Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Newest Special Birthday Review

Written: March 24th-29th, 2014 / Published on: April 5th, 2014
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; very passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  ...  Yeah, I'm gonna have to work on that if I'm going to use that opening.  =$  Anyway, April 5th is almost here.  It's that day of the year again, and you know what that means?
This is a wonderful day to celebrate for more reasons than one!  =)  Like last year with Skyblazer, I'm going to review a very special video game classic for my 23rd birthday, and it's one of my favorites.  Ah, twenty-three years; how time flies.  But before I start and reveal which game it is, allow me to make a recap.
This game was (for the most part) on fire
After Capcom unleashed The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse for the SNES to the world in 1992, it became a huge hit, and for good reason.  Not only was it the first 16-bit Disney (and Mickey Mouse) game that Capcom developed, but it also proved to be a competent adversary for Sega's Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse from two years prior.  It had everything everyone ever wanted from a Disney platformer: incredibly polished and intuitive controls (introducing the magic outfit system that served you well under various circumstances), a very good amount of charm, well-designed areas, colorfully beautiful visuals, a wonderful and atmospheric soundtrack, a magical feeling lingering throughout, as well as a decent amount of challenge.  The only thing it didn't have?  A GOOD ENDING!!!  >=(
Beautiful area, way too short  =(
Look, I don't expect a really complex plot when it comes to platformers, nor do I expect them to be perfect, but gosh-damn does it really upset me when a game has the makings of something spectacular in terms of buildup and atmosphere, only to be undone by a hard slap in the face unsatisfying payoff (which devalues the whole buildup that led up to it), which was this game's biggest sin.  And it's too bad, because if not for that then it would've been really great; instead it turned out to be just merely great.  =(  And it's not the only thing that's wrong with The Magical Quest, for there was a timer which was a wasted element entirely and the fact that some areas were longer than others, meaning that a few stages were over before you knew it.  Aside from those aspects, there's nothing really that bad with it, as I consider it to be about four-fifths of a good game; it just fell a little short of being a completely good one.  Still, it did good nonetheless, so Capcom figured that a sequel was in order; which I'll review for this occasion.  =)
Alternate Name: Mickey & Minnie: Magical Adventure 2 [|O|]
Console: SNES | Year: 1994 | Developed and Published by: Capcom
Sometimes I miss the days of magazines
Having come out two years later for the same console, The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie was the first follow-up of The Magical Quest.  Like the first game, I first found out about today's game through a magazine (albeit as a Game Boy Advance game before I found out they were originally SNES games).  It was in Issue 126 of Game Informer back in late 2003; unlike the Nintendo Power issue from the year before where the first game generously got coverage alongside the maligned Disney's Magical Mirror starring Mickey Mouse, the second game (titled Disney's Magical Quest 2 starring Mickey & Minnie when the GBA port was made) only appeared in this magazine in a small blurb.  Some games would get coverage in the middle of the page, while some (to fill in room) only small space, especially when it came to would-be releases.  When I read the blurb, I remember being a little flabbergasted and uncertain from it by the time I finished.  Don't worry though, my readers, I'll get to that later.

After I found out these two were SNES originals several years ago (talk about a dummy moment for ya), I wanted to experience them; and after one of my cousins lent me his SNES console back in 2008, these were some of the games that were on my wishlist.  But there were several problems along the way: I'm not just a gamer, but a collector too.  Which meant that any time I thought that either The Magical Quest or The Great Circus Mystery would be next to buy on eBay, another game would always catch my attention.  Another issue was sequential order; when I read a positive review of today's game on one of the websites I was intrigued, but I was conflicted because I wanted to try these games in their proper order (since playing game series out of order is something I consider a bad habit... one I admittedly haven't completely given up on), and sometimes I considered trying the opposite when I knew it wasn't proper.  So it would be awhile before I tried either of them.

Choose your Mouse
Fast forward to March 2012 when I paid a visit to the retro game retailer 3D Games.  I was in the mood for an SNES game (I was searching for Drakkhen at the time since I remembered them having it).  What I had planned to find wasn't there, but that's okay, since I found something a lot better: two games caught my eye.  One of them was The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie, while the other was the SNES video game adaptation of The Pagemaster=)  Both these games I've been curious about for so long (in particular the latter since childhood), so I decided to buy them at the same time; it wouldn't be until my 21st birthday less than a month later that I would play The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse.  As far as I'm concerned both were worth the wait and the price of admission; so now that I got all that out of the way, how does Mickey's second Capcom-flavored magical adventure fare compared to its predecessor?

One day Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie decided to head to the circus.  They had planned to meet their companions Goofy, Pluto, and Donald, but Mickey overslept so the two arrived late to the party by metro bus.
Apparently it's a good thing the events unfolded like they did because something went awry at the circus.  As the two arrive Goofy comes out all glum stating that the circus is ruined and has been invaded by monsters and ghosts.  Wanting to investigate further, Mickey and Minnie decide to take matters into their own hands to find out the cause behind all this.  So our heroes decide to right the wrongs that have been caused before having arrived at the scene.
Along the way they discover that the mayhem was all set up by a criminal mastermind, known to many as Baron Pete.  Wait, in the first game he was an emperor, now he's a baron?  What's next: Pete becomes a king??  XD =|  Oh...

Donald: "Now where's that Mickey & Donald
game we're supposed to be in?!"  >=(
Mickey: "Don't worry Donald, old pal, it'll come
out next year, I promise!"
The gameplay is like that of The Magical Quest, and for those that don't know how it plays I'll explain the basics.  Mickey (and Minnie) can jump, duck, swim, throw projectiles at enemies, throw stunned enemies (after having jumped on top of them) themselves, and run down diagonal slopes.  But the biggest selling point for these games are the magical outfits and how they serve you well to overcome specific situations, and The Great Circus Mystery is no exception in that regard.  There are three outfits you'll find and wear throughout, and it's important to alternate between them in moments that matter; which can be cycled through with either the L or R shoulder buttons and then confirming them with the A button.  The controls in this game are very good, and they have a polished feel to them.

