Review by KillAllPopStars

"An Awesome Puzzle Title That Suffers from a Few Typical Old-School Problems."

HAL Laboratories is probably best known as the company that created Kirby, the adorable and much beloved pink amorphous blob that is the star of the series that has been HAL's bread and butter since the very early ‘90s, but their first major franchise actually starred another amorphous blob, this one a goggle eyed blue guy named LoLo. When it was first released, in 1989, The Adventures of LoLo was considered a sleeper hit. Eventually, it gained enough popularity to spawn two sequels, but unfortunately, the franchise never made it to any next gen systems. I have fond memories of this game. I borrowed it from a friend some time after its initial release, and was immediately hooked. The day I beat it, I want out and bought the sequels.

Essentially, The Adventures of LoLo is a straightforward puzzle game, but there's a few action elements thrown into the mix to keep things interesting. In its time, the game and concept were quite unique, but so many clones and clones of clones have popped up over the years, that the initial novelty that was so much a part of the game's initial appeal is lost on today's gamers. Still, the title and its sequels are fondly remembered by those who played them in their heyday, and even manage to find new fans via emulation even now. In fact, the games were so popular that LoLo still, to this day, makes cameos in many HAL and even a few Nintendo games and is a frequent boss enemy in the Kirby games. Exactly what makes this game's popularity so enduring? Well, here's a breakdown of the individual elements...

Plot 7/10
Okay, so the plot is rather lame. It uses the basic, weak, cliche “save-the-helpless-damsel” premise that was so over used in the NES days that it makes old-school gamers cringe at the mere thought of it. The entire plot can be summed up in one sentence: LoLo's girlfriend, LaLa, is kidnapped by some Bowser look-alike baddie and locked at the top of a huge tower. As LoLo, it is up to you to work your way through floor after floor of monster riddled puzzles to reach her. There's not much to it, but, in a game like this, all that is really needed is a premise to facilitate the action. While not very original, that's exactly what's offered here, and once the game gets underway, the absence of plot matters very little.

Gameplay 9/10
This is, in my opinion, the first game in the best puzzle franchise short of Tetris to grace the NES catalog. Basically, there are 10 floors in the tower, each containing 5 rooms. Each room is a puzzle, wherein you have to collect a number of strategically placed heart boxes to open up a treasure chest that contains a gem, but they also set a number of stationary monsters into motion. The gem opens up the door to the next room and destroys all of the monsters in the room once you grab it, but the challenge comes in getting to said gem. You must figure out how to get the heart boxes while getting around obstacles such as boulders, one way squares, and a whole slew of monster types, each with a different way of potentially killing you. Some heart boxes give you your only weapon of the game, egg shots, which you can use to turn enemies into eggs that you can move around to open up passages, block other enemies, or float on water. You can also temporarily destroy an enemy by using two egg shots, but the number you receive is limited. So, part of the challenge is in figuring out how to use them. You also receive other power ups in certain rooms, such as a hammer to break boulders, a bridge to cross water, and the ability to change the direction of a one way square. These are all one time use abilities though, which places the emphasis on strategy rather than action. This game is addicting because it appears easy, but actually challenges your mind quite a bit. The only reason I didn't award it a perfect 10 points in this category is because of the difficulty curve. The puzzles are mostly very easy. There's no real challenge until about the top 3 floors (the last 15 levels), but there is no build-up. They suddenly get much harder with little warning, which is quite frustrating.

Graphics 7/10
I have no real problem with the graphics everything is crisp and clear. All of the monsters are easy to identify and the power-up icons are highly visible. However, there is one graphical motif throughout the entire game: a single screen room with a green brick floor and stone walls. The only difference in appearance between rooms is how the monsters and obstacles are arranged. This is not a major problem in a puzzle title, such as this one, but after 50 stages, this gets incredibly redundant. At least a differently colored tile set every floor or so would have been nice, but when compared to other early NES games, Adventures of LoLo actually comes out looking pretty good.

Sound 3/10
The sound effects are rather generic and very minimal on top of that. There are only a few different ones in the entire game and they sound relatively alike. Even the music is not that great. There is one song that plays throughout the entire game. It is a catchy and upbeat tune that will get stuck in your head after only a few stages, but it soon gets very annoying. I basically only gave it a score for the fact that the game has any sound at all. In short, there's not much worth listening to here. This game is best played with the volume turned down and the stereo turned on.

Replay Value 9/10
This game is incredibly fun and highly addicting. I don't recommend back to back repeat playings, but every so often it is fun to come back to this game and play it over again. It is a title that, despite its dated look, ages well because of the quality of the gameplay itself.

Content/ Extras N/A
Like most NES titles, there's nothing special to unlock or explore. What you see is what you get.

Overall rating 7/10
This is an awesome puzzle title - in my opinion, one of the best out there - that stands up to many of today's more modern games. The problems aren't with the game itself. They are with the redundancy of the graphics and sound, but all things considered, these are very minor problems compared to all of the great aspects of the gameplay and design.

If you are an NES fan or a puzzle game junkie, this title is a must-own. It is cheap too, and not very hard to find at a used game trader. Don't pass this one up.

Bottom Line
When looking for a great title that works your brain more than your trigger finger, look no further. All you need is packed into this classic game

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/16/07

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