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Games time forgot: Little Nemo: Dream Master

6:50 PM on 01.22.2008 // Faith

With all the Virtual Console games coming to the Nintendo Wii shop, I was really hoping that this week’s game that time forgot would have been added by now, but I guess the lovely people at Nintendo and Capcom need a little reminder about how cool Little Nemo: Dream Master was and still is.

If you don’t know what game I’m talking about, then you better hit the jump to learn more.

Little Nemo: Dream Master was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990 by Capcom. It also went by the name, Pajama Hero Nemo in Japan. The storyline was based on a comic strip called Little Nemo in Slumberland which was created by Winsor McCay and ran from 1905 to 1913 in the New York American and the New York Herald. The comic also had a brief revival period from 1924 to 1927.

The game was designed by Tatsuya Minami and Tokuro and the music was composed by Junko Tamiya. It was released first in North America and then Japan and Europe.


You play Nemo, a young boy with purple hair and footy pajamas who visits Slumberland in his dreams one night after he receives an invitation from the Princess. Nemo learns from the Princess that Morpheus, the King of Slumberland is being held by the King of Nightmares in Nightmare Land and she needs Nemo to save him.

Game play

Players controlled Nemo as he made his way through different stages in Slumberland. Each level had a door that needed to be unlocked in order to advance to next level and each door had multiple keys that Nemo had to find to open it.

The Princess provides Nemo with his only weapon in the game which is an endless bag of candy. The candy can’t hurt evil enemies but it can calm some animals enough for Nemo to jump on them and take on their abilities.  These animals allow Nemo to fly, swim, jump high and hurt the other enemies on screen. The animals available were a frog like creature, a gorilla, a bee, a lizard, a mouse, a hermit crab and a mole.

Nemo would find health items and extra lives in the levels as well to help him out and while in animal form, Nemo would have more hit points available to him. Each animal had a different amount of hit points though. New players were given tips on how to play from a friendly clown named Flip who would appear at the beginning of the stage.

The stages were 2D side scrollers that got quite difficult as players went along, especially the House of Toys where Nemo must ride a train and dodge obstacles in order to continue riding the train. Once you fell off the train, you had to restart the entire level over again which I remember doing about a hundred times over.

Of course, if the levels weren't hard enough for you, Nemo could lose his animal friend if they were hit and in most cases that meant you died before you could find another animal friend. This really added to the challenge as players were forced to handle Nemo with care or suffer defeat. There were check points mid level for players to restart from, but it was a challenge getting to those points in the level without dying quite a few times.

Nemo really was a game for hardcore gamers, despite what anyone thinks. Patience and quick hands were need to survive and honestly .... I never made it past the second last level. I really want to play this game again just to redeem myself and finish that game finally.

Why you haven’t played it?

Little Nemo was one of those titles that probably didn’t appeal to the male gamers with its obviously childish storyline and box art that screamed Disney movie, but I hope this won't scare gamers from dusting this title off and trying it.

Art fans will love the beautiful using of colours and surreal environments. Each level is just so fun to look at with their well thought out themes and dream like imagery. I found myself losing lives just looking at the game.

Little Nemo's score may not be remembered as much as Mario Bros or Final Fantasy, but just try to get it out of your head after you hear it. The haunting carnival melodies are so beautiful that you can't help but hum them over and over again.

I really wish I could convey how magically this game is but honestly you just need to play it to find out. Hopefully this title will come to the Virtual Console in the near future and gamers will get a chance to either try or revisit this unique title. 

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