The adventure begins again
The first one you'll find is the sweeper outfit with a vacuum containment unit, which you can use to suck up small enemies for coins, blow fire out of candles, and even pull heavy objects towards you in order to get across.  Huh, I didn't know Capcom were fans of Ghostbusters.  However use is not unlimited, which means you'll have to find some batteries to keep its charge replenished.  Next is the safari outfit, which allows you the privilege to climb up walls and swing from hook chains thanks to your hook; it may not prove great it battle, but it does give you mileage as far as reaching higher spots is concerned.  And last but not least is the cowboy getup which gives you a cork pistol and a stick horse which you can use to bounce up and down (though you can stop by ducking).  Like the sweeper outfit, ammunition is limited so you'll have to find some extra corks to fire if you're running on low.  Experiment to your heart's desire.  =)

Most visually impressive area of the game
The visuals have been slightly updated since the last game, and they look more colorful and beautiful than ever, even better.  The colors are well-chosen, and each stage has nicely detailed foregrounds with good-looking backdrops in the distance (creating a bit of depth in the process).  The map screen before you start off any area looks sweet, the Jungle area has got a good look and feel with the drops of water on the trees shining in the gorgeous backdrop, and the Frozen Plains have got neat ice and snow landscapes with an impressive-looking aurora borealis around.  But you know what's even more impressive than that?  The tower segment of the Haunted House!  =D  Normally in these kinds of locations you'd be ascending through a series of steps while outside, but in here you climb it upward while inside as the walls both in the background and on the sides gradually move as you do!  Dude, not even Mickey's Wild Adventure and Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday could pull off something this amazing, it looks really good in motion.  There are even some color layering effects that help augment a sense of depth, like in the outside portions of the Haunted House and while you're swimming underwater where it's always wavy (which looks sweet).  Every other area looks good as well.
Another improvement from The Magical Quest was the character design and animation.
Seriously, just compare and contrast Mickey's sprites between the two, you'd be astounded by how improved the quality is in The Great Circus Mystery.  Also, it's smoother and better polished this way.
What say we trim this guy's hair, or rather
suck it up all away?
Whilst in the previous game there were only a few frames of animation, this sequel ups the ante by making several frames' worth of it, resulting in a very fluid and smooth animation.  Mickey and Minnie have different walking and posing animations, but the other animations are pretty much equal (save for a few changes).  It's not bad really, for it's honestly very cute.  The Lonesome Ghosts look good and animate decently what with their green garb (wait, green, why is it not blue??).  Some of the charming yet imposing enemies you'll fight are the Mini-Petes (of course), a few variations of Weasels, small clown balls, tiny skeletons posing as ghosts, flying squirrels, small anthropomorphic candles, plus more.  The midbosses and bosses are big and look detailed, for they have great designs like the grimacing ice cloud, the dinosaur, and the wolf with his spinning hair.  Baron Pete looks fantastic as well.  =)
Swinging in a crystal-laden cave
The soundtrack of the first game had a distinct sound and feel that was not only fun to listen to but did a very good job at representing the appropriate tone and mood for each area.  The Great Circus Mystery's music, on the other hand, falls short of that.  =(  And that's saying something, because it's Capcom we're talking about, and a lot of their games whether you like them or not have always offered a solid soundtrack to back them up.  So, what happened here?  And what's disturbing is that this serves as proof that the first sequel (regardless of whether or not the sequel is better than the first game) will almost always have an inferior soundtrack to its immediate predecessor; this applies to not just this game but other examples too like Croc 2, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Super Wagyan Land 2, Breath of Fire II, ActRaiser 2, Mega Man X2, and even Final Fight 2.  Such is the curse of trying to top an overall aura that once made cannot be beat.  I mean seriously, name one first sequel that had better music than the original!
Image from Wikipedia
Um, okay... name me a first video game sequel that had superior music that trumped the original!
Image from Wikipedia
Heh heh,... right.  >_>
So, ignoring all that, what is the soundtrack like?  Frankly speaking, this is a weak effort for Capcom-branded Disney licensed standards.  Okay, that's a bit harsh; it's a noble attempt, but I wish all the soundtrack was high-quality as opposed to just a few legitimately good songs (even then they sound shorter); I'm not certain making the music significantly lightweight was well-advised.  The Caves theme is short and repetitive (despite the sweeping flourish near the end; Disney's Aladdin had better cave music than this), the player select theme sounds more upbeat and colorful, the Frozen Plains theme has an icy feel but is super short and feels unfinished at worst, the boss themes sound nowhere near as imposing as the ones from The Magical Quest, and the Haunted Circus music?  Not really big on circus-themed music, but seeing as it's a miracle that it didn't turn out to be super annoying, I find it to be passable at best.  Good news, Mr. Nutz, you and The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie have got one thing in common!  Erm, ... except for the adorably realistic-looking bees anyone has ever seen in a 16-bit platformer.
Nicolas Cage: "No, not the bees!  NOT THE BEES!!!"  DX
Beautiful aurora borealis in the sky, part 2  =)
So are there any good songs?  Actually yes, though they range from barely good to really good.  The ironic thing about this game's soundtrack being weaker than the first game is that the title, intro, ending, and credits themes are better; but that's not saying much exactly.  The title and intro themes fall in the category of barely good, and not just due to their quality.  The only in-game songs I considered to be genuinely good were the rousing and adventurous-sounding Jungle theme, the ever-brooding and mysterious Haunted House theme, and the theme for when you fight Emperor Pete in frame format (if only because he was the main villain in the last game, and Capcom even remixed his theme from there).  The ending theme is wonderful and feels very rewarding when you finish the adventure, and the credits is good to a point but serviceable.  =)  The sound effects are good, plus Capcom improved upon the dialogue box text effects by giving them tolerably light sounds (in the first game it sounded rambunctious, in here it sounds just right).

I can't imagine how painful it must be to have to
swim through icy cold water
Comparatively speaking, The Great Circus Mystery is a much easier experience than The Magical Quest in more ways than one.  The timer's gone this time around, which is good since the first title really had no reason to use it at all.  Capcom's implemented a password feature too (since the previous game had to be beaten in one sitting), but since this is a Disney game by Capcom it's not like you'll really need it all that much.  In The Magical Quest if you lost a life then you would have to restart the stage portion all over again (say Stage 3-3), while in The Great Circus Mystery if you do lose a life you'll restart by the exact point of the area you lost your life in.  Even without all these comparisons, this is still an easy game, but to a point.

