After a morbid couple of releases, let's move on to something a bit more light-hearted for Mother's Day. And what could be more light-hearted than a clown! A child clown to be precise, who goes by the name of Kid Klown...
Kid Klown began its life as none other than Mickey Mouse in the Japanese NES game Mickey Mouse III. At the time there were licensing issues as Capcom held the rights to develop Disney games for Nintendo in the West. This lead to a quick re-skin from one of Disney's greats to a dumpy looking circus clown.
It arrived in the US in 1993, fairly late in the NES's life with 16-bit consoles being all the rage. Us Europeans were again unlucky in that it missed us altogether. It's a shame because the controls are tight and the game-play fun, with an inventive use of balloons as your main weapon. The only problem was a fairly bland protagonist.
A year later saw a sequel released on the Super Nintendo and everything changed. Our jumping jester went from looking like a gruff old man with a five-o-clock shadow (the kind of clown that kidnaps and kills for fun) to a cutesy prancing Pierrot.
He went from this (Hide your children! Hide your wives!);
To this (much nicer);
The style of game also changed. The standard 2D platformer has morphed into an isometric race against time (being the Crazy Chase of the title), trying your best to avoid obstacles and disarm a bomb! The animation has greatly improved as well, being amongst the pinnacle for the system. Each time you run into a trap, or get hurt in any way an often humourous animation is begins.
This is the best game in the bunch and the reason why I have decided to give all of these games a pardon from the chamber. It's a challenging, yet entertaining game and one that raised the fearful fool to franchise status. For the most part, however, this franchise would remain only in Japan, and few would come close to the lofty highs presented here.
First came the direct follow up to the SNES game, Kid Klown no Crazy Chase Two and the best of a continuing downward spiral. Released on the PlayStation in 1996, the game-play is pretty much the same as its predecessor except that it is entirely polygonal. It is because of this that a lot of the charm that came from the prat falls are now lost, with the number of death animations drastically reduced, Luckily the fun-factor has returned, retaining a playability that does transcend the language barrier.
The next game, also to be exclusively released in Japan, was strangely enough for the original GameBoy entitled Soreyuke!! Kid (roughly translated as Go! Go! Kid). Another game where you don't really need to know any Japanese to enjoy, but what enjoyment you get is limited. Essentially it is a collect-a-thon where you need to find all of the keys in a given stage in order to progress, all the while avoiding the enemies. It gets tedious very fast and the poor graphics, even for the GameBoy, don't help. It is even more inexcusable when you consider that this was released in 1997! Definitely the low point of the entire series.
We shift gears again for the final original title in the collection; another PlayStation game entitled The Bombing Islands. This would see us Europeans one-upping our American friends by being released in 1998 - a full four years before our pals beyond the pond. This is a puzzle game in a similar fashion to Sakoban or Bombuzal. You are tasked with ridding the surrounding islands of bombs by blowing the islands up! At the same time, you'd have to maneuver yourself to a safe section in order to proceed. It's a slight game, more in keeping with what you'd get on your tablets, but fun nonetheless.
Our final game is a re-release of the best in the series. Crazy Chase (the first one) graced our hand-held screens in 2002, making use of the GameBoy Advance's hardware similarity to the SNES. While a lot of Super Nintendo ports made its way to the system, very few offered anything new to the experience and Crazy Chase is no different. The only change I can see is that Kid Klown has been demoted by being removed from the title.
Kemco desperately wanted Kid Klown to become their mascot, a franchise to rival that of Mario, Sonic or even Gex. Sadly the once promising replacement to Disney's finest floundered in a string of uninspired side projects. It's a shame that the best of the sequels, Kid Klown Two, never saw a release to the English speaking world. While it may not have given Crash Bandicoot much trouble, it would've run circus rings around the like of Bubsy.
Why not check them out for yourself. All of the above games are in packaged in the download below, working well on modern PCs. The tales of a clumsy clown may get a few chuckles out of you, especially the Crazy Chase games. Let us know what you think in the comment!
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses Retroarch with the Mednafen, NEStopia, SNES9x, TGBDual and VBA_Nest cores to emulate these games on PCs. XBox 360 controllers supported. Some manuals included. Tested on Windows 7.
Version 2 - Compressed ROM files. Improved menu. Made mergeable.
* MERGEABLE *
This title can be installed to the same directory as other mergeable titles. See the full list HERE.
Kid Klown is © Kemco
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me