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Video Game / The Emperor's New Groove

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A Licensed Game licensed based on the atypical Disney film of the same name. It was developed by Argonaut Games for the Play Station and Microsoft Windows, and by Sandbox Studios for the Game Boy Color.

It is a Platform Game that loosely follows the plot of the original movie: When Evil Chancellor Yzma's attempt to assassinate the selfish Emperor Kuzco goes wrong, he is transformed into a llama and ends up in Pacha's village. They're forced to team up and go on a dangerous trek through the jungle so that Kuzco can reclaim his throne and get the potion that can turn him into a human again. Like its source material, the game is self-aware and likely to poke fun at some of its tropes.

The PS1/PC version of The Emperor's New Groove game provides examples of:

  • 1-Up: Normally, you only have one life, but collecting a Wampy will give you another one. Notably, all Wampies are lost if you quit the game, or even decide to replay an old level instead of continuing with the next one. The game refers to Wampies as "Continues".
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The Lab takes place in Yzma's laboratory. It's only populated by guards who have been turned into animals.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The plot is simplified.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film's river scene was short and had Kuzco and Pacha fall down one waterfall. This short scene was turned into an entire four-chapter world with multiple waterfalls for the game.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Downplayed with The Lab, which revisits all three of Kuzco's transformations.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Catacombs feature Kuzco and Pacha riding Yzma and Kronk's rollercoaster into the lab, but since they're thrown at the player with little warning, and can pretty easily kill the player if they aren't careful, they're the only levels in the game where dying doesn't cause you to lose a life, and instead just takes you from the top.
  • Back for the Finale: In the ending, many of the NPCs you met throughout the game reappear in the first area of The Village Chapter 1.
  • Balloonacy: Discussed in Village chapter 3, where the seemingly crazy old guy sometimes says that if he had four balloons, he'd use them to get out of there. In Jungle Night Chapters 1 and 2, you have to attach four balloons to a platform to make it float across a pit. In The Lab Chapter 4, Pacha uses some balloons to float to the top of the palace.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Inverted. If you lose the final race against Cat!Yzma, Kuzco will accuse Yzma of cheating and insist on a rematch. She agrees to it.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The game lampshades and pokes fun at quite a few video game tropes.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Downplayed. The Catacombs Chapter 4 has one room where Rabbit Kuzco has to collect golden carrots while avoiding the ghost of an enemy he killed back in The Catacombs Chapter 2.
  • Book Ends: The game's ending takes place in the very first area of The Village Chapter 1.
  • Bottomless Pits: Almost every area in the game is a Floating Continent. Falling down makes you lose one hit point.
  • Bridge Logic: There are several areas where you have to charge into a conveniently-placed tree to knock it down and use it as a bridge across a river or chasm.
  • Button Mashing: In Jungle Night Chapter 3, you have to mash the Charge button to outrun the jaguars that chase you throughout the entire level.
  • Checkpoint: The game's checkpoints are explicitly marked with sarcophagus-like things. This is made obvious by the "CHECKPOINT!" text and voice popping out when you touch one. Certain events in the levels also trigger checkpoints, and they still get the text.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: While most of the levels are generous with checkpoints, falling off in one of the Catacoster levels (The Catacombs Chapters 1, 3 and 5) forces you to start again from the beginning. However, you don't lose health and are allowed to keep your collectibles.
  • Circling Birdies:
    • When Kuzco takes damage, circling stars appear over his head while he has Mercy Invincibility.
    • Circling stars appear over the head of the llama bike kid when you knock him off it.
    • While most enemies just fade away after being defeated, the miniboss of The City Chapter 1 remains in the level - with circling stars over his head, of course - after being knocked out. This is a hint that you can use Kuzco's karate kick on him to get a few more coins out of him.
  • Collision Damage: Merely touching most enemies will hurt Kuzco. Jumping beetles are also on the receiving end, as they die upon contacting Kuzco - even if they manage to take a Hit Point off him.
  • Dance Party Ending: Downplayed. Even though plenty of characters show up for the finale, only Kuzco, Pacha, Tipo and Chaca are seen actually dancing.
  • Death Mountain: The Mountains feature rolling boulders and platforming above very, very long drops.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The City. In contrast to the previous worlds, its first two chapters are massive, non-linear and puzzle-heavy. The more linear Chapter 3 is long, full of puzzles and stealth sections, and ends with a climactic battle against Yzma in the throne room. However, she gets away and locks the door behind her, so Kuzco has to take a detour through The Catacombs and The Lab to catch her and get the potion that can turn him back into a human.
  • Everything Fades: Most enemies fade away after being defeated.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • Many levels have beetles that deal Collision Damage, as well as other animals like lizards.