Mysterious fog
There are three difficulty settings to choose from, and how the game will be depends on the setting you played under.  On Easy you start with five hearts (which can be added should you find heart containers in either covert rooms or in a "General Store" for two hundred coins), on Normal you begin with three hearts, while on Hard mode you commence with two.  Depending on the mode you play there will be fewer enemies and more platforms on the easier setting and vice versa for the harder setting, with every amount in-between for the normal setting.  The bosses have got decent patterns, and while they're easy they are fun to battle, especially Baron Pete with his two forms.  Like the first game there are unlimited continues, and while it is easy even when the mode is set on Hard it does offer a decent amount of challenge.  But hey, so long as the game is fun, I don't care whatever difficulty it is.  =)

"Take that!!"
When The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie was released in 1994 for the SNES it did considerably good but reaction towards it was mixed to positive, whilst the first game's reception was generally positive.  One of the common complaints geared towards it was the fact that it felt too much like the first game, and it's true; one of the biggest challenges of continuing with a formula set by the original is how to make it not feel stale.  A fair of amount of people will admit that once you've played a Mega Man game, you've pretty much played them all (for exemplification purposes); some people that played both The Magical Quest and The Great Circus Mystery shared the same sentiment here.  It also did not help matters that the SNES version of Traveller's Tales' Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse came out around the same time, so both titles were compared with each other (talk about bad timing).  This game also garnered a MegaDrive/Genesis release a short time after the fact (making it the only Capcom-developed Mickey Mouse game ever made for that system), and nine years later it was remade for the Game Boy Advance as Disney's Magical Quest 2 starring Mickey & Minnie.  General consensus was about on par for all three versions of this game, though the handheld version fared a lot worse.  And speaking of which, it's time for me to introduce to you all how I came to know about this game:
[Warning: This segment that you are about to read is done purely out of fun and not mal-intent; expressive passion will also be present, so tread carefully]
......................................... What?  @_@
Certainly, this caught me by surprise when I read it back in 2003, as at the time I couldn't fathom the prospect of a bad Mickey Mouse game (then again, I didn't know any better and I didn't play that many Mickey platformers back then).  Still, I have so many questions.  For starters, everyone has a different perception of what score constitutes as bad (for me, if a game scores below a 5, then it's officially bad); in this mini-blurb Lisa the reviewer comments that it's bad, yet the 6.75 rating she gave it contradicts her attitude towards it.  Second, this isn't a review; this is small superficial summary, it doesn't add anything.  Third, the lack of elaboration does not help matters at all (she's said the visuals were "respectable", but that's it).  Finally, "worst jumping controls in memory"?  Really?  As opposed to what, exactly?  Why does she feel that way?  We don't know why because she doesn't give an explanation behind the reasoning.  Okay, since she hadn't really gone too deeply into it, I'll try to explain for her.
The jumping controls in The Magical Quest were a little bit floaty, but they were still good and solid.  In The Great Circus Mystery you spent less time in the air than you did in the previous installment, since the jumping was fine-tuned and made a bit more solid.  But is that justifiable enough reason to condemn it for having the "worst jumping controls in memory"?
If that's not it though, is Lisa referring to the fact that you consistently bounce up and down with the cowboy getup?  Because if that's the case, you do realize that you don't have to stay with that outfit the whole time, right?  You do know that it can be worked around and that you can stop bouncing by holding down to duck, right?  <=|  That's not reason enough to make that outlandish claim.  I'm going to go out on a limb and presume that either something terrible happened while the game was converted to GBA format (since I only played the SNES original), or she must've not have experienced the SNES and MegaDrive/Genesis versions and only tried the Game Boy Advance port.  Again, there is no elaboration; all we get is "worst jumping controls in memory".

Swinging while battling a sneaky turtle
I'm... not going to pretend that I feel adverse to moments like these, because trust me when I say: I do.  =(  The fact that Ecco Jr. got a 2 out of 10 in NintendoLife is bull crap; the review itself is bull crap too (though I blame that more on the older version's format than the reviewer; the game was treated poorly because it was compared unfavorably to its two predecessors as opposed to being treated as a game on its own, which made the assessment highly unfair).  The fact that Motorcity and Tron: Uprising were cancelled too soon, even though they were legitimately good Disney XD shows, in favor of puerile and unfunny crap like Lab Rats and Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja is unfathomable.  The fact that the fun and high-adrenaline pumping giant on giant creature feature Pacific Rim got snubbed not once (landed in third in the first box office weekend behind Grown Ups 2) but twice (what do they nominate instead of this movie for Best Special Effects?  Gore freakin' Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, are you kidding me?!?) by a very bad movie is inexcusable.  The fact that 4Kids altered much of the content of acclaimed Japanese anime for American distribution to "ensure American kids would get the proper silly and clearly censored treatment" is highly off-putting at worst.

But you know what?  I don't blame or insult people for that, you know why?  Because these are all based on my opinion, and each and everyone of us has got personal feelings and views on stuff; if every single person felt the same thing, the world would be boring.  Opinions make the world a more interesting place.  To each their own, I say that all the time.  If I do poke fun, it's usually for characters in media or professionals, but not regular people themselves; not due to meanspiritedness, but out of harmless fun plus justification.  I'm not one of those "you're opinion sucks because it doesn't match mine" kind of people, I respect other peoples' viewpoints regardless of whether I agree with them or not.  If I do need an elaboration on why someone might feel a certain way (even if it's on something they like but I don't or they don't but I do), I just ask.  I politely ask "why".  "Why do you feel this way?"  You don't even have to write a book about it, just a simple single-sentence reason is enough (and if it's not, you can add a couple more if you feel it will explain it a lot better).  Pretty much all my reviews elaborate on why I feel the way I do about specific games; if you're going to say a statement that will raise an eyebrow or two, then you had better have a good enough reason to back you up on that.

