Friday, May 16, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #97 : A Boy and His Blob : Trouble on Blobolonia

Title : A Boy and His Blob : Trouble on Bloboonia

Publisher : Absolute / Jaleco

Genre : Platform / Puzzle

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1989

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $7-$10

One look at the box art of this game, and you have absolutely no idea what you're in for. It reels you in with that comic book feel, but then it disturbs the hell out of you. You've got a kid, who looks a little bit like Bart Simpson hugging some marshmallow blob in the middle of the city at night. I mean, okay, that's weird.

Then it just dives right off the deep end. Tools with eyes? Why does everything have eyes?! And that's when you read the fine print. Apparently this Blob is an alien creature who has the supreme ability of turning into various tools by ingesting different flavored jelly-beans.

YUP! They were smoking up when they designed this game, that's for sure.

If there is one thing I loved about Nintendo games, it was the absolute absurd ideas that developers came up with to try to create something inventive. In comes Absolute / Jaleco with their attempt on making a diversified platforming game with puzzle elements. This is beyond traditional. Hell....I don't even know what to call this. But I'll tell you one thing, this game goes down as one of the most creative in Nintendo history.

I'll warn you, as soon as you start playing this game you are going to have the god damn music in your head for a week. It's bizarre, it's playful, and it drills into your brain. Heck, I find myself whistling it sometimes when I haven't even played the game.

The back story of this game is pretty unique, considering the whole BLOB thing. A young alien blob has landed on Earth to recruit the help of an earthling to save his planet BLOBOLINA from an evil emperor. This emperor is torturing the planet by restricting their diet to only sweet foods. Okay, I'm assuming that's supposed to be some sort of attempt at moral lesson for kids?

Apparently, the caves and subways beneath this kids hometown, hold a bunch of items that could help the Blob and his family out in space, so you have to go down there and get them before blasting off with a rocket off to his planet.

And here's where the jellybean fun comes in.

As you journey into the center of the earth, you'll discover that there are a slew of obstacles in your way. So, how does a kid who has no physical abilities what so ever survive? Why, by using his blob and a bag of jelly beans of course.

This is where the games claim to fame comes into play. In order to get past certain obstacles, you're going to have to utilize your blobs ability to turn into different items by feeding him jellybeans. Certain jellybeans make him turn into different things, so you pretty much have to test em out and figure out which does which. Some of em however rhyme with what they do, or do some play on words.

Apple turns the blob into a jack.
Tangerine turns the blob into a trampoline.
Licorice turns the blob into a ladder.
Cola turns the blob into a bubble.

There's a bunch of others, but I'm sure you can just jump on gamefaqs and get a full list.

Once you transform into a tool, you can use him however you please. Turn him into an umbrella to float down a pit, or turn him into a hole so you can fall to the next floor below you. It's hilariously fun. The best part is when he opens up his giant mouth, but misses the jelly. He'll just frown at you in disappointment for wasting his candy.

Besides jelly beans you'll also find a few other "candy" items littered about the underground caverns. Peppermints will give you extra lives, and you'll also find vitamins which need to be used with the VitaBlaster gun. Yup, a gun that shoots vitamins apparently. You need this to complete certain objectives in Blobobolnia. So earth is jellybeans, blobolnia is vitamins. Got it.

Let's move on to the annoyances of this game. Which there are a TON of. I'll give this game credit where it's due for being unique, but this game is one of the most difficult on the NES, and it takes a LOT of experimentation to figure out what to do and where to do it.

Besides a lot of trial and error, the blob can be a pain in the arse. In order to get his attention, you've got to whistle at him, but sometimes he doesn't even listen. Other times, he'll start rushing toward you and ends up falling off a cliff or something. Then you can't even get to him unless you die and start over. Whistling also makes him turn back into his normal blob self, but sometimes it takes a few whistles.
So controlling the blob isn't as easy as it sounds.

Also, your character literally can't do ANYTHING without the blob. He can only run left or right, he can't jump, he can't swim, and if he falls from too high. You're dead. The game is unforgiving. Controls are slippery too, and you'll be on the edge of your seat trying to move your character past the various pitfalls the game throws at you.

The game does it lot to make it stand apart from the rest of the NES games in this massive library, unfortunately the gameplay is not solid enough to make it as epic as it should have been. It's a bold endeavor, but just falls short of being "great". Still, I love it, as you can see below.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time. Keep on gaming!



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