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Video Game / Mischief Makers

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Shake Shake!
"A robot maid riding a cat riding a missile, versus a member of an all-furry sentai who's riding a transforming mech? It doesn't get more Japanese than this!"
A YouTube commenter on one of the game's boss battles.

Mischief Makers is the story of Professor Theo, a space-travelling Mad Scientist, and Marina Liteyears, his robot creation and assistant, marooned on the strange planet of Clancer. Soon, the planet comes under attack by The Emperor aka The Monolith and his empire; agents from the Empire kidnap the Professor for unknown reasons, and it's up to Marina to rescue him (multiple times), at times helped and at times hindered by the bizarre Clancers and threatened along the way by the Empire's goons, including an Evil Counterpart called Calina and a team of animal-like supersoldiers called the Beastector.

Mischief Makers is a 2-D Platform Game (with occasional 3-D elements) where grabbing, throwing, and, yes, shaking objects is integral to gameplay. It's more puzzle-oriented than the typical platformer; you must often go through elaborate mazes of warp points, use Clanpots to create specific items, find some specific enemy in the stage, or do any number of other, sometimes unintuitive, tasks to proceed. All play is timed, and each level has a hidden Gold Gem to find; both time and Gold Gems collected affect the ending.

The game was made by Treasure, published by Enix (pre-merger), and released on the N64, with the English translation being done by Nintendo.

Unique for an N64 game is that the Analog stick isn't used at all. The D-pad is used for all movement.

For a game that has similar gameplay mechanics (grab and throw to be precise), check out Solatorobo.

This game provides examples of:

  • 2˝D: A few stages have stuff fly in from the background or a few faint decorations in front of the play area. Merco's mech also flies into the background for the first phase of the fight. Your first real boss fight has the giant boss in the background and you have to throw his own fists back at him by throwing them up towards his face.
  • Action Commands: When you have all gold gems except the last one and an A rank for your entire playthrough, the last one is gained through countering Teran in the ending by grabbing him when the target appears as he attempts to attack you.
  • Action Girl: Marina, obviously.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • The geyser in "Aster's Tryke".
    • Also the lava in "Hot Rush"
  • Alphabet Soup Cans: The "Sports Festival" contains an equation-based mini-game called "Mathfun" because... well, it's not entirely obvious why.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Every fight with a Beastector member (when on their mechs, not when you first meet them) has one, as do a few other boss fights.
  • Anti-Villain: The Beastector oppose Marina because they see her as evil, and the Empire as good. After being defeated by Marina, they remember that they were Brainwashed and Crazy by Leo.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: You can relieve enemy Clancers of their machine guns, missile launchers, and other dangerous toys and turn the fire right back on them — with interest, if you shake them first. But when it comes to speedy combat, smart throwing is much more effective.
  • Background Boss:
    • Migen Jr. is defeated by making him punch himself.
    • The final boss as well, though you can grab it and smash it on the floor. To defeat it, you need to throw its missiles back at it.
  • Badass Normal: Marina may be a robot, but she's specifically a robot maid/scientist's assistant. Yet she can take down the likes of the Beastector atop their mechs.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Both Marina and the Professor do it in the pre-title screen introduction.
  • Big Bad: The Emperor/The Monolith is the ruler of The Empire who leads the conquest of Planet Clancer, and is utterly convinced that he is bringing justice to uncivilized lands. He is also Theo's brother Leo.
  • Bishōnen: Merco (especially in human form). And he knows it.
  • Boss Banter: Limited to the Beastector bosses, but often hilarious when it's indecipherable.
  • Boss-Only Level: Exaggerated - every boss has their own stage. Mini-bosses have their own stages!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Characters recognize boss stages, and by extension, their place as a boss.
    • Ms. Hint does this all the time. She's simply a pink Clanball with a bow, but if you shake her, she'll give you hints in exchange for red gems. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that this is a video game.
    Ms. Hint: "You think this game is pretty easy, don't you? But soon strong enemies will appear."
  • Brick Joke: A meta one with the Golden Ending; you know how the game asks for your age when you create your save file? It determines whether Marina ends up an adult or a child when she becomes a human.
  • Cain and Abel: Professor Theo and Leo the Evil Emperor.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Used to destroy red blocks.
  • Catch and Return:
    • Often the most devastating means of defeating enemies is by throwing their projectiles back at them. Grenades and even rockets can be caught, plus Marina can also grab laser beams and throw them back as balls of energy.
    • Aside from picking up the enemies themselves and throwing them, or grabbing an nearby object (including other nearby enemies) and throwing it at them, this is Marina's main form of attack and the one used most often in boss fights. The first boss fight with actual strategy required has you catching the boss' own fist and throwing them, first into his dad, then back into his face (grabbing and throwing SOMETHING is her only means of attack aside from a single slide move.)
    • One boss later on has Marina catching, shaking, and returning Emotional concepts of all things in order to defeat them.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Teran's sister, a seemingly shy minor character at first, turns out to be the princess of the Clancer race.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: There are a few hints that Teran's pal Sarie fancies herself the Unlucky one, compared to Teran's sister Celes — who's not actually his sister, but the Princess who people have been saying has been missing for half the game. She's actually been in hiding and Teran is her bodyguard.
  • Combining Mecha: The final boss fight combines Lunar's motorcycle, Tarus's tank, and Merco's drill into a giant robot.
  • Cool Bike: Lunar's mech, Cerberus Alpha, is a motorcycle that can fire missiles and lasers and also transform into a mechanical wolf that runs as fast as it rides.
  • Covers Always Lie: A consequence of an apparent Lazy Artist, the army of Clancers on the boxart are actually a copy-pasted Celes (notice the hats).
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Celes, Teran's sister. In "Wormin'!" Marina has to save her from a giant Clancer worm. In the cutscene at the end of "7 Clancer Kids", Calina takes Celes hostage, but Marina saves her from that too.
    • After Leo one-shots Marina at the end of "7 Clancer Kids", Teran has to save her by looking for a healing device.
  • Designated Victim: Theo.
  • Deuteragonist: Teran is Marina's constant ally since the beginning, becomes the player character temporarily when Leo offs Marina, and has the most Character Development by the end of the Golden Ending.
  • Dirty Old Man: Theo, who makes multiple attempts to grope Marina, usually right after he's rescued. He also seems pleasantly surprised when Marina becomes a human in the secret ending.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Professor Theo is constantly getting himself into scrapes, and would probably be screwed if he'd never built Marina.
    • Marina isn't helping matters either. Every time she rescues him, he tries to grope her and she ends up chucking him halfway across the planet.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: A vocalized version of the game's main theme, "Trouble Maker", is sung by Marina's Japanese voice, Masami Suzuki.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Each level has a hidden Gold Gem which are gotten in various ways. The more you have, the more of the ending you get to see. So get them all.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The first few stages of the game have no enemies and very few ways to even take damage. (It's outright impossible to die in stage 1-3, for instance.) They're close to being a tutorial, but they're fully part of the plot and they count toward your time and gem totals, just like everything else.
