Yo! Noid / Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru

If you watched TV in the 80s, you probably remember Domino's Pizza's promotional character, the Noid.  He gained quite a bit of fame during his brief stay in the spotlight, but after an unfortunate incident, the character practically vanished overnight.  But not before garnering two games to his name; an NES game, and a PC title called "Avoid the Noid" which isn't all that great.

The mean streets, islands, factories and circuses of New York

The main part of the game had you, as the Noid, hopping platforms and bopping enemies with a Super Yo-Yo.  Some enemies only took one or two whacks to defeat, such as the spear-wielding guy or the shovel mongoloid, but some, such as the angry polar bear on skates, took three or more.

 The player could also elect to use magic scrolls to fell their enemies; these included a spell to shake the ground, destroying any enemies upon it, a "high-jump" spell that would allow you to move quicker and jump higher for a short while, as well as turn your Noid black, or a freeze spell, which would destroy all enemies on the screen. Your Noid would be defeated by a single hit, so a well-timed freeze spell could make the difference between completing a level and repeating it again.

There was a stage or two that broke from the traditional hopping and bopping and had you do something a bit more fun.  Ohe stage had you riding a skateboard, where rolling down hills at high speed would make you invincible until you either jumped or went off a ramp (this was an important factor in defeating the enemies of the stage), and one had you riding a helicopter-backpack device, where you'd have to fly along by tapping the A button, being careful not to float into spikes or other hazards.

Did Yo! Noid kick off the card game fad? Naahhh....

At the end of every odd-numbered stage (and the final stage), there was a Pizza-Eating contest against another Noid.  Basically, it was a game of picking a higher-numbered card than your opponent, with a catch - each player could only use a certain card once.  So if you blow all of your high-numbered cards early on and your opponent had several high-numbered ones left, you were in trouble.  Luckily, you had the advantage of item cards, which could double or triple the number on one card (Roman numeral II or III, respectively), cancel the effect of your opponents' card (Pepper), or cause them to lose five pizzas from their total (Hot Sauce).  These cards would be found in the platform-hopping stages, denoted by their respective icons.  These would be necessary in the later stages, as your opponents begin getting cards with 5 and 6 more frequently while you are stuck with, at best, a few fours and fives.

Sometimes the easiest way to win is to take an early lead with a few item cards and keep it

I'd just discovered this guy in the process of gathering screenshots for this game.  If you leap to the point pictured, which is located just after a large gap in the carnival stage bridged by two carousel horses and springboards, you'd be taken to a hidden stage (you may need the "Black Noid" power to reach this spot).  Rather than whack moles as the guy suggests (doing so will lower your score), you'll want to hit as many clowns as possible.  If you get a high enough number, you'll skip a stage or two as well as get a bonus continue.  Remember to hold down B to run so that you can whack more clowns.

The Pizza Smasher!

For reasons never explained, the Noid looks different in the stage before the final one.

A lesser-known fact about Yo! Noid is that the game began its life as a Japanese game called Kamen no Ninja - Hanamaru (Masked Ninja Hanamaru), which starred a masked boy and his bird, as well as slightly more menacing versions of Yo! Noid's enemies.  Capcom simply altered the graphics and music and turned it into a Noid-based game.

Not as much graphic detail as Noid, though the music's a little better

The former "pizza contest" was a battle of swords, shurikens, and lightning-generating scrolls, where you'd deplete your opponent's life before he could do the same to you


To get points quickly in the pizza contests, save a few high-number cards for when your opponent plays a 1 or 2 card.  Then play a double or triple and pick a high numbered card.

Oftentimes, hidden item cards can be revealed by throwing your yo-yo at various points in the scenery.  Do this frequently, especially in the later levels.  You'll need all the help you can get for the last few contests.

Rating: 7/10
Both games are fun, though a bit on the tough side.  Noid's a bit more interesting because of the goofy enemies.

©2003 Spoony