|Mr. Do!||Super NES|
|Review by Don Evanoff||Blue Pearl||Arcade|
Universal gave us a gem to treasure when it introduced Mr. Do the arcade scene. Simple controls allowed anyone to jump in and play, fun and energetic colors kept you feeling great and never bored. And catchy little tunes kept the pace animated, not stressed. Hey, how could you go wrong with everybody’s favorite combination; clowns and balls? Who doesn’t like clowns (except that kid on Montel who would hide whenever a McDonald’s commercial would come on. Maybe this would be tragic if it wasn’t so damned funny), and who can do without balls? But jokes aside, this little surreal circus surprise still sucks us in. Maybe derivative of Dig-Dug with its tunneling aspect, the point accumulation of Pac-Man, and simple but vivid character designs of any of our favorite 8-bit era games, Mr. Do is a hard one to put down. And on the Super Nintendo, this is true as well.
SNES provided us with a superb port of this golden era hit. Screen design and color are almost perfect, with slight distortion due to the difference in aspects between an arcade monitor and television screen. The playfields still capture the pastels and caddy-corner shades of the arcade brilliantly with only a slight resolution softening, again probably due to the differences between arcade monitors and home television. Sound samples are, for the most part, dead on. Emulations usually lose something in the translation, here most notably the “death” score, when Mr. Do gets hit by Badguys, Diggers, Blue Chompers, Alphamonsters, an apple, or is targeted by an opponent Do in the head-to-head play. That sample is a little gruff, grating at times, but not foreign to anyone’s ears. And character animations and game play are solid. You don’t see shortcuts taken with character movements to help save megs, and aspects of game play, such as ball regeneration and monster gobbling, aren’t stunted or deleted, adding further value to the port. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security here.
Somehow, for some reason, even today, we still get emulations of 8-bit games on higher capacity machines with slow-down. And, although this emulation was programmed about ten years ago, we are still talking about a 16-bit machine running an 8-bit game. There probably is a reason for it, but I just don’t want to accept it. Slow-down is noticeable during an apple drop over a long distance, especially with two or more Badguys, Diggers, Blue Chompers, whatever the heck is chasing you, are present on the screen and in the line of fire of the apple. Slow-down also rears its ugly head with ball regeneration when the action gets hot and heavy. Again, with a bevy of monsters on the screen, slow-down kicks in once that ball begins to regenerate back into the clown’s hands. Unfortunately, the biggest and steadiest occurrence of slow-down is during the prized head-to-head mode. Too much action can happen too quickly for the SNES, and the emulation soon becomes Baywatch beach-running scene instead of the fast-paced clown-eat-ball action that you were hoping for.
Overall, there is almost nothing you can complain about with the Super Nintendo version of this game, except maybe the collector’s asking price for this cart today. The game fields look damn good, the sounds are top notch, the integrity of the original game is maintained, down to the familiar (un)animated cut sequences between levels, and Nintendo even threw in a kick-ass head-to-head mode variant that, despite suffering from slow-down a little too often, shows the programmers put thought and enthusiasm into their work, not just a copyright attorney. Compare it to the original, if you can (perhaps a good mame emulation is the closest you can get these days) and you’ll see this is a must for any classic game or Nintendo collector. Even if you haven’t played the game in the past, check this one out, and you too will be enjoying clowns and balls like so many of us.
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