A funny thing happened on the way to this blog entry. You see, I met a Yiddish sailor… okay, I’ll stop being silly.
This week I had intended to play and do a write-up on an obscure NES shooter called The Adventures of Dino Riki, but the more I played, the more I found out why it was obscure. It might end up being the first game I have to just give up on. Frustrated with that game, and being tired of reflex-testers in general, I decided to play a brain-tester instead. So I popped in Adventures of Lolo.
Before Lolo and Lala were hanging around with Kirby, they starred in their own games where generally, Lala always got kidnapped by a being called “The Great Devil” who, I guess, just liked to kidnap her. So Lolo goes to the Great Devil’s castle where he has to fight through floors upon floors of… puzzles.
In every level, Lolo has to get all the hearts, and then get whatever’s in the treasure chest (I assume its a magic stone, so let’s call it that). Once you get the magic stone, all the enemies disappear and the gate to the next level opens. But this is sometimes easier said than done. As I said, Adventures of Lolo does not test your reflexes (except in some levels), it tests your brain. The challenge is often in finding a way to get all the hearts and get to the Magic Stone without getting stuck or killed. There’s actually a “suicide” button (pressing select) in case you fuck up and render a room unsolvable. Don’t worry: while you only get five lives, continues are unlimited and always take you back to the exact room you were in, and passwords are only four letters long and again, unique to each room.
Incidentally, Lolo’s death animation is kinda funny.
It’s really hard to describe everything about the game without just giving everything away, and without sounding like an instruction manual. Suffice to say, everything you need to know is gradually introduced to you over the first couple of stages, and the game depends on you familiarizing yourself with its mechanics. A lot of the puzzle solutions depend on you understanding some nuance about the game design, and prey on you overlooking a small detail.
This game WILL test your brain. I’ve owned my personal copy since I was eight years old, but I remember I used to find it frustrating. At that age I was more into games like Mario, where you ran around killing enemies. Stomping on Goombas made sense to me, and solving puzzles just didn’t. My first victory over Adventures of Lolo came when I was like twenty, and it was in a marathon session which really tried my brain. By the time I beat it, I needed a couple of tylenol. That’s right, Lolo made me think so hard it gave me a headache.
It’s 2013 now, and does Lolo still give me headaches? Well, no–this time, I needed to take a nap! I wound up having this strange dream, where I was on a ship at night, and Bowser saw me hiding under a floorboard and tried to crush me, but the floorboard was strong enough to hold, but he wasn’t really trying to kill me, it was some sort of workout and he stopped to ask me something, and then me and my dad were in this weird antique shop, and my cat kept nudging me to wake me up so I forgot some things, but… yeah, lets just talk about Lolo some more, okay?
So with all the headache-causing and nap-inducing, this must be a terrible game, right?
Bite me. Adventures of Lolo is awesome. There’s just this rush you get when you finally work out the solution to the room. It’s like an endless series of “EUREKA!” moments, that make you feel so smart and accomplished. And I never resorted to a FAQ or a walkthru or a Let’s Play video, I solved this one entirely on my own. Go me!
Some people might complain that every level takes place in a brown castle chamber, or that there’s only one song that plays throughout the game (not counting menus, continue screens, the ending etc), but honestly, that shit never bothered me. In fact, I’d actually call the brown castle aesthetic a good thing, since a lot of the puzzles depend on you being familiar with the quirks and limitations of every type of obstacle and terrain, which naturally would fall apart if the aesthetics weren’t so uniform.
Really, my biggest problem with Adventures of Lolo is that it’s too short. Yes, too short. It took me only two hours to beat it this time, according to my DVD recorder, and when it was over, I wanted more.
Fortunately, there was in fact a Lolo 2 and a Lolo 3, and there were even more in Japan, including computer games with custom campaign editors. Hopefully I won’t be starving for long…
A NOTE: When I play most games, I usually stick to a “no credit spamming” rule (for non-shmuppers: Credit spamming is when you just keep using continues until you beat the game). But that’s for arcade games, in which sticking to those kind of rules helps improve your skills and reflexes and makes you better at the game. Adventures of Lolo isn’t that type of game–its simply, either you know the solution or you don’t. I don’t see what I would be proving by forcing myself to play a perfect run. So for this game, I credit-spammed like a boss.
So anyway, here’s the final level and the ending. I had intended to run this video through Windows Movie Maker to trim some fat, but for some reason WMM kept screwing with the aspect ratio, so I just posted it as-is. I intentionally died just to record the password for the stage, and then completed it.
I gotta say, the “Great Devil” is actually kind of a wuss, isn’t he?