Now, what did Lisa say about the game's jumping controls in that Game Informer magazine?  "Some of the worst jumping controls in memory".  Uh, huh, right.  Well, since that's all we have from her, we don't know why she feels that way.  Maybe it's the GBA transition, maybe it's her initial experience with it, maybe it's nothing; but if anyone knows why Lisa feels the way she does about the jumping controls, it's Lisa.  If you say something that will ignite a reaction (in a "professional" review, no less), you'd better have at least a good reason to say that, otherwise your word will be challenged and not at all be taken seriously.  It's a little hard to believe that out of all the games she'd reviewed by 2003, this was on her bottom list as far as jumping controls were concerned.  Now I'm a reasonable person and do not bash people because of their opinions... however, since she failed to elaborate on her comment, I hope Lisa forgives me when I express how much I disagree with her through this fan-made image of mine:
Created on MS Paint by me; Commander Peepers (c) Craig McCracken, Disney
"Worst jumping controls in memory", give me a break!!  >=(
I'm sorry I have to be like that, I really am.  I didn't even want to give her "review" more attention than it deserved, but your unelaborated comment provoked me, Lisa of 2003's Game Informer, and you have no one to blame but yourself for that!  I'm sure you must be a nice person, but your thoughts on the game lacked credibility because you didn't give a reason to be negative for the jumping controls, in my opinion.  *breathes*  And scene!  Wow, that feels really good to have gotten all that out of the system!  =)  Nothing against Lisa, the way she wrote her review just rubbed me the wrong way, was all.  All right, back to business!!
[This section is now finished, now to the final paragraphs of my review]

This would be a very good nod to the first game,
if the first game wasn't a dream
A lot of criticism for The Great Circus Mystery was aimed at the fact that it felt a little like the first game all over again.  And while it's true that it is like the first game, it is far from the only thing that's wrong with it.  The soundtrack was disappointing in comparison to The Magical Quest's, as it felt lightweight and uninspired at times (with a few exceptions).  Emperor Pete makes a cameo, and while it's nice, it feels off-putting to me when all it does is give me a painful reminder that the first game was nothing but a dream.  =(  Another flaw is the name: why is it called The Great Circus Mystery?  The circus only takes place in the beginning stage, and the mystery (which isn't all that great) is figured out before you reach the halfway point.  Conversely, the buildup feels weak (but the payoff here is good), and there's a reason for that: I don't feel the same amount of magic here that I felt in the first game.
The Magical Quest had moments that inspired awe and wonder, like this tree sap portion;
moments like these were absent from this game  =(
A mistake I felt this game made was being more grounded to reality, with a few supernatural elements thrown in.  Yes, the magic curtain magically appears when you change outfits, and I can buy the Haunted House fitting in the theme of magic, but tell me: does a circus, a jungle, a cave with fossils, and a frozen plain sound like magical places?  The areas in the first game had an authentic magic aura surrounded to them; this one didn't all that much.
I thought World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken had a bigger and more realized sense of magic, to be honest; despite the fact that the latter takes place in the real world, there was magic happening around.
Heck, even the incredibly obscure Mickey Mouse: Magic Wands! had a bigger sense of magic than The Great Circus Mystery, even though its average fare and was translated terribly.  Even so, there was a fun sense of magic going for it.

Swim, Mickey, swim!  =O
So, even though it's got all these flaws, it doesn't prevent me from enjoying The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie.  It doesn't mean I haven't grown to accept that its got imperfections, because I have.  Like Mr. Nutz which I reviewed last time, I personally enjoy it for what it is but I do understand why others wouldn't.  =)  To each their own.  Despite its issues, I like this game more than The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse.  For one, I played this one first, but that alone wouldn't cut it.  The visuals were colorfully polished and more detailed than before, the game was fun to play with fine-tuned controls and polished gameplay, the charm was still there, each stage felt about equal in length, the moot timer was no longer used, the payoff was fantastic despite a less than impressive buildup towards it, and the ending was actually nice and worthwhile (it's made even better by the fact that: it's not a freakin' dream!).  =D  Each individual area was still pleasing to the eyes (especially the rotating tower, that was awesome), and this game left an impact on me when I first played it two years ago.  For the longest time Mickey's Wild Adventure for the PlayStation One was the only 2D Mickey platformer that I played, and to experience another 2D entry after all this time was a very pleasant surprise and experience for me.  I had a lot of fun with it the first day I played The Great Circus Mystery, and I still have fun with it; this is a Disney platformer that I have a lot of fondness for, and it makes me wish that I played it when I was little.  It may be easier than the first game, but it's still a hell of a good forty-to-fifty minutes whenever I play it.

Why aren't the Lonesome Ghosts blue?  Even
Mickey's Wild Adventure got that right!  >=(
If you fancy a good 2D platformer with Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie in it, then I think you'll have a good time with this one.  =)  If you're looking for a challenging Mickey platformer, I suggest looking up Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken instead.  If you're looking for non-demanding entertainment and fun, well you've got it!  If you expect it to match the magic and atmosphere of The Magical Quest, then you should lower your expectations in that regard.  If you could care less about its challenge and enjoy a platformer for what it is, I think it's worth a look.  I don't think it matters if you play this game before (or after) The Magical Quest, because even though some flaws will be more apparent if you play one before the other, it's still one of the best Disney-themed platformers you'll find on the SNES.  Take it for what it's worth, for Mickey's second (not so aptly named) magical adventure is really good.  =)

When looking at both these games, it's easy to appreciate them for the games that they are.  It's also easy to wish for Capcom to combine the best of both games and create the ultimate Nintendo 16-bit Mickey platformer.  Capcom granted gamers' wishes in 1995, but only in Japan; ten years later it would see a Western release as a GBA release.  Oh yeah, because as we all know that's the perfect way to experience Nintendo 16-bit titles!  =P
That game was Mickey & Donald: Magical Adventure 3.  But that's for another time, I'm afraid.
( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
P.S.: I hope none of you thought I was being too harsh when I expressed my disagreement with Lisa's "review" for Game Informer.  What I was trying to get across was that if you don't clarify a reason for making a statement like that people will get confused and want to know why it was uttered to begin with.  Again, not being mean, but it just bothered me.
P.S. 2: I had originally planned to review this game back in early 2013, but I felt I didn't have a sufficient amount of screenshots at the time, so it was delayed as a result.  =(
P.S. 3: Now that I reviewed a game for my 23rd birthday, it's time ponder what I'll review for my 24th?  But that's a year away from now, so we'll see.  ;-)
P.S. 4: I had to make a Wander Over Yonder reference, I had to!  It's been almost two months since the last episode aired, and while I love the show to death I don't know how I feel about its new episodes first airing on Disney XD as opposed to Disney Channel.  Oh, speaking of: I still have to share my thoughts on the other episodes I saw.  Why am I such a procrastinator when it comes to these things?  =(
P.S. 5: Glad I got my thoughts on The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie out of the way!  =)  Hopefully it'll take less than a year and one third until my review for Mickey & Donald: Magical Adventure 3 comes out.
P.S. 6: Those of you that disagree with my criticism of The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse's ending and defend it on the basis that it's Capcom's first Disney video game developed with Mickey in the lead role, I've got one thing to say to you all: that's not a valid excuse, and it should've ended on a more rewarding note.
P.S. 7: I still miss Mickey's old voice actor Wayne Allwine.  =(
Thank you for reading my special birthday review, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Take care!!!  =D

