Clu Land makes me happy when I play it, and I’m not really
why, because it’s honestly not that great of a game.
Basically, some team within Nintendo thought they could come up with a
decent arcade game in the tradition of classics like Pac-Man. Instead
ruined almost everything that makes a good arcade game memorable. The
controls are needlessly complex, and the the difficulty level
unreasonably high and the over all experience frustrating and
Just going from Level 1 to Level 2 feels more like you’ve
from Level 1 to Level 5, and the game gets tough so fast that only the
first few levels are even enjoyable, as after that, the game simply
goes so fast that it becomes near impossible to clear the board without
instantly crashing into an enemy, falling into a hole, or running out
You move around the board by swinging
on poles to change direction. I’m sure
the developers thought that this was a great innovation, but all it
does is make the controls clunky and unresponsive.
Basically, Clu Clu Land’s levels are a field with a grid of
staked out within it.
the Crab can only change direction by holding out either her right or
left claw, and swinging around the nearest pole until you let go of the
D-Pad, hopefully launching her in the direction you want her to go.
Moving this way has a learning curve, but it’s actually
manageable for the first couple of levels, but once you get around
Level 4, the game simply demands too many fast paced, precise movements
for the player to keep up.
score points and clear the boards by collecting Rupees that are
hidden between the poles. The Rupees are invisible until you actually
collect them, and they are arranged so that once you clear the board,
they form a simple picture of something like an eagle, a submarine, a
butterfly, a mushroom, and so on.
Besides the Rupees, there are also enemy sea urchins that
unless you stun them first by firing your crab’s always
sonar beam, and black holes that kill you unless you are holding on to
a pole while passing over them. The game also has a really lovely habit
of re-spawning you directly in the path of enemies with no hope of
survival, which the game will do repeatedly, ruining your game through
no fault of your own.
Clu Clu Land becomes so difficult so quickly, that most
won’t even survive long enough to realize that there are fun
little bonus rounds after
every five levels, or that if you have the
patience and luck to reach level 20, you’ll find that the
will slow down to Level 1 speeds, and that rolling over Rupees
you’ve already collected now causes them to disappear again,
adding a whole new challenging and frustrating dimension to the game.
For a reward of a High Score that won’t even save to the Game
Pak, mastering Clu Clu Land is just not worth the effort.
Had the developers played their own game even once, they would have
quickly found that it’s easy to, without warning, become
bouncing endlessly between two otherwise benign pink bumpers, forcing
the player to lose by running out of time. There’s no way
could have overlooked this problem, and I honestly don’t
the creators even cared enough to fix it.
Despite pretty much having nothing but complaints about Clu Clu Land,
it isn’t a terrible game. I find myself entertained and
amused by this
game, and for some reason or another, I keep coming back to it.
It’s probably a combination of the music, the cute
and the fact that the layout of pegs on the board reminds me of playing
with Mom back when I was
The saddest part is that only a few minor tweeks could have
this game a truely great classic.
It’s worth a try if you’re interested in the NES,
Clu Land was a launch game, but don’t pay more than five
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