Adventures of Lolo

Reviewed by RandX

Written 2/18/02

Intro: Ask anyone what their favorite NES puzzle game is and he or she will likely respond with Tetris. Although Tetris is a good game, I never considered it to be a true puzzle game. It requires more quick thinking and lightning reflexes than actual puzzle solving. However, Adventures of Lolo is what I would call a true puzzle game. The premise of the story is as follows: Lolo's girlfriend, Lala, has been kidnapped(or ballnapped, okay bad joke) by The Great Devil. (It's a little generic, but oh well.) I know what you are thinking, it's just another save the damsel in distress game. May I ask you not to judge this game on its plot alone, because at the time, this game presented an innovative style of gameplay.

Gameplay and Fun (32/40): The game is divided up into 10 floors with 5 single screen rooms a piece, for a grand total of 50 rooms. In each room, Lolo must collect every heart. After this said task is accomplished, he must grab the gem in the treasure chest which obliterates all the enemies in the room and opens the door to the next room. Sounds simple? It's actually a lot more complicated than it sounds. As you progress in the game, you will run into new and meaner baddies, each of which require different strategies to get by. While most of the rooms consist of disabling the more dangerous foes using the green blocks, Lolo has other items in his arsenal as well. Sometimes picking up a heart will enable Lolo to shoot enemies and turn them into eggs, which can be used in a variety of ways. There are some rooms where the player must grab enough hearts to activate a hammer or a bridge and figure out where to use them. Due to the sheer diversity of enemies and items, each room calls for a different strategy. This is where the game shines as a puzzle game. In the latter rooms, if you make one mistake or do something out of order, you are more or less screwed. This really makes you think twice before making a move.

Fortunately though, there are a few things in the player's favor. The enemies don't move until Lolo first makes a move, which gives players a chance to concoct a solution before things get hairy. If you find yourself stuck, you can always hit the select button and start over, but this burns a life as well. Luckily, a password system is included in this game. The password saves your progress up to the room you are currently working on, and not just the floor you are on, which really saves the player from a lot of unnecessary backtracking and frustration just to get to the room he or she is stuck on.

The way I've went on probably leads you to conclude that this is a really difficult game. The truth is it's probably a bit on the easy side. However, younger gamers might find this game to be rather challenging, but older players shouldn't have too much trouble clearing all 50 rooms. Part of this is due to the fact that most rooms don't require the player to be dexterious. Once you find a solution, clearing a room is easy. There are a few rooms that are almost pure speed, and some of these are a bit on the frustrating side, but they are so few and far between that it ultimately doesn't matter.

The game is loads of fun to play. There are so many different enemies with different behavior patterns that the player will get to spend plenty of time experimenting and trying various strategies to beat the rooms. This is one game where if you die, you don't say, "Arrrgh, the stupid game screwed me." If you die, you know it's because you didn't plan ahead. The different tools and environments add a considerable amount of depth as well. This is one game that's hard to put down until you figure out how to beat the room that has had you stumped for so long. However, those who tend to be high strung may want to be a bit leary of this game. Many of the rooms contain either medusas or don medusas. If you are parallel to one of these monsters, and there is no rock , heart, or green block between you, then Lolo will become petrified and the medusa will fire and kill him instantly. You can imagine what would happen if you didn't plan carefully enough, and this happened unexpectedly. It's enough to make one jump out of his chair. This is really a minor detail though, and if you pay attention, it shouldn't happen that often.

Play Control (17/25): The control pad moves Lolo in the four different directions, A uses items and fires egg shots, and the select button is used to start a room over. The control scheme is simple enough and responsive. However, I don't think Hal should have delegated both item usage and firing to the A button. Sometimes this can mess you up. For instance, if you have a bridge ready to use and you happen to be standing in front of a river while you shoot, Lolo will waste the bridge instead of firing. I don't know how many times I've had to restart a room because of little goof ups like this. Really, couldn't they have given one action to the B button, since it's not doing anything anway? Lolo moves along at a nice clip, but sometimes this can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Many rooms require precise placement of the green blocks. If you accidentally push one too far, then you have to start over. Needless to say, this gets to be a bit frustrating. However, I personally would rather have Lolo move a bit fast than too slow.

Replay Value (4/15): Unfortunately, the player will have little incentive to play through this one again once it's finished. Once you solve all the puzzles, there is really not much else to do. I suppose you could try again and see if you can get through the rooms that gave you trouble without dying. If you wait long enough, perhaps you will forget what most of the rooms are like, so you can pop it in again and see how quickly you can figure it out.

Graphics (8/10): The game has a cutesy look to it. Most of the enemies actually look(and are) harmless. Some of them could pass as common household pets. The characters are relatively well drawn and animated for the most part. Lolo's body sort of moves from side to side and his arms move as he walks, which makes it look realistic. I also like how the lower floors have blue rivers and the upper floors have red lava, which forshadows considerable danger in the later levels. Interestingly enough, water and lava darkens and lightens, which I guess is supposed to give the impression of waves. The opening and ending scenes are nicely drawn and detailed. One gripe about the graphics is I wish every room didn't have the same rock outline and red brick floor.

Music and Sound (7/10): The same song plays throughout the whole game, but it's just perfect. It's a rather light and relaxing tune, which actually helps to ease the tension as the player tries to figure which method is best for clearing a room. The sound effects fit each situation appropriately. However, the effect for laying down a bridge is a bit annoying and the sharp hiss you hear after being targeted by a medusa is enough to make you jump through the ceiling.

Conclusion: If you want a real puzzle game, then pick up a copy of Adventures of Lolo. The variety of enemies, items, and obstacles will be enough to keep most people busy for awhile. However, if you happen to be one of those people who are proficient in this sort of thing, then you might want something a little more challening or with more replay value.

(Final Score: 68/100)

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