Friday, March 13, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #181: Disney's The Little Mermaid

Title : The Little Mermaid

Publisher : Capcom

Developer : Capcom

Genre : Action

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1991

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10 - $15

I'm not ashamed to admit that The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies. It's definitely in my top five. Come on, she's hot! And Sebastian the crab is hysterical, especially when he sings "UNDER THE SEA". But besides this being an awesome animated feature, it is also one of the best Capcom / Disney union games out there for the NES. I wouldn't say it's better than Duck Tales, or let's say Chip N Dale rescue rangers, but it's definitely up there.

Capcom was seriously the master of side-scrolling action games. It's incredible how such a simple game mechanic can either go in the direction of epic-gamedom to utter-crap just by a few elements such as controls, and hit detection. But seriously, that's all there is to it, and Capcom just does it right. Not to mention, they do it right all the time.

This is another game I vividly remember renting numerous times from the video store, as well as borrowing (aka stealing) from my friend in order to play it. I also struggled to beat it, and I honestly can't recall ever succeeding. Of course, I had to rectify that when I played it this time in order to review it. Lo and behold, I emerged victorious!

And there was much rejoicing!

You guys ready? Ready to go up where they walk? Up where they run? Up where they STAY ALL DAY IN THE SUN!!!!!!!!!!!! WANDERING FREEEEE..WISH I COULD BEEEEEE...PART OF THAT WORLD!!!

Who wants to hear me sing it? Anybody? Anybody? No? Fine....

Yes, the game DOES play UNDER THE SEA at the title screen. Enough said. You can turn off your console now, because that is a major win in my book. And the water glitters! I mean, come on! How can you not love that?! Man, I'm such a sucker for mermaids....and giant octopus sea witches.

The story is semi loosely based on the movie. You take on the role of Ariel tasked with battling Ursula who is trying to take over all of the ocean's creatures and have them follow every one of her orders so she can control the sea. Of course, since King Triton is useless, you have to save the day.

The gameplay is simple but also unique in the fact that as Ariel you are underwater for 99% of the game, thus having full range of the screen and level. In a way, it's sort of like a scrolling shooter, but you can only shoot bubbles or fling seashells / enemies. And how do you do that? Why, I'm glad you asked!

Ariel's primary attack is her ability to shoot bubbles out of her butt. I'm kidding, it's her tail. But, by using bubbles you can trap smaller monsters in them and grab on to them. How you're able to grab onto a bubble is beyond my understanding, but you can then hurl those bubble foes at other larger enemies to deal damage. In fact, most boss fights involve you bubblefying monsters and throwing them back at the boss. 

You'll collect power ups along the way by either digging in the ocean floor, or opening chests by the cunning use of sea shells. Power ups are anything from extra lives, to an increased heart meter, to an expanded bubble range. Which you really want, because the ability to shoot bubbles are greater distances and greater speed is critical to beat this game.

Level designs are quite simple, and also quite short, with each stage ending in a boss fight. Unlike other Capcom games, I found The Little Mermaid to be MUCH more forgiving. Bosses are usually slow, and their attacks are easy to memorize giving you ample opportunity to counter attack. In fact, I was actually to beat this game this time around with dying a single time, which was somewhat disappointing but the game still remained challenging. I guess I was patient, ha!

Visually, the game is fantastic. From the character animations / sprites, to the cut scenes, and even the level design, everything is crisp and colorful. I honestly wouldn't expect any less from Capcom, and they pull out another gem with this game. Just check out that image of Ursula. She looks like she was pulled straight from the movie! 

Music? Superb. There's a few remixes of songs from the Little Mermaid scattered about the game, but most of it is an original soundtrack. Sure, it's no DUCK TALES (which still reigns supreme), but it's catchy nonetheless and fits the care-free attitude of the game.

Too bad the game is so short, and somewhat easy, because I really would have loved to play it a bit longer. Then again, it makes me wonder how bad I was at a gaming when I was a kid that I couldn't even beat it. Shame on me. Poor unfortunate soul. HA, see that? More Little Mermaid Lyrics.

Sha la la la - kiss the game. Okay, I'm done.

Final Score (out of 5):

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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