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mr. Nutz (SNES) Review

Written: March 17th-22nd, 2014
Year: 1993, 1994 | Developed and Published by: Ocean
Somewhere over the rainbow, cloooouds
arrrren't bluuuueeeee...
Well, I've held off on this one long enough, so let's not waste any time and get cracking.  In the early '90s a pair of French developers under the employment of the late company Ocean (before it became Infogrames and before it got acquired by Atari years ago), Pierre Adane and Philippe Dessoly, had considered crafting their own independent game with a squirrel as the main character for the Amiga.  After being presented with the idea Ocean approved, but since the disk-based system was nowhere near as accessible and affordable as most consoles were at the time, they decided to not only to act as publisher, but as developer for the SNES game and sometime later the MegaDrive console instead.  Personally speaking, I think they made the right call.  =)
Reportedly having taken a full year and a half to create, today's game landed in European shores in 1993 for the SNES, followed by a US and Japanese release several months later.  Deciding to settle on a name, it took a few choice names until it got the moniker that it's stuck with; feeling that Squirrel's Game wouldn't sell well, it was renamed Mr. Nuts--but someone at Ocean had the right idea and felt that it would've been too inappropriate and vague for it to be released like that, so finally it was given a title that sounded neither ambiguous nor offensive and worked as a cool name by itself: Mr. Nutz.  It's been reported that some areas were removed from the final incarnation of the platformer (though supposedly they made an appearance in the Game Boy Advance port--more on the ports later).  Now, Mr. Nutz is a cool name, but you must be wondering: is it a cool game?
Nothing like holding your breath underwater
indefinitely while combatting a menacing-looking
Mr. Nutz is a 2D sidescrolling platformer starring the eponymous crimson red anthropomorphic squirrel.  Before I talk about the controls, I'm telling you right now: change the control settings, because the default setting feels very awkward; however it's all in personal taste which control scheme you choose, but if I were you I'd stick with the AB-Y-X method.  Now, Mr. Nutz has got a lot of techniques in his arsenal; he can walk, he can duck, he can jump, he can swing between ropes or chains, he can swim, he can run (hold Y), he can swish his long tail around for close ranged attacks (v+X; don't ask), and he can throw the acorns with the X button.  The thing about the acorns are that you don't have an unlimited amount, so it's best to use them sparingly.  Along the way you'll come across platforms that either must be jumped on in the nick of time or ones that you have to jump up from before it drops or disintegrates; many are stationary but there are a select few in comparison that will move or rotate around.  At the end of each stage there is a boss to fight, each with different patterns than the last, each requiring that you take out their health one bar at a time.

What you'll notice upon playing this game is that its controls (in particular the jump controls) are rather loose.  It doesn't necessarily equate to a bad thing, but depending on how a game was structured to begin with it can either be a benefit or a hindrance.  And thankfully for Mr. Nutz's case it falls right in the former, and I'll explain why.  There are instances where you have to jump towards specific platforms (sometimes block-sized) which require you to run and have just enough jumping power to land on them; also the looseness helps because if you jump you might find yourself landing farther depending on how much speed you've picked up, sometimes requiring you to weave-jump platforms above you.  Without the looseness in the controls the game would've not been able to be progressed considering some of its area designs.  The rest of the controls are really solid and it's intuitive to play and traverse the numerous areas.  Mr. Nutz has a health gauge of five, and all around there are lots of coins that are optional (or mandatory if you're confident) to collect.

