Plok (Super Nintendo) Review

By Adam Riley 27.09.2003 1

Review for Plok on Super Nintendo

Originally designed in 1989 for Rare's arcade Razz Board under the guise of 'Fleapit', the idea was taken to Software Creations and completely revamped to become what is now known by many in gaming circles as Plok. The loose-limbed wonder managed to be part of a Super Nintendo bundle in Europe, and has definitely had a lasting effect on the industry, with ideas from his title appearing in the likes of Rayman to Yoshi's Island and even Super Mario 64! Read on to see whether it manages to hold its head up proudly against today's big boys...

Looking for a serious storyline along the lines of Golden Sun or something similar? Well then, you have definitely have the wrong game here! Plok, our jovial red and yellow main character, returns back to this home only to find that someone has stolen the flag from atop his residence. Angered by this he searches his continent for it, but to no avail. So, instead, he heads off to Cotton Island, the only other place it could be, in order to retrieve it from a duo called the Bobbins Brothers. On returning home, recaptured flag in tow, Plok is distressed to find that fleas have colonised the whole of his land, replacing all of his personalised flags with special flea ones! And so the game continues, not taking itself seriously in the slightest...

We all know by now that graphics do not always make a game what it is…but it sure does help if a title you are playing is easy on the eyes. Thankfully, Plok! is not only pretty, but was one of the loveliest looking platformers on the SNES at the time. The whole package is tailored to mimic a sumptuous-looking cartoon and succeeds with an abundance of colour splashed around the various levels and plenty of that good old attention-to-detail. Trees have little buttons on them, the fleas have cute goggly eyes and the maps for each of the new areas Plok visits have nice amounts of detail. Of special note are the backgrounds and the special Plok-morphs. The former are reminiscent of an early version of Yoshi’s Island’s style, in other words pastel-esque drawings – a very effective approach that should be used to good effect more often in my opinion. As for the latter, the first screenshot in this review is a collage I put together for the purposes of illustrating to you, the reader, just how much thought has gone into Plok and his various transformations – again it looks as if Miyamoto-san lifted some ideas from Plok! to include in the sublime Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, with Yoshi’s morphing abilities being rather similar in graphical nature.

Screenshot for Plok on Super Nintendo

There are, however, a few problems with the frame-rate at certain points of the game, usually when there is a lot of action on-screen – a prime example being towards the end when you will be swarmed by hordes of fleas, which is when things tend to get painful in more ways than one! But that is merely a small gripe with what is such a beautiful game.

Tim Follin is the man to thank for what is undoubtedly one of the greatest aural extravaganzas in the history of the Super Nintendo. If the name does not strike you as familiar, then perhaps readers will recall his work on the highly-praised Rock ‘N Roll Racing – many cite that as one of their favourite in-game soundtracks of all time. Anyway, Follin brings a wonderful array of tunes to the world of Plok, many of which have remained firmly lodged in this reviewer’s head until this very day – a sure sign of quality in my eyes. There is a pleasing mix of upbeat, dancing-round-the-room-like-an-idiot style music and mellow, peaceful tunes than bring a sense of serenity to the whole experience. As for aspects like boss encounters, again things are perfectly suited – with a frenetic beat in the background, accompanied by creepy laughter every now-and-then – chilling! It is actually quite difficult to describe just how impressive the overall soundtrack is – personally I have never come across such a mentally-gripping bunch of in-game tracks as with Plok. The style used within is not of the normal variety, in that most games do not feature catchy guitar music or manage to instil fear upon a gamer so competently. Sublime, utterly sublime…

Screenshot for Plok on Super Nintendo

At the time of this game’s release, there was no Rayman, therefore the idea of having a loose-limbed character was quite innovative at that point. Also, Plok varies slightly to Ubi Soft’s main mascot. Whilst he can still shoot off his arms, Plok can also use his legs as projectiles. Sometimes they do not always return for future-use straight away as it all depends on the level you are currently frequenting. You see, there are certain puzzles that require you to sacrifice your limbs in order to complete them. This, in turn, leaves you with a character that is rather hard to control and definitely susceptible to incoming attacks from the plethora of pesky enemies. Plok can be aided by his special abilities amulet that is boosted by the collection of numerous shells that float around in the diverse levels (they also award gamers with extra lives, which are always of great benefit in a title as tough as this one!). Many of the special morph abilities accessible via the amulet can be seen in the Plok Collage screenshot at the beginning of this review – with some examples being when our hero jumps into a tank, dons a pair of spring boots or rides around in a helicopter, complete with an increased arsenal.

In order to complete accomplish the task of reclaiming Plok’s island and all of his personalised flags, the player must rid each locale of the evil fleas that have swarmed the once tranquil paradise island. Oh, by the way, did I mention just how immense each level actually is? Ah, thought not…That is one of the clever aspects of Plok! You will be wandering around, wondering just where that last flea could be, grumbling to yourself that you must have looked everywhere – but trust me, those pests are sneaky and will have scurried into any obscure nook or cranny available! Thankfully, though, the difficulty-curve is extremely fair, so rather than dropping you in the deep end without any help, the player is eased into the early scenarios before matters become much more arduous. This is quite simply an amazingly clever little game and it is a pity that some of the levels can become rather tiresome over time due to their size…plus that retched lack of a game save will infuriate many people! Those are small problems, nevertheless, and not nearly enough to taint the game completely.

Screenshot for Plok on Super Nintendo

There are four main areas to play through in the world of Polyesta: Cotton Island, Akrillic, Legacy Island and The Flea Pit. But there are two difficulty levels to be found in Plok!, both of which determine just how much of the game you get to see when playing. The first, ‘Child’s Play’, grants access to Cotton Island, all but the final stage of Akrillic, gives the option of completing the first level of Legacy Island (but no more than that) and completely misses out The Flea Pit. Choosing normal mode, however, forces you to play through all the game’s levels against enemies that are now faster and stronger, with some even being totally invulnerable! What makes matters even more gruelling is that the game has no battery back-up or passwords. Therefore you must set-aside a significant amount of time in order to play all the way through Plok!, which is no mean feat due to the vastly increased levels of difficulty towards the end. There is a lack of extra options, though, or any form of multi-player extras. So, all in all, the game will last you a fair while due to its difficulty level causing you to continuously start from scratch – but once players have come to grips with the title, and finally completed it, there are, unfortunately, no extras to be found or replay features included to extend Plok’s lifespan.

Screenshot for Plok on Super Nintendo

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Plok is a forgotten gem – simple as that. Nintendo knew that the game was worthy of more attention than it received, hence bundling it with the SNES at one point in order to muster more sales. Fans of the Mario series, or any 2D platformer actually, will fall in love with this crazy character in a second. All that can be hoped is that the plans for a Plok sequel finally come to fruition in the near future! Meanwhile, pick yourself up a copy on eBay if you can…and contact Ste Pickford (the game’s Father) at Zed Two about bringing Plok to the GBA or next-generation systems!

Developer

Creations

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

ZP (guest) 01.04.2010#1

i ordered Plok in the mail. Sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for the review. Everyone says it's difficult. The SNES rules!

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
justin-p, Pixel Zomblina

There are 2 members online at the moment.