Snake Rattle n Roll
System: NES Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Rare
Genre: Action Type: Isometric Platformer Circa: 1990
Meet Rattle and Roll!...Rattle tries to break the record

Snake Rattle n Roll is one of the more unique and unusual NES games I've played. The basic idea is that you are a snake, and you have to eat everything in sight on your way up a mountain to capture a flag at the top. Of course, this is easier said than done, since the mountain is full of diabolical obstacles and enemies that get in your way. Also, you must eat enough "pibbleys" in each level so that your tail will grow, and you'll weigh enough to tip the scale that opens the door to the next level. SRNR also has a very fun 2-player mode in which both players play simultaneously. The first thing you'll notice about SRNR is that it is an isometric game. In other words, it is shown from a 3/4 overhead view, similar to that of the more recent Super Mario RPG. This presents some unique gameplay and graphics, but it also presents some problems.
As far as NES graphics go, these are among the best that I have seen. This is due partially to the cool, isometric 3-D view, and partially to the bright colors and whimsical characters used. The levels have a very "surreal" look to them. The characters, enemies, items, and background elements all look very good, and some objects almost look "rendered"...or at least as close to ACM rendering that NES graphics could get. My only complaint in this department is that all the objects and characters look rather small, but they aren't so small that you can't tell what they are. The enemies are very original and strange, too, such as a crazy toilet seat that chases after you, bouncing mushrooms, a vinyl record that bounces back and forth, and a giant foot that pops out of some holes. The score of 9 may seem a bit generous, but I remember looking at screenshots of this game years ago when it first came out and thinking that the graphics just looked amazing. I still think it looks as good as, if not better than some 16-bit games.
Subliminal Advertising - the floors here spell out GAMEBOY!...Krazy toilet seats!
SOUND: 8.5/10
Snake Rattle n Roll's sound is almost as high-quality as the graphics. I could listen to the Level 3 music forever! If someone were playing a recording of that, and I didn't know it was from a game, there's a possibility that I wouldn't have guessed. I like most of the other music, but not as much as Level 3. The title theme is an NES rendition of "Shake Rattle and Roll". The sound effects are also very good, and somewhat realistic, too. When your snake snacks on a pibbley, it really sounds like he's smacking his lips. When he spits out the shell, he makes a "spitting" sound. When you fall into water, you'll hear a sound effect that sounds like the "Jaws" theme as a shark closes in on you. And by far, one of the best and funniest NES sound effects I've ever heard is when your Snake falls off a cliff and yells, "Arrrrrrrrggggghhhhh!" The only downside here is that a few of the musical numbers can be aggravating when you listen to them for too long.
Snake Rattle n Roll's control can be a little tricky to master. This is mostly due to the isometric game view. It can sometimes be difficult to judge distance when making jumps. Many times I end up falling off the sides of things, or not quite making the jump. The snake's jumping ability is a bit limited, too. And there are areas that force you to jump around corners that can be nearly impossible to do without losing a ton of lives practicing. But for most purposes, the play control is really not that bad. The jumping takes a lot of getting used to, but I think it adds to the challenge of the game, meaning you have to be precise in many areas, and you can't just plow through the levels. Thankfully, using your snake tongue to eat or destroy things is very easy to do.
Almost at the top......I'm sure this stage has claimed many a gamer
In Snake Rattle n Roll, two snakes are working their way up a mountain, eating everything in sight. Their goal is to capture a flag at the top and go to the moon. We don't really know why, but it's probably best not to question it. This game is an obstacle course, not an epic novel. But it does have a stylish, surrealistic game world and a zany atmosphere that is unique and unlike anything else I've yet seen.
One thing I will say about this game: IT IS HARD! I'll admit right now, that although I have played this game numerous, numerous times, I have never been able to beat it (and I don't think I've ever heard of anyone else being able to beat it without using cheat codes.) The first 2-3 levels will seem very easy to most players, but beyond that the challenge level escalates into the "pull-your-hair-out-gnash-your-teeth" zone. I wouldn't have minded this challenge level at all, except that you have limited continues and no save feature. I wish Rare had made it easier to gain extra lives. Perhaps they could have given you an extra life upon attaining a certain number of points. (Why have a point-scoring system if you don't earn extra lives for a certain amount?) Despite its difficulty, the game is not unplayable. I have gotten quite far in it, and loved every minute of it. If you're looking for a really, really challenging NES game, this might just be the one for you!
FUN: 8/10
This game has its ups and downs, but overall I think it is a very decent NES action game. It's a lesser-known game, and I have a tendency to take a liking to rare gems such as these. What makes it so fun and challenging is that each new level presents new obtacles and enemies. One example of this - most of the enemies in the game can be beaten by leaping onto them, but one level is full of spike enemies that cannot be defeated that way. Also, the pibbleys change from level to level. At first, they only roll, so they are easy to catch. But as you progress, their movement changes, making them harder to catch. For example, in one level they bounce and splatter like putty. In other levels they grow wings or propellors and can fly! This makes for a progressively challenging and interesting game. The game is also loaded with taxing jumps of increasing difficulty and skill requirements. You will have to make jumps to moving platforms, off of water geysers, disappearing flying carpets, and across slippery ice blocks. There's even a level where you swim all around the screen! The only drawback is the tricky play control, which can make navigating some levels really frustrating.
On a Magic Carpet Ride!...Bouncing Mushrooms go well with pizza

Even though I've never finished this game and wish that someday I could, I still replay it fairly often. There's something very addicting about the unique style of play and the surrealistic gameworld that I love. Even if you can't beat this game, it can be fun to replay it, just to try to improve your score, or your performance on each level, ie, trying to get through by losing less lives, or using less continues, etc. In conclusion, I think this is a fairly decent NES action game. It's not the greatest, but it's a above average. So, if you still have an NES and find this game lying under a rock, or in a garage sale, or a used game store, you may want to give it a try!
OVERALL SCORE (not an average): 7.5/10



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