Review by TheSAMMIES
A goofy adventure through vegetable land
A long time ago, there was this NES game called Princess Tomato in The Salad Kingdom. People tended to mock it a lot for how absurd it was, but the game eventually developed a cult following. What people dont always know is that Princess Tomato is actually a remake of a really old PC88 game with the same name! I bought the PC98 version, but from what Ive gathered, the two are identical. While this version of the game is very similar to the NES version, it has quite a few differences to make it stand out.
Just as a warning, this game is totally in Japanese, but uses an English text parser. I know, it makes absolutely zero sense. There is a reason why I didnt rate this higher.
Story- Princess Tomato in The Salad Kingdom is set in a very strange world. Everyone is a fruit or vegetable. The whole thing is like some kind of demented episode of Veggie Tales, but with Bible allegories replaced with sheer insanity. Naturally, this isnt going to be everyones kind of thing and its sense of humor is quirky to say the least.
You play as Sir Cucumber, a knight on a quest to rescue Princess Tomato from the evil Minister Pumpkin. Along the way, youll help various people, some of which have little to do with the main plot. You also have your faithful companion Percy the Persimmon to aid you and make silly comments while you move through your journey.
Princess Tomato in The Salad Kingdom is a pretty strange story and it parodies a lot of knightly fantasy conventions. Its pretty funny at times and made me laugh quite a bit. Part of what makes it so good is how unexpected some of the events are, how absurd they can get, and just a general excitement of what is the game going to throw at me next?
Presentation- Ugly. Then again, most PC88 games were pretty ugly, so this is somewhat to be expected. What do the graphics actually look like? MS Paint nightmares. You get bright, garish colors, thin lines, and characters that look like demented Richard Scarry rejects. Backgrounds are similarly surreal and add a lot to the general strange atmosphere of The Salad Kingdom.
Gameplay- Princess Tomato is one strange game. It uses a text parser, but you type the words in English. The rest of the text is in Japanese, which is a really strange choice. How exactly would that work? The player has to know a good amount of Japanese and English in order to properly enjoy the game. There is a very small set of people who are going to be able to do this and not all of them are going to have the patience to play PC88 games. Even fewer of them will want to put up with Princess Tomatos various quirks.
If you are one of those few people who this game is cut out for, then you will enjoy this. Youll laugh, youll have a good time, and probably annoy your friends by referencing jokes from the game that they wont get. The entry bar for this thing is pretty high, but (for me anyway) it was worth it. Final Verdict: Not for everyone, but if it is for you, then you will love it.
Cool Fact- A persimmon is a type of berry that grows in Japan. I had to look up what exactly Percy was when I read Persimmon and just assumed he was a made up fruit.
Also Try- The NES remake. Its available as a download on Wii, WiiU, and 3DS, so you dont have to buy or download any PC98 junk to experience this. If you want another similar style game, theres always Squaresofts dirty little secret Alpha. Its not the best, but it is certainly worth playing.
Product Release: Salad no Kuni no Tomato Hime (JP, 03/31/84)
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