Thursday, 18 August 2011

Trolls (Amiga)

Actually I've changed my mind, I don't want to play this any more.

Hey is that the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland on the back left? With... his shirt hanging half-open?

Okay that some nice art. There's a bit of colour weirdness in the sky, but apart from that I like it.

I can't believe that this is the same artist that did the title screen.

That looks pretty decent too, I like the dragons. There's an animation of the shopkeeper/toy maker walking upstairs, with the room lit with flickering fire light. Not very interesting, but pretty well done.

Wow, he's just going to leave that fire on all night? If this intro ends with the place burning to the ground he's only got himself to blame. And maybe also Trolls, I dunno.

Whoa, this clock does not like midnight.

Hey it's a Troll! At the stroke of midnight he opens his eyes, and then darts off-screen. I guess it's a Toy Story type of deal where he has to play inanimate while the humans are around. The animation's pretty good on this too.

They've even pixelled up separate pictures for each of the developers. I hope the game has anywhere near as much time and effort put into it as this intro did.

Damn, I've ran out of credits to watch. I guess now I have to actually play it.

That's one way to make a loading screen more bearable. Hypnotise the player with a psychedelic colour cycling background.

Hey, a level select. It seems that most of the doors start off open, so I can visit the levels in any order.

I'll start with the 'TOYS' door, seeing as it's the first one. Plus I'm a toy in a toyshop so it seems sensible enough.

You have got to be shitting me.

This is really familiar somehow.

I'm in Toyland, and it definitely lives up to its name. The enemies are toys, the pick ups are toys, the background is toys... even the hero is a toy. No annoying music though weirdly.

Right, It seems to be a pretty standard platformer. I can jump on enemies' heads to kill them, but it takes a few bounces and sometimes I take damage while doing it. So it seems best just to leave them alone to do whatever it is they're doing.

Balloons (like that one on the top right) throw items into the air when I pop them, usually extra points. Though I have to sit there and wait for the thing to come back down before I can grab it, so it's a pain. Seems best just to leave them alone too.

What? Oh, there's a car there! I can see him now he's in front of the green but a second ago he was camouflaged against the background.

In fact it's pretty hard to see anything in this game. Everything's equally bright, and just as vivid. There's no effort made at all to make the sprites stand out from the background.

HEY, there's another troll baby! Only 16 left to find now.

Elephant checkpoint! I've seen this guy before, I'm sure of it.

Oh, right...

Oscar (Amiga CD32)
Damn, these games aren't just similar... they're the same bloody game! They look the same, play the same, they have all the same flaws... Oscar is basically the sequel to Trolls.

In fact they actually remade the two games for the Nintendo DSi, as Oscar in Toyland and Oscar in Movieland. I have no fucking clue why.

Awesome, I have collected the yo-yo, and it works like a grappling hook! I had so much trouble finding this in Oscar, but it seems pretty easy to collect in this.

Oh crap, I let go and now I can't get him to grapple back on. The controls are a bit awkward. I press up on the joystick to jump and then have to hold the fire button and press a direction to throw the yo-yo out.

Plus I have to either being jumping or standing absolutely still to use it, and enemies still take around three hits to kill with it. Actually, forget the bloody yo-yo, it's a pain in the ass and I can get by without it.


LATER, ON THE NEXT STAGE.


Huh, what killed me? Oh, it was that little worm thing? I totally didn't even notice that was there.

Fortunately I keep all the troll babies I've saved after losing a life or after using a continue. In fact there seems to be absolutely no difference between the two, they might as well have not bothered putting continues in at all and just tripled my 1up count instead.

I've collected 25 troll babies so far, that's got to be enough right? Annoyingly the counter goes up, not down, so if you weren't paying attention to the pre-level info screen you'd have no clue how many trolls you needed to get before heading for the exit.

26 seems to be enough. And then I soar into the sky on the back of an all-American cigar chomping flying pig.

Oh, I just noticed I missed one of the troll babies there on the right. It seems I don't need to save them all to leave the level. Which is excellent on a gameplay level, but not so good on a child care level. Sorry kid, but you're on your own now! Try to stay away from the evil jack-in-the-boxes, one touch might kill you.

I'm starting to wonder why there's such a precise yet arbitrary number of troll babies I need to rescue on each level. Am I paying this pig in troll babies or something?


LATER.


