Straight from those zany pizza commercials to your Nintendo Entertainment System comes Capcom’s Yo! Noid, a strange platforming action game featuring one of advertising’s weirdest characters: the Domino’s Pizza Noid. The Noid isn’t here to ruin your pizza this time. He’s on a quest to stop his exact duplicate, Mr.Green, from wrecking the city! The player must take up the challenge and defeat Mr. Green once and for all!
The game is colorful with good graphics and fun cartoony bad guys. The backgrounds feature some interesting details and overall the game is pleasant to look at while playing. The Noid and his nemesis are both quite detailed as well and look like something you’d see on one of those wacky Domino’s Pizza commercials. There’s a fantastic cinematic cutscene at the beginning of the game, divulging the full story of the Noid’s mission. The music is charming and catchy at first, too, but with little variation and constant looping it gets old fast. It’s certainly original and provides some personality to the character, but it seems out of place for the environments and plot of the game.
Play control could use some polishing. The Noid can attack with his yo-yo, jump and execute a special attack by holding down and pressing B. He fills up the attack gauge by collecting…scrolls? Huh? Isn’t this a game about a pizza mascot? The attacks essentially clear the screen of all enemies, using up scroll energy in varying amounts depending on the type of attack. Hitting with the yo-yo is easy enough with a decent range, but sometimes a lag between pushing the button and the yo-yo swinging becomes a point of frustration. Especially because some enemies can require multiple hits to destroy. Jumping is adequate, but landing can be tough as the Noid tends to skid or slip as he falls. This is especially detrimental in the ice stage where he slips and slides all over the place. Thankfully there’s a secret minigame that will take the Noid to the end of the stage. And that’s only the second level!
Level design is colorful but occasionally awkward and always challenging. The game drops the Noid into a moving pier in the first stage and never lets up. Later stages include vehicle challenges where the Noid rides a skateboard, a pizza stomper, and a unique helicopter to overcome his various challenges. These are fun once you get used to them and memorize some of the hazards, but a first time or novice player will struggle with even the first level. The Noid can only take a single hit before getting spoiled himself, so good reflexes and memory are essential here. Worse, the Noid starts at the beginning of the stage after each chance is lost. So have fun with that. Three lives and three continues are all the player gets to win the game, with the opportunity to acquire additional lives or continues present at different points along the Noid’s bizarre journey.
Then there are the laborious and game-halting pizza eating contests that pop up after every odd-numbered stage. These are basic card-based challenges where one player has to play a card with a higher numerical value than the other to win. It stops the game dead in its tracks and simply isn’t fun.
What Yo! Noid lacks in polish, it makes up for in charm and challenge. The game isn’t easy but it is fun with the right mindset and approach. Is it going on anyone’s top ten list? No. Does it have much replay value? Not especially. Is it a hidden gem? Not even close. Coming from Capcom the game is a bit of a disappointment given how great some of their other efforts like DuckTales and Rescue Rangers have been. A little extra research revealed that the game itself wasn’t developed by Capcom, which probably explains the stale soundtrack and mediocre level design. Still, it’s not as bad as a ton of other games on the NES, but it’s just nothing special either. Give this one a rental first before dropping your hard-earned dough.
Yo! Noid Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: MEDIOCRE
Yo! Noid isn’t the best game, but it isn’t horrible either. It’s probably best to enjoy it the same way you’re enjoy a pizza: once in a while and not a part of your regular diet.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.