Yo! Noid review
NES got the hots? Dominoes!
Yo! Noid is one of those games on the NES that gets criticised for...basically existing or being too hard. Apparently, if your game is based on a popular character and you have harsh difficulty, your game will get criticised badly because it'll be "tedious" to play. But really, once you get past the difficulty, it's actually quite a fun game to play, though unlike other platformers, it's not exactly the most addicting. To be honest, I haven't played this in years until just yesterday. It never really stood out; in fact, unless you were a fan of those old Dominoes commercials that included the Noid, this game is nothing short of 'just another game'.
Story: The city of New York is being destroyed by Mr Green, a midget in a green rabbit suit. The mayor of this city calls the Noid, a midget in a red rabbit suit, to stop the city from being destroyed. It's a decent enough plot; a little cliched, but hey, it's the NES, it's 8-bit, leave it alone. I don't think there could be a better plot for the Noid to be involved in, so we'll go with this.
Gameplay: Just like any other action platformer, you have to do some platforming while swatting at enemies with your yo-yo. The game also offers some variety, but not all that much, so if you're familiar with this sort of genre, you'll feel right at home here. It's not all that hard to learn how to play even if you're not a veteran, though the overall difficulty of the game itself might turn beginners away.
In stages, you can make use of magic spells. There are three different spells, but the way I see it, there are only really two spells; a spell that kills every enemy on screen, and a spell that makes you faster and higher. I don't usually use these as I didn't know how to activate these as a kid, though nowadays I do, but regardless, it is possible to beat the game without spells. To actually use spells, you need to collect some scrolls. The little scrolls give you one MP, and bigger scrolls five MP - MP allows you to actually use magic; zero MP (or less than five MP) means you can't use any more magic - and they're pretty easy to find. To actually get a spell to use, you need to open up a bigger scroll with your yo-yo and then collect them. They require either five or ten MP (depends on what you're using) to cast them.
Of course, not every level is a sidescrolling action platformer with some magic spells included. You can also jump on the Noid's famous pizza crusher not to crush pizzas, but to crush enemies (waitaminiute, wasn't the pizza crusher a spell?) and jump pretty damn high. There are also a couple of levels where you get to fly on a one-man helicopter, but you can't really attack in this. That's kind of annoying. Oh...and there's a skateboard in this too. Basically, instead of hitting with your yo-yo, you hit with the back of your skateboard and there's no magic here either. It's just for one level though...
Now, there are also these bonus parts where you first need to find them (and they're pretty well hidden, trust me), then you get to whack some creatures that come out of their holes! Sort of like...no, completely like whack-a-mole! Pretty fun, hey? You know what else rules? If you manage to get over a certain number, you can bypass the remainder of a level completely - even the lame "boss battles"! Speaking of which...
The boss battle at the end of each odd-numbered level (total of levels: fourteen) doesn't challenge you to a fight to the death. No no, that'd be too predictable. Instead, you have to play a card game in the style of a "pizza eating contest". This ruins the for me, I'm sorry, but this isn't remotely fun. As much as I like card-based action games like Baten Kaitos for the Gamecube and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories for the GBA (and the 3D version for the PS2), I can't quite say the same for this one. I mean, the original Japanese version (which stars a fat ninja instead of a midget in a bunny suit, Masked Ninja Hanamaru), it's understandable because something's going on and it makes more sense...a LOT more sense. Here, it's just the quantity of pizzas you eat instead of the power of your attack. I can see where those two games I mentioned before get their influence; both versions of this game.
So anyway, how do they actually play out? Well, your opponent picks a card, then you have to pick a card with a higher value. If you have a higher value, you win that little round, and vice-versa. There are some helpful cards to use, like hot sauce which makes your opponent spit out their pizza, and multipliers which multiply the value of the card you're about to use. The thing is, you have to find these in the stages prior to this, but you can use what you left over from previous pizza eating contests. However, I want to know one thing - why am I fighting more midgets in rabbit suits? Doesn't Mr Green have better higher-grade henchmen than that? But hey, now I'm starting to go off-course. Bottom line, these battles are unfun and tedious. At least Masked Ninja Hanamaru had better battle graphics and Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories had an Action/RPG setting to it.
Another sort-of problem that the game has is the lack of checkpoints. It doesn't matter if you get hit after taking a step or a million steps; if you die, you go back to the start. And speaking of death, if you get hit once, you die. You have a few continues so at least it's fair, but man...the lack of checkpoints can annoy you...
Not much else to point out, except that taking the pizza battles aside, the game plays pretty well. Unfortunately, it suffers from being more of the same.
Controls: Learning the scheme of things is mostly easy, except how to activate spells. Even though I had this as a kid along with the instruction booklet, I never knew how to activate the magic spells (then again, who reads those things anyway). To activate them, you press down and B. Is there anything wrong with the select button, is it diseased or something!? Select doesn't even have a use! Geez...But thankfully the usual A for jump and B for attack control scheme exists, and the pizza crusher and copter controls are ever so easy to learn. A allows for more height in the crusher while mashing A lets you keep some altitude with the copter. Of course, the whack-a-mole controls are tight as! Pretty nifty controls overall EXCEPT THE FREAKING MAGIC ONES!!!
Graphics: The graphics for Yo! Noid are actually pretty damn good. It all represents what they're mean to and the Noid looks pretty cool, especially since he's depicted as some goofball, and that's what he is! The foregrounds and backgrounds are quite detailed as well. Yep, it's all good! If there's one nitpick, it's the palette swapping for all the midgets in rabbit suits from the Noid's. Why? But hey, that's just nitpicking, and 8-bit games are full of little problems that can be overlooked.
Audio: What can you say about the audio? Can you say that there's a bunch of upbeat and catchy melodies in this awesome soundtrack? Of course you can, because it works for the game! It's not an evil game with evil people; it's just some game where a goofball gets hired as a mercenary to destroy some guy destroying a city, not a princess getting kidnapped and the world going under thousands of years of darkness, why not have an upbeat soundtrack? The sound effects are also pretty cool sounding. They're not much to comment on or criticise, but they do, indeed, sound cool and somewhat quirky. Awesome!
Replay Value: Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of replay value to have. It's basically a one-time sort of game where you'll love it, finish it then leave it to collect dust, only to rediscover much later on and fall in love with all over again. The only thing you could do after finishing the game is locate the whack-a-mole stages. That's...it.
Overall: Yo! Noid is a pretty good platformer which has tedious moments, but mostly fun platforming and vehicular moments. I recommend this to anybody with an interest for action platformers (particularly those who want a challenge), and I encourage beginners to keep trying because if you give up on the first couple of levels, you'll end up missing out on a great experience (bar pizza eating contests). Though for importers, you're better off with Masked Ninja Hanamaru.
Replay Value: 5/10
My verdict - Buy!