  • Everything Fades: Mechanical enemies (and some non-mechanical enemies) explode, while non-(mini)boss Clancers appear to turn into earth with a ghost flying out.
  • Evil Twin: Parodied with Calina, a Clancer trying to ape Marina's style.
  • Excuse Plot: The reason for the true final boss fight. Apparently, the Beastector have recovered from their brainwashing and returned to the side of good, but they're fighting Marina... out of rivalry over whose fan club she should join.
  • Fanservice: Marina turning human at the end. Her appearance also depends on what age the player entered when making their file.
  • Fastball Special: One stage has Marina team up with Teran and an unnamed warrior Clancer to fight off an invading enemy horde. You can toss either of your allies into enemies to defeat them, and the warrior Clancer even develops a force field around him when he's thrown, letting him take out a whole line of foes at once.
  • Graceful Loser: In both times they fight, Tarus congratulates Marina for beating him.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • While most bosses have a good reason for being where they are in the plot, some of the minibosses (e.g. "Toadly Raw!") don't.
    • One level requires you to rescue seven lost children. This would be perfectly unremarkable if each one didn't immediately turn into a monster and attack you. The reason isn't explained until they've all been defeated, and even then it's sort of a Hand Wave.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Essentially everything Marina fights. If it moves, it can probably be picked up, and then thrown to kill someone else.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Aside from the aforementioned examples, there are two more Gold Gems to find than it seems like there logically should be. Good luck finding them.
    • Many of the gold gems are this. One of the earliest ones is in "3 Clancer Kids". You need to find the woman's husband and shake him, who can only be found after obtaining the exit warp-gate star. He's hidden in a secret room, where the largest of the 3 kids was found, which the camera will only reveal after the stage is clear. To open the room you have to use a clanball on a spring to get up on top of the structure (while the platform you need to land on is slightly out of reach of the natural path the spring throws you), dig up a clanbomb (which also can only be dug up after the stage is clear) then get down and dash through the structure in time so you can blow up the wall before it explodes. Granted, there are hints (The red blocks are visible before this (though what's behind them isn't, there is a line of red gems leading to the roof and the woman wonders where her husband is), but they don't seem connected at first and red gems trick you into thinking your prize is a Green Gem.
    • The fight with Tarus and the Sasquatch Beta. You have to smash Tarus with his own mech, which is not done by throwing it at him, but instead lifting it above him and slamming it downward. When just about every other enemy can be defeated by simply tossing their own attacks back at them, this was completely unexpected and unintuitive.
    • There are also the races in the Festival stage. Unless you've been tapping the D-pad to dash all along instead of using the much easier C-button tapping, chances are you've forgotten that the D-pad method lets you go slightly faster. Someone in the game does mention this fact... once, in the second level.
    • Marina has a slide maneuver that is faster than either variety of dash and can be used here. The player is only ever informed about it once, in a bit of post-boss narration. The problem? It not only doesn't tell the player the controls for using the slide, it refers to it as a 'knife kick'.
  • Hint System: If you shake the pink Clanball Ms. Hint, she will provide a hint in exchange for 10 Red Gems.
  • Hot-Blooded: Lunar.
  • Improvised Weapon: Marina gets through fights by grabbing and throwing a multitude of objects, from normally thrown objects, like grenades and shurikens, to flowers, robot parts, the enemies themselves, missiles, giant lasers, and even negative emotions.
  • Indy Escape: One level actually has you fleeing a giant, rolling boulder.
  • Innocent Aliens: The Clancers. According to one character encountered early in the game, this made it easy for the Empire to recruit Clancers as troops.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The Imperial HQ stage select screen makes it obvious that what might at first appear to be the final boss fight isn't.
    • Subverted by the very same stage select screen, which shows what appear to be even more stages after the real final boss. They're actually parts of the ending. One of them is also not completely non-interactive.
  • Incoming Ham: Witness, if you will, the Beastector's introductory scene:
    "Through fire, justice is served! Heeeeeeere's LUNAR!"
    "To punish evil forces, I have been charged! It's TARUS time!"
    "A hero in shining armor is called! I am MERCO!"
  • Item Crafting: By putting the right combination of items into a Clanpot and shaking it, you can create new things, including bombs, weapons, vehicles, and sometimes even people.
  • I Want Them Alive!: What the Emperor wants with Theo and Marina. On the other hand, the Beastector want them dead.
  • Just Eat Him: Oddly subverted. Theo gets eaten by a giant lizard at one point and it clearly does chew him very thoroughly. But when you defeat him, Theo pops out intact.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Theo.
  • Kid Hero: Teran, a young Clancer (or is he?) descended from heroes. Also, Marina, post-human transformation, if you set a young enough age.
  • Large Ham: The Beastector trio, especially Lunar.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Migen's Shrine combines this with a Temple of Doom, as it's a giant temple-like building whose bottom floor is a lake of lava.
  • Life Meter: Which can be filled up to three times, compressing the first two into jewels that each represent a full bar.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Emperor/Monolith is, as the name suggests, a giant, golden, glowing, Egyptian-style monolith with light-based powers who refers to himself as a being of true justice. He is also the Big Bad who is intent on conquering Planet Clancer.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Big Bad Professor Leo is Professor Theo's brother.
  • Made of Explodium: Nearly all bosses explode spectacularly. Even the ones you fight again later on.
