Posted on April 11th, 2009 in Flashback, Kenzan, NES, Video Games by Sasha Kenzan

The pizza-crushing fiend becomes New York City’s hero, at the expense of many thrown controllers.

System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Year: 1990
Company: Capcom
Genre: Extremely difficult side-scroller


When battling angry fisherman, never ever forget to bring your trusty yo-yo.  It destroys all.

This game really gets an unfair rap.

One of the main complaints about Yo! Noid from the mass populace is the concept.  It’s a licensed game, which apparently means it is automatically bad.  When we look back on it now, the concept is a little silly.  The Noid, a character in commercials for the Domino’s Pizza chain, was a weird claymation rabbit-type thing that used a "pizza crusher" (essentially a pogo stick with a giant weight on the bottom) to attempt to destroy pizzas.  Of course, since Domino’s was of "top quality" (this is, of course, debateable), it was safe from the Noid’s wrath and, thus, "avoided the Noid".

The Noid was one of many commercial icons from the 1980s, including beer-drinking partymeister Spuds MacKenzie (who was apparently designed to market beer to children, if you listen to what angry parents were saying) and the California Raisins, a vague attempt to encourage kids to eat dried-up grapes by having raisins sing doo-wop songs and dance about merrily.  It was only natural that the Noid would have some merchandise out.  I remember having a Noid action figure for some odd reason growing up, and then… well, there’s this game.


Behold, the mighty level boss… a pallette-swapped Noid challenging you to a pizza eating contest.

The one sure-fire way to get people to hate your game is to make it extremely difficult, and boy, was Yo! Noid one of those games.  The Noid is easily killed, only needing one hit to be defeated.  If you get hit, you start the level from the very beginning, another way to make people fling controllers in a sputtered rage.  Add in some complicated jumps and tons of enemies swarming in to take out the long-eared galoot, plus the fact that the game is licensed from a commercial, and you are guaranteed to have a game despised by a generation.

Here is the flaw with this train of thought… the game is actually not that bad.  Like most games on the NES, there is a small bit of strategy that goes into playing this game, and, with that employed, most of the levels are really not that difficult.  Sure, being killed in one hit and having to start the level over again is frustrating, but that’s part of the challenge of the game.  Sunsoft did this for years, and some of their games (especially Batman) are revered for how good they are.

The level bosses are nothing more than pallette-swapped Noids, which you need to defeat in a card game that essentially functions as a pizza eating contest.  If you can figure out a strategy and pick up some powerups along the way, it’s not terribly hard.  But of course, people will complain due to the ridiculous premise (the Noid, in the commercials, is a VILLAIN after all… shouldn’t you be trying to protect pizzas from him?).  This is one of those games that is destined to either be loved or hated… but it would be nice if people would look at it objectively as simply a game instead of the licensed packaging.

All in all, Yo! Noid is not an essential game, but instead a solid title for your NES once you pick up everything that you should own if you are a classic gamer.

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