Snake Rattle 'N Roll (NES) review
"Snake Rattle 'n Roll is a fun little NES game that will leave most of you scratching your heads after playing it, this isn't because the game will give you head lice, it's because it's such a strange little game you'll question the sanity of those that developed it. You take the roll of a snake, actually it's just the head of a snake, and you must build up its tail, make it really heavy and then get out of the level you're in. There might be a story attached to this, but if there is I just don't..."
Snake Rattle 'n Roll is a fun little NES game that will leave most of you scratching your heads after playing it, this isn't because the game will give you head lice, it's because it's such a strange little game you'll question the sanity of those that developed it. You take the roll of a snake, actually it's just the head of a snake, and you must build up its tail, make it really heavy and then get out of the level you're in. There might be a story attached to this, but if there is I just don't want to know about it. Despite all the oddities this is a reasonably playable game and only a few shortcomings ruin what could have almost been a ''classic''.
The graphics of Snake Rattle 'n Roll are very vibrant, with the immense amounts of bright colours jumping out at you it's generally a pleasure to look at! The characters in the game are mostly everyday objects that have been recycled into enemies and the like, you'll be attacked by baddies such as old tires and things that look a surprising amount like toilet seats. There are other more generic enemies such as a Bigfoot or a toadstool, and of course there's the ubiquitous shark in the water, but at least they're all designed well. The characters as a whole are a fairly imaginative gathering, having fairly high amounts of detail and great colour schemes, they really STAND OUT from the screen. The other characters, which are named ''Nibbly-Pibblys'', have some nice animations. You'll giggle all day and all night as you watch these little balls sprout legs and run all over the place, all of the animations are actually pretty good now that you mention it! The characters have been done very well, combining humour and looks to form a package that could be likened to dynamite.
The surroundings have been designed very nicely, having many great characteristics that make them very fun to look at. All of the ground you run across has been cut up into little squares, these are coloured in using to shades of the same colour, making a nice chess board type look. The backgrounds themselves use mainly the same colour as the ground but always have some other stuff put in there to make a more interesting graphical look. Then of course there's the ground and the sky, both of which are usually very nice shades of blue. As a whole the surroundings complement its inhabitants nicely and look very sharp themselves, not a shabby effort at all!
Overall, the graphics have been done very well! There isn't anything in there at all that might be considered an attempt at realism but it's the quirkiness of the graphics that make them stand out from the crowd. Some of the brightest scenes you'll ever see without them becoming too garish, it's been thought out very well and it's paid off, GOOD GRAPHICS!
The sound is very good, not quite the best you can get out of your NES but still a superb effort nonetheless. The soundtrack is superb; they've taken a whole lot of rock and roll tracks and converted them into a bouncier and happier version. There are quite a few tracks in the game, pretty much one for each level, and each one of them has many toe-tapping qualities. It's definitely one of the more memorable soundtracks out there; these tunes have the ability to stick in your mind even when you're not playing the game! These themes never got overly annoying, there's not a large amount of repetition so they do have a rather large amount of enjoyability (not a real word but who cares). The soundtrack is probably one of the highlights of the game!
The sound effects also have a fair amount of quality in them; they're usually bright chirpy sounds that fit in very nicely with the rest of the game. There is a wide collection of them and you'll struggle to find any that sound too bad. Most of them fit their accompanying action very well, and of course all of this adds up to a package of sound effects which is very nice indeed. I'll admit it, there are a few out there that will rattle your skull, but these don't pop up an awful lot so you should be safe for most of the game. A nicer group of sound effects you'll never meet!
Overall, the whole sound scheme is very adept in creating a nice bubbly atmosphere and for that reason it must receive full marks. There are extremely few flaws in this whole section, you'll find yourself loving this cutesy soundtrack to bits, a great effort indeed!
The gameplay of Snake Rattle 'n Roll is very interesting, but unfortunately has the few flaws that really hurt this game. The controls of the game are fairly simple, of course you move around with the directional pad and the two action buttons will make your snakey jump and poke his tongue out. This tongue is a useful little thing, it can be used to kill any enemies that gets in its way, and it can also catch and swallow those cute little nibbly-pibblys. The characters are only reasonably responsive to your control inputs and they move fairly quickly, and these two traits can often lead to a lot of trouble!
