Received: March 4th, 2014 / Written: December 15th-19th, 2014
Year: 1993 | Developed by: Millenium Entertainment
Published by: Sony Imagesoft | [|O|]
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit. =) From the early to mid '90s there were many games that were made based on a similar premise, some better than others. The subject I'm referring to for this context is blobs and slimes (if I'm not mistaken it all started with the original NES version of A Boy and his Blob).
|Game itself is okay, in my opinion, but its|
premise is cool
One game that comes to mind that centered around a (boy turned) blob-like slime was the 1991 Nintendo 16-bit GameFreak/Sacom System collaborated title by the name of Jerry Boy published in Japan by Epic/Sony Records, later localized for American audiences months later as Smart Ball under the Sony Imagesoft label. It was an interesting sidescrolling action/platformer which had the main character attack enemies by either spewing out balls or by stretching out his own body. It's a clever bit of gameplay, I'll give it that, and there's a lot of benefits to it (like climbing walls and sticking to the ceiling). Of course there were more games that revolved around blobs and slimes, each with their own twists and perks, and it's interesting to see a company's own take on these things. Originally my plan was to talk about Jerry Boy first but sadly I do not have enough screenshots in order to form up a proper review of it (especially since I was going to compare it to the Americanized counterpart); so instead I'll discuss a game that thematically is similar but is somewhat structurally different.
|Sadly Europe missed out on Jerry Boy =( Let's|
see if the game they received is better?
In 1993 a PAL-exclusive game simply titled Morph was created by Millenium Entertainment that was made for the Amiga computer; that same year, as luck may have it, Europeans were given a Super Nintendo port which was never given a proper release in either America or Japan, titled Super Morph (guess that's payback for never having been given a chance to play the 1991 cart). That version was published by none other than Sony Imagesooooo--- wow! What are the odds that two completely unrelated games with similar themes, similar premises, and slightly different mechanics would be published by the same exact company? O.O Incredible! Let us take a look at this little-known game and see how Millenium takes a crack at the blob/slime theme.
So the scientist shows him around and takes him to his laboratory where he asks the little boy to test his new experiment. What's scary is that the little tyke agrees to go through with this having no reservations whatsoever! o_O What???
Oh yeah, I know that this is the kind of face you can trust. Nothing bad could possibly happen in this scenario.
So the scientist pulls the lever and oh look, something bad just happened in this scenario in the form of the boy becoming a particle until he vanishes; the machine also malfunctions sending gears flying everywhere after exploding. *sigh* Well, I hope the crazy scientist enjoys prison time because he's going to be spending a lot of years for child murder.
No, the game would never be this dark even if it tried. The gears have scattered in four different areas: the garden, the sewers, the factory, and finally the laboratory; and it is up to the boy who just now got infused with morphing abilities to get them back while the scientist guides him and seemingly offers moral support (and a slew of bad puns). What, did he have a large hole or window in the room, how the hell is that even possible?!? Geez, were all Amiga games this weird? I should hope not, 'cause this plot manages to singlehandedly be even more bizarre than the entirety of The Adventures of Kid Kleets/Soccer Kid! =\
|Stuck in a factory|
|Problem solving is a common goal|
|Making an effort in the sewers|
|Bouncy! Bouncy! Bouncy! Bouncy!|
|Well, only one way to resolve this|
By pressing Select after having obtained the map you'll see the entire layout of the stage you are currently in, showing how big the area you're going in is and revealing spots where you would normally not venture. Thing is, however, you cannot do it while it's paused and you can't pause while viewing it so you'll only find yourself looking at it for a few seconds as the timer gradually goes down. Oh yeah, there's a timer in each stage, so you must find the gear and reach the exit under the allotted time that you're given; so don't even consider dawdling.
There is a very high chance that you either only played Super Morph or Jerry Boy/Smart Ball and not both. But if you are dubious as to why I compare the two:
look at that! They could practically be the same character! Maybe this is the cancelled sequel to Jerry Boy that we never got.