World 2, Medialand! Same as the last world except this one's in black and white and has jokes written in the background.

Unfortunately all the enemies are in black and white too so they're still hard to see.

What, this is a wall? How the hell can the edge of a piece of paper be a wall? That other sheet of paper on the right isn't a wall. I can walk in front of that just fine. The game makes no sense!

The game also likes its bottomless pits. They're easily distinguishable from your regular average blind jump by the way you die at the bottom.

And then I ran out of credits and got kicked back to the title screen.

But I don't need to put up with that, I've got a level select! So I'm going to quickly check out the other levels.

Sodapop land! This area is entirely underwater, so it's all swimming, no jumping. And I seem to have swam into a room full of balloons and bonuses!

Huh, when I try to swim back out the way I came in a wall materialises to block my path. Well at least the Troll can hold his breath forever while I look for another way out.

Oh fuck, there's an OXYGEN METER on the left side of the screen, how did I not notice that before? Uh, what do I do now? These bubbles don't seem to be refilling it at all... well, fuck. And the Troll downs.

On my next level I figured out that the extra oxygen is hidden in balloons... occasionally. Gotta open them all up to find it though, because the one I miss might just be the one I need to breathe.


LATER.


I found a bonus level by collecting the letters 'B' 'O' 'N' 'U' and 'S' from balloons. There's also a 'G' to pick up so that it spells out BOGUS instead, but I think I can live without finding out what that does.
 
I jumped around for a bit collecting balloons here until it kicked me out and called me a failure. No bonus for me.

Fairground land! It's the same deal as Toyland and Medialand, I have to run around the level avoiding enemies I can barely see while hunting for little troll babies (only 9 this time though).

Huh, it won't let me jump here. Well I suppose there's enough of an overhang there to get in the way. Even though the Troll is clearly in front of the tent when he jumps.

This is just taking the piss though. What's stopping me from jumping here? I'd have to be inside the thing to hit my head on the roof like this.

And now I can fall right through the roof? How does that make any sense?

How am I supposed to know where I can go and what I can jump on when they change the rules on me like this?

Fableland introduces the wasp and the butterfly, two deadly air units. One slightly more deadly than the other.

It also introduces impossible doors leading nowhere in the scenery.

Boardgame land. I guess 'video game land' would have been too meta. Though that hasn't stopped them from throwing in baby Yoshi on roller-skates as an enemy.

I don't even want to know what board game that thing on the right came from.

Finally, Candyland! Looks the same as all the other lands.

I have to admit I like that guy giving the thumbs up over there. It's nice to see an enemy with some personality. I've no idea what he's got to do with candy though, unless he's taking his polo mint for a walk.
 
Hmm, Candyland, Sodapop land, Fairground land, Fableland, Boardgame land, Toyland... I think I'm spotting the connection here. But how does Medialand fit in? It'd make sense if it was 'Kid's TV land' or something, but black and white newspapers and blank cassettes don't seem like something that'd generally appeal to children.

I bet all this stuff in the background is way past its sell by date. I wouldn't touch any of it anyway. Especially not after these enemies have walked all over it.

Those red platforms on the bottom right are cool because I stepped on one and it immediately collapsed and dropped me into a bottomless pit. Wait, that's not cool, that's actually really annoying.

I guess the balloons are there to mark the safe ones to jump on.

Well I used my yo-yo to smash the yellow bricks blocking the way, and then leaped across... landing in the wall above. Then I fell in the pit trying to get back. And then when I came back, the same thing happened!

I think I've seen everything this game has to offer now anyway, so I'm turning it off.


The game is one huge giant scavenger hunt and apart from the water level it all plays the same. There's no bosses or new game mechanics introduced at any point. The enemies are dangerous because you can't see them and they take way too long to kill, the levels are challenging because they're sprawling mazes with unmarked instant death pits.

And the worst thing is... it's actually fairly well made and slick. I'd say if these people were given another try they could have actually made a good platformer. But instead they made Oscar.

3 comments:

  1. Oh my glob, this is perfect

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  2. I loved this game when i was a kid (and we played it on Dos, and only had 3 hearts unlike them fancy amiga kids)
    But my favourite part is the ending, which went something like: "Congratulations! Now you are a real troll!"

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  3. I'd forgotten all about this game! I spent hours and hours playing this! I don't think I ever completed it, it used to freeze before I could

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