Pole no Daibouken (Pole's Big Adventure) is a 2009 Platform Game made by Sega and only available for WiiWare. With its 8-bit style, it jumps on the nostalgia wagon started by games such as Mega Man 9... but instead of celebrating the good ol' games of the past, it turns into a (not always) Affectionate Parody of them. Nothing is spared, from graphical glitches to bugs, from inane plots to the meaninglessness of Scoring Points.
As mentioned above, the plot is very bare-bones: our hero Pole must save his girlfriend Sharon from the evil Poacher, and fight his way through 6 typical platform game settings. That's it, basically, but the main objective of the game is to find and enjoy the 100 weird and zany gags hidden into it. For example, Pole doesn't get hurt by falling from ledges, but there's a place where he can break his leg while jumping down, and he will start limping until the end of the stage; on occasion there are digitized photographs spliced into the 8-bit backgrounds; random background elements can kill Pole in gory fashion without notice... Anything can and does happen, it's all very Japanese in humour, and this is probably the point why Sega and Nintendo don't want to localize it.
The promotional site , Japanese only of course.
The game provides the following tropes:
- Americans Are Cowboys: If the official art is an indication, Pole belongs to Eagleland, what with the huge star-shaped USA belt buckle and the red/white cowboy outfit.
- Anime Land: Stage 5 is set in a version of Japan that invokes this trope: the setting is modern Japan, but the streets are populated with ninja, there are panties in windows you can steal, etc.
- Anti-Climax Boss: Invoked: this is a joke the game often pulls on the player. The first time Pole meets some of the bosses, he can't fight them, such as the caged lion or the polar bear encased in a block of ice. He has to fight them anyway later.
- Art Shift: The cutscenes, albeit very low-res, are done in a much more realistic style than both the in-game graphics and the cartoony promotional art.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Stage 6 is set on the Moon, but this makes no difference for Pole and his enemies.
- Bloody Hilarious: The more you hit the polar bear boss, the more he becomes bruised and bloodied. Some of the deaths Pole himself can receive fall on this, such as getting beheaded by a random background cactus or palm tree.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: This article at Hardcore Gaming 101 notes that the weird sense of humour of the game is based on this very Japanese comedy routine: the game plays the role of the dim-witted boke, and the unseen narrator is the tsukkomi, the straight man baffled by all the nonsense provided by the stupid companion.
- Broken Aesop: Pole supposedly fights the poachers not only to set Sharon free, but also to avenge all the animals they've killed... even if he's killing a lot of animals himself. This is all part of the gag though, to mock all those poorly thought-out plots of older games.
- Chained by Fashion: All the bosses are animals that have shackles or collars on them, justified since the bad guys are poachers.
- Chest Burster: Eat a strange grey apple in the sixth world and Pole becomes victim to one soon after.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: Spoofed: for example, the 5th stage is set in a version of Japan that has a half-dozen or so of Tokyo Towers.
- Damsel in Distress: Sharon.
- Depth Deception: Another joke that happens a couple times in the game: Pole can walk down a level and suddenly get beheaded by a cactus or plant that looked like a background element but, somehow, wasn't.
- Pole can also shoot planet Earth in the background of some Moon-based levels.
- Giant Mook: Some mooks are grown to huge proportions, another weird sight gag.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: The last boss fight is a great example: as soon as Pole starts to face again all the bosses, they get sucked into a black hole and later turned into something that looks like a chimera with various body parts put together.
- Narrator: There is a voice-over commenting all the zany things that happen to Pole during the game. The options menu in the title screen lets you move the narration to the Wii Remote speaker or turn off the narration entirely.
- Nice Hat: The poacher enemies have hats shaped like the heads of the animals they hunt, or possibly their very heads/bodies! Some examples can be found in this wallpaper◊. Pole's cowboy hat counts as well.
- Off with His Head!: In a few cases, Pole can get his head knocked or chopped straight off, such as being stuck by a giant spiked ball on chains or running into a hostile background object.
- Product Placement: Played for Laughs: In Arizona, Paul can shoot a green [?] block that gives a green can. If Paul takes the can, he gets 7 lives... in other words, a 7Up.
- Raging Stiffie: A mushroom at the start of Stage 5 causes Pole to have one of these up until he loses a life.
- Retraux: Right down to the glitches. Don't worry, they're intentional.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Stage 4.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is the protagonist's name "Pole" or "Paul"? His name ポール can be written either way.
- Stealth Pun: At the beginning of one level in stage 6, Pole is kidnapped by a flying saucer that picks him up with those cranes used to retrieve prizes in arcade machines. Those machines are called "UFO Catcher" in Japan, so Pole has been abducted by a literal UFO Catcher.*
- Stylistic Suck: Oh, where do we begin? There's glitches everywhere you go, the plot makes no sense, and anything can, and will, go. Of course, it does help this game is one long Boke and Tsukkomi Routine from beginning to end.
- Take That!: Some gags are very obvious jabs at Mario. There are [?] blocks which if broken give Pole a mushroom, but the effects are quite unexpected... Pole can take one and it makes him grow so large that he fills the entire screen and then dies. Another mushroom gives him a Raging Stiffie (you read that right) that lasts the entire level, and so on. There are also some familiar pipes (this time they're grey) that, if Pole jumps in them, will... cover him in sewage waste. And this is a game released only for Nintendo WiiWare... Considering the developer of this game...
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At the end of every stage Pole will receive a message from Sharon, only it's not her until the very end, just some people (an old woman, a tough guy, and even walrus) in a very obvious costume.