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Video Game / Rolo to the Rescue

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Rolo to the Rescue is a platform game from Electronic Arts released in 1992 for the Sega Genesis.

Young elephant Rolo has escaped from the circus, and he must save his friends who have been locked up in cages. Most levels require Rolo to defeat circus magnate McSmiley and steal his key so he can set his friends free. Each of Rolo's friends has a different ability which can aid in solving puzzles throughout levels.

  • The rabbit can jump much higher than Rolo normally would.
  • The squirrel can climb walls.
  • The beaver can swim across water.
  • The mole can dig through softer walls.

When Rolo saves all the animals in one level, he collects a puzzle piece which opens another part of his map. Puzzle pieces are also scattered throughout levels and are required for 100% Completion. Rolo can also take on different abilities himself by touching certain items: he can inhale smaller enemies with his trunk, spray water, inflate himself with helium and go into tiny areas by shrinking himself in a washing machine.

Rolo's bosses are performers from the circus which he escaped. By defeating them, Rolo can access new worlds with varying difficulty. After defeating the ringmaster, Rolo reunites with his captured mother.

This game contains examples of:

  • Babies Ever After: The good ending has a grown up Rolo wrapping up his experience as bedtime story for his son, Rolo Jr.
  • Badass Adorable: Rolo, a cute little elephant tasked with saving his locked up friends. When they join Rolo on his quest, they can be as well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The bad ending which starts sweetly with Rolo and his mother reuniting. The bitter part comes during the epilogue scroll where Rolo is never truly happy after failing to save all his friends.
  • The Cameo: James Pond appears in the second moon level, giving Rolo 1-Ups.
  • Cap: Rolo is only allowed to have three animals tagging along with him at any given time. When he rescues a fourth, the earliest one will walk away.
  • Cheesy Moon: Rolo travels to a moon with a cheese floor by rocket.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Bonus points are scattered throughout the levels and their colors depend on what number the value starts with:
    1. Red.
    2. Light green.
    3. Dark green.
    4. Blue.
    5. Orange.
    6. Brown.
    7. Pink.
    8. Yellow.
    9. White.
  • Controllable Helplessness: If Rolo gets a game over and has at least one continue, he has a choice between walking into the ringmaster's cage and ending the game or going out an open door upon which the game continues. At no continues, the door is closed leaving Rolo to roam anywhere on the screen until he walks into the ringmaster's cage.
  • Dark Reprise: The continue screen music sounds a bit hopeful as Rolo still has the chance to escape from the ringmaster's clutches and continue the game as long as the player has any continues left. However, if the player has used up all the continues, the music takes on a depressing tone since the gate to freedom has been closed for good by the ringmaster and the only option Rolo has left is to be captured.
  • Death Throws: When Rolo or one of his friends falls into a bottomless pit.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: In the good ending, a grown-up Rolo smokes one.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Rolo gets an extra life at every 1,000,000 points.
  • Goomba Stomp: Rolo uses this to defeat enemies.
  • Gotta Rescue Them All: Rolo must save all his friends before defeating the ringmaster to get the best ending.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first dozen or so levels on the map.
  • Group Picture Ending: Inverted. The title screen has Rolo and his friends gathering for a picture taken by someone off-screen.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Every human Rolo encounters is a villain. McSmiley has imprisoned Rolo's friends and every boss is a human circus performer.
  • Idle Animation: Rolo and his friends each have one if they don't move for a few seconds.
    • Rolo sits on his hind legs and blinks.
    • The rabbit reads a book.
    • The beaver falls asleep.
    • The squirrel eats acorns.
    • The mole fixes the helmet on his head.
  • Inflating Body Gag: Collecting a helium tank will inflate Rolo, allowing him to access higher areas he, the rabbit or the squirrel normally can't reach.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Averted. Once Rolo obtains the key from McSmiley, he can open every cage in the level.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure. The bad ending. If Rolo did not free all the animals before defeating the ringmaster, he and his mother embrace. Then, the epilogue mentions that Rolo will be overwrought with a guilty conscience for only saving himself, and he is never truly happy again.
  • Mole Miner: The mole, complete with a mining helmet and pickax.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Getting the bad ending. Congratulations! Rolo has defeated the ringmaster and reunited with his mother... but since he failed to save all his friends, it weighs on his conscience and he will never be truly happy again. After that, the game over screen pops up.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: When controlling one of Rolo's friends, they will die instantly if they get hurt. Rolo will lose a life if he touches an enemy without any friends with him or if he falls into water or a bottomless pit. If Rolo has at least one animal with him, the latest one he rescued will leave if Rolo gets attacked.
  • 100% Completion: Required for the good ending, though the game doesn't inform the actual percentage except in the event of a game over. The only way to tell is by scouring the map; a level with a paw print means every cage there has been opened. Once the ringmaster is defeated, the game ends regardless of whether or not all of Rolo's friends have been freed.
  • 1-Up: A yellow elephant token gives Rolo an extra life.
  • Retro Rocket: Rolo can access the moon from one level using a wooden rocket.
  • Repulsive Ringmaster: The main villain McSmiley who has a menacing glare and has kidnapped Rolo and many animals to perform against their will in his circus.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Upon entering the first mining level, a snippet from "Oh My Darling, Clementine" plays.
    • In the Good Ending, Rolo name-drops David Attenborough after he finishes reading his story to Rolo Jr., mentioning that he met him sometime after the events of the game.
  • Shrunk in the Wash: One of Rolo's abilities is to shrink himself in a washing machine, allowing him to access smaller areas.
  • Spikes of Doom: The pits full of spinning spearheads, and long spikes that poke up from the ground.
  • Survivor's Guilt: This is heavily implied to be the case for Rolo in the Bad Ending, where despite escaping the evil circus and defeating the ringmaster; because he didn't save all his friends, his resulting guilt ends up weighing heavily on his mind for the rest of his life.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Rolo, the rabbit, the squirrel, and the mole will immediately drown if they fall into deep water. Averted with the beaver who can swim across it.
  • Vacuum Mouth: Collecting a vacuum cleaner token allows Rolo to suck up and spit out smaller enemies and rocks using his trunk.
  • Video Game Flight: Rolo can do this by picking up a helium tank.
  • Zonk: The stinky socks in bonus levels. Rolo can collect them, but they aren't worth anything.