Jumping for joy
The visuals for Mr. Nutz are absolutely gorgeous!  =)  They are brimming with bright, vibrant colors that really pop out at you while also presenting a lot of detail; they're so polished too that it really matches the atmosphere of the area that you are in.  Each individual area has got a sort of personal charm and look that make it their own, not to mention each location has got their series of big attention to detail (even the little ones).  The first area takes place in the woods, where it starts out with green and vibrant foliage, and the farther you get with each section of the stage it gets darker until it becomes night; the backdrops and foregrounds may look different (at night there will be a moon and a series of spiderwebs), but the transition and immersion from night to day is really impeccable, and the night colors are well-chosen.  And that's just one example.  Several other areas look exquisitely detailed as well, such as Adventure Park, the faucet portions, the cloud-ridden areas with a pretty rainbow looming in the distance, and so forth.  The line scrolling work is well done when it counts, creating a sense of depth (particularly in two of the last stage's final areas), plus the color layering is well-done whenever you're underwater or behind some translucent clouds.
Another thing of great note is the animation of Mr. Nutz and the regular enemies: they are so fluid and smooth that it still amazes me whenever I see it in motion.  His walking and running animations are flawless, as are the jumping, swimming, acorn-throwing, and swinging motions.  On the cover he may look like a real badass with that menacing grin and those shades of his that are only seen on there, but when you play the game he's actually a cute little critter facing impossible odds in order to save the day; and honestly I don't find that to be such a bad thing, as I feel that it adds to Mr. Nutz's cute and lighthearted charm.  The enemies are lighthearted and cutely designed too, such as the walking fruits with eyeballs (that die in different ways depending on how you finish them off; whether it be by splitting them in half or by swishing them away with your tail... don't ask), disposable porcupines, tambourines with flamboyant ballet get-up that attack you with their twirls and pirouettes, a variant of bee enemies, bird enemies that seek you out until you do them off, literal hand-plungers, tiny fish that emit electric barriers from time to time (they're not eels, how's it possible?), enemies that have full fire on their bodies save for their firefighter helmet, among others.  I have a few more examples to point out:
Hey, I didn't know that the Piranha Plants were in this game!  =O
This For the Birds reject will try to defeat you by dropping snowballs more than twice their size.
Hey hey hey, what is this?  I thought this was a squirrel-themed game, not a video game adaptation of March of the Penguins!  And the scary part is that there actually is a video game adaptation based on that movie.
Okay, so among the designs that are actually rather clever and inventive, I will admit there were some that weren't as original (like the venus fly trap enemy); whether it was intentional or coincidence (both before and after the game was made), I don't mind it so much because they're still charming and well-designed enemies.  Yes, some from previous areas return in the form of a palette-swapped version, but aside from that I'm okay with that.  If the character and enemies are cute and lighthearted, then the bosses are the exact opposite.  They are big, serious, and dark in both tone and design.  They don't have as much animation as Mr. Nutz does, but they do still look good: such as a giant hairy spider in a hillbilly outfit, a downright menacing-looking octopus, and a witch on a broomstick who looks like the one from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves if she had the beak of the vulture that pursued her in the movie.  I'm not even joking, she actually looks like that!  A couple of them use Mode 7 rotating and scaling effects, and some of the boss locations look relatively dark, matching their tone and serious demeanor (some actually look really damn intimidating considering that it was aimed for a younger audience, and I'll spotlight one of them later).
The soundtrack for Mr. Nutz was composed by renowned French composer Raphaël Gesqua, who was very young when he made the music, and it was one of the first video games that he had worked on for sound.  Considering that status, I find the quality of his work here to be really impressive, as it does a very good job of complementing the appropriate settings and lending an atmospheric feel.  =)  Yeah, there are a few light and bouncy themes in the mix, but the majority of it really stands out with neat instrumental choices (such as the horns, the cymbals, and the heavy piano) and the fact that they're considerably long songs; it's made even better by the fact that it won't start over if you lose a life, it'll just keep on playing.  Score!  =D  I like that the songs are long because as a result they don't end up being overly repetitive (the first two verses sound the same, but the third one sounds different), and the songs' lengthy scope is worthwhile, with a few exceptions of course.
Stan: "Why ain't them just the cutest bees you've ever
laid eyes on."
Nicolas Cage: "No, not the bees!  NOT THE BEES!!!"  DX
The title theme I feel does a good job at setting the scope for the adventure that lies before you.  The nighttime Woody Land theme (yes, they actually called it that) is really slow-building and pretty to listen to, the sweeping Adventure Park theme sounds adventurous as its name implies, the theme for when you've been shrunk down for the faucet areas is really catchy, the theme for the cloud-filled area is the best song in the game for it really feels like you've just gotten out of a long dark cave and it feels heavenly in a fitting way.  The ending theme is a really big reward if you manage to overcome all of Mr. Nutz's obstacles, including the final boss.  The game over theme, though, is actually really sad and desperate, and all the boss themes have their own dark flair (all six of them), which makes each of them stand out.
Are there any low points for the soundtrack?  Actually yes, since a few of the bounciness and unusual compositions of a few themes make them sound a bit nauseating after awhile (though not necessarily in a bad way), in particular during half the boss fights.  The volcano theme is obnoxious for its overtly heavy handedness, and while I'm not big on circus music, the Mean Streets is passable at least (I'll take it over the circus music present in Glover and Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind).  Overall, I consider the majority of Gesqua's music to be really good, with only a few really low-quality songs.  Still, I really commend his effort, and you know what's crazy?  There is actually an option to turn off the soundtrack before you start the game... the very thing that lends the overall world its atmosphere to begin with.  What is even the hell, Ocean?!?  >=(  The sound effects aren't anything to write home about, but for what we've got they're decent.  There is a cute bounce sound effect for whenever Mr. Nutz jumps, enemies have their own death sounds (the birds "chirp", for example), whenever a boss takes damage they make what sounds like a hollowed grunting sound (I can't quite describe it, you'll have to hear it for yourself to get the proper idea), the swimming effects are nice, the coin effects are decent, and a lot of the other sound effects are good.
Look at all that depth in the background
Mr. Nutz is a fairly challenging game in its own right, and there are many factors that apply to that.  The area designs are neatly laid-out, and there are a couple moments when blind leaps of faith may have to be made.  Some platforms require that you make precise landings because they're small, but because the controls are loose it's easy to position yourself quickly enough in midair.  There are various acorns laid about, and they serve well as long-ranged projectiles, but you do not have an unlimited amount, so it is best to only use when you really need them.  The areas range from short and linear to large and open-ended, and it may take a bit to reach your destination.  If you lose a life during a portion of a stage, then you'll have to start from the beginning of that portion (say you lose during the middle of 2-2, you have to start at the beginning of it).  Okay, that's no problem; what happens if you lose all your lives?  Well, if that happens, then you have to start the entire stage all over again (say you lost them all in say anywhere in World 6, then World 6 must be started all over again).  Admittedly, it can be frustrating when that happens, since for one the path towards the end is long and there are enemies which you must contend with along the way.  But it's not impossible, for there are many elements that help balance things out.
In the options menu the highest you can set your lives is six and for health the highest count you can make them is five.  If you go at a slow and steady pace then less enemies will show up, even though you'll have to speed up in a few portions.  The quicker you run the higher you fly up in the air as you jump, and throughout the course of the game you'll notice coins scattered about.  For every fifty that you collect, one dot will be refilled in your heath bar; and should you manage to collect all of them by the end of the stage you'll earn a life.  It's not mandatory, but if you don't feel confident that you'll make it then it may be a good idea to search every nook and cranny.  In these stages you'll also find health icons, but if you find a life (and here's the great part): then regardless of how much health you have then the whole health bar will be revitalized.  The whole health bar!  Now that's what I call a freebie!  =)  Each boss has their own set strategy you have to follow in order to take them down, and for the most part they're not bad fights ('cept for Little Clown which is longer than it needs to be).  Among the regular items are rare items, some that you'll need to progress (like the key in Adventure Park) and others that do different things.
Say, I wonder what this item does?
Mr. Nutz is a platformer, so it's a given that it won't be played for the plot but for the fun and challenge.  Though in this case it probably would've been nice if there was much of a plot to begin with, as the structure is incoherent at best (you don't even know what it's about until your adventure is over, and even then you'll have a hard time fathoming that an ice storm had to be stopped by a supposedly magical yeti who is tired of all the green surrounding the world, and that all the enemies you fought were controlled under his magic).  There is no intro sequence, you're thrust right into the fray as soon as you start.  The first two stages, I'll buy that Mr. Nutz would go from here to there, but for the rest it's absolutely befuddling.  In the third stage you come across a grail which will shrink you down to bite size.
Okay, so he has shrunk down to a very small size; but then he finishes the faucet area and somehow gets back to his normal height.  And for that matter once he exits the volcano he hops on a series of clouds until he faces the boss.  Well, how the hell does he get down afterwards?  And this is a problem; there is no establishment of the plot (no in-betweens, just the map screen after you beat a stage and that's it), so as a result a lot of what happens doesn't make sense.  Still, it's much less bizarre and nonsensical than The Adventures of Kid Kleets/Soccer Kid at least.  There is also the matter of wasted potential: see, the first boss Mr. Spider talks to you before he fights you.
And... that's it.  No other boss talks to you, not even Mr. Blizzard, the main antagonist.  It's very unfortunate that the only times that a dialogue box pops up is when Mr. Spider talks to you, in the beginning of Adventure Park part 3 where you're told to look for a key, and at the start of the sixth world where you must enter an igloo to progress forward; because it feels a bit wasted here.  It also does not help matters at all that the plot is fairly nonexistent.  If you're going have dialogue spoken by the bosses, either have it be done by most or all of them or don't do them at all.  But if you are to have a single boss talk to you then have it be the final boss, not the boss at the start of the game!  =(  Just... no!  Now, this may be a lighthearted adventure, but beneath the surface it is all kinds of weird!  In particular during the boss fights, which as I aforementioned are dark and serious in comparison to the cute and lighthearted enemies you face earlier.  The octopus looks threatening, Mr. Spider looks scary, but all of them pale in comparison to the absolutely horrifying sight that is: Ograum Papas.
The buildup for the boss' appearance is intense, for it starts with a clear view of the ground with shaking abound, and then Ograum Papas slowly rises up revealing his head, wearing an expression on his face that says "I'm going to murder you!"
So he proceeds to attack you with his... anatomically backwards hands?  No, seriously, they're anatomically backwards hands!  Wow, how did that happen?  And for that matter, it doesn't look right; they're not even swiping in their right direction.  *tries imitating hand swipes*  It's not as comfortable as it looks, guys, it's very awkward.  But, hey, it doesn't seem so bad; all you have to do is hop on his head enough times and you're free to go.  Well, it's all fun and games until someone loses their ey--
|= }=> O=> D=> O.O
... Whaaaaaaaat the fuuuuuuuuu------  D=>
I mean, holy crap, did you see that?!  He just gouged out his unlimited arsenal of eyes, revealing from time to time empty sockets!  And the way that his backup eyes roll out from behind his sockets is so disturbing to look at that I can't believe Ocean actually thought this boss was fitting for game that was made for kids!  There's your nightmare fuel right there; God only knows how many kids were traumatized and got nightmares from Ograum Papas' very being.  O.O  I couldn't believe what I saw when I first saw this; I mean, that is way too intense.  ...  You know, for kids!  All right, let's move forward, I don't want to dwell too much on this.
Screencap of MD footage while watching
AlexZhano's video on YouTube
I've only played the SNES version of the game, and while normally I don't make comparisons to versions I haven't played, I'm willing to make an exception (for enlightening purposes).  After its European SNES release in 1993, the MegaDrive version of Mr. Nutz followed suit the next year as a PAL exclusive.  While the Nintendo 16-bit original took 18 months to make, it took the Sega 16-bit version a third of that time period to get finished.  The visual look is faithful except they are brighter, some colors were altered (due the console's limited color palette), Gesqua lent his music for this version but a few songs are missing and some sound a little off with the tinny sound samples, and Mode 7 was not at all present here (two of the bosses used this frequently, without them they look stiff), so Ocean had to redraw their defeated animations; aside from those differences it's not really all that different.

