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RETRO MONTH – Little Nemo: The Dream Master

June 2012 means retro game review time at Koku Gamer. Now this was an easy choice for me personally. While this task does pose a little bit of a challenge to remember all the things necessary to write a worth while review, it also fills me with a bit of excitement. Memories of waking up early on the weekends with a bowl of Trix and sitting in front of my Nintendo immediately filled my head. The game most note worthy to my childhood would have to be Little Nemo: The Dream Master. The opening theme music still plays in my head from time to time when I wake up. I remember all of the animals and villains in that game as if I played it just yesterday. Rarely do games stick with me for that long but this one withstood the test of time. With that being said, lets get the proverbial show on the road.

To kick things off my man Nemo is chillin in his room getting ready for bed. All of a sudden some crazy chick shows up in a zeppelin that looks like it came out of the Magical Mystery Tour. Princess Camille has an obvious sense of style and flare, so much in fact, that she should be working at Chotchkie’s with Jennifer Aniston. This sick ass style however, was lost on our character Nemo. Like most males his age he could care less about what she had to say. That is, until, she offered the one thing that no kid can resist. ‘What?’ you say. That’s right, and endless supply of candy. She just wanted to chill and he was having none of it until the ‘offer’. And so off he went into Slumberland armed with nothing but a pair of pajamas who’s pockets were never short on those tasty morsels.

To all of you who think that candy doesn’t seem like a very imposing weapon, well my friends, you would be wrong. Three quick tosses of Camille’s magic shit at the closest gorilla, horned frog, bumble bee, hermit crab, lizard, or mole and the poor bastard slips into a diabetic coma (snot bubble and all) and poof, you hop into their skin and are granted sweet (pun intended) abilities. Gorillas are strong and and punch shit, horned frogs can jump super high, the bumble bee can fly and shoot stingers and what not. The hermit crabs dig in the sand, the lizards can climb on walls and the mole … well he kind of sucks but he is essentially a slower version of the hermit crab, oh and he cant jump. So yeah he is pretty whack. For what the mole lacks in skill and general personal hygiene, he makes up for in an awesome coal miners hat … so I guess he isn’t all bad. But I digress. The levels in which these creatures are present, are needed very much in order to progress in the game. Need to climb up that tree? Well what do you know? There is a monkey chillin just below it! Huh! Nemo himself is weak as hell. He has no attack other than stunning enemies with hard candy so utilizing the animals is paramount.

As far as the game play goes, it is your classic Nintendo side scrolling adventure. You go about the levels searching for the 6 keys that will allow to open a door at the end of your ‘dream’. Its funny, when I was a kid I would have thought of these levels as dreams, now that I’m 28 I would consider them nightmares. (A) button is jump, (B) button is candy toss. You can jump on enemy heads Mario style and some guys take more than one hit but the attacks are pretty much like any other Nintendo game of the day. The difficulty lies in trying to find all the keys needed. If you only have 5 of them then you better bet that your ass will be going back through the level trying to find the one that you missed. This is especially tough on the ‘Train’ level. Little Nemo has a dream where he is shrunk down to Mini Nemo proportions. Perhaps his old man is Rick Moranis? Either way you are tiny and riding around on your toy train set. This level continues to move and you cant go backwards so catching the appropriate keys as you go is a necessity. Otherwise you will be starting the entire level from the beginning.

Once you make your way through Nemo’s deranged mental state of comatose animals and toys that you once loved now attacking you on sight, you finally get to fight the boss of Sumberland. This crazy bastard bares a strong resemblance to the prince of darkness himself. Luckily for our protagonist he FINALLY gets his scepter. This is where you proceed to shoot magic balls at his face while attempting to dodge his laser breath. Once he is finished off you have beaten the game. Ladies and gentlemen, while the final cut scene is a bit of a let down, the journey of the game is what makes it shine in my memory for all these years. Besides Nintendo was never really good at ending games on an acceptable note in comparison to the difficulty of what you just went through. I took this game to heart and have learned principles that I still live by to this very day. Bravery, perseverance and most importantly, never trust a girl with a pretty face and an endless bag of candy, no matter what she says don’t follow her, it will only be trouble!

Giving Little Nemo: The Dream Master a score would not do justice to a game that I still love at the age of 28. Especially one that taught me such important life lessons.

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