There' no doubt about it-a lot of stuff that comes from Japan is weird. Sometimes it's a good thing, other times it scars us for life. "Liquid Kids" is no exception, falling into the "good thing" category, while overflowing with the as much ooey-gooey-cutesy-wootsy-chibi-wibi-marshmallow covered-chocolate dipped-flower adorned-unicorn barfed weirdness that only Japan can give us. That aside, this game is a lot of fun to play.
"Liquid Kids" was released in arcades in 1990 by Taito. You play as the Bambi-eyed platypus Hipopo, who must find his girlfriend and save his home, Woody-Lake, from the Fire Devil. Somehow, when the Fire-Devil takes over Woody Lake, a “miraculous power” is given to Hipopo-the ability to shoot water bombs. He must use his newfound abilities to save Woody Lake and his gf. This game wasn’t too popular when it came out as far as I know, probably because it’s a little TOO cute and weird. However, I’m pretty much up to anything Japan can dish out.
Let's begin, shall we?
I’d say the graphics are comparable to something you would see on an early Game Boy Advance game. There isn’t a whole lot of detail in the backgrounds; instead, the graphics focus more on the foreground. A lot of things can be shown on the screen at once without slowing the frame rate, which is a plus. The colors are bright and vibrant, which is something to expect from an early-‘90s arcade game whose main focus is how cute it can be. The animation is fairly decent as well, so nothing to scream about here.
Every enemy (including the bosses) looks as creative and detailed as they are strange; it’s not every day you fight bombs with huge lips, batteries, flame-throwing flowers, a giant mechanical Easter Bunny, and alarm clocks that pull enemies out of their mouths. I don’t know how the developers came up with these designs, but then again, maybe I don’t want to know.
A cute game can’t be complete without some sort of bouncy music. Each stage’s soundtrack fits the stage itself perfectly. What I find funny is that every song in this game is lined with sound effects, from squeaks to whistles to clicks (even the boss battle themes have these sound effects in them). The game’s sound effects are no different, with many enemies making funny noises of their own (especially in World 3, the factory stage). Every boss is a machine of some kind, and upon defeat, they fall apart to the sounds of clanks and crashes.
Despite being a decent platformer, I probably wouldn’t play this game too often. There isn’t really anything addicting about it; it’s just a platformer game. I think the only reason I would play this game is to show other people how strange and ridiculous it is. Honestly, if I had my choice between this game and several other platformer games, this game certainly wouldn’t be my first choice.
The story is pretty basic and has been done to death by the time this game came out: evil force takes over world and steals gf, hero goes and saves the day. We do get 2 cutscenes throughout the game, introducing another enemy, Tamsun, who abducts Hipopo’s girlfriend. Other than that, it’s not too interesting or deep.
This game does have a lot of levels, shortcuts, and secrets. The levels are large, and most of them don’t follow a linear pattern. The location of secret doors aren’t obvious, so you have to throw water bombs in pretty much every nook and cranny to find one. Most of the time, I get luck and find one by accident, which will probably be the case with pretty much everyone. The game does NOT have a time limit, which is a great aid to help you with your exploring.
Of course, being an arcade game, it’s going to be hard. Hipopo is pretty slow, so you are dependent on power ups to help you move faster and throw bigger bombs. One unfair aspect of the game is when you complete each level or lose a life, you lose all of your power ups. At least power-ups are plentiful, coming in forms of trains, water guns, and buckets. In later levels, however, the game tends to throw a lot at you, so expect to die often if you are inexperienced.
In a nutshell, “Liquid Kids” is fun to play, but also a bit of a challenge. It can also be trippy at times, which is both funny and entertaining to watch. I suppose this game was probably geared more towards children, but I’m sure anyone will enjoy it.