Marvel Land, Megadrive/Genesis

This Megadrive/Genesis port of the Namco arcade game, Marvel Land, is a reasonably close conversion of the relatively obscure scrolling platform game from 1990. This home console version was first released in 1991.

In this version of Marvel Land you control Prince Talmit (not Prince Paco, as in the original arcade game), on a quest to rescue Princess Wondra (not Princess Luxie, as in the original) from the evil Mole King. Talmit must jump his way through five different worlds, each with seven stages, which is more than in the original (I’m not entirely sure if these have been counted differently (or incorrectly), or if there are extra levels, compared to the original arcade game. I’m guessing the former).

Prince Talmit can jump onto the heads of enemies to knock them out, and must avoid falling into water or being caught by any of the traps laid down to stop him. He can also collect various power-ups that give him extra powers, like wings that’ll allow him to jumper higher and float for a short while; shoes that’ll make him run faster, and a ‘clone’ power-up that gives him a trail of clones that follow behind and give him an extra protective shield.

After each standard level Prince Talmit must jump at a large target, and try to hit it as close to the centre as possible, in order to earn extra points before the level ends. This is very similar to Mario jumping onto the flagpoles in the Super Mario Bros. games.

At the end of each world there’s a boss battle minigame, which occurs in much the same way as in the original. And if you beat the boss you’re then treated to a bonus stage where you must collect stars for bonus points that drop from the sky during a float parade featuring famous Namco video game characters.

Graphically, the Megadrive port is not quite as detailed and colourful as the arcade version, although it is still cute and appealing (some might argue that the backgrounds are a bit too ‘busy’ for their tastes, although they’re not quite as ‘busy’ as those in the arcade version). The home port also features improved Japanese-to English translations, so they’re not as hilariously bad in this (which is a pity because the bad translations in the original were charming and funny).

Marvel Land on the Megadrive/Genesis is a fun and challenging game to play and is still worth finding and booting up today.

More: Marvel Land on Wikipedia

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