Banana Nababa (PC) review
"Gamers who have played Banana Nababa, an 8-bit boss rush game, will tell you it's a fun, yet difficult, title. Now, at this point, if you've never played Banana Nababa, you're probably pretty intrigued. I mean, a tough, boss battle game that's designed to look, play, and sound like an NES title? Wow, it feels like dreams are growing on trees, only falling to the ground and... I got nothing. I, too, was curious about this game when I saw it for the first time in a video, being playe..."
Gamers who have played Banana Nababa, an 8-bit boss rush game, will tell you it's a fun, yet difficult, title. Now, at this point, if you've never played Banana Nababa, you're probably pretty intrigued. I mean, a tough, boss battle game that's designed to look, play, and sound like an NES title? Wow, it feels like dreams are growing on trees, only falling to the ground and... I got nothing. I, too, was curious about this game when I saw it for the first time in a video, being played by someone who wouldn't stop talking the entire time. So, I went out of my way to search long and hard for Banana Nababa (i.e. typed its name in a popular search engine), downloaded it, started it up, and hoped that I was going to play an enjoyable game, reminiscent of enjoyable games.
A few seconds into my first boss fight, where I took control of a... a paper bag with eyes, fighting against a floating mask, cleverly named Voodoo Mask, I already realized this game was going to be hard. On your first playthrough, you might mistake the game's difficulty on Voodoo Mask's refusal to go down easily. After depleting this foe's health bar with the infinite amount of Axes and Spears your character, Harry Flowerpower (I'm not making that up...), has tucked away in his paper bag, you assume the fight is over. Instead, you'll watch that ugly mask fall off its face, revealing an equally ugly face that shoots laser beams. Voodoo Mask's health bar gets fully replenished, while you're stuck patching yours by picking up the limited amount of little, white dots sprinkled on the ground. Get used to these "surprises", because you'll be experiencing them in every fight.
However, as you attempt to make progress in Banana Nababa, you realize that it's not the bosses that make the game tough to play. They're actually not that bad at all, they just appear to be challenging. The real culprit here is the annoying control layout. Moving left and right is assigned to the arrow buttons, the jump button is F and C, the attack button is D and V, and the weapon change button is given to the SPACE bar. Using the arrow buttons is simple, but imagine having to continually shift back and forth between the jump and attack buttons in a game that demands precision and timing. You'll be in a constant state of discomfort when you're playing Banana Nababa because of this. By the time I was finished with the first boss, my left hand was ready to go stiff, and I actually had to quit the game at that point since I was concerned my hand would fall off...
Thankfully, Banana Nababa autosaves after every fight. If it didn't have that, this would have been a masochist's dream come true. It's like trying to move Mario with the NES's buttons, and using the down and right arrows to jump and attack in Super Mario Brothers. Or make Gordon Freeman walk back and forth with the mouse, and have him turn left, right, up, and down with the W, S, A, and D buttons in Half-Life. Maybe whoever created Banana Nababa didn't know how to program custom configurations for players. If that was the case, they could have at least gone the distance of offering different configuration settings. But we don't have that, and we're stuck with a game that could have been average at best, but ends up being knocked down a few notches thanks to an uncomfortable control layout.
Now, you can get by the first two boss fights without much trouble, even with your hand going numb. Everything after that, though... just... don't be in a bad mood when you play Banana Nababa.
Community review by pickhut (January 24, 2009)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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