A standard weekend RA session where I go back to a game from my past in an attempt to beat it, all in all while complaining about feeling sick, tired, being poor and how awful the game is. I have these moments all the time, they always end up the same way – I beat said game and then I regret wasting my breath and time over nothing. What I noticed is that the more I have moments like this, the better I get at dealing with them faster and more efficiently. Also, my dog almost bit my hand off, because certain people provoked her at the wrong time, namely while I was feeding her. While this might seem like an off- topic, in my trade, having functional hands is pretty crucial. Among many other things, that is, but still – Accidents tend to happen to those who are not caution of their surrounding environment.
Nuts & Milk [NES]
My initial introduction to this game was on a bootleg famiclone cartridge, where it was presented under the title “Pokemon”, with sprite swaps of the main characters and enemies from the original game as a certain electric rat in different colors. I didn’t really knew back then that it was a hack or to be more precise, I didn’t care! It was a game with Pokemon in it and that was all I needed to be happy. I was quite obsessed with the Pokemon franchise over two decades ago, though not so much nowadays. I eventually got to see the original game on a cartridge that my friend got, but the lack of Pikachu re- sprites was quite disappointing.
“Nuts & Milk” is a puzzle platformer, where the object in each level is to collect all the fruit and then reach the house, while avoiding the enemies who chase you around relentlessly. Levels are one screen big and you can warp from the sides, but hitting the bottom is a certain death. Enemy A.I. is pretty impressive given the year this game was made, but even so, they are quite easy to outsmart once you learn their habits. The level design is pretty good, though not really consistent regarding difficulty curve. It’s similar to “Moai- kun”, but here you can only learn extra 1- ups if you finish successfully the bonus stages. Points rest past the 1 Million mark, so going for the extra fruit during the bonus rounds is just optional. If you are in desperate need for a 1-up, just head for the lady friend right away!
I think that what sets this game to be quite unfriendly to new players is within’ some of the platforming actions that don’t really work as some might expect them to. Trampoline jumps can result in many deaths if one doesn’t have the knowledge on the proper timing that they need to issue in order to get a high bounce. This is what has turned me away from this game in the past, especially during my childhood. Just last weekend, I finally got it… You need to press and hold slightly the jump button as you are falling, right before you hit the trampoline. Any other form of input will result in a weak bounce. It’s not a big issue in the early levels, but towards the mid- game, you need to know how to handle those high jumps if you want to proceed any further. Another issue one might have with this game are the section where you have to jump over two tiles. It requires a jump from the edge of a platform, pixel perfect mostly, but I’m not sure. It’s a weird timing, one with which I’ve struggled even on my final run of this game. Practice makes perfect, though in this case, no matter how much you do it, you don’t get that feeling that you’ve really gotten it! Again, these jumps are to be carefully planned, as they might result in many deaths. Take into consideration that long falls result in a brief stun on your character and enemies won’t miss on the opportunity to take a bite.
New game plus or B mode adds on each stage a flying airship that can hurt you, along with a helicopter, which I forgot that it is actually a collectable for more points. Oh, how I feared the helicopter for so many stages until I remembered… I was quite amused about my forgetfulness, I have to be honest. This game is quite short, with only 50 levels to go through. There is also a construction mode, which got me to think about the fact that they had this option so early on back in the days, on many other old games as well. Isn’t it amusing how it took certain companies over two decades to catch up on the trend? I am making an ass of myself, aren’t I?…
I am quite curious about the C64 version of this game, which has additional 50 levels on top. Maybe… in the near future… maybe…