Saturday, September 12, 2015

Retro Lookback: Little Nemo - The Dream Master

Not really a game I want to do for a club round, but just wanted to give some appreciation to one of my favorite platformers of all time. I played this a ton when I was a kid and it is definitely one of the best NES games.

I played through it tonight and took screenshots. The game is highly recommended for its unique atmosphere, graphics, music, and superb gameplay. With the music and the level design, the game really does have a surreal dreamlike quality.

Basically the premise is that you befriend animals by giving them candy, and then you can become the animal and take on their powers temporarily. There are quite a few different animal powers. If they had been around at the time, I'm sure the Wild Kratts would have approved   :)

Each level has an exit which requires a certain number of keys, but you don't know how many keys until you get there. Hopefully you collect them all during the level. Some of the levels have a pseudo non-linear layout so you can do a decent bit of exploration.

Let's get started...   :)

 From the catchy title screen music, you know you're in for a treat. 

Level 1, Mushroom Forest. Beautiful

 The frog has high jumping powers and is also a strong swimmer

The Mole can dig

Level 2: Flower Garden

The ape is the strongest animal in the game. Beware, this section is the 1st in the series of "what the heck were they thinking with the level design?"

The Bee can fly and also shoot stingers

Level 3: House of Toys. Probably the most iconic level in the game. It has the same theme as the 1st level in the Nemo arcade game. This level is very difficult. 

Most of the level has you riding a toy train and dodging various airplanes and hot air balloons

This part is #2 in the "what the heck were they thinking" level design decisions. These flying squirrels are hiding behind spikes, and they come out at random times and random heights. You will die many times trying to get past this section.

 Here's what the door at the end of levels looks like

Level 4: Night sea. Fairly relaxed atmosphere with some chill music. Not too hard of a level but fun. Lots of swimming involved.

 The crab can burrow under the sand

Cool shipwreck

You can also be this big red fish but it's not very useful since Nemo can already swim

Level 5: Nemo's house. This is a difficult level with a fairly non-linear design

You'll find yourself switching creatures a lot here

 This is #3 in what the heck were they thinking....   This is about 3/4ths the way through the level and really hard. If you die here from these eggs, you have the start all the way at the beginning.

Level 6: Cloud Ruins. The least memorable level of the game. It's just not very challenging or interesting

 Cool fallen clock tower

You have to jump down from all these clouds, it just goes on forever..

 Level 7: Topsy-Turvy. It's an upside down house. The shading is pretty clever. It's an OK level but nothing special

 Level 8: Nightmare land. It's difficult and full of dangers

1st boss: Penguin

Next section of nightmare land after you beat the penguin. Shortly after this screenshot is #4 in the what were they thinking series. There is a section where you have to take the lizard through all these fire spouts and it is really difficult to get to the top without dying.

Boss 2: Some weird flying stingray thing. It's really hard because he flies through the middle of the screen to try to hit you 

Oh man. I've only been this far a few times. I think (?) this is the last section of nightmare land. But I died, and it took me all the way back to the first section of nightmare land when I continued. When I started dying during the lizard/fire section, I gave up. No wonder I have never beaten this game before. 

One day, Nemo, one day I will beat you!!!!  But that day is not today. 

Nevertheless, Little Nemo: The Dream Master -- An absolute classic and highly recommended to anyone even remotely interested in 2d platformers. 


-organic io