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#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

You won’t need any cat-like reflexes to get through Puss ‘N Boots.

This static title screen’s theme music has an ending.

To Beat: Reach the ending
Played: 1/7/18
Difficulty: 2/10
My Difficulty: 2/10
Video: Puss ‘N Boots Longplay

Most people familiar with NES games know of the concept “Nintendo Hard.” Things like limited continues, unfair enemy patterns, fragile heroes, and little to no checkpoints are just some of the features of games that have this reputation. In this case, Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure has virtually none of these issues. That sounds great, but what is left is a game that is super short and way too easy. I’ll spend far more time explaining the game than it took me to play it. Maybe Puss ‘N Boots is the kind of romp that you might be looking for in an NES game, so read on to see if it’s something you might want to try on for size.

You have to go way back to find the roots of this game’s character. Puss in Boots is an old European fairy tale about a cat who tricks others in order to gain power and fame. The oldest known telling of the story was from the Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola around the year 1550. The most famous version of this story was later written by French author Charles Perrault in 1697 within a collection of eight fairy tales. There were many adaptations and retellings of this fairy tale, and the one of importance here is the 1969 Japanese animated film The Wonderful World of Puss ‘n Boots by Toei Animation. In this version, the cat was named Pero after Charles Perrault and he would become the mascot for Toei Animation.

Starting off within a ghost town.

There are two games based on The Wonderful World of Puss ‘N Boots. The first is the Famicom exclusive Nagagutsu o Haita Neko: Sekai Isshu 80 Nichi Dai Boken. It was released in November 1986, published by Toei Animation and developed by Shouei System. The developer is mostly known for Fist of the North Star games in addition to Puss ‘N Boots. The NES received the sequel Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure in June 1990. The games are both loosely based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days and are quite similar in style and structure. The NES game was also developed by Shouei System but published by Electro Brain.

The story is a little bit more interesting than your typical NES game. You play the role of Pero who was ordered by Count Gruemon to get rid of a mouse in his castle. Pero befriended the mouse and helped him escape. This really upset Count Gruemon, so he enlisted the help of Dr. Gari-gari to send Pero in a time machine to the past. To make matters worse, Pero is being pursued by hitmen from the Cat Kingdom because Pero violated Cat Kingdom law by helping a mouse. Pero must travel through seven different areas all over the world in order to track down and defeat Count Gruemon and Dr. Gari-gari and take their time machine to get back home. Do this and you beat the game.

Puss ‘N Boots is a side-scrolling platformer with a typical control scheme. You use the D-Pad to walk around left and right. Press the A button to jump and press B to fire your weapon. The Start button pauses the game. While paused, you can press Left or Right to select one of Pero’s three weapons. Then press B to equip the weapon and unpause the game. Pero can squat by holding Down. If you are standing on top of a ledge, you can squat and press B to fall through the platform. I’m not sure if this even works since I didn’t need to try it.

Pero travels by steamboat in mostly calm waters.

All of Pero’s weapons have unlimited use and you can pick whichever one you want at any time. The default pistol fires a straight bullet ahead. The bomb is thrown in more of an arc. It goes upward a little bit and then falls quickly, exploding when it hits the ground. It’s useful for lower targets. The boomerang is a pretty large weapon that is thrown in a huge loop spanning most of the length and height of the screen. You can have two pistol shots on-screen at once, but only a single bomb or boomerang.

There are a bunch of vehicles you get to ride throughout the game, all with slightly different controls and capabilities. The ship floats on top of the water. All you can do it in is fire missiles straight ahead or move left and right. The underwater submarine can move in all directions and you can also raise it by holding the A button. The B button fires torpedoes that can destroy pieces of land that get in your way. The car has the same missiles as the ship, but you can jump and move similar to how Pero moves on foot. The airplane has the same movement as the submarine but is armed with a machine gun that functions similarly to the missiles, and it only faces to the right so you can’t shoot behind you. The hot air balloon is more like the submarine but uses missiles like the ship and the car.

There are some items you can find along the way. The boot makes Pero invincible briefly and awards 500 points. The hamburger is also worth 500 points and restores some of Pero’s health. The money bag is just for additional points, but you can earn either 1000 or 3000 points each. The Pero face powerup is an extra life. You can see Pero’s remaining lives, health, score, high score, and weapon selection at the bottom of the screen during play.

Just driving through the desert, no big deal.

Puss ‘N Boots has quite the variety of enemies. For the most part, the enemies are suitable for the levels they are found in. There are pirate ships on top of the water, piranhas in the water, and birds and other balloons while airborne. There are weird enemies too, such as flying horseshoes and UFO’s. Perhaps my favorite are the giant lightning bolts that you can blow up with your firepower. Puss ‘N Boots also features a few boss battles at the end of some stages. These are neat but don’t really make much sense. After the ocean stage, for instance, the boss is this giant mechanical frog. You have to hit him in the mouth while he spews out smaller frogs. Bosses have a health bar displayed below yours during these fights.

Pero begins his journey with two extra lives. I don’t think you can earn more lives with your score, just by grabbing 1ups. If you lose all your lives you may continue. There is a Continue option on the title screen that starts you off with three more lives. Either using a continue or resuming after death puts you back at the most recent checkpoint. Some levels don’t have any checkpoints and other stages have more than one part to them with a checkpoint at the start of each section. It’s a generous system. The catch is that you can only continue three times before starting over from scratch.

This was my first time playing Puss ‘N Boots. It’s not the most common game out there, but it is inexpensive. I’m pretty sure I got my copy in one of those eBay bulk lots I bought often while actively collecting. It wasn’t until after that that I learned that it is regarded as one of the easiest NES games. It did seem pretty simple when I tested my cart out but I only played a couple of minutes.

Puss ‘N Boots is also part shooter.

The game’s reputation did not disappoint. I was able to beat Puss ‘N Boots in 20 minutes on my first try. It’s such a simple game and you don’t even have to take your time in the levels to have a decent shot at getting through successfully, at least until the end of the game. Most of the experience is move to the right and defeat any enemies that approach you. The final area is a door maze that also has some sections that scroll upward. There are two bosses in this stage. The first one isn’t too bad, but the final boss is surprisingly tricky and easily the most difficult part of the game. It’s easy to have your health sucked away fast. I used up a bunch of lives here but eventually I got through. I would have given the game a 1/10 difficulty rating up until the final boss.

There is nothing notable about Puss ‘N Boots on the NES. It doesn’t look very good for a 1990 NES game. I don’t recall anything about the music. They tried to introduce some variety with the different vehicles and weapons, but everything feels roughly the same. The physics feel very unpolished. Jumping and throwing projectiles is rigid, and you move forward faster by jumping all the time. Levels are straightforward and end before they get going. It’s the brevity of it all that makes Puss ‘N Boots completely forgettable. If you are in the mood for a short, easy game or get a thrill out of beating something new, then this is definitely the game for you. Games like this are very welcome for my kind of long-term project but aren’t all that interesting otherwise. You aren’t missing anything special if you take a pass on Puss ‘N Boots.

#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

#70 – Puss ‘N Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure

Posted In: Finished
  1. Hong Il Yoo

    I picked up this game today. You were being very polite when you wrote that it doesn’t look very good for a 1990 game! I couldn’t believe what I saw, it looks even worse than any of the black box games! Haha but it was a very relaxing experience, I think if there’s any NES game one can beat while sleeping, this must be it.

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