So I didn't have high hopes when I booted this game up, especially considering the wide array of mismatching fonts on the title screen.
But in a way, we've stumbled across a lost treasure of the Game Boy. The game itself is awful, but the story behind the game is very interesting.
Which is why we're saving it for last. Foreshadowing and all that.
Actually, let's get the charming parts out of the way here. The title music is pretty good! I suggest playing the song below and reading the rest of this, because the song is very long and just keeps changing.
The rest of the music is also pretty good.
Aaand that's the charming part of this game. It is otherwise an ugly, messy, inconsistent game that asks the player to perform acrobatic feats while staring at tiny characters and landscapes that are about as legible as a prescription written by a doctor who is pressed for time because there's an earthquake and about as easy to understand as this sentence.
The primary goal is to take the tiny little Pinocchio sprite and guide him to the exit arrow. The obstacles placed between Pinocchio and the arrow of freedom vary, from terrifying serial-killer-esque hooded monsters who chase Pinocchio at an unnatural speed, to simple spikes. But even the spikes aren't very simple when determining Pinocchio's position in space is very, very difficult.
|And then stuff like this happens anyway|
But play it I did! Until this nightmare:
|I actually said "OH GOD" out loud when I saw this|
After about 25 attempts on this I gave up, I'm sorry to say. This level defeated me.
Then I did some research. Here's where it gets interesting (for nerds (like me)).
Adventures of Pinocchio was a game made by the uninspiringly named Bit Managers. Bit Managers was a Spanish game development company that mostly made games based on European cartoons and comics. Also Smurfs. Lots of Smurfs.
However, Pinocchio never saw the light of day - they shopped it to Infogrames but Infogrames wouldn't release a game that didn't have an existing license on it. Adventures of Pinocchio was later released as an entirely different game, Otto's Ottifanten - Baby Bruno's Nightmare. But it has the same music and many of the same levels. In fact, it almost looks playable.
(If you're interested in more information, I'm paraphrasing a translation of an interview in Spanish, which you can find here.)
This explains the lack of polish on Pinocchio's Pterrifying Padventure - it's essentially a Prototype! The engine is there, it just needs a couple (thousand) revisions to be a good game.
With this in mind, I decided to finish the game (by cheating and getting a password for level 96). I can definitely be a lot more forgiving of a game that was never actually finished.
|Looks easy enough|
Levels 96-99 were not so hard. Level 100 was a waking nightmare.
It involved standing on a platform that would follow me only while I was in mid-air, then jumping and moving 1-2 pixels to work through a maze of spikes. If I ever moved 1 pixel farther than I should, I died. If I was 1 pixel short and tried to turn a corner, I died. It was unforgiving and took me a solid 30 minutes of trial and error.
I did it for you. And you know what? You're worth it.
So there you have it! An unreleased game for a Japanese hand-held about an Italian story designed by a Spanish company rejected by a French publisher and now played by an American idiot. Pretty sure this was an international adventure that Bond would be jealous of.
Next week (ha): Another adventurous game, but this time with a real license.