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Title: Yo! Noid
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie

Synopsis: Ah, what a brave corporate logo. You see, Domino’s Pizza used to use this incredibly ugly character dressed in a red rabbit suit with the letter “N” on his chest called the “Noid” in their ads from the 80s. In each commercial, he would try to utterly destroy the Domino’s brand pizza using a variety of tools and weapons, such as a giant pizza-stomping pogo stick. In short, it inspired a game.

Here’s the skinny on the plot: Mr. Green, whom appears to be a green doppelganger of the Noid, is leading an army of strange creatures in an attack on New York. The “mayer,” as the intro puts it, knows that the red menace to pizza lovers everywhere is the city’s only hope because of his Wile E. Coyote-esque ingenuity and his “super yo-yo.” Now, I don’t remember a whole lot of the commercials, but I’m at least thirty percent sure that the relationship between him and this Mr. Green character was never expanded upon enough to explain why he would divert from his normal task of stopping the pizza to save the city.

New York itself has seen better days, as you’ll see in the levels. The very first one takes place on a dock that rises and sinks into the water, while another has large skate park right in the middle of a park, possibly Central Park. Plus, every level, without exception, has some form of pit that will kill you should you fall in it, in the form of either a body of water or a straightforward pit. None of the levels are particularly reminiscent of the actual city of New York except for the last level, which I can only assume is the Empire State Building. The rest are places that you might see in New York, like a circus or a sewer, but nothing more specific than that.

Additionally, there are a handful of stages that are not in the typical side-scrolling fashion. Specifically, one takes place on the skate park mentioned earlier. In it, you can’t use your yoyo or your special weapons. Instead, you have to either jump directly onto the enemies, or skate downhill into them. For some reason, skating downhill will make the Noid invulnerable until he jumps.

The other type of stage occurs slightly more often. In it, you will don a helicopter backpack thing and will have to move very carefully past flying mines and gusts of wind without dipping so low as to fall into the continuous pit below you. Again, you cannot use you yoyo here, but can use your special weapons.

After beating some stages, you will have to fight a very unique boss battle, in which you challenge the local champ, who is also a noid or noid-like creature, to a pizza-eating contest. Now, this isn’t one of your standard “mash the buttons as fast as you can to win” sort of contests, these contests require a bit of strategy. In order to win, you must either consume the given number of pizzas, which increases in increments up to the maximum of eighteen, before the champ puts eighteen pizzas away, or you must simply cause the champ to run out of cards. “Cards, in a pizza-eating contest,” you ask? Yes, because you see, both participants are given a number of cards representing a quantity of pizzas to consume. When the champ goes, a random card will be selected from his library, and your goal is to either match him or beat him. The catch is that, while his cards are chosen randomly and you get to pick yours, his cards are generally higher in number. In order to combat this, you are given the opportunity in every stage to collect little cards with the roman numerals for two and three on them, and two kinds of cards with an exclamation point on them. These serve as your trump cards, as the one and two-labeled cards will multiply the number of pizzas you consume by two or three respectively. The other two cards will give you pepper, which will cancel out the card the champ decides to use, and hot sauce, which will knock five pizzas off of his score.

The levels and boss contests aren’t what struck me as the most unusual about this game, though. The Noid, himself, has abilities that far exceed anything displayed on the commercials. For starters, he has his super yoyo, which can bring down even the toughest thug with only a few hits. That doesn’t seem too weird offhand, but the very first thing you’ll notice in the game are these scrolls that float in various spots all over the levels. These give the Noid incredible magic powers. The small ones will give you a single point, but the large ones will give you five or, should you hit one with your yoyo, a magic spell to use against your enemies. The problem is that you won’t know what spell is in the scroll until you open it, meaning that you could be wasting a perfectly good scroll by opening it instead of absorbing its magical energy.

Anyway, you only have a handful of spells that you can get. The most common, and most expensive spell has a snowflake as its picture. When you use it, it appears to cause a brief snowstorm that wipes out all the enemies, projectiles, and otherwise harmful things on the screen. The next spell, also an offensive one, has a picture of one of those pizza-smashing things that the Noid had in his commercials, and it causes an earthquake, with effect much like that of the snowstorm. The last two spells are much less common than the first two, but they are useful nevertheless. The first of the two is a spell that costs very little to cast, and shoots out a yoyo-like projectile that moves faster, goes farther, and does more damage than your normal yoyo. The last spell is the game’s only non-offensive spell. It has a picture of the Noid wearing a black costume instead of his red one, and using it changes him to that color, and allows him to move faster and jump higher for a short period of time. After the spells, there is one more, truly rare powerup that appears in the large scrolls as a little ninja star. Grabbing said item makes you invincible and speeds you up considerably during the time that it’s in effect.

Of course, since we are in New York City, it makes sense that some of the enemies would be common street thugs. In addition to common street thugs, however, uncommon street thugs, such as flying football players and guys that run at you with harpoons and plungers, also confront you. Then, after those guys, you have to worry about fish that can both jump and fly, malevolent frogs, insects, and other minions of nature. The bosses themselves are all the same, but with different colored outfits and higher numbered cards as you go along. They don’t actually gain access to the extra items that you do, but they are still somewhat tricky to beat.

While you’re casting spells and swatting flies and the like, you’ll be treated to some decent Nintendo music. Every few levels, you’re treated to a different song. The only song that remains constant is the somewhat upbeat boss pizza-eating contest song. The sound effects are decent, with no particularly grating noises to get in the way.

Though the idea of a yoyo-tossing hero has been done quite a few times on the NES, this game is still one to take a look at. Plus, learning that the Noid was not so much a goblin, as he was a warlock was an experience on its own.

Best Cheats: None

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 9
Overall Rating: 8

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