| paleface [sys=NES; cat=Platformer; loc=NA] |
|Not sure how I never heard of this, as it stars Mario--you'd have thought Nintendo would have hyped it to the skies and kept it on store shelves forever and ever.|
It's kind of a puzzle-platformer, where you go through individual stages about two screens high, consisting of six or so floors, like a building, except they wrap around at the sides. Each consists of a unique arrangement of ladders, platforms, doors, and various destructible objects such as bombs, brick walls, and cabinets. Your goal: destroy everything.
AI hoojoos run around the levels to stop you, but they aren't really that bright. Fireballs come out from the sides of the screen sometimes, Super Mario Bros-style, trying to keep you honest I guess.
The level layouts themselves may pose the largest hazard, as their designers seemingly had no qualms about making levels that could strand you if you go the wrong way off a platform--at that point, since you can't make it back up to smash whatever object you missed (with your big hammer), you just have to let an NPC get you. That's not so hot.
Aside from just evading them, you can stun NPCs if you can smash a destructible ladder out from under them. You'd think that you could smash them with your big hammer, but no.
Surprisingly, the game has a level editor, in which you can design four custom levels from scratch, save them to the cart's backup memory, and play through them. Kinda neat!
Still, the game comes off as a bit of an under-achiever, for a Mario game. You can't jump, the levels aren't very large, and there doesn't seem to be much variety to the types of threats Mario encounters in these buildings, or to the ways in which he can deal with them.