Monday, December 3, 2012

NES Replay: Adventures of Lolo 2

Adventures of Lolo 2 Title Screen
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: HAL Laboratory
Released: 1990
These games are so similar: I'm not even sure I'm
using the right screenshots
In NES Replay, we go through each NES game from A-Z to see if they're any good. Today: Adventures of Lolo 2.

What do we really want in a game's sequel? Do we want a sequel that's entirely different from the original? Do we want some incremental improvements, where we see the developers to use the basic building blocks of the previous game in new and unexpected ways, or do we want more of them same?

My tremendously wishy-washy answer to this question is: Depends.

For example, I have an irrational love for Super Mario Bros. 2. It played entirely different from the the first Mario game, and for that reason some people hated it. That's the reason I loved it. Your mileage may vary. Super Mario Bros. 2 is a good example of a sequel-in-name-only, a game that's entirely different than the original and just happens to be numbered sequentially.

Super Mario Bros. 3, on the other hand, took the original game and just exploded it. It was definitely based on Super Mario Bros, but it used the basic building blocks to great effect. They expected you to understand the basic principles of the first game, and then exploited them or changed them, which forced you to rethink what you thought you knew about Mario games.

I'm pretty sure this is Adventures of Lolo 2.
Some nitpicker will point it out, I'm sure.
The Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (otherwise known as The Lost Levels), on the other hand, was "more of the same." It used the same sprites, threw in one or two extras, and made the levels harder. Some people love it. Some people don't.

Adventures of Lolo 2, is cut from the "more of the same" mold. It's same basic game as Adventures of Lolo, using the same sprites. It even uses the same title screen with "2" overlaid on it. It's just a heck of a lot harder. How much you'll like Lolo 2 depends on how much you liked the first one. If you thought the first one was great, you could view this one like an expansion pack.

The difference being, though, that Adventures of Lolo 2 is much harder than the original. There are a few introductory puzzles to get you started, but Lolo 2 steps things up quickly, much quicker than the first one. Some puzzle solutions are almost a little unfair, as they expect you to know moves that supposedly aren't in the instruction manual or aren't explicitly stated. That means that if you've played the first Lolo, you'll find a little more to like in this one. If you haven't, it's suggested to steer clear.

I was always a fan of sequels being more iterative: Stripping away what didn't work in the first game in favor of new additions that will play better. Adventures of Lolo 2 doesn't do that. It's a rehash of the first game with more difficulty, and that's OK for some people. For me, I'm ambivalent.

Final Rating:

Next Week: Adventures of Lolo 3

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