  • Magical Girl: Calina uses a magical girl-style transformation sequence to assume her Marina-like appearance.
  • Megaton Punch: Whenever Marina rescues Theo, he'll attempt to grope her and get thrown into space.
  • Mood Whiplash: Professor Theo apparently goes through a death scene, complete with his whole body turning blue as he breathes his last and Marina shedding a tear... then he suddenly gets up and says he was kidding.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Marina has them, 3 layers. Teran in his two stages does not.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The overall story has a plot, even though it isn't super involved, but many levels are rather inexplicable and rarely set up beforehand. You start the level surfing on a giant rocket? Ok, sure. You spend an entire level riding a giant bee that hasn't been seen since it was a miniboss all the way back in act 2? Kind of odd, but whatever. You need to bring the king of Clancer back his tricycle while escaping an Advancing Wall of Doom, only for the tricycle to never come up for the rest of the game? Why the hell not?
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Inverted: Professor Leo wants to be defeated, but only by Theo. He reacts with despair to his loss to Marina.
  • Orgasmic Combat: When Marina hits the final boss with its own fist, her "Aaaahhhh~ That's better" comes off as this.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Calina's Marina disguise. The face is still Calina's, but it fools everyone, even Theo, Marina's creator.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After you beat the Monolith and destroy the Empire, the Beastector will challenge you to a rematch.
  • Puzzle Boss: Most stage bosses require elaborate tactics to defeat. Even minibosses generally have restricted vulnerabilities.
  • Right Back at Ya!: You can grab missiles, certain energy beams, and so forth to throw back at those that fired them.
  • Rightful King Returns: In the fourth world, it's revealed in "7 Clancer Kids" that the good Clancers are looking for King Aster, the original ruler of the planet. The Evil Empire is afraid that if the King returns, the troops will follow him. In the ending, King Aster does return to rule.
  • Robot Girl: Marina.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: "[H]e past [sic] away a few days ago" in reference to a minor character.
  • Sentai: The Beastector are a villainous example. They're a heroic team brainwashed by the Big Bad.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Migen will magically heal his son endlessly in their boss fight if you don't take care of him first.
  • Shout-Out: Merco is quite clearly a throwback to Epsilon Eagle.
  • Signature Line: "Shake! Shake!"
  • Spikes of Doom: Common in this game as in many other platformers, but in this game they take the form of spiked, levitating Clanball-like objects. Special mention must be made of Spike Land, an amusement park themed around these things.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Marina was originally created to do Theo's household chores. And she's strong enough to toss robots the size of trucks and catch missiles out of the air.
  • Taking You with Me: Leo tries to do this after losing to Marina, but Theo ends up Taking the Bullet. Of course, he survives.
  • Tennis Boss:
    • Most stage bosses (and some other bosses) use some form of this, given the grabbing-oriented combat, but the oddest examples are Migen Jr., who must be damaged by throwing his fists back at him, and the toad in "Toadly Raw!", which is harmed by its tongue.
    • And there's at least one instance of a Dodgeball Boss. Literally. You CAN cheat and cross the line to toss the boss, but she'll call you out on it at the end of the stage after you win.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Teran: Shake me!! Shake me hard!! Grab me and shake me!!
  • This Is a Drill: Merco's mech, Phoenix Gamma, is a flying drill that can transform into a mechanical bird.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: Your only attack is throwing. A bit different in that instead of throwing mooks at the boss, you just chuck the boss, the boss's weapons, its projectiles or its own FISTS at it. The Climax Boss has you throw nice phrases at it for some reason. You have to find the right ones, shake 'em to turn 'em nice, and chuck it.
  • Toy Time: The game's "blocky" look gives it an overall "toy" feel, but one level in the third world is specifically based around using different toys.
  • Transformation Sequence: When Calina, Marina's ridiculously unconvincing Evil Twin, morphs into "Miracle Outer-Galactic Android Z".
  • Transforming Mecha: Each member of the Beastector has one.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The "Sports Festival" stage is the largest offender. You're suddenly presented with a Sports Festival and have to compete in various events that feel like they've been lifted from Track and Field from the NES (though you use your normal controls), including 3 races of varying length, Hurdle Jumping race, Long Jump... And two that are a gameplay change within a gameplay change. "Ball Catch" (Catch Balls from your team in a pot and keep the other team's out) and "Math Fun" (see Alphabet Soup Cans above).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Pretty much all Clancers and other moving objects in this game (and many non-moving ones) can be grabbed, shaken, and thrown, whether friend, foe, or neutral party. And neutral NPCs can usually be hurt. Quite a few can be killed if their survival isn't required to complete the mission.
  • Voice Grunting: Most dialogue takes the form of text boxes with accompanying beeps at varying pitches representing characters' "voices", but Marina and most other important characters have several exclamations or other short lines of actual voice acting. Some of these are surprisingly distinctive and memorable, like Lunar's "Eat lead!" and "Through fire, justice is served!" or Marina's "STOOOOOOOPPPP!", or "Shake Shake!" both of which happen quite a lot.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: It's amazing how many things can be dealt with via grabbing, shaking, and throwing.
  • Who Ya Gonna Call: One level requires Marina to capture seven ghosts in a specially-designed clanpot.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Emperor shows up mid-way through the fourth world and attempts a One-Hit Kill on Marina, leaving it up to Teran to find a way to heal her.
  • Widget Series: This game can seem really strange, especially to anyone unfamiliar with Japanese tropes.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Used quite literally in the fight against Monolith, where you shake negative words to turn them positive and throw them at the boss.