Review by TheSAMMIES
"Nintendo wants you to remember one of their bad games"
The e-reader was a silly add-on the Gameboy Advance. You bought this overpriced peripheral that let you buy cheap packs of cards that you could scan and play old NES games on your Gameboy Advance. Was it really worth it? Well, you would think that Nintendo would put out NES classics like Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, or Metroid. No, those games either got their own cartridge as part of the Classic NES Series or in the case of Metroid, was a hidden feature in Metroid Fusion. What old NES games did the e-reader get? Games of dubious quality. Games that all but the most die hard Nintendo fans will remember. Games like Clu Clu Land.
Clu Clu Land was never a good game, even back when it was first released on Nintendo's original system. The only reason people tend to remember it at all is because its main character, Bubbles, got a trophy in Super Smash Brothers Melee that is way cooler than Clu Clu Land will ever be. Then the sea urchin villains ended up as items in Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Nintendo wants you to remember this game, but is it really worth remembering? Watch out, because this trip down memory lane is more of a highway of broken glass and bad dreams.
Story- Bubbles is looking for gold hidden by a bunch of evil sea urchin. The story really doesn't go much beyond that, but it's something, right? This is a game that came in a pack of cards. There is simply not enough memory in this thing to have a sophisticated story. Otherwise, you would be scanning like, one million cards just to play the stupid game. It does not need an interesting story.
Presentation- Clu Clu Land looks okay for an e-reader game. Sprites have some interesting effects and there are some good animations. Sound is repetitive and kind of annoying. You'll want to turn off the sound after an hour or two.
Gameplay- First off, this is not a straight port of Clu Clu Land. It's missing two-player mode. Okay, not very many people are going to miss that. It probably would have suffered from Link Cable Lag Syndrome like a lot of other Gameboy Advance games. Clu Clu Land is a game where you bounce off of walls and swing on poles. The goal is to ram through pole gates like some kind of speed addict trying to find gold. The gold is always positioned in a pattern, so just figuring out where the gold is the first few times tells you exactly where it will be every time. Your opposition consists of sea urchins that jump out of water. You can't touch the water, otherwise you'll die. Luckily, Bubbles, the main character has this unique talent where he can make some kind of sonic wave and turn sea urchins into gold. Then he can smash them against the walls and get extra points. More will come as the level goes, so don't waste too much time just killing enemies.
What makes Clu Clu Land such a bad game? Honestly, the idea of playing this insane drug trip turned into a video game sounds like a lot of fun in theory. In practice however, it's poorly executed. The first thing we'll talk about is the controls. As mentioned before, Bubbles plays like he's on drugs. He moves very fast and can be a little hard to control. Go on and try to turn. You'll end up grabbing a pole and spinning like a kid discovering his first legal high. The controls take some time to get used to and even then, they're actually unintuitive. You don't push left to turn left. You push and hold left to hold out your right hand and grab onto the next pole. Then you release it to stop spinning.
You can praise Clu Clu Land for its originality, but that does not change the fact that it has bad controls and grating sound. This is not a good game, no matter how much some people want you to believe otherwise. But hey, if you collect e-reader cards, then you could go far worse.
Cool Fact- Supposedly, this game was the big inspiration for Donkey Kong King of Swing. Bubbles even appears in it as a secret character.
Also Try- The arcade version, vs Clu Clu Land is much better. The controls aren't as good, but the gameplay is a little deeper. There are more levels and even a final boss.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 03/08/13, Updated 08/19/13
Game Release: Clu Clu Land (US, 04/21/03)
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