Now then, the levels are viewed via a camera above the playing field which gives it a nice 3D look. Your snake can move up and down, which is a nice change from the mundane left and right that a lot of NES games limit you to. This can also create a whole lot of trouble though, due to the poor design of the levels. For some reason the level designers felt it necessary to put a lot of jumps into their levels, jumps that require you to jump a little bit down then another direction around a corner. This means that you have to push a confusing random series of buttons and you'll usually waste 3 or 4 lives trying to make ONE STUPID JUMP! As you can tell by the capital letters on the last words, this is something that really annoys me and it will annoy you too.
This is not the end of the level design woes, you can go through a very difficult section of a level (which will usually have a lot of those corner jumps) and pass it first time which will make you think much of yourself. Of course it could never be THAT simple, there will always be one last extra tough corner jump, one which you'll have no chance of making and you'll miss and fall down to where you were a number of minutes ago. The level design is pretty good in the first level or two, but just gets worse with every stage increase.
At the end of every level (if you have the intestinal fortitude to get there) there is a little door for you to exit from, but this door is sealed shut! That's why there is a set of scales sitting nonchalantly, in close proximity to this door. To make this door open you must make the dingy dongy thing on the scales hit the top, much like that test of strength thing at the carnivals. If you want this thing to hit the top, then your snake is going to have to beef up, and that means eating nibbly-pibblys! You will usually find nibbly-pibblys in a concentrated area of the level and that's where you'll have to feed. But beware! If an enemy hits you then a part of your tail will drop off (making you way less) and you'll have to backtrack to the darn feeding areas again!
There are a few pick-ups that can be used to make your snake a powerhouse, you can extend his tongue, make him move faster, make him temporarily invincible and of course much more! A lot of things such as extra lives are placed in precarious positions, so you'll probably die getting them, BUT WE DON'T CARE, DO WE? There's also an annoying little time limit that was obviously very important to the developers, and at times it can appear to be ridiculously short. The last little extra thing is a bonus round where you can test your nibbly-pibbly eating skills, it's good fun but often just wastes the time you have left to finish the level.
In a game like this there couldn't not be a two-player mode, so if you've got a sibling or friend of some sort then you're in luck. The game plays the same as the single player mode, but you can use your collective weights to set off the scales! There's also a nagging little problem in which one player can't go ahead of the other (no split-screen option) and if one player mucks up a corner jump then their associate will often be dragged into the pit as well. Many wedgies and noogies have been delivered as a result of this flaw.
Overall, the gameplay had some very nice ideas, and it had a lot of potential. But there are those flaws, there's not a large amount of them but unfortunately they are enough to ruin the playability of the game. I suppose if you manage to get those corner jumps mastered then you could really enjoy this game, but I just don't see it happening!
The lifespan of the game is only mid-range! A person could be hooked in for a reasonable amount of time by the novelty value of the game, but the precision required by the game will soon turn a large percentage of these gamers off. It is a game that will take you a fair amount of time to complete, but whether you'll persist until the finale is a completely different question. I suppose there area few people out there who will play this game A LOT, but it's unlikely there are too many people who will get a full lifespan out of Snake Rattle 'n Roll.
The fun factor would also be somewhere in the middle, because the game is so darn odd you're likely to enjoy it at first. However the holes in the gameplay will soon become apparent and they can really suck the fun out of a game quite quickly. The two-player mode does add a bit more enjoyment to the game but it's not really enough to save this category!
The challenge of Snake Rattle 'n Roll would be somewhere between medium and high, the first two levels are the equivalent of a stroll in the park, but from there on they get increasingly more difficult until you're ripping all kinds of hair out of your body! It takes a lot of practice to be able to successfully complete the levels after number four, so be prepared for some heavy training if you want to topple this game.
THE FINAL PARAGRAPH
Snake Rattle 'n Roll is a game that looked quite promising, it had a top graphics and sound design and had enough novelty to appeal to the masses. Unfortunately there were those gosh darn annoying flaws that just let the rest of the game down completely. If only the designs of the levels were fixed up then we could have had a killer game on our hands! Nevertheless, this game is still worth a look, albeit a smaller one than you would usually do. You might as well give this game a bit of a go, who knows, it might just grow on you!
- Top graphics
- Top sound
- Top points for quirkiness
NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Yucky level designs
- Icky controls at times
- A little bit too hard for most people
GRAPHICS - 8/10
SOUND - 10/10
GAMEPLAY - 5/10
LIFESPAN - 6/10
FUN FACTOR - 6/10
CHALLENGE - 5/10
OVERALL - 6/10
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)
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