Review by Artman40
Highest-quality bible-based game for NES!
Although you control Noah in this game, the game was NOT made by infamous Wisdom Tree. Instead, it was made by Source Research & Development (was their second and last game) and released by Konami. Due to the fact that it was a late NES era (1992) and officially only in Europe, it's not a wonder why it's overlooked.
The flood is coming and Noah must rescue the animals from flood. Noah travels to europe, North America, South America, Egypt, Antarctica, Australia and finally to Asia. Each location begins with a world map screen followed by a cutscene where two animals are having a great time, but then, the indigene appears and one of the animal gets killed and the other one captured in cage. I don't know what's the ambition of these indigenes. Moreover, isn't Noah supposed to rescue TWO animals of each species, instead of one like in this game? It doesn't end there too! Every other animal you encounter in this game (including snails, hedgehogs, ostriches, jellyfish, alligators, crabs, eagles and many more) and indigenes (a.k.a. "non-believers") are all about preventing Noah from rescuing these seven 'chosen' animals. I don't know if it's a weird Japanese humor or something but it sure gives a "what the hell am I doing"-feeling.
It's basically a scrolling platformer. Screen scrolls slowly to right or left while making your way to the end of the level. Game consists of 21 stages, with 3 stages per location. Unique feature in Noah's Ark is rising water levels. During the stage, water level slowly but constantly rises and in some stages, the water level can reach to the near-top level. Fortunately, Noah has got a good breath and don't drown but so do the enemies. It's typically harder to control yourself under water and, of course, new underwater enemies start appearing too (including jellyfish and stingrays).
Noah can shoot 4 types of projectiles. You start with projectile which shoots straight, diagonally up or diagonally down. You can change your weapon by collecting ducks which seem to make no sense. Other projectiles include an aways straight-moving arrow, zigzag style projectile and ball going in arc which, fortunately, isn't as useless than it should be. Each weapon has their advantages and disadvantages.
Powerups help you along the way which can be obtained either by killing certain enemies or walking over certain spots. Noah can take 3 forms after picking up certain powerups: the one where he can fly and which is very useful (except stomping becomes harder), the one which turns him into a rigid stone statue, which unfortunately makes him unable to duck, but makes his stomping power much stronger and makes him immune to spikes. Third form makes him turn into fish when he's under water which can turn out very useful (helps to avoid the pits), especially when the water level is high. Forms also serve purpose as extra health, like a mushroom in Mario. There are other powerups too.
At the end of two thirds of stages, you'll meet a monster which resembles drain plug a lot (and they indeed act like one)! However, it's a bit too easy to defeat them. But at the end of every 3rd stage, a door out of the sky appears and you must enter there to meet a boss. You'll have a good laugh indeed when you first encounter them.
There are, however, a few problems. Getting hit by projectile takes away typically only a little health, but bumping into an enemy can take half of your life bars or even make you lose a life which can be frustrating. Another problem is spiky surfaces which will kill you instantly (assuming you don't have a powerup) and sometimes are hard to avoid (Africa stages) or even spot (South American stages). Some stages (like Antarctica ones) include dangerous pits with tiny platforms you must jump on to avoid pits. Finally, there's one type of power"up" which takes away one of your powerups you have or health if you haven't got any.
Although this game doesn't show the maximum of NES capabilities, the graphics are excellent for the NES standards. Ground texture, for an example, looks very crisp. Characters are well-drawn and animated, especially bosses and Noah himself (I liked how he appears in the start of the stage in Mega Man style.) and the water rising effect adds to the touch. The only complaint would be a bit too plan backgrounds but at least they don't hurt the eye.
Sound and music (5/5):
This game has got several really upbeat tunes from which some are VERY catchy. Music is indeed memorable. Sound effects are pretty average, although fortunately they seem to interfere the music much less than most other NES games.
Replayability (3.5/5): Once you manage to beat the game, you might want to play for the highest score possible. And there are plenty ways to get score since there's a lot to collect, kill and discover. Health-restoring symbols, powerups, bonus stages, treasure chests, food and gems which will rain down from the sky or out of the boss either drain plug or a boss is defeated or a bonus stage is completed successfully, add points to your score. Trying to kill and collect as much as possible adds to the replay value.
Overall 8/10: Like many other bible-related games, this one has got "I don't remember THAT in the bible"-feeling too. Despite its small flaws, you may have a fun time playing it indeed. Makers of the Noah's Ark score the point!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Noah's Ark (EU, 12/31/92)
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