Kid Kool review
Kid Kool And The Quest For The Seven Wonder Herbs (oh lord, what an obnoxiously long title) is one of those games you don't hear anything about; rather, you see it in the video store and rent it because the box art looks cool (mind you, this is if you're from America; Japan's box art doesn't seem that enticing and Europe and Australia don't even have boxes). Later on, you give it a shot and quit ten minutes later because it's so terrible that you could've sworn your NES developed leprosy. There. That's your whole weekend down the drain. Insert picture of me weeping here.
The king is sick, so his assistant or aide or whatever asks Kid Kool to get the ingredients for some medicine in three days, or else, the king dies. To its credit, it's dealt in a rather cheesy way, like how Kid apologises for dying when you get a game over, and there are multiple endings depending on how you did, but other than that, it's par for the course as far as 8-bit stories go.
Technically speaking, there's nothing spectacular about what you see here. Nothing even strikes as good, for crying out loud. The first thing you see is Kid, who looks nothing like the person depicted on the cover. Instead of being a mini Fonzie, he looks like Kid Icarus after the buffet – no, let me rephrase that: He looks like a total dork! Give him some glasses, and you'll complete the look! Anyway, disappointment aside, the enemies look like furry Goombas in the sense that none of them really strike as menacing; it actually looks like they want you to play with them more than anything. The environments aren't much to really
Each of the songs on this soundtrack are short, upbeat and repetitive. Despite the repetition however, none of the songs are memorable. They feel like cookie cutter tracks that wouldn't cut it in any other video game. On top of that, they feel like every other short and upbeat song you've ever heard, but not as well done. It's like they just pressed a couple of keys in some kind of sequence, hoping to get a decent sounding soundtrack out of it, which they... well, don't.
Through and through, Kid Kool is a sidescrolling platformer, which would mean that you'll be running and jumping across chasms and platforms. In fact, this is the most cookie cutter platformer out there. If you've played Super Mario Brothers, you've already played this game.. well, a much better version, anyway. The only difference – aside from quality – is that while Mario has fireballs, Kid has this furry little creature that kills monsters in one hit. I suppose that's cool, and he can take a hit for you if he's perched onto your back, though if you die in the second half of any given level, you'll no longer have his services, as he appears only at the beginning of each level.
However, he won't be the first thing you'll notice; that award goes to the controls. Kid starts off quite slowly, but then he gains momentum, running half as fast as Sonic. Unfortunately, therein lies a problem; the jumping controls will either be very stiff or loose, depending on Kid's current running speed. If he's standing still, he won't get very far, but with some movement, he'll get very far. Basically, you have to know how fast you need to be in order to make the next batch of jumps, as there will be pits, and either overshooting or undershooting will have you either falling into the abyss or drowning. Unfortunately, due to these messy controls, getting distances other than what you'll want is very tough.
Adding onto this would have to be these air jugs that the designers thought would be fun to add in nearly every single level after the first world. These things will blow you in the direction that's away from the hole. Sounds harmless enough, but in the way that they can be set up will result in you tearing up your controller in frustration. Oftentimes, they'll be grouped together in a way that makes progression seem impossible, and sometimes, they're positioned so that, even if you conquer them, you'll still drown! This gets rather frustrating after a while, because there is actually no skill required to conquer them – just trial, error, and luck... oh, and patience... can't forget that, even if that ends up lost in the process.
Your reward for conquering all of this per world is a boss battle. This might make for a decent break, but the way you have to take them out is quite... silly. Instead of merely jumping on them or sending your little buddy out to go and get them, you have to jump on a pump, and keep jumping on it until the boss dies. Later boss battles will have this pump slide along as you jump on it, but come on, this is just pathetic! What kind of people would accept this idea? What kind of drugs were they taking... because I needed some to make this game seem appealing!
I think that's everything... not quite, it seems. I forgot to mention the time mechanic. I did mention in the story section that you have three days before the king dies, but I forgot to explain some elements, like how there are items to advance time by an hour, turn time back an hour, or even stop time. The day-to-night transitions are at least natural and doesn't require a box to pop up to interrupt your game (oh Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest...) so that day changes to night and vice-versa; it just happens. I suppose this is a good thing, but there isn't really any consequence for being late... I'm just surprised to see that there's at least one thing done right in this otherwise trainwreck of a game.
Story: Just an excuse to play the game. At least it doesn't take itself too seriously, and multiple endings isn't half bad, either.. 3/5
Graphics: Pretty bland and mediocre. Kid looks uncool, though, which is very disappointing. 2/5
Sound: Also bland and mediocre. Never sets the correct tone, nor is it memorable in the slightest. 1/5
Gameplay: What's wrong here? Well, aside from horrible controls, bland level designs with poor obstacles, and lame boss fights that repeat, I see nothing wrong here... 1/10
Kid Kool And The Quest For The Seven Wonder Herbs is a terrible game that doesn't even attempt to be fun. It is nothing more than a tenth rate platformer that serves to make you appreciate Super Mario Brothers even more, because where that game gets it right, this game doesn't. Do not purchase or emulate this game, because there is nothing to experience, aside from some of the worst controls ever in a platformer.