Little Red Hood
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  • HES
  • Sachen
  • Adventure - Maze/Puzzle/Explore (example - Zelda,Tomb Raider)
  • 1989
  • 1 or 2
  • none
  • 7
  • $15.00
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4  |  Sachen/HES: Little Red Hood
JAnderson , 12/31/2004 12:40:01 AM
Little Red Hood is one of the few games to come out through Taiwanese game company Sachen. No one seems to know anything about the company, really. Most of their games came out through AVE, Color Dreams, or HES. Poker III 5 In 1 seems to be the company's only direct release(that I have been able to determine. Finding info on Sachen is hard, especially on their games and who exactly made them. Actually, it's practically impossible!). This release comes to us via HES of Australia.

As the title implies, Little Red Hood is based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Loosely based. Shy of the trip to grandmothers, thats about it.

Effectively speaking, Little Red Hood is a strange game. It suffers from rather poor coding. It suffers from the fact that the game seems to be based on random searching for a key, then random searching for the exit. There is no rhyme or reason to the game. The game is exceedingly hard thanks to these bugs. For example, in level 1, though in all levels but level 6, really, the setup is as follows-

Two screens compose the main level board. Each screen has an extrance to a shop. This shop sells either the invincibility potion, a health-regenerating heart(a HUMAN heart, no less...) and a sort of throwing weapon which is somewhat useless. Red Hood can kick, or jump. Kicking is useful for knocking fruit out of trees or turning over the rocks. It can't kill enemies. Jumping moves you forward as you jump, but shy of the exceedingly hard level 3 river cross, jumping is unnecessary. If you have the dart weapon, then jumping is disabled until your ammo runs out.

Little Red HoodOutside, small ninja gnomes run around randomly. Kicking over rocks will reveal either a porpupine, scorpion, health candy, money, a balloon(which takes you to a short bonus area) or a dog. The dog runs around randomly, killing enemies. But your enemies regenerate the second they die! anyway, which makes the dog useless. The money looks like small crowns or flower tops or something else which doesn't resemble money(I have to think of the scene in the film Oscar where Tim Curry mocks a bag of ladies undergarments dumped out in front of him - when he was told it was a bag full of cash - "Oh, look! Here's money.... and, here's MORE money..."). Occasionally, you'll see either flashing candy or money. I'm not sure if this is anything special or a coding bug.

Kicking trees drops fruit. Picking this up seems important to exiting the level, but i'm unsure HOW... the game offers no hints. And the instructions offer no hints. Stairways appear at random, probably not in any triggerable way. You basically go down them, dodge the two enemies, grab the items, and hope this is the one with the key. The key is as random as the stairs. However, you MUST collect the fruit once you have the key to unlock the exit. The exit is identified by a yellow bordered staircase. How much fruit is hard to say, assuming it's even a set amount.

The game is insanely hard. Enemies are hard to kill and pointless to kill. The level 2 key guardian will kill you the second you touch it, regardless of health. And the potion doesn't work. Instead, you must let an enemy hurt you and run through while flashing to get the key. Did I mention the level 3 river crossing? YES, I did... you will die instantly if you hit the water. And actually crossing is a matter of extreme luck. Thankfully, you have a health meter, and finding candy is easy. Even if some things instantly kill you, others do not.

The game is ten levels long. Level 6 is a break from the norm, being an underwater level.

Truth be told, the graphics are fairly decent. Nothing stunning, but nothing that looks terribly rushed. Despite the bugs, the graphics and framerate are smooth. However, the trees tend to look decidedly tropical for the supposed European setting of the story. Granted, at times it can be hard to tell what something IS... the gnomes look rather blocky, compared to the squishy characters on the label artwork. The oddball human heart as a power-up rather than a traditional heart shape is also a bit weird. Oddly, the heart is the best drawn thing in the game.

An unfortunate sound bug exists, however. Typically, jumping or throwing the dart produces a whistle noise, which doesn't cut off like it should once the sound ends. You either have to kick a tree or leave the room to end it. Again, poor coding shows its ugly head.

If this were a licensed game, if this were even a game that had been worked on for a little more time, it could have been good. It's kinda fun once you figure out how to actually play, but insanely hard and rather buggy. And in the tradition of HES cartridges, if you actually plan on playing this on an NES, either have a toploader, a Famicom with an adaptor, or plan on sticking a licensed game onto the top of the cartridge, since the game has no lockout chip, and in the same manner as Super Noah's Ark 3D, uses a native game's lockout chip.

It's not a great game. It's barely a good game. It's a game you play to check out, and keep playing just so you can say that you actually accomplished SOMETHING despite the difficulty. It's rather average. Though I have played worse licensed NES titles. It's a game you buy for the rarity. It has a cute factor to it despite the rather cheesy and lame presentation. As Hunter Thompson put it, "...too weird to live, too rare to die". It does not rank up with the Zeldas or Startropics or even the Mothers of the NES era, let alone coming off as an odd Arkista's Ring clone. It's nothing stellar, but has just enough going for it to keep it slipping into the realm of unwanted, forgotten gaming completely. It's unique, and that alone grabs our interest. It can almost be fun if you let it. (Score: 4/10)

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