Marvel Land, Arcade

Marvel Land is a cute, colourful, scrolling platform arcade game, first released by Namco in 1990. The European version was called “Talmit’s Adventure“.

In Marvel Land the player takes control of Prince Paco (Talmit in some versions), who is on a quest to save Princess Luxie (Wondra in some versions) from the evil Mole King. Gameplay is similar in some respects to Nintendo‘s Mario platform games, with Prince Paco able to knock out enemies by jumping on their heads.

Each of the four worlds take place inside a large theme park (the titular “Marvel Land“), with rides, rollercoasters, funhouses, rocking boats, and with a bonus stage set on a parade after each world has been completed. At the end each standard level Prince Paco must jump through a huge target and try to hit it as close to the centre as possible, to earn extra bonus points. He can also collect theme park food (like burgers and sodas) during levels for points.

Power-ups can be collected from chests that bestow certain powers upon Prince Paco. These include: dragon wings, that allow him to jump higher, and even to fly (to some extent); shoes that allow him to walk faster, and a ‘clone’ power-up that allows him to ‘whip’ multiple copies of himself at enemies in a line (which is probably the most useful in terms of defence).

At the end of the last area in each of the game’s four worlds there’s a boss battle of sorts, which plays out more like a minigame than a regular boss battle. In worlds one and four it’s a kind of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ type game with a fruit machine style randomizer, and in worlds two and three it’s a tug-of-war style game. One thing to note during these sections are the hilariously bad Japanese-to-English translations, which are so utterly wrong in places that they probably go down in history as some of the funniest bad translations ever.

Many of the rides featured in Marvel Land – alongside the bonus stage float parades – feature guest appearances from several of Namco‘s early video game characters, including: Pac-Man, Pooka from Dig Dug, Solvalou from Xevious, Mappy, Gilgamesh and Ki from Tower of Druaga, Paccet from Baraduke, and Amul from Dragon Spirit. Plus others.

A decent Sega Megadrive/Genesis port was released in 1991, and I believe the original arcade game has been re-released for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, although Marvel Land does remain a relatively obscure game in the Namco back catalogue. It’s still fun and challenging to play now, though.

More: Marvel Land on Wikipedia

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