Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Nemo: What Dreams Are Made Of

In 1990 Capcom released a simple platform game with an interesting premise. that game had no fanfare, and the source material was something none of us 80's babies even knew existed. The game in question is Little Nemo: The Dream Master, and for many gamers looking for something off the beaten path, it proved to be a dream come true(pun intended).

Little Nemo: The Dream Master focused on a young boy who's dreams took him to an alternate world called Slumberland. Nemo was asleep in his home when he was invited to Slumberland by Princess Camille. She wanted someone to play with and for some reason chose Nemo. The story takes a turn when it is revealed that Nemo, upon arriving in Slumberland has to rescue it from a great evil. It's all pretty surreal and a little dark, but so was the source material.

Now, with Nemo being a little kid, you wouldn't expect him to be a powerful hero, and alone he isn't, but he does have something that allows him to beat the difficult odds ahead of him, and that's an infinite supply of candy. When Nemo feeds certain animals candy, they offer to give help him through tough areas. Most of these animals have special abilities like the frog's jumping skill, mole's digging, and the lizard's climbing. This definitely even the odds for Nemo, because with the animals this game is tough, but without them, the game may be impossible.

The level designs for Little Nemo were also quite different for this point in gaming history, and many levels had a goal at the far right, but to get there a player had to collect six keys, this makes the assistance of the animals in the game mandatory when keys were out of the reach of Nemo.

As far as the difficulty goes, this is classic "Tough Bastard" gaming at its finest. Little Nemo was never an unfair game, but it made gamers pull all of their skills together in an effort to beat that level that was giving you grief. This game is a far cry from games that hold a gamers hand, give them regenerating health, and other practices that have essentially watered down the single player experience in most modern games.

There's nothing like a game that makes a gamer feel good about the act of playing a game. Many games don't honestly provide that feeling now. In that sense, playing a game as fulfilling as Little Nemo: The Dream Master can be a welcome, whimsical departure from today's gaming climate.

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