Boy and his Blob, A
David Crane is recognized as one of the most prestigious and influential classic game developers there is. His impressive résumé notices him as the creator of Pitfall, the #1 best-selling game on the Atari 2600, and also as the founder of Activision, a 1970's video game company still in business today. Yes, David Crane has met with quite some success throughout the years, not excluding another of his works, A Boy and his Blob, a great side-scrolling platformer for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Boy and his Blob has never quite joined the ranks of the great video games throughout history. Yet, it was sure a worthwhile project of an original idea. Of all the great video game characters and heroes there has ever been, who would have known that a rubbery snowman-shaped creature could create such a novel appeal and entertaining ventures?
The Blob I'm referring to is a native from the planet of Blobolonia. This once peaceful planet has been turned to havoc as an evil emperor forced all the inhabitants to eat marshmallows and chocolate instead of their beloved jellybeans and vitamins (what an awfully weird choice of foods). Blob needed to defeat the emperor, but he couldn't go at it alone, so this Blob bravely ventured to Earth in a search for help, only to be befriended by a young boy happy to be of service.
The boy and blob need a crafty plan. What does the evil emperor despise? Vitamins. But the boy is not only smart, he's broke. There's no money available to buy the needed vitamins, so the boy must go underground in search of hidden treasure. How is this possible? Well, this Blob has special powers. It loves to eat jellybeans, but when it eats these tasty treats, it'll transform into miscellaneous objects such as ladders, holes, and parasols.
The Earth boy, the character you control, has a bunch of jellybeans at his disposal. Flavors like punch, strawberry, and licorice, each which will transform Blob into a different item. Proceeding through the game, which is really nothing more than one big maze, requires no jumping or enemy bashing -- all you can do is toss jellybeans to the Blob and whistle to Blob when you need him back. All enemies you encounter, usually only consisting of sewer monsters jumping back and forth, will have to be avoided, either by running underneath or using a special Blob technique to pass them.
The moves you need aren't always the easiest to use. The game can respond rather slowly to your commands. It's not that the buttons are unresponsive, but from the time you press the 'B' button to the time the boy actually throws the jellybean is one second, the time 'till the Blob catches it in its mouth is two second. It may not be an awful lot of time, but it can slow down the experience somewhat, especially if you're one of those hurried gamers. Also, if you are pressing a button at one time too quickly (such as the whistle 'A' button), the game will be reluctant to respond.
The game's graphics are sub-par at best. Oh, it's not that the majority of the graphics are bad, most are extremely good actually. The problem is that the backgrounds and the characters clash very, very badly! Considering the capabilities of the NES system, the backgrounds are phenomenal. Why, at the start of the game, on the ground of planet Earth, you could almost swear you're looking at the nighttime skyline of a populated city. But the characters are what louses up the look. The Blob doesn't look too bad, but the boy is extremely pixilated. Everything about the boy is blocky -- plain, rectangular, green shirt; plain, blocky, blue pants; blocky, tan head. When you compare the soft and detailed backgrounds with the extremely plain and blocky boy, the whole picture's perspective is thrown entirely out of whack.
The music of the game can be summed up in two words: A song. What do I mean by that? I mean that there is only one song that plays all throughout the whole entire game, from title screen to boss. Over and over and over again. As good a song it is, as uplifting a tune as it is, one would have to be quite insane not to find it sickening eventually. Sound effects rank lower on the list. The only real "sound effect" you ever hear is the boy's whistle, which sounds very life-like, by the way. The thing that sound and music doesn't lack much of is quality. The thing is does lack is quantity and variety.
There's very minimal action involved in the game. Most of it concentrates on where to go, where to find the money, and which jellybeans to feed your Blob when a technique is needed, and believe me, you'll be needing the techniques often. The game is quite easy to play; it can just be difficult to find everything you need, though you don't really need to collect all of the treasure to get vitamins. It's quite an entertaining venture, though the replay value tends to decline after the game is complete.
A Boy and his Blob -- filled with action! Err... scratch that. Enemy-pounding weaponry! Um... scratch that, too. Power-ups! Okay, forget it. Boy and his Blob is obviously not your typical platformer, but it can be quite a treasure. Special thanks to David Crane for creating this extraordinary work. Now go home.
- Story (4/10): Creature must save its planet. Boy befriends creature. What is this, E.T.?!
- Gameplay (8/10): Extra points for uniqueness and originality. Thumbs up. Kudos.
- Taste in Food (1/10): Creatures that don't like chocolate?! Whazzup with that?!
- Control (6/10): There is some reluctance and slowness in speed here.
- Graphics (5/10): Splendid soft backgrounds, but the plain and pixelated characters clash!
- Sound (4/10): One song, one real sound effect. Welcome to the party.
- Challenge (Easy-Medium): The maze is simple to figure out. Not all of the treasure is needed.
- Thrill (7/10): Fun game for a little while. Does tend to get a little boring.
- Replay (4/10): Little replay value. You beat it once, you may be done for a while.
- Overall (6/10): A Boy. A Blob. A Legend. It's Boy and his Blob!!!
By the way, if you try to follow the values this game gives, you'll be eating vitamins and jellybeans your whole life. No chocolate?!
My Score: 6/10