Developer: Now Productions
Released: November 1990
US Cartridge ID: NES-YC-USA
Genre: Action Platform
Supported Peripherals: Controller
ROM Size: 2 megabit
Mapper: MMC1 (128k PRG, 128k CHR)
Capcom’s Yo! Noid, originally released in 1990, features one of the oddest uses of a licensed character in the entire NES library. It features the Noid, the bunny-eared Domino’s Pizza mascot from the late 1980’s, whose mission it was to ruin customers’ pizzas before they could be delivered (in thirty minutes or less). The strange claymation nuisance made his first game appearance in Avoid the Noid on the PC, playing the delivery boy’s foil in this companion to Domino’s 1989 advertising campaign. He resurfaced a year later in Yo! Noid on an entirely different mission: His doppelganger, Mr. Green, has laid siege to New York City, and the Noid is the only one that can stop him. With his lethal yo-yo skills, the Noid must search the Big Apple for pizza-eating contests, where he’ll find and challenge each of Green’s head honchos in the ultimate test of intestinal fortitude.
Taking place across several different locales (a wharf, a circus, the sewers, Central Park, etc), the fourteen stages the Noid has to complete in his search for Mr. Green represent a surprising amount of variety for an NES game. In addition to the garden variety side-scrolling platform stages, certain areas require that the Noid take to the skies in a gyrocopter, brave the dangers of Central Park on a skateboard, or crush the opposition perched atop the “Pizza Crusher,” a pneumatic pogo stick with a giant weight attached to the bottom.
The Noid’s progress through the city is represented by a mini-map that appears between every stage. While fighting spear wielding fisherman, skating polar bears, Vegas style Elvis impersonators and more, the Noid should keep a lookout for scrolls that randomly appear throughout the stages. The scrolls allow special events to be triggered (like blizzards and earthquakes), which serve to clear the screen of enemies instantly. Certain scrolls and items will also grant better cards for the end of stage pizza eating contest battles, though many of these are only revealed when the Noid hits hidden spots in the background with his yo-yo.
Pizza eating contests serve as Yo! Noid‘s boss battles, and provide the only significant pizza tie-in present in the game. At each of these gluttonous happenings, the Noid will face off against an area champion, fighting to eat as many pizzas as he can faster than his opponent. Each round begins with the opponent selecting a card from their deck. If the Noid picks a higher number card, the difference between them will be subtracted from the bosses life. If the Noid’s card is lower, the difference is taken from the player’s life. The items that can be picked up during the stages play a large role in these fights: the Noid can find cards that will double or triple the face value of his card, as well as items that will sabotage the pizza in case the opponent tries to eat it. Though fairly simplistic, special cards do introduce some strategy, and the battles serve to break up the platforming.
For an NES game, the impressively large and colorful graphics paint an attractive picture, and the enemy designs are often just as odd as the Noid himself, providing for plenty of variety and laughs. The music is always upbeat and never at odds with the on-screen action, and the tight play control typical of most Capcom games never makes the game’s (somewhat low) difficulty level feel cheap. Yo! Noid is an entertaining action platformer, even if the prominent featuring of a now irrelevant pop-culture icon dates it considerably.
Of interesting note, Yo! Noid plays identically to Capcom’s Japan only Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru, released for the Famicom. Instead of being a pizza advertisement, the hero Hanamaru, a ninja in training, goes to the Leisure Land amusement park to investigate recent rumors of children going missing. The level layouts are virtually identical, but the Japanese amusement park motif of Hanamaru has been completely replaced with an 8-bit approximation of modern-day New York City, and the music has also been slightly altered to better match the new graphics.
See the screenshot playthrough for images of Yo! Noid and Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru.
|仮面の忍者花丸 (Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru)
Masked Ninja Hanamaru