At a Glance: As you may well remember (or not, depending upon your lifestyle) from my review of NARC, not a lot of good came out of the late 80’s except maybe… well, no, nothing good came out of the late 80’s. Anyhow, one of the greatest festering heaps of pure garbage from that era comes from the huge stack of terrible NES games that tried to emulate a certain game called Super Mario Brothers, which today can still get me harder than any young attractive dripping wet girl. Or guy, for that matter. Not that I’m gay, but I was afraid you might assume. I'm not gay. Okay? These products drove certain highly frustrated eight-year-olds to furiously ram their Light Zappers into the orifices of pets and family members. One of these games we shall call “Kid Kool”.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 65k
Kool is brought before the King to supply him with “herbs”. Surrrrre.
Game Plot: Believe it or not, Kid Kool actually had something Super Mario Brothers did not - an opening cutscene! Just like the game itself, it is quite tedious and painful, with dialogue written by a fourth grader and moving at whatever rate the fourth grader could type. The basic excuse for this abomination of a cartridge is that the King of some stupid fantasy world is sick and his hideous assistant hires Kid Kool (who’s really just some dork in overalls) to go retrieve the seven “herbs” that will help the King get better. To top that off, Kid Kool has to do it in three days (READ: three hours). Thus our adventure in pain begins.
Weapons: Kid Kool has two weapons in this game. The primary is his feet, which he can use to stomp enemies into the warm inviting earth, thus freeing them from having to be in this game. You can also get a red tribble that vaguely resembles that unholy creature from a certain webcomic about a bunch of poorly drawn assholes who use Linux and aren’t funny. The tribble appears when you run by a random bush or other background object, so getting him is really more an issue of luck than anything else. Once you have him you can chuck the little moron at enemies, after which he’ll call upon his dark master Satan to fly him back into your loving arms. Other than that, he’s the only thing that lets you live after getting hit, but only if he’s in your aforementioned loving arms at the time. Other than that you don’t have jack shit to save you. Controls are pretty much the same as Super Mario Brothers, which is about as surprising as the fact I’ve spent barely an hour outside of my room in the past week.
“WHEN MUPPETS ATTACK!”
Enemies: There are numerous enemies in this game, all of them stupid and easily destroyed, just like most of the players on battle.net (HAHA HE MAEK FUNNAY COMPUTAR GAEM JOEK!). They range from a goomba clone (which basically does exactly what the goomba did), a few hundred odd things that randomly jump in the air, some flying shit, and some other hastily-put together creatures. In later levels you see such wonders as "big metal balls" and odd snake things. At any point, they’re not the real enemy in this game. They’re not what has driven countless children of my generation to tears and / or murder out of sheer frustration.
Notice that while I’ve mocked this game so far, I haven’t really told you what’s wrong with it. WELL HERE’S THE FUCK WHAT’S WRONG: The REAL enemy in this game has to be the absolute most insipid level design I have ever seen in a cartridge. For one thing, let me tell you that Kid Kool maneuvers about as well as a drunken frat boy on a rusty skateboard. For another thing, let me tell you that the game loves to put little traps in your way, like dropping an enemy out of nowhere when it knows you won’t be able to stop, or placing a pit in such a way that there’s no way you can’t fall into it unless you’re psychic or happen to quicksave every half second (I should mention here I had to press F7 several hundred times throughout my playing of this game in order to defeat it). There’s also little terrain gimmicks, like vaulting poles and being able to skip on water, which also require you to waste numerous lives you don’t have. If you dash straight ahead hoping that the next jump won’t be over a pool of water, chances are you’ll end up in one. If you move ahead cautiously you’ll soon discover that you need to make a running jump that you no longer have space for because Kool needs an obscene amount of room to speed up with.
Did I also mention the cash bags? You see, there are these cash bags that appear out of thin air or when you jump up, providing a chance to play a silly bonus game at the end of the level. However, they also knock you back to the ground from whence you came... AND MORE OFTEN INTO CERTAIN DEATH. It was just enough to drive many of my closest childhood friends to urinate themselves and then throw their NES into oncoming traffic. Actually, some of my current friends do that now, but replace “NES” with “Playstation” and “urinate themselves” with “puke several liters of beer all over my couch”. Anyhow, the point is that this game’s levels are a never-ending deathtrap of horror and deep alcoholic shame.
Number of Levels: There are seven awful, awful worlds to get through in this game, each consisting of three sublevels, JUST LIKE SUPER GODDAMNED MARIO FUCKING BROTHERS TWO! As one might imagine, they’re broken up into grasslands, mountain lands, and SURPRISE - A DESERT! Highly original terrain like this, however, is only coloring over what I’ve stated above to be the absolutely worst platform gaming design ever. I’d take this opportunity to rant about said level design further, but if you still touch this ROM after reading this far then you’ve gone far beyond the bounds of possible salvation.
Number of Bosses: Hmmm, this is a tough one. You see, there is a boss at the end of each world, and there are seven worlds, so it would follow that there are seven bosses, right? Well, no. Instead of seven bosses you merely get the same three lame-ass bosses repeated. Not that seven’s any better than three anyhow, given their sheer stupidity. The first one is a giant tribble, who can only be hurt by jumping on a piston off to the side of the screen. Don’t ask me why. The second boss is the same as the first, except he looks like a Triceratops or something of the like, and he has a differently colored piston. The third one looks like some bad children’s toy from the late seventies. He’s a robot with a dish for a head and a round body and a really long neck that you have to jump on a lot until it gets down to his body.
In the meantime these cunning and brilliant (dare I say Machiavellian?) foes move back and forth across the screen waiting for their evil schemes to come to fruition, while at the same time not really minding that you can walk on their heads. Perhaps it’s just to balance out the game. If you can actually make it to one of these guys, you’ve been through enough suffering already. At any point, the bosses, including the final one, which is merely a repeat of the same goddamned Robot, all suck very very hard. I guess I should also mention the ending only gets bonus points as far as it exists, being that all that happens is you get to pork the Princess and receive a lot of gold. If anything else happened, the vomit on my monitor thankfully blocked it out.
Defining Moment: The defining moment of this game would have to be when I was gearing up Kid Kool for a very long jump from a very high-up position, only to discover upon launching into the air that there was an invisible cash bag hiding there all along! The miracle of human discovery was soon turned into feral shock and horror as I learned I was to be cast down a screen into the cold icy water. DAMN YOU INVISIBLE FLOATING CASH BAG!
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).
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Cons: causes bad nightmares. I used to have to eat beef until I passed out to have these kind of terrors, but this machine does it for me every time I fall asleep inside it.
The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.