Trolls in Crazyland
At a Glance: Despite how often I spend my evenings running around naked in a theme park, I never found myself drawn to the game "Trolls in Crazyland." But, as this is the first of my Final Four Rom Pit Destructidon", I feel like I should throw myself into the most mind altering pixilated horrors for my last four Rom Pits. Sanity is no longer an issue, your satisfaction and prayers for my untimely demise are all I long for now. If I've started with this game you can be sure that my wake will be comparable to a performance by the AnalSymphony Orchestra of Boise, Idaho at Denny's. (On the corner of W Airport Way and Vista @ 7p, be there!) Now let's get this disgusting party started.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here)
Download: Download ROM here
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Story: Taking influence from the classic tale of Tristan and Iseult, you are a troll in a movie theater that falls in love with a girl you can never have. This is because she's a part of a movie. A film of tragedy and mirth, you watch as the hideous goblin girl moves towards theme park entrance full of daydreams of the joys ahead. Will she vomit uncontrollably like a mainline breakage after riding the Gravitron twenty times in a row? Perhaps she will see all the freaks at the sideshow? Or will she see all the freaks at the sideshow? Or maybe she'll venture to the tunnel of love and watch all the disappointed guys enter with one girlfriend and leave the tunnel with the same girlfriend. These dreams are cut short because before she can purchase her tickets from the World's Saddest Art Student she gets snatched up by a purple and lighter purple hand. (If you're unfamiliar with evil on the NES or don't feel like looking it up on wikipedia, just remember that this is the color of pure malice since black was deemed "too ethnic" by game designers of this time.)
What do you do? Get pissed. Leaping up, naked and defiant, you burst your way into the movie. Reality be damned, you break the laws of time and space, transforming yourself into film so you can get some celluloid on celluloid action. Apparently the audience sees this every week and doesn't even budge. Critics.
Gameplay: Trolls in Crazyland's unique twist it that is one of the only games that rewards you for getting hit by giving you bigger balls. I don't know much about sports so I'm assuming the only other sport this rings true in is probably every one of them (except carpooling). This feature does take a bit off of the edge of playing this game at first but not for very long. As you move along you begin to notice that it's just a gateway into gambling, but this time it's with your life. I found myself muttering "if I just let myself get hit, I'll be able to beat this boss" and "oh well, I'm only one hit away from dying but now my hair is pink!" I died many times from simple pride. Now I'm addicted to crack.
Graphics: Troll dolls were ugly in the first place, so mangling them to the point of a hate crime doesn't make things technically worse. Or better.
Enemies: A majority of your enemies are just people of different races. When you spend your time destroying Indians, Arabians, and Native Americans, it might appear like racism but I think it can be chalked up to plain old unoriginality. Throughout the game you get the feeling that the design consultant was a little kid. The first enemies are clowns, mobsters with guns, and guys with jet packs. As you work your way down the enemy chain the kid runs out of ideas and begins to relate the savage and noble teachings of his father who believes the Native Americans are in cahoots with space aliens and the Civil War was a battle against communism.
On the plus side the bad guys do not pose much of a threat. Well, as much of a threat as a two frame animation can when shooting a projectile while not moving. They stand there, wide eyes and fearful, shooting at you like it's an 8 to 5 job they have to suffer through in order to put themselves through mobster school. You reward them for their work ethic by brutally slaughtering their friends with a ball of magical troll energy. Instead of running and screaming for their lives, they barely notice as their friends erupt into pocket change around them.
This wild, untamed apathy applies to all enemies except for the bosses, who go completely nuts trying to hit you with everything except good judgment and middle management experience. And let me just go on the record to say I would rather turn my genitals into an ocarina than fight the final boss again.
Fun: The bosses were terrible but I've come to expect that with games. All the malicious tendencies of lonely, hyper-aggressive programmers come out to the front during boss battles. But holy cow, these guys were as amazingly brutal. The idea of being a kid who has to maneuver around a hell storm of little energy balls makes me understand why parents didn't want kids playing these games too much. They didn't want us to learn how to evade their attacks.
Defining Moment: After the credits roll, and you're feeling all good for having beat a terrible game, the words "but..." appear. Then you have to fight the last boss again. But he's harder.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).