    • The River. The crocodiles are understandable, but there are plenty of monkeys throwing coconuts at you for no reason - even when you're stuck in a whirlpool. On top of that, merely touching a spinning plank hurts you. And in Yzma's boss battle, she attacks you with potions that turn into inflatable animals.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The City Chapter 2 features two people standing in front of an old, fragile wall. When you - llama!Kuzco - approach them...
    Person 1: Humph, this wall is so weak that even a llama could charge through it.
    Person 2: Really? It's a good thing there are no llamas charging around.
    [If you talk to them again]
    Person 2: I've heard that there's a 'talking llama' loose in the city.
  • Floating Continent: Almost every area is shown to be floating - without any in-universe justification.
  • Floating Platforms: There are plenty of platforms that float with no in-universe justification.
  • Foreshadowing: In Village Chapter 3, there's a seemingly crazy guy who tells you weird things that turn out to relate to something later in the game.
  • Giant Spider: The spiders in the Jungle Night levels are about as big as Kuzco in his llama form.
  • The Goomba: The beetles - the first real enemy you encounter - jump in predictable patterns, only deal Collision Damage and are easily defeated with kicks, rolls and charges. Even if you do manage to get hit by one, it dies from Collision Damage. They reappear throughout the game.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Village is a calm, grassy first world for the game.
  • Grimy Water: An odd variation: just jumping into water makes Kuzco jump out of it and lose a hit point for no apparent reason, even though the water looks blue and clean.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards in Jungle Day Chapter 1 and The City. They move in predictable patterns and have No Peripheral Vision. Kuzco likes to talk when he performs certain actions, but they don't even seem to hear it. They also don't notice the disappearance of the coins you collect, or that Kuzco has moved pots or pressed a button to make walls appear/disappear.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Mountains are icy Death Mountains.
  • Heal Thyself: The game's usual health items look like Kuzco's crown and replenish lost health instantly.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Several characters tell Kuzco what buttons to use to perform actions. This gets lampshaded when Tipo explains that Kuzco can jump by pressing the jump button, but also complains that he can't find said button.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: In The River, you can pick up bananas to regain health instantly.
  • Idle Animation: Leave Kuzco idle for too long, and he'll tell you to wake up. If you still leave him alone, he may look around in boredom or get up on his hind legs and look annoyed.
  • Interface Screw: In the Catacoaster levels, the green spots turn the cart around and invert your controls. Fortunately, the effect only lasts until you hit a corner, fall off or hit another green spot.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Getting a Game Over will greet players to that one scene from the movie where it's Kuzco's not-quite funeral ("Well, he ain't gettin' any deader!")
  • Jump Physics: Being a platform game, this game needed to relax the laws of physics a bit:
    • Kuzco can jump to a height about equal to his own. His jumps are floaty and allow him to change direction in midair.
    • Kuzco always lands on his feet, no matter how high the fall is. There's no Falling Damage.
    • Doing a karate kick makes Kuzco stop in midair, and it allows him to change direction rapidly.
  • Jump Scare: During the River levels, Yzma's crocodiles will jump out of the water, right at you without much warning.
  • Jungle Japes: As indicated by their names, Jungle Night and Jungle Day are jungle levels.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Discussed:
    Pacha: And don't take the villagers' coins.
    Kuzco: The villagers are my people, so those are my coins.
  • Malevolent Architecture:
    • The City Chapter 3 shows that Kuzco's palace is full of Bottomless Pits.
    • The Catacombs of Kuzco's palace are even worse. They contain multiple rollercoaster rides where one poorly-timed turn will send you off the track, falling to your doom. The non-rollercoaster parts aren't any better: they mostly consist of narrow rails and small platforms above a giant abyss, and the main obstacles are skull pendulums, spiky platforms and cubes shooting flames from some of their sides.
    • The Lab contains trap doors leading to Bottomless Pits, and more pendulums.
  • Mercy Invincibility: After taking damage, Kuzco gets stars circling around his head and is invincible until they disappear.
  • Money Spider: Spiders, blue jumping beetles, crocodiles, lizards and scorpions all disappear and give you at least one giant silver coin upon death. Averted for red jumping beetles, which just fade away when you kill them.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Kuzco can spit grape seeds in straight lines.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits:
    • In most levels, if you fall down a bottomless pit, you only lose one Hit Point and are sent back to the nearest checkpoint. This is an Anti-Frustration Feature, as you only have one life unless you've gone out of your way to find Wampies.
    • Exaggerated in Catacombs Chapters 1, 3 and 5, where the only punishment for falling into the abyss is having to redo the level from the beginning. You don't even lose your collectibles. The same is true for the Turtle races.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The NPCs have the uncanny ability to catch up with Kuzco despite not being seen going through the levels. This is frequently lampshaded, and at one point, Pacha himself doesn't know how he got there.
    Kuzco: How did you get here so fast?
    Tipo: Hey! It's a game!