The same year Ocean crafted a portable version for the Game Boy original, released in European and American shores.  The area designs were altered significantly and some of the details in the backdrop were omitted due the system's limitations but it managed to retain its fluid animation and Gesqua's soundtrack (albeit with different results).  After the debut of the Game Boy Color many companies contemplated rereleasing some of their monochromatic games for that system, and in 1999 Mr. Nutz was one of them (released after Ocean converted themselves to Infogrames).  It was basically equal to the Game Boy version, except the backdrops had more detail to them, the health bar now allowed up to six dots, and there was an introduction sequence.

Then in 2001 another version of the title was made, this time for the Game Boy Advance by Infogrames; and from what I hear it is the weakest version of them all.  The game frame was uncomfortably zoomed in, so Mr. Nutz was about a quarter of the size of the screen, Gesqua's music was absent and instead replaced with forgettable dribble, and it only saw release in Europe; out of all the versions of the game, this was the only one that had bonus areas that took place underwater if you managed to collect all the coins in the stage.  The thing that these four ports have in common unlike the SNES original is that they have password systems, while the Nintendo 16-bit version had to be beaten all in one sitting.  General consensus regarding Mr. Nutz is that the SNES original was the superior version of them all, despite the lack of passwords and extra features.

It wouldn't be a standalone venture, for there was a prequel that followed soon after... sort of.
Screencaps from watching MD version of Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad while watching cubex55's video on YouTube
After Mr. Nutz was released, a company called Neon Studios (initially Kaiko) made their own squirrel game which was going to be christened Timet the Flying Squirrel, but after finding Ocean to publish their game for the Amiga as a PAL exclusive, they changed the character from Timet to Mr. Nutz as he was already an Ocean-based character.  A MegaDrive version was to be made in 1995, and despite being completed and reviewed by a Euro magazine, it was canned for indiscernible reasons.  Many thought that it would be lost for good, until an unidentified source released an ROM of it in 2009, which eventually got converted to playable cartridge format for both MegaDrive and Genesis cartridges.  Now I don't mind when games try to go in a different direction, but I'm not 100% positive it was a good idea to turn Mr. Nutz into something he was not.

Long story short: after Sonic the Hedgehog's success in 1991, many games tried mimic its speeding formula and most were met with scrutiny (especially in Bubsy's case); Mr. Nutz was not one of them.  It was a slow-paced platformer with intricately designed areas and shared little elements with the blue hedgehog's game; Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad (sometimes referred to as Mr. Nutz 2 despite its prequel status), on the other hand, decided to take things in a different route and turn itself into a blatant Sonic wannabe (with a couple different control schemes), except that from time to time there is an overworld, dialogue, and forms of areas likened to shoot'em ups.  If Ocean wasn't involved in any way, it would be Timet who would be the main character and not Mr. Nutz, but because of this the crimson red squirrel is now labeled as a Sonic imitator and hurt his image as such.  The original game was a platformer; stay a platformer, don't turn it into something it wasn't meant to be from the start!  I've seen more than half an hour's worth of gameplay footage on YouTube, and while at first I was intrigued I honestly found what I saw to be a bit unimpressive at the least.  =(  That's not to say that I won't try it someday, I might, who knows?  Maybe it's not as bad as I'm presuming it to be, but at this moment I'm not really that interested in that one.

