Born in 1993
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The 90's had no shortage of Platform games, with both the 8 and 16 bit era bringing them to the forefront of gaming with tiles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros.
Plok had a few things that made it stand out on it's own merits
Sadly this meant that some great Platform games, such as Plok, were largely ignored due to oversaturation of the market.
But while well known names were gaining ground, Plok found it's way to my Snes and I found it to be an excellent entry in the Platform genre.
Like most Platform games, Plok's main goal was to reach the end of each level, while collecting power-ups and avoiding or killing enemies.
But rather than being "just another Mario clone", Plok had a few things that made it stand out on it's own merits. The first thing you notice on starting Plok is that the music is upbeat, in your face and most importantly, fantastic. The Snes was capable of great sounds, but games didn't always use the full potential of the tools available. Plok's soundtrack was a standout, with the title screen music being particularly memorable.
The art style and overall design of the game is also a big plus. While some modern games seem to be a choice between gray or brown, Plok embraced the 90's love of bold colours with bright, eye catching sprites and backdrops. As if to point out the contrast themselves, a small segment of levels in Plok are played through a Sepia filter, to give the impression of being in "the old days", which was a nice touch.
On top of that, the levels themselves were fun to play, and contained a fair few secrets that would be hard to find without either a guide or multiple playthroughs.
One of my favourite elements of Plok were the various powerups, contained in gift boxes hidden around the levels. While there was usually only one to be found per level, they were for the most part unique to that level, and each brought both a temporary change in abilities as well as it's own soundtrack. For example, getting the Boxing gloves would change Plok into a boxer, giving him a faster and easier melee attack, with a Rocky-esque theme to accompany it. Other powerups included a Unicycle, Bazooka, Musket and Cowboy outfit.
Overall, Plok had everything a good 90's game needed - charm, excitement, playability and most of all fun. With no save or password system, it could become fiendishly difficult to complete, but that made it all the more exciting when you got to a level you'd not reached before. To this day I haven't completed the game, but I had a lot of fun trying!
1993 had many good releases on the Snes, but like most consoles there was also a fair amount of not-so-good games in the mix. Back before the internet was in everyone's home, it was harder to find hidden gems like Plok, and buying something you had no idea about could be a very expensive mistake. Luckily, Plok turned out to be one of my favourite Snes games of all time, and I'm glad I gave it a chance.
Review by David Jones - follow on Twitter @harmchair
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