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Video Game / The Adventure of Little Ralph

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Chippoke Ralph no Daibouken (Little Ralph's Big Adventure), officially called in English as The Adventure of Little Ralph, is a little-known PlayStation 2D platformer published only in Japan in 1999. The game's protagonist, Ralph, starts out as a grown man, but is turned into a child by the Big Bad named Valgo. For most of the game, Ralph stays a child, except for every boss fight after the midboss, in which the gameplay changes to that of a fighting game.

The game's most unique factor is its graphics, as the game is one of the few 2D platformers released in The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games. Most developers stressed the 3D capabilities of the 5th-gen consoles, so 2D was shunned, for the most part, until The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games, when "retro" gaming started to rise in popularity. In fact, The Adventure of Little Ralph could be the first Retraux video game, given that it was designed as a 16-bit platformer but was released during a time when 16-bit was seen as obsolete. Possibly due to the game's lack of appeal because of this supposed obsolescence, the game was never localized for international markets, and it languished in obscurity, known only by niche retro gaming sites, until very recently, when major game journalism sites played and reviewed the game.

This game provides examples of:

  • 1-Up: There are represented by a symbol of Ralph's head.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: One of the levels, which features non-aggressive rats that'll scurry around as you approach them.
  • Airborne Mook: There are blue heron-like birds that are aggressive to Ralph for whatever reason.
  • Ash Face: Once Ralph blows up the first boss' mech, he is left standing dejected with his entire body covered in ash as Ralph merrily runs past him.
  • Big Bad: Valgo, the greenish demon who turned Ralph into a child and kidnapped his girlfriend. He also acts as the Final Boss...if you were playing the game on easy mode.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight, since this is a child-oriented game. The defeated enemies will simply be tossed up in the air and then fall through the floor, much like in Super Mario Bros..
    • Subverted with respect to the player, however. Ralph will find himself bloodily skewered on spikes or crushed with a splash of gore. Quite unlike the simple flashes or other conceits of most all-ages platformers.
  • Breath Weapon: The third boss is a huge Sphinx head who breathes out fire as one of its main attacks.
    • A dragon-like miniboss fought way later in the game breathes out either one or two fireballs as his only attack besides simply trying to impact Ralph.
  • Collision Damage: Played straight, even if Ralph collides with a mere piglet, or a robot thing that doesn't even have arms.
  • Damsel in Distress: Played with, in that she is a sorceress capable of casting powerful lightning strikes, and who attempted to rescue Ralph after he first got reverted to child form by Valgo. Unfortunately for her, Valgo was immune to her lightning, so he simply picks her up and teleports away.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: What happens to both the robotic enemies and all the non-human bosses.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Valgo himself ultimately ends up as one.
  • Dual Wielding: The ninja-like bodyguards of the skeletal statue boss have a blade in each arm.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: In the game's Easy Mode, the last few worlds are skipped, and the player does not get to see the true ending to the game.
  • Eye Beams: The other attack of the Sphinx boss, though it always has a generous charge-up time.
  • Flash of Pain: The opponents that do not fall in one hit will flash white in response to attacks.
  • Flunky Boss: The first boss regularly has snail-like creatures dropped in from the five chutes above the arena.
  • Full-Boar Action: Played for laughs: the first enemies Ralph fights in the game are pigs (or rather, piglets), who are sometimes ridden by the basic mooks as well.
  • Goomba Stomp: Played straight; it'll also be animated with a blue magic blast for further awesomeness.
  • Lizard Folk: Travant, the first boss who duels you in a Fighting Game style, is one.
  • Loading Screen: Each level is separated by a looping corridor that hides the game's loading times.
  • Mad Scientist: The first boss is certainly styled as one, using a mech he built himself, wearing a lab coat, and possessing Einstein Hair.
  • Nintendo Hard: It makes sense that the game is very difficult because of its intentional retro stylings.
  • No-Sell: In the intro, Ralph's girlfriend tries to blast the Big Bad Valgo with lightning after successfully blowing away a pair of his basic mooks with it. However, Valgo simply ignores the repeated lightning strikes as he strides towards her and picks her up.
  • Playing with Fire: There is a power-up that looks like a Flaming Sword. Once equipped, it results in a fireball launching out of Ralph's sword whenever it's swung.
  • Retraux: Possibly the first Retraux game ever.
  • Rubber Man: Once you finally fight Valgo, it turns out that he possesses these powers, and can either swiftly morph his arms into a shield-like shape to protect himself from attacks, or have his neck become crazy long to quickly throw his head after Ralph and then reel it back.
  • Scoring Points: Defeating enemies and collecting fruit nets Ralph points in the increments of 100.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Played straight in the opening when Ralph is morphed to a child by Valgo; he spends half the cutscene crouched down to hide his nudity, but still attempts to wrestle away from Valgo. He disdainfully tosses him away, and then teleports along with and the rest of his entourage.
  • She-Fu: The third Fighting Game-style boss, Ferica, is a woman, and her fighting style is particularly acrobatic, with every attack being some sort of a twist with her body rather than a straight punch or kick.
  • Shock and Awe: Ralph's girlfriend can cast lightning, as she demonstrates in the intro. It works well on Valgo's mooks, but is useless on their boss.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Both the skeletal statue boss and its two elite bodyguards can generate a line of icicles jutting out of the ground.
  • Sidetrack Bonus: Each level features plenty of alternate paths with various bonuses.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spike pits are a frequent obstacle.
  • Sword Lines: Since Ralph's sword is magic, swinging it comes complete with a bright green flash.
  • Teleport Spam: The skeleton statue boss will regularly teleport from one side of the screen to another.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The fourth stage's boss fight suddenly changes the gameplay into a Fighting Game, with Ralph temporarily aging up to do battle with the level's boss in a style that's very reminiscent of the many, many SNES fighting games that tried to cash in on Street Fighter II's popularity. Then, three more bosses are fought in this manner. (Or just one more, if you are playing on easy mode.)