Joking aside, I remember having first heard about this game several years ago, only having seen some screenshots of it from the Moby Games website. It looked interesting, and I eventually saw some gameplay footage of it on YouTube, which made me a bit more curious. The thing that kept me back, up until I bit the bullet and gave it a shot, was that Super Morph was PAL-exclusive.
Screenshots of Super Bomberman 3 and Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai (Whirlo as it's appeared on the site) from MobyGames, since I didn't get my own screenshots for the twoWhen I bought a Retro Duo more than two and a half years ago my main goal was importing Super Famicom games from Japan, and I found that with many of them they worked; not so much the case for all European games, which is why I settled for the Japanese versions of these five games that you see here, since it was more likely that they would work on Retro-Bit's system than the European ones would.
After having played Jerry Boy back in February I thought it would be fitting that the next import would be Super Morph (however I got Super Bomberman 3 shortly before that since I ordered the two at the same time), sort of like a back-to-back deal and fearing that I would've risked having bought a game that would not operate on there; when it eventually got here I was relieved to discover that my first PAL SNES cart was working properly. =)
|Just flowing by|
|Made it! =)|
|No, I refuse to make that reference! >=(|
Super Morph is a fun action-puzzler to play once in awhile, and I liked how many of its puzzles were laid out; and between Jerry Boy and this game I actually preferred this one because at least today's game doesn't suffer from occasionally slippery and loose controls. It's a pretty good alternative to The Lost Vikings as far as the hybrid genre is concerned, but ultimately what prevents Super Morph from being as excellent as the aforementioned Viking venture is that it has to be beaten in one sitting. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing necessarily bad about that, but when you really think about it the fact that you have to solve thirty-six puzzles in the same playthrough sounds a bit excessive (especially with many of the latter stages' puzzles being longer and more complex). It can be done (it takes less than an hour to beat), but I think a password feature would've been very appreciated in my opinion.
It's not very expensive and you can buy it for a good price on eBay, but you'll need the right system to be able to play it. If your method of playing imported Nintendo 16-bit carts is by modding your NTSC SNES console (if you live in America) then you may be very disappointed for PAL SNES carts will not work there; the main reason for that is that while both the NTSC SNES and JP SFC carts run in 60 hertz PAL SNES games when played in Europe ran in 50 hertz, running roughly 16.7% slower than the other versions (for most games) and sometimes squishing the aspect ratio through a letterbox format.
This was an issue in the late '80s and early 90's for European gamers, and reportedly speaking it's still recurring today (for both Virtual Console services of the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Wii U), even though Europe has largely worked over that since the mid-'90s. This was not the video game developers' fault, because they had to convert Japanese and/or American games for Europe under conditions which they had no control of. =(
I don't know how Super Morph originally ran on a PAL TV, so I compared how it ran on my TV with how it ran in a World of Longplay video dedicated to it on YouTube; it was about on par as far as I could tell, but in the long run the game ran a lot smoother on my flat NTSC widescreen. Your best option to play this game if you live in America or Japan is by either buying a European Super Nintendo console (not likely) or buying a Super Famiclone system which is compatible with Super Famicom games and some SNES PAL carts; I know it works on the Retro Duo, so that one's not a bad choice. =)
P.S. One day I will review Jerry Boy and share my thoughts on it, and I'll try to get to it in one of the opening months of 2015. Man I wish its 1994 GameFreak-developed sequel was not cancelled.
P.S. 2 I know that the screenshot I took of Pop'n TwinBee wasn't from my TV, but I did eventually get the original Super Famicom cart... thing was I never took footage of that one so under short notice I instead took a literal still of it while playing it on TwinBee Portable for the PlayStation Portable.
P.S. 3 You know, The Suite Life's Arwin Hawkhauser makes inventions which malfunction all the time. Maybe he and Super Morph's crazy scientist should get together sometime. =P
Thank you for reading my review, my readers, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I hope you have a great day and Merry Christmas. Take care! =)
Next Review: ????? (?????) on Christmas Day