As some of you may know, I left it to Twitter people to choose which Super Nintendo game I would review this week and, although I received some inspired bad game choices, after playing Plok for a bit, I just couldn’t resist reviewing that one.
So if the review sucks, make sure you complain to @UrzasRage on Twitter.
His idea: nothing to do with me!
Unless you like the review, of course.
A big thank you to everyone else who sent their requests, I’ll get to all those games eventually.
Now, the reason why Plok stood out, besides the fact that, once again, it bears a one-word title that sounds silly and we all know how much I like those, is quite simply that I really enjoyed it! Somehow, Plok has now become one of my favourite games to play on the SNES.
Ok, so maybe it doesn’t quite make the Top 10, there are a lot of terrific Super Nintendo games out there, but it’s in my Top 20 somewhere, for sure!
Plok is not just the sound it makes when you drop a golf ball into a frying pan, it’s also a platformer released back in 1993 and it follows the titular character as he tries to recover a flag which was stolen from his island. Upon his return, he finds that the whole place has been taken over by fleas.
No prizes for guessing what happens next.
The game is very colourful throughout and boasts some great graphics so, fear not, it does use the Super Nintendo’s capabilities very well. Plok’s first mission, to retrieve his beloved flag, sets the tone brilliantly and gets you used to your character’s unique fighting style and the controls smoothly.
Plok, as a character, is a lot of fun: I love how grumpy and angry he gets.
I swear he even says “Bah, Humbug!” at one point.
Whenever the game pulls the old “this princess is in another castle” schtick on him, Plok just loses his temper and it is a joy to behold as I’m sure it mirrors our own frustrations when playing these shamelessly manipulative games.
The best parts come when he’s so annoyed he actually starts to sound genuinely threatening!
Plok is not a fan of fleas, let’s put it this way.
Instead of hiring an experienced exterminator, Plok decides to take the law into his own hands and rid his world of every last flea making his life a living hell.
Plok’s big attack is using his own limbs as boomerangs. This may sound like a painful, not to mention exhausting, operation but, for Plok, it’s as easy as making an omelette. He’s perfectly willing to dismember himself for the sake of justice.
He can even throw his hands to turn on switches or catch inconveniently-placed shells.
Shells being kinda like the “gold rings” of this game, except accumulating them means possible extra lives and more ammunition for your other attacks. Indeed, Plok isn’t just a limb-thrower, he can do it all! This is a frankly surreal game, in case you haven’t noticed, so expect rather bizarre, if awesome, upgrades:
Fire extinguishers, flame-throwers, blunderbusses: Plok might just be one of the most versatile video game characters out there. There’s nothing he can’t do!
He even outdoes Sonic The Hedgehog at times:
Plok can turn into seesaws and roll down hills destroying everything in his path. Sonic would just lose all his rings and make that stupid surprised face upon touching some pointy armoured forest creature.
Come to think of it, Plok is like a weird mix of Sonic, Rayman and Kid Chameleon.
And Ebeneezer Scrooge, somehow.
Now I know this isn’t so much a review of the game as it is just me trying to convince you that Plok is the best thing since spoons were invented but it’s a point that needs to be made, I feel. I mean, Plok’s genius doesn’t even stop at mere weapon upgrades, the dude has like a Batcave (or “Plokcave”) full of high-tech vehicles and he isn’t too shy to use them against fleas!
He’s even got super-powerful alien technology at his disposal!
Those fleas clearly had NO idea who they were messing with.
But enough about Plok: the man, let’s talk more about Plok: the game.
Wait– he can also make fruits grow.
Right, now I’m done.
The great thing about it is that, on top of being really appealing to look at and having varied, easy-to-use controls, it’s never dull. You’ve got some bonus puzzles to mix things up a bit, loads of non-flea villains to battle and it even introduces an extra plot about halfway through to keep you involved.
In fact, the game risks jumping the shark by adding this extra plot thread since it means not playing as “The Great And Powerful Plok” for a while and, instead, taking charge of his grandfather, the amusingly named “Grandpappy Plok.”
In the past.
In a dream in the past.
Ok, I’m not sure why that happens but it does, just go with it.
Suddenly you’re playing as an old version of Plok, the game gets all sepia-toned and it becomes about finding some lost amulet you’re meant to have buried somewhere whenever. Granted this flashback/subplot becomes useful to the main plot later on but, the first time playing it, chances are you’ll be scratching your head wondering why Grandpappy Plok has hijacked your game.
Another good thing about this near shark-jump is it gives us some sort of character development for Plok. I think I now know where he got his bad temper:
By the way, if I found a human femur bone buried near my house, I probably wouldn’t say “Hurumph!!!”.
I’d probably freak out.
In all fairness, this side-mission isn’t the only time the game nearly goes completely off-track. What about this mini level that looks like it could maybe give you herpes?
This is almost as gross as that intestinal level in Earthworm Jim.
The game also makes some questionable decisions; like the use of the term “Plokontinue,” for example:
It’s no good.
There’s no such word and if there was, no-one would use it. It’s actually so awful it makes my pun in the last review look like I was quoting Emile Zola or Charles Baudelaire.
I’m also concerned about the look of the Queen Flea you fight right at the end of the game. It’s hard to explain it but there’s definitely something strange about her…
Why is she so happy?
What’s with the lipstick, eyeshadow and batting eyelashes?
I mean, I get this is the game’s way of telling us this is the Queen of the fleas, especially with the crown and everything but, seeing as she’s like 12 times bigger than the baby fleas you’ve been murdering up to this point, I’d say it’s pretty redundant to emphasize that point even more.
All in all, armed with springy shoes, Plok defeats all the fleas and finally gets to sit on his favourite chair and relax.
A well-deserved pay-off for one of the unspoken badasses of the Super Nintendo.
I highly recommend you try out Plok: it’s a little bit mad, a little bit awesome and a lot of fun all around.
Big thanks again to @UrzasRage for the request, I was looking for a good old game to sink my teeth into and I found just what I needed.
Wait a minute…