Swinging away
Mr. Nutz wasn't a critical hit at release (with generally middling opinions: some praised it for its visuals, good gameplay, and soundtrack; while others were displeased with its difficulty, lack of overall plot, derivative nature, and the fact that there was no password system for the SNES), but it was a success in terms of its sales.  It has since then garnered a bit of a cult following, with people liking it despite what the naysayers say about it and willing to overlook some of its issues.  Despite the following, there are still some gamers out there that look down on this game, considering it to be generic and mediocre fluff.  The main character Mr. Nutz is often compared to Rare's creation Conker, which is absolutely bonkers.  They may share a similar outward design and have fur tones that are almost a close color, but aside from that they have got nothing in common.  More than half of the games Conker was in he was adorable and the tone was light, but with Conker's Bad Fur Day he took on a more raunchy and vulgar expression (or the game did at least) despite his cute appearance; Mr. Nutz was a more lighthearted and appealing character approachable for everybody.  Conker had modern clothing, while Mr. Nutz had attire which befitted that of an older generation; plus they both had different techniques and personalites.  I'm not saying you shouldn't like either game or character, I'm just saying that these comparisons (while not totally unfounded) are ridiculous.
This is a game that I have fun playing anytime I get to it, and it's one that I've long had a soft spot for.  =)  I've first heard of this game back in 2008 when I read it on a now defunct website where the verdict was positive; I checked a gameplay footage of it, and it was right then and there that I just had to play Mr. Nutz.  One video was enough to have me sold, but at the the I didn't have an SNES console (before I used to play with that console whenever I visited relatives) but two days before 2009 I was given a complete surprise: one of my cousins lent me his SNES console with some of his games.  It totally took me by surprise, but I was grateful for that and really appreciated it, since the SNES was my favorite console (still is).  =)

But it wouldn't be until five months later that I would experience this game; since I didn't see many retro stores, I've contemplated going to eBay for sometime but I was new to that experience.  Eventually in May of that year, I created an account and looked for the first game to order (there were a lot of choices), and I decided that Mr. Nutz for the SNES would be that game.  When it arrived on May 29th, 2009, I couldn't believe it!  I was super excited for many reasons than one.  Not only was Mr. Nutz the first game I bought from eBay (my eBay adventures started with game, opening me to a world I never experienced before), it was also my first ever SNES cartridge and the first I've ever bought; the other SNES games I played were either on someone else's SNES console or on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, but to have a physical SNES cart which I could call my own was incredible.  And to make things even better, it arrived the day before I graduated from high school (if you ask me this was a really good graduation gift).  =)

Look at all the ice around!
Since the day that I got it, I loved it.  I still love it now, almost five years later, though I'm not coy to acknowledge its flaws.  The absence of plot as a whole is a turn-off (its weird elements don't help its case either), it can get a little infuriating to redo an entire stage after having lost all your lives, and the fact that it must be beaten in one sitting (the SNES version) is rather pressing.  At the end of the day there is more good than bad here, and despite being a platformer I think it has a sense of replay value (since you can choose whether to take or find the secret routes or not).  The visuals are still pretty to look at, the music is atmospheric in quality, and the controls, while loose, do give it an advantage as far as platforming is concerned (they're also actually solid in their own right too).  It is challenging, but it is manageable if you stick with it; this holds true even when you compare it to Plok, The Addams Family: Pugsley's Scavenger Hunt, and Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai, which are all more challenging than this game (some more than others).  =)  Mr. Nutz may not have left much of an impression on some, but it is a game that I like for what it is; do not judge it for its title, its appearance, or the company that developed it, otherwise you may underestimate its positive elements and the overall good quality.  It doesn't aim to be like Sonic the Hedgehog; if anything, I think this was inspired in part by Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, and it shows in some elements.  It's not a bad source of inspiration, however, but it does make it endearing.
It's got its flaws that bog it down just slightly, but overall I consider Mr. Nutz to be a solid Euro platformer.  The fact that only two people created this SNES game (three if you include the composer) is absolutely mindblowing; it's not often that you hear of a 16-bit game created by a team this small.  Another neat thing about it is that there is zero slowdown whatsoever; there are moments when many enemies will crowd up the screen and despite it becoming hectic it doesn't interrupt the smooth flow.  I counted at least twelve-thirteen big skulls that the witch boss tossed towards you, and it did not affect the frame rate once.  If you want, you could decide to either play this game in English or in French, in case you wanted to learn some new words or dialogue in a different language.  =)  If you're in the mood for a fun platformer, then this should do the trick.  If you expect a really great masterpiece among platforming, it's probably best you look elsewhere.  If you want to play a game for its challenge and fun and not so much for the story, then Mr. Nutz is a good opportunity to do so.  Just remember to not judge it by its cover and play it for what it is.  It's no Mario or Kirby, but for what it is it's good; I recommend it for those who seek a good challenge.  Whatever the outcome, and despite its flaws, Mr. Nutz will always hold a special place in my heart as my first SNES game.


( >'.')>TO EACH THEIR OWN<('.'< )
P.S.: I just had to throw in that line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, I had to!  XD  In context, since there was a grail, it made sense to use it.
P.S. 2: How is Mr. Nutz holding his tail when he's swimming underwater?  And why hold it like that?
P.S. 3: As far as I know, this game has got the most realistic-looking sponge seen in a 16-bit platformer, and champagne glasses too!
P.S. 4: There was another squirrel starring game in the '90s called Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel but it fared a lot worse than this game.
P.S. 5: I often notice little subtle details that are fairly peculiar with this game:
 For example, are those rock formations in the left or do they resemble petrified skulls?  o_O  Also, would you take a look at that mountain glacier in the distance; is it me or does that look like a face?
P.S. 6: When I thought of reviewing this game awhile ago I considered making a French intro before going back to English; I figured it would've made sense considering which country Mr. Nutz was made in.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Take care!  =)
I mean seriously, Ocean, what substance did you take that made you concoct an image this disturbing??  o-o