Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll (here in shortened to SRNR because I cant be bothered to keep typing the full name) (and saving my spell checker from burning out – Ed.)is one of those under-appreciated NES titles. It was developed by Rare, published by Nintendo and released in the US in July 1990 and the EU in March 1991.
In SRNR you have to guide a couple of snakes, Rattle and Roll, through 11 levels of “wacky landscapes” while eating enough Nibbly Pibbly’s, to gain weight which activates some scales that, in turn, activates a door to the next level. However the levels are filled with enemies, drops, traps and obstacles that are all out to get you. Which, as the levels increase, become more frustratingly difficult to navigate and avoid.
SRNR is played in an isometric view, to which only 4 others spring to mind on the NES, and feature vibrant and rich visuals. The graphics, while maybe not as complex as some of the later games on the system, run at a nice fast and smooth rate. Sound wise SRNR is just as good as the graphics. It really does show off the NES sound capabilities with some great music, especially on level 3, and some really well done sound effects. My favorite being when you fall off a cliff and the snakes yell “ARGH”.
By no means is SRNR a forgiving game. I would go as far as to say it’s possibly what I would consider an “old-school” hard game. While the first few levels are relatively easy going, breaking you in gently, the difficulty curve climbs steeply past level 3. The Pibbly’s behavior changes as the levels progress from simple rolling around, to things like jumping and even flying. More insta-kill traps are added, longer and more challenging jumps, more devious obstacles and enemies that require different tactics to be destroyed other than been jumped on.
It has to be said though that some of the difficulty come from the controls. The first couple of levels allow you to gently, come to grips with the controls. But navigating an isometric environment can be tricky as it’s easy to miss-judge jumps and distance. Yet just with a bit of practice, and perseverance, you will soon have it down.
All in all SRNR is a fast paced, action platform, puzzle game. It is both fun and challenging which requires equal amounts of skill and memory to complete. There are some tricks to getting a good completion times, like the warp rocket in level 1, for all you speed runners out there. However I would have to say that you get a better sense of satisfaction from completing the game properly.
A thoroughly fun game for the NES. It’s a shame that it has not gained the same popularity as many other games over the years. If you find this one cheap then do yourself a favor and pick it up. You want be disappointed in this game.
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