Game Review: Little Nemo: The Dream Master
Little Nemo: The Dream Master

Little Nemo Title Screen

  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Released: October 1990
  • Game Type: Action
  • Players: 1
  • Product Number: NES-LN-USA
  • Rarity: B+ (Very Rare)
    Game Ratings:
    OVERALL: 8

    Box Scan
    Little Nemo Screen 1 Little Nemo Screen 2

    Back in the NES days there were many licensed games, and some were current and well-known but others were a bit obscure. This game, in paticular, is based on an early 1900's newspaper comic strip called Little Nemo in Slumberland which was created by Windsor McCay, who supposedly created the first animated film. There was also an animated film based on the comic released in Japan that served as the basis for this game. (The movie didn't come to the U.S. until AFTER this game's release in the States.) While many NESers weren't familiar with the character, Little Nemo still turns out to be another good platformer from Capcom.

    One night in the early 20th century, a little boy named Nemo was asleep in his bed when he's awakened by a blimp outside his house. He's greeted by a visitor who claims to be from a magical place called Slumberland, and says that Princess Camille wants to invite him to Slumberland to play with him. Despite never having played with girls before, Nemo accepts the invitation and received an endless bag of candy before being transported on the blimp to Slumberland. However once Nemo meets Camille he learns King Morpheus has been captured by the evil King of Nightmares, who wants to end good dreams forever. Nemo decides to rescue King Morpheus, but that means facing the Land of Nightmares.

    Nemo's quest takes him through eight levels, or dreams. The object in each level is open the door to the next level by finding the required amount of keys that are scattered across the level. Many different creatures inhabit each level at are out to get Nemo, and he can only take a certain mumber of hits. Nemo has an endless bag of candy, which he can throw to stun enemy monsters. Not all the creatures are bad; there are some friendly animals that can help Nemo through the levels. If Nemo finds a friendly creature and feeds it three pieces of candy, Nemo can ride it or become it. There are several different animals Nemo can use nd each one has different abilities and life bars. The Frog can jump high, swim well and take out enemies with a belly flop, the Gorilla can climb walls and punch out baddies, the Lizard can also climb walls and sqeeze through small passages, the Bee can fly and shoot out stingers, the Hermit Crab can take out enemies with its pincers and dig through sand, the Mouse can climb walls and uses a hammer to break through walls, and so on. Nemo can ride as long as he wants, and can switch at any time by pressing Select to get off them. Once you find enough keys, you need to reach the door at the end of the level to move on to the next. When you reach the eight dream (Nightmare Land), Nemo recieves a Morning Star that can be used as a club or can be charged to fire shots diagonally up. You must defeat two monstrous bosses before you can challenge the Nightmare King himself.

    Graphics & Sounds:
    The graphics are pretty good. All the levels are bright and colorful and really set the mode for each level. Some of the stages have some nice background animation, like the swaying palm trees in Level 4. The sprites are well drawn and have some good details, though some of the enemies could be animated a little better. The audio is also good. Each level has a pleasant-sounding background tune that fits the stage and never really gets annoying, from the upbeat tunes of the flower garden to the spooky melodies of Nightmare Land. The sound effects are good, from splashing water to the bee's buzzing, and some of them even sound cute.

    The controls are good for the most part, though there are some issues. While Nemo himself is pretty responsive, he can't jump very high or very far, making it hard to clear large gaps. As far as the creatures go, each one controls differently. Some, like the bee, are no sweat to control, but others move too slowly like the frog and gorilla. The climbing creatures can also give you some trouble, particulaly when you try to get off the wall to the ground.

    Challenge & Playability:
    Once again Capcom delivers in the gameplay department. Little Nemo provides some good platforming action that's fun and even a little addicting. Although it's not hard to complete the game, it can be difficult at times. Nemo is basically defenseless by himself, making it necessary to find one of the good animals to survive against the monsters. There are some areas where enemies come at you endlessly, as well as some cheap spots that result in a lot of deaths. Also continue points can be few and far between in the levels, forcing you to do most or all of the stage over once you lose a life, and that involves going through most of the same steps again and again, which can get repetitive. You do get unlimited continues, but you have to start over from level 1 when you turn on the game (unless you use the level select code).

    So in the end Little Nemo still proves to be another solid release from Capcom. Great graphics and sounds combined with some good arcade action and some cute charm make this a good title to pull out and pop into your NES every so often, even though Capcom could have address some of the flaws that pop up. Even if you're way too young to remember the comic strip (which is more than likely everyone), this game is still a gamer's dream.

    - Review posted on October 23, 2007