Famicom Clu Clu Land
Famicom Clu Clu Land. Nintendo, 1984
- Cart Condition: Good. Shows a little wear, but font sticker color is good. Back side shows fine scratches from being inserted into the console.
- Tested: Plays great!
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Clu Clu Land Expert Review by Traci B.
Nintendo was never content to just release one genre of game, as was best seen during the Famicom era. 1984 saw the release of Clu Clu Land, a game for one or two players that was unlike anything Nintendo had done up to that point. In fact, Clu Clu Land is still unique in that no other game has attempted to mimic its style.
Clu Clu Land can best be described as an action-based puzzle game. You take on the role of a round, red fish named Gloopy in Japan and Bubbles in the US, as she attempts to save her underwater kingdom. A second player takes control of a green version of Bubbles who sadly does not have her own name. Your objective is to uncover hidden gold ingots scattered throughout the level by swimming over them. A counter in the top of the screen keeps track of how many ingots you have left to uncover to complete the level.
Collecting the ingots must be done within a certain amount of time, and a second counter at the top of the screen also tracks this. To help you figure out which gold ingots remain, keep in mind that the ingots always form a shape in the level, which becomes more obvious and connected as you uncover more of them. Some examples include a house and a bird. The image the ingots make up randomizes each time you play the level.
The controls are very different than any other famicom game of its time. Rather than pushing the button in the direction you want to turn Bubbles towards, she will always swim in the direction she is facing. To change directions, you must push the directional pad toward one of the pegs in the level – these are the little dots scattered within the level – and Bubbles will reach her arm out, grab the peg and spin around until you release the button, swimming in the direction she is facing.
The unusual controls make the game much more challenging than if it had normal directional controls, and it does not help that the controls are pretty difficult to get used to. However, once you do get the hang of it, the game is fun and offers the right amount of challenge.
In addition to uncovering ingots, you need to avoid an increasing number of enemies that are attempting to stop you. The only way to do this is to take them head on, pressing either the A or B button will send out electric waves, turning the blue enemies, who resemble a sea urchin and are called Unira, into a shade of yellow and making them vulnerable. While they are yellow, Bubbles can push them against the wall to defeat them.
Other dangers also exist within the level, such as rubber bands that bounce you in the opposite direction or black holes that instantly swallow you up. In between levels, a bonus game can be played for additional points. The other player can also be a danger; if the two Bubbles’ run into each other, they are both sent flying in the opposite direction.
Clu Clu Land features a very colorful palette and detailed sprites. It is unfortunate that the backgrounds are pure black, but this is to be expected due to the number of items on screen at one time. The music tracks are limited but iconic with the sound effects standing out for their pure, crisp sounds.
Clu Clu Land stands out amongst a crowded Famicom library as a truly unique experience. From the story, controls and gameplay Clu Clu Land has never been replicated. All Famicom owners owe it to themselves to check out this classic.