Momoko 120%

Also Known As: Urusei Yatsura: Lum no Wedding Bell (NES port)
Platform: Arcade (Unique hardware)
Other Platforms: NES
Developer: Jaleco
Publisher: Jaleco
Released: 1986
Genre: Platformer - Scrolling
Players: 1-2 (Alternating)

Momoko 120% looks really stupid, and, well, it is. Cute, cuddly games like this were all the rage in the late 80s (see also: Fantasy Zone, Teddy Boy Blues) and they all had two things in common; they were absolutely adorable to look at, and they were also as hard as hell. This game doesn't break from that tradition. As the poor waif Momoko, you have to make your way to the top of a building that's not only been infested with aliens, but is also on fire. The flames act as a time limit and don't give you much time to dawdle, so as soon as each stage starts, you'd better get moving. Make it to the top and grab the escape blimp to grow up and move on to the next stage. That makes total sense, right?

Making your way up the towering inferno couldn't be simpler. Momoko can walk, jump, duck, fire her handgun (which can be upgraded nine times) and utilise various contraptions to get ahead- she can use doors in the background as a shortcut (which sometimes takes you to a bonus round, and other times sends you further away from the goal) and use ladders, trampolines, moving platforms, monkey bars and escalators to get up to the next floor. Initially, the controls feel a little sluggish- Momoko is a tad slow, and it'll take you a bit of practice to get used to the weird, floaty jump- but once you've put some time into it, the only thing preventing you from getting far is the small army of aliens baying for Momoko's blood. Obviously, there's the typical generic enemies that just make a beeline for you and ones that fling fire at you, but later stages introduce weird enemies like flying, uh, 'things' that slowly creep down the screen to bonk you on the head and drip enemies that fall from the top of the screen.

The bright, cheerful graphics might be a bit of an eyesore for some (seriously, they're so bright you might want to bring some shades) and the music's on a constant loop, but damnit, this is a great game, because it's in the classic arcade style- as you get through each stage, the game throws new enemies and contraptions at you and the enemies become more aggressive and numerous and the controls are tight enough that you'll be able to pull off any manouvres you need to in time. Since the game loops once you reach the sixth stage and there's no continues allowed, it's got the high-score mentality going for it, and it's terribly addictive. Once you blow a credit on it, you'll be itching to play it again.

Under normal circumstances, I'd rate this game as high as I could, because I absolutely love it. It's cute, it's addictive, and perfect for high-score runs. Unfortunately, the game suffers from a few weird glitches, and while they're mostly graphical, the unfortunate escalator glitch- wherein you go down a floor rather than up- happens a lot, resulting in an unfair death. In a game like this, where every life you have is precious, I couldn't let it slide. Well, that and the sugar-sweet theme might be off-putting for some. This, by no means, completely ruins the game, but it does hurt it quite a bit- enough for me to knock a star off it- and it's something you need to be informed about. These issues aside, Momoko 120% has those wonderful arcade game qualities- it's simple to pick up but once you reach the later stages, the game pulls no punches, and for that alone, it's recommended.

For its easy to learn and hard to master nature, Momoko 120% is awarded...

In a sentence, Momoko 120% is...
Proof that the only thing that can ruin an arcade game is a faulty escalator.

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