Saturday, 19 September 2015

SNES game review 93: Kid Klown Crazy Chase

The game I am going to be looking at today is Kid Klown in Crazy Chase,it is the second title in the Kid Klown series, the first being Kid Klown in Night Major World which was on the NES and I can not really comment on itf its a good or bad game and wether this is a worthy successor or not as I have never played it. The truth is when In 1994, Kemco released this SNES game in 1994 I had no idea that it was a sequel all I knew was that it was a bright sort of childish looking game which seemed to have a very animated style to it. 

The original NES game does have an interesting story to it though which is worth sharing. The game that would come to be known as Kid Klown in Night Mayor world actually started life as a Mickey Mouse game in Japan, it was called Mickey Mouse III: Dream Balloon and came out in Japan in September of 1992 for the Famicom. Due to copyright issues this game apparently couldn't be released in other parts of the world so rather than just shrug and accept a loss in profits it was re-skinned and turned into the tile known as Kid Clown in Night Mayor World and released to the American regions for the NES in 1993. It never got an official release in Europe. This explains why I didn't realise Kid Klown on the SNES was a sequel.

OK so now the partly relevant trivia is out of the way on to the game. The game opens with a slideshow letting you know the story, here it is in brief, Blackjack, the evil space pirate, has kidnapped Princess Honey of Klown Planet. He has decided that he will hold her hostage and that if anyone wants to see her again then they better give the throne over to him. Now for some reason the King determines that Kid Klown is the man to rescue his daughter. Kid Klown sets about doing this by accidentally in slapstick fashion crash landing his ship.

Despite how it might look on the box or when glancing at screenshots Crazy Chase is not your typical 2D platformer it is instead an isometric running game. The levels have you running diagonally from the top-left to the bottom-right of the games screen. Blackjack the main villain has placed a bomb at the end of each stage and it’s your objective to reach the end before the burning fuse runs down. Ok so this sounds easy in theory but in practice not so much. There are all manner of things that have been placed to stop you ranging from spikes on the ground, rocks that drop from the air, axes that appear to be tossed at you from off-screen and all kinds of other environmental hazards that alter from stage to stage.

I very very much wanted to love this game, I found myself instantly falling for its visuals, the bright and colourful cartoon style the awesome sprites, the choice of isometric viewpoint which gives it a 3D appearance that really helps to make it visually a one of a kind game on the system, yet the fact that the characters themselves remained beautiful 2D sprites free from the latter 3D polygon horrors we would bear witness to in true early 3D games. You cant help but feel the level of care and attention that so obviously went into the animations and expressions of Kid Klown, they make you want to like the character and liking him makes you want to like his game.

Certain elements of this game began to remind me more and more of an other game I reviewed what seems like almost a life time ago and that is Bubsy the bobcat in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. This is mostly because of the animatons that happen when you come in to contact with different hazards For example if you get Kid to run over a bunch of spikes then he will hop around on one foot in pain, At first these animated reactions come across as refreshing and you could argue that they add more character to the game and are better than simply having your sprite flash but just like bubsy and his death animations they soon start to outstay there welcome as they do as much for breaking down the pace of the game as they do for making you like the characters

The bit that grinds my gears the most when it comes to this game is not only do you have to make it to the end of the level with some health bar intact and ahead of the fuse wire but you also have to collect  four playing-card suit icons (A. Heart, Diamond, Club and Spade), these are found inside balloons, balloons I was originally avoiding as sometimes when you pull them you get some of your life bar refilled and sometimes you get coins or a suit icon but you also get hurt as a balloon turns into a bowling ball and lands on you or lifts you in to the air only to drop you on your ass taking vital life away from you.

While the controls are as simple in principal with  the D-pad controlling where you go and how quickly you do it and pretty much every other button making you jump, does make the game easy just to pick up and have a bash at the isometric  3D appearance makes judging depth and distance a huge pain in the rear end at times, so not only does this lead to frustration as you hit bushes your certain you should have been able to jump it can also make grabbing the balloons which might contain suit icons at times very annoying leading to you having to play the same level again and again in a loop just to grab what you need to finish it. They should have dropped this card collecting idea you might be thinking but the truth is that they only made 5 stages for this game, so if you could blow through them merely by surviving then everyone would have finished this game in there youth long before there fish fingers and chips were on the dinner table.
In conclusion, I really really wanted to like this game not only are the graphics and sound very pleasing it also tries something which at the time was very new and different. Many games then or now fall in to the habit of simply copying what is currently popular so it is always refreshing to see something a little different, to know that there are more than just two or three templates being used to make cookie cutter game after cookie cutter game but unfortunately for all its strengths and difference this is just a mediocre game. I find myself having to award it the middle of the road score of 5. If you really want to play it then you can generally find a UK cartridge for around the £6 to £8 region which is fair but there are better things you could spend your cash on.

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