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Banana Prince!
by: Dr. Boogie

Normally, when one comes across a rom that needs to be translated, it's usually one that needs to be translated from Japanese. The Belgian video game market is not exactly flooded with titles. I was therefore intrigued when I came across one that had been translated from the original German, and I became even more interested when I considered the title of the game: Banana Prince.

Despite the game's overall look, it was originally released in Germany, only to later be released in the land of Nintendo. It tells the story of a young member of the royalty of the Banana Kingdom who sets out to recover the symbols of the Kingdom's past, stolen by the evil Big Pepper, a sort of anthropomorphic bell pepper in stylish breeches.

And so, our Prince sets out alone to tame the savage wilderness and recover the artifacts. He receives some minor help along the way from his buddy, the Dragon Master, but not in a way that involves the manipulation of dragons. He does hover over the Prince's head, so I suppose you could say that he was flying like a dragon, perhaps?

Yep. Dragon Master.

Unlike his bald friend, the Prince is a master of something useful: bananas!

The game claims that the Prince starts off wielding a "stone axe" but that axe sure looks suspiciously banana-like to me. The Prince can also slide along the ground on his hairless chest, but even more impressive is his command over the plants themselves:

He has the power to summon a beanstalk, er, bananastalk, at will! It's strong enough to support his full weight AND it makes for a handy-dandy springboard, allowing the Prince to tuck himself into a ball and hurl himself at his hapless foes. Speaking of which...

All the enemies in the game are vegetables, leading one to wonder whether this whole game is just some strange German PSA about nutrition. Personally, I'd take a banana over an ear of corn (sorry, Nebraska), but I don't think they're necessarily evil. Bad-tasting, sure, but evil? Whatever your beliefs on the subject, pounding these nefarious veggies with your banana axe (your "bananaxe," if you will) will cause them to keel over and toss out flowers, birds, bananas, and even rings.

The currency of the Kingdom is rings. Not like Sonic the Hedgehog rings, actual jewelry-style rings. There's a steep exchange rate, too. It costs ten rings just to buy a measly stone axe, leading one to wonder about the economic future of the Banana Kingdom. Maybe the inhabitants of the Kingdom are all ascetics who consider jewelry to be a valueless personal adornment that pales in comparison to the essentials of life (a single banana costs fifteen rings, for example). Rings do have their uses, however:

A strange melon-headed fellow will offer to send you on a trip to "Bonus Island" if you slide a few cubic zirconias his way.

I have to say, I think the Banana Kingdom might be in some dire straits after seeing their preferred method of travel.

Anyway, your travel agent's comments that the island is "a crazy place" are somewhat exaggerated. I can't say I've ever considered board games to be particularly "crazy". I suppose you could make the case that winning power-ups via a scratch-off lottery ticket is a little crazy, but for my money, my rings that is, the craziest part of the whole island are the numbered squares.

Therein, a burly fellow tells you that you must answer questions as part of his quiz show. Then, he asks you several gradeschool-level questions like "where are the bananas in the groceries?" which you must answer or be banished from Bonus Island to your eternal shame. Most of the questions aren't that hard to figure out, but a few seem to have lost something in the translation, and you get questions like this:

The answer to this one was "name". The burly man and his strange philosophical questions aren't the least of your worries on Bonus Island, however. Each visit to the island gives you the chance to confront a boss, a trivia master at least twice as smart as the surly trivia guy. Consider the first trivia "boss":

Uh, excuse me. I believe monkeys say "ook", not "ooh". The talking monkey subjects you to no less than five confusing trivia questions before surrendering one of the missing pieces of the Banana Kingdom's history. Just do that three more times and your friends will be decked out in the finest the Kingdom has to offer:

Pretty sweet, guys. I wish those things did something, but still, I'm glad we were able to take them from those stuffy quiz-lovers. That'll teach them to insist that the Alps are higher in elevation that Mt. Everest.

Anyway, once all has been said and done, and the evil bell pepper guy has been slain, the four accessorized characters return to the Banana Kingdom with their stuff and have a good laugh about the whole experience. And then everyone in the Bell Pepper Kingdom is exterminated for bringing war to the peace-loving Bananites. The latter isn't mentioned in the ending, but I think we can all safely assume that that is what truly happened. After all, they never made a sequel to Banana Prince, so it stands to reason that all of the Prince's enemies were cut down. Even those ruddy bastards in the Apple Kingdom. Their quiz show technology was years behind that of the Banana Kingdom. And so, the Banana Prince conquered the world, and people everywhere were free to use bananas to enrich their diets and make innuendo at the same time. The end.

Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie

*** You too can play Banana Prince! ***


Note: to play this game you'll need a NES emulator.

Want to see some more video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:

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