them selves are very easy to learn, and the simple layout of the NES controller makes the games controls and general game play easy to grasp for any player.

Little Nemo the Dream Master was a risky choice for a video game due to the original works ending 64 years prior to the games release, the game is an innocent little platformer with difficult but fair game play, some of the best colour choices and level designs of any game for the NES and the music was a very smart choice from the developers due to its calm and friendly nature suiting the game perfectly.

Little Nemo the Dream Master is the type of game which quite literally a dream come true for many gamers due to it’s innocence, fantastic gameplay, and overall charm.

The game is perfect,not only is it a fantastic example of a hidden gem for the system  but I would also argue that its one of the greatest games ever made.

10/10

Thank you for reading my review of Little Nemo the Dream Master for the NES

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer

Also me and some friends have recently started playing games together so please check out our YouTube Channel Hoenn Rangers, I love Little Nemo and so do my friends so one day we may play the game on the show.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYmN8F6Q-eGOD0gp0anCdcQ

 

 

 

Marble Madness (1989) (NES) Review

A NES game about marbles?

2362030-nes_marblemadness

 

Marble Madness may be one of the most bizarre video games that I own, you play as a marble and the objective of the game is to roll the marble through six different obstacle courses.

all levels

 

You may think that this seems really easy, but believe me it’s not because the controls are very sensitive, one tap on the d-pad can get your marble rolling and then its up to you to carefully traverse past any obstacles,it genuinely feels like you are controlling a marble and because of that reason the game is immensely difficult, anything can happen you can fall into a dip in the course and then you will need to roll around to build up momentum and speed in order to push yourself back to the flat area, you can roll into acid and melt, you can be eaten by a snake, you can be blown off of the course by powerful gusts of air and you can even spin out of control and smash, and while all of this madness is happening you have a time limit!!

depending on how quickly you finish a course will determine how much time you will be given for the next course and once you hit zero seconds its game over and back to course 1.

You have six courses to get through and each course has its own specific design and theme.

Course 1 Practise

practise

This is literally the practise stage, no obstacles just a good way to get used to the controls by rolling to the goal while trying to avoid falling off of the course.

Course 2 Beginner

beginner

Things start to get a little more challenging here, you will now need to travel through a bigger course than before while avoiding those green snakes who will eat you and also staying clear of the mean black marble that will try to knock you off of the edge.

Course 3 Intermediate

Marble_Madness_-_NES_-_Intermediate_Race

This course isn’t too difficult but it does introduce a new hazard, puddles of acid are now in the game and if your marble touches any of these puddles it will immediately melt, also introduced is a really tough section of the course that requires you to avoid a green wave that will push you off of the edge of the map.

This course also brings back those annoying green snakes and the course in general has many high slopes for you to climb in order for you to reach the goal.

Course 4 Aerial

Marble_Madness_-_NES_-_Aerial_Race

This is where the game gets really tough, in the aerial course you will need to use fast speeds and patience in order to survive, while trying to build up speed to jump large gaps you will be greeted by many air blowers, the air blowers will blast heavy gusts of air at the marble attempting to knock it off course, also some areas of this course will have floors that will raise very quickly often throwing your marble into the depths below

Course 5 Silly

Silly

When you first start the silly course you are made to traverse up some rather steep hills, this is not too difficult to do but it can cause you to lose quite a lot of seconds if your not quick, you are again having to deal with the green snakes and the black marbles but now they are tiny and because of this they are much less dangerous and you shouldn’t have any trouble avoiding them, a new enemy introduced here is the purple birds, these birds are a pain they show up in a flock right at the end of the course and it is your job to try to avoid them while quickly making your way to the goal, it took me lots of practise before I could finish this level.

Course 6 Ultimate

Ultimate

This is the final level of the game and so as you may expect it is really hard, you need to patience, good timing, fast reflexes and constant movement in order to make it to the goal. You will need to get past puddles of acid, the black marble, and an extremely annoying final section that requires you to carefully travel across many disappearing and reappearing sections of a dangerous path and if you fall your marble will smash.

Marble Madness does in fact have a multiplayer mode, if 2 player mode is selected on the main menu, you will need to go through the same six courses from the single player mode, the only difference is that now there are two marbles on the screen instead of just one, Player one (Blue Marble) will need to race Player two (Pink Marble) to the goal, both players will be given the usual time bonus upon starting each course but whoever wins the race will be given extra time on top of the usual starting bonus.

multplayer

The overall winner is whoever makes the most points at the end of the game

Once you select either singleplayer or multiplayer you will be given a choice of either playing the game in 90 degrees mode or 45 degrees mode.

marblemadness_degrees1

In 90 degrees mode you hold the NES game pad vertically and you control the marble with all four of the D-PAD buttons

In 45 degrees mode you use all four of the D-PAD buttons but in this mode you need to rotate the NES controller so that the D-PAD looks like an X, some players find this mode easier because while playing the game you will be moving diagonally more often than you will be moving horizontally or vertically.

When I played through the game I realised just how brilliant the soundtrack is not only because the music if super fun to listen too but because of how it evolves throughout each course. In the early stages of the game the music is really fun and happy but when you go to the later stages the music starts to get more intense and crazy as if its warning you of the dangers lurking in the later sections of the game.

Final Verdict

Due to the sensitive controls this game can prove to be very difficult, I see this as positive thing because in reality marbles are round which means that they are very difficult to have control over once they start rolling and also due to their round shape the slightest touch can get marbles moving quite a distance before they come to stop, Marble Madness follows these rules and so it may surprise you that this game is actually quite realistic, its not just the physics based game play that’s impressive its also the way that the music changes with the atmosphere it really helps you feel immersed in the experience and it only goes to show just how special this little game about marbles really is.

Marble Madness is literally Madness, its a fantastic little game which uses realistic physics, has a surprisingly immerserive soundtrack, the game is challenging but still really fun to play I only wish there was a few more levels and maybe some more options such as changing the colour of your marble and being able to play with more than 2 players on multiplayer mode.

Marbles have never been so much fun 8.9/10

Thank you for reading my review of Marble Madness for the NES

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer