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Video Game / Ufouria

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Ufouria - the Saga is a cult Metroidvania action-adventure game made by Sunsoft for the NES in 1991 under the title Hebereke. It was ported to Europe and Australia one year later (but not in the US), where it received slight modifications to graphics, text and plot, but keeping its distinctive Japanese-ness. On April 20th, 2023, it was announced that a remake is in production for modern consoles.

Plot for the Western version: on a distant world, there live many strange creatures, including Bop-Louie and his friends Freeon-Leon, Shades and Gil. One day the friends fall down a crater, Bop-Louie climbs down there to save them, but faints and later finds himself in a weird world... Okay, it doesn't make much sense, but the original Japanese story isn't much better.

See the Hebereke page for tropes specific to the Japanese game, as well as the rest of the series.

The game provides examples of:

  • Ability Required to Proceed:
    • You need Bop-Louie's Suction Cups if you want to get far.
    • Certain blocks can only be destroyed with Gil's secret weapon.
  • Aerith and Bob: The original Japanese names for the characters are Hebe, Oh-Chan, Sukezaemon, and Jennifer.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Just one part of the weirdness of the setting. The platforms and projectile balls have faces. The floating platforms appear to be sleeping, but wake up when a character rides on them.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Played straight with Hebe/Bop-Louie, who went from a penguin in the Japanese original to a vaguely humanoid creature in the Western version. Averted with O-Chan/Freeon-Leon, who was changed from a cat to a dinosaur.
  • Anvil on Head: Enemy crows drop 16-ton weights on you. In the original game, they dropped their poop.
  • Blackout Basement: One of the areas preceding a Key Guardian is a pitch black cavern, where you have a find a very well hidden light switch just near its opening in order to progress.
  • Blob Monster: Jumping green jellies that are about the most common and easiest enemy you can find.
  • Breath Weapon: Freon can get the ability to freeze enemies with his breath late in the game.
  • Cartoon Bomb: The icon for Gil's Secret Weapon. When actually used, they're green-and-white glowing egg-shaped things he launches from his mouth, which cannot actually damage enemies but are only for destroying certain blocks.
  • Cute Kitten:
    • Freeon-Leon the dinosaur was originally O-chan, a cute kitten, or at least somebody dressed as one.
    • At least two of the three key guardians are kittens. The third key guardian, the UFO boss, is probably an alien kitty.
  • Death Throws:
    • Bop-Louie falls outside the screen, eyes closed, when his energy drops to zero.
    • Every character has his unique death animation: Freeon-Leon shrinks to nothing, Shades curls into a ball and Gil just stands there, looking at the player and drooling.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: When Bop-Louie finds his friends, who have become amnesiac after having fallen down the crater, they will attack him on sight. When defeated, they will regain consciousness and join him on his quest to leave the strange world.
  • Drop The Hammer: Averted. Shades carries around a hammer, but never uses it as a weapon... at least not against the enemies.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Not that the other Hebereke games (never released outside Japan) aren't weird, it's just that none of them is a Metroidvania action adventure game. They're all puzzle games and multi-player multi-event marathons.
  • Eye Pop: One of the weirdest things in the game is Shades' special ability. He uses the hammer he finds to whack his own head, after which his eyes pop out of the sockets and start floating around the screen, hitting and killing every enemy as if they were heat-seeking missiles! It's probably the most useful combat item in the game—Bop Louie and Freon Leon's attacks are limited, and Gil's bomb power-up is completely useless against enemies.
  • Gender-Blender Name: In the original version, Gil was named Jennifer, but his gender is always listed as male. And Leon is still female... we think.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Once you find all three of your friends, Bop-Louie's suction cups and Gil's bombs, your goal is to find three keys (protected by three guardians) in order to unlock a gate and access the final boss.
  • Harmless Freezing: Enemies frozen by Freeon-Leon's breath turn back to normal after a few seconds.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Where the items are found.
  • Invisible Monsters: In the second phase of the fight against the alien (one of the three bosses you need to defeat to find the keys to escape), he will turn invisible for a while after you hit him.
  • Joke Character: Gil is the most useless out of all the four characters. You only need him to get through underwater areas, and he is almost useless on land due to his slow speed and lousy jumping. Even underwater, he has terrible vertical jumping speed, making it very hard to for him to attack enemies with a stomp. On top of that, whereas the other characters get an attack with their secret weapons, Gil only gets a bomb that's used to blow up some obstructive blocks—it can't even be used to harm enemies.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Sure, it drains your energy pretty fast if you fall in it, but you can still swim in there, and hover above it with no problems.
  • Meaningful Name: Freeon-Leon's default ability is to walk on ice without slipping, and his special ability is to freeze enemies with his icy breath and turn them into blocks to be used as platforms. (Freon is the gas used in refrigerators). Gil, of course, is a frog that can swim underwater. Shades not only wears Cool Shades, but looks like he might be a ghost (or a shade).
  • Metroidvania: Without the abilities of Bop-Louie's friends, you won't go far in the game. Fortunately, the game really opens up once you get access to Bop-Louie's suction cups.
  • Minecart Madness: One area is located in what appears to be an abandoned mine... Guess what you have to do there?
  • Minimalist Run: The only items you absolutely need to beat the game are the three keys, Bop-Louie's suction cup and Gil's bombs. Since this means never picking up any medicine to heal, and the crystals that replenish 2 HP each (and in a minimalist run, your max is 50) Randomly Drops from enemies