Little Nemo: The Dream Master (NES) Review

Click here to view the Little Nemo: The Dream Master (NES) description page for screenshots and more information.

Review by The Every Gamer (May 2018)

Score: C

I have a dream, that this was a thing.

   Back in the days, when the internet wasn’t a thing, comic strips would be viewed from a newspaper or an anthology magazine. Although this is still the case, they’re not as prevalent as they were back in the day, and if you want your comic strip fix, the internet has tons for your specific taste, from the sweet to the downright bizarre. Anyway, Little Nemo in Slumberland was a comic strip first published in 1905 by Winsor McCay. This one-page series is about a little boy who has bizarre dreams with his dream friends, with the final panel always ending with him waking up no matter what. The art style is with the times, though regardless as such, it looks great, but the writing is also of the times and I end up getting a bit bored and confused with the dialogue. And yes, I read a few strips and they were a product of their time, but the art will always be timeless.

   The series ended in 1926 and many years later got a Japanese/American movie adaptation released in 1989, with a troubled history due to creative differences and such and thus, when it was released, flopped at the box office and remains forgotten. But it did get a video game adaptation on the NES, and this one would not only overshadow the movie, but the entire comic strip series in general. Little Nemo: The Dream Master was developed and published by Capcom and was released in 1990 worldwide. Nemo is sleeping and enters Slumberland as he journeys to battle against the Nightmare King. He meets his friends along the way who give him advice on what to do in each level. The game is a platformer where you control Nemo through eight levels of Slumberland. The main objective is to collect a bunch of keys to open a door at the end of each level. In fact, all levels revolve around this, but the game has varied and interesting stages, lessening the repetition…to an extent.

   As for your weapon…it’s candy…yep, candy. There are specific animals that you can befriend, though you have to feed them candy. Once you feed them, they’ll sleep and you can use them as power-ups…enter Bill Cosby joke here. The Frog will let you swim quickly, leap high and jump on enemies Mario-style, although he’s slow. The Mole can dig through soil, and even if he can’t jump and attack, he’s only in one level. The Lizard can pass through narrow spaces and climb on walls, but can’t attack. The Gorilla can punch enemies, climbs trees and walls and has more lives than other animals. The Hornet can fly and fall slowly, in addition to shooting stingers. The Hermit Crab can dig through sand and has a pincer for an attack. The Flounder can swim, in fact faster the Frog…and that’s all, he can swim. Finally, the Mouse can climb walls, can jump well, and uses a hammer to smash certain walls. Some levels will have animals that you only use once, but the common ones are decent.

   The gameplay is bloody difficult, because it’s the NES. The difficulty comes from the movement of the enemies and their placements sometimes, the fact that you have to find the keys and spend an eternity finding enough to open the exit. There are things that can lead to a one-hit death, it can be a frustrating experience, but also another example of a game you get good at the more you remember it I guess. However, the levels become so intricate and samey to where you end up confused or even worse yet, trying to scout the entire area looking for one key you’re missing, I hate when that happens.

   Overall, Little Nemo: The Dream Master is a decent NES title. It’s difficult reviewing platformers these days, I’ve played a lot so what makes this specifically good? Though I wouldn’t call it the best NES title, it’s still a quality game that might be hampered by its difficulty, but it’s something that can be overcome, its not so unfairly hard that its BS. Nemo’s a creative game, but I don’t think it’s creative enough, it’s the NES, limitations can do that, but limitations can bring about something special. All and all, I recommend giving it a go.

You can get Little Nemo: The Dream Master on the NES.

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