  • No Peripheral Vision: As long as you're not standing directly in front of the guards in Jungle Day and The City, they won't spot you.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the movie, it takes a while before Yzma learns that Kuzco is alive and sets off to kill him. In this game, however, Yzma's first attempt to kill him takes place while he's still in the village. This was done to allow the developers to spread Boss Battles against Yzma throughout the game.
    • Similarly, in the film, Kuzco doesn't learn about Yzma's treachery until around the third act, and doesn't believe Pacha when he tries to warn him. In the game, he's aware of her true nature from the start.
  • Pressure Plate: The game has many, many plates that do stuff when Kuzco steps on them, for instance...
    • Opening a door for a limited amount of time, forcing Kuzco to run over there in time.
    • Making a potion appear temporarily.
    • Making temporary platforms appear.
    • Holding a door open, but only for as long as weight is continuously put on it. You have to find something heavy to weigh it down.
  • Rewarding Vandalism:
    • Many levels contain pots that can be broken to get the coins and/or health items inside.
    • In Village Chapter 2, there's a sculptor who tells Kuzco to stay away from his statues. Kuzco threatens to smash his statues to pieces unless the sculptor opens the door. The sculptor refuses, so you have to break three of the four statues to proceed. Once you do that, he'll open the door and beg you to leave his statues alone... but if you want that sweet 100% Completion, you have to break the final statue for its coin.
    • Want to get past The City Chapter 1? You have to break several Yzma statues to raise some platforms and create a path for yourself. Similarly, Chapter 2 forces you to break a wall to get a Red Kuzco Idol you need to complete the level.
  • Roaring Rapids: The River contains currents, crocodiles, rotating logs and whirlpools. Some monkeys at shore throw coconuts at you. Kuzco and Pacha are tied to a log, and all you can do is steer them away from obstacles and enemy attacks, and to the coins.
  • Selective Gravity:
    • Most coins float, but those carried by bats in The Catacombs fall down when you spit on the bat. They remain upright, though.
    • The game features lots of Floating Platforms and Floating Continents, but Kuzco himself is of course subject to gravity.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final secret of the game features a Star Wars reference, of all things.
      Guard: These aren't the coins we're looking for.
    • The City Chapter 1 features a boss who stands on top of a tall structure. You have to climb it while avoiding the barrels he throws at you. Sounds like Donkey Kong, doesn't it?
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Mountains are snowy and make you traverse quite a bit of ice.
  • Spoof Aesop: After Kuzco breaks his bike for the last time in The Lab Chapter 5, the kid with the llama bikes says he has learned a lesson, which turns out to be "quit buying useless llama bikes". The lesson suggested by Kuzco isn't much better - it's "llama bikes rule, but you can't get better than the real thing - ME!".
  • Stalking Mission: In Village Chapter 4, you have to follow Pacha out of the village without him noticing you.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Several levels in The City have areas where you have to sneak past guards.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle:
    • The game has many Weighted Switch Puzzles, where you have to find something heavy to hold down Pressure Plates to keep a door from closing or a platform from disappearing.
    • There are also many Timed Switch Puzzles, where stepping on a Pressure Plate causes a door to open, a platform (or set of platforms) to appear, or a potion to appear. You only have a limited time to get to it before it closes or disappears.
  • Underground Level:
    • The Mountains feature some cave areas.
    • The Catacombs take place under Kuzco's palace.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Most of the game is a platformer, but...
    • The Turtle transformation in The Village Chapter 3 and The Lab Chapter 2 gives you a racing minigame.
    • The Village Chapter 4 is a Stalking Mission where you have to follow Pacha out of the village without him noticing you.
    • There are stealth portions in the City.
    • Some levels, like The City Chapter 3, are puzzle-heavy.
    • Catacombs Chapters 1, 3 and 5 take place on a coaster. They play like reflex-based racing games.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Jungle Night Chapter 2 has a floating platform above a non-lethal pit between A to B, where area B contains a switch that opens a door to the next part of the level. The platform only starts moving from one side to the other when you jump on it, and the only way out of the pit is next to area A. So if you accidentally fall off the platform on its way from A to B (or fall into the pit while at B), it will be stuck at B while you can only go to A (of course, Kuzco's jumps are far from long enough to cross the pit). If you want to complete the level, you'll have to restart it.
  • Video-Game Lives: Your Life Meter contains five Hit Points. Lose them all, and it's Game Over unless you have a Wampy, which is described in-game as a "Continue", but acts like a 1-Up. Notably, Wampies are lost upon exiting the game, or even exiting a level to replay an earlier one.
  • Water Is Blue: The water in the game has an opaque light blue colour.
  • Younger Mentor, Older Disciple: Chaca and Tipo have this dynamic with Kuzco as they give him hints on how to progress certain levels and give him most of the game's tutorials.

The GBC version of The Emperor's New Groove game provides examples of:

  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Hazards in the game include villagers dropping pots on you, swinging their brooms at you, bats and monkeys.
  • Roofhopping: Early levels have Kuzco jumping on the roofs of the houses in Pacha's village.