Clu Clu Land

What is this? I have no Clu.

Review Date: February 14, 2021

Release Date: October 18, 1985

Platform: NES

Genre: Puzzle

Anecdotes: Of the 18 NES launch titles, we ended up owning 16 of them. We ended up playing 17 of them. How, one may ask? Well, back in the 80s, NES games were available for rental, so we went to our usual rental place. Strangely, this game wasn’t there. Instead, my parents stopped for gas at a gas station nearly, which had NES games for rent. Because Clu Clu Land was the only game there we had not seen before, we decided to rent it. We got to enjoy that childhood feeling of not knowing what we’re doing. After one day, we returned it and forgot the game entirely.

Description: The game has a heroine who will be roaming around a maze. She can not be stopped. She will have to avoid enemies, but she will be offered some fruit to eat. But enough about Ms. Pac-Man. Clu Clu Land is all of that, too, plus Bubbles has to light up “golden ingots” by going over them. The ingots form a pattern or picture. Bubbles has to reveal them all to complete the level.

Really, Bubbles? She just had to remind me it’s Valentine’s Day. Ugh.

Positives: I really like the concept. The puzzles are not overly complicated and part of the fun is trying to figure out where Bubbles needs to go. There are only two enemies, at least in the first three levels, so there are places to move. Bubbles has to ability to shoot shock waves at the Unira, so there is a way to temporarily disable the Unira.

It’s always good to put a smiley face in the middle of the Positives section.

It’s clear Clu Clu Land ripped off Ms. Pac-Man pretty hard. However, this is a unique enough game that it feels like its own game and has a very different style of gameplay. It’s also interesting how Legend of Zelda took from this game. The two biggest things they passed to Hyrule were golden ingots, which became rupees, and using clocks to freeze enemies in place.

Negatives: The controls are awful. Bubbles never goes where I want to her to go. She’ll start riding in circles if I don’t let go of the button instantly. Instead of pushing down to go down, pushing down will turn her downward, but she’ll also go back the way she came. It’s needlessly difficult and there always seemed to be an Unira hanging around. That’s Unira, NOT urine. I had to reread that several times just to make sure.

More Screenshots:

Is that a mushroom I’m making here? Well, no. The manual says it’s actually a house.
No comment.
I have no Clu what I’m doing. I just wanted proof I got to the third level.
What’s with the NES and six digit scoring displays? I only got to five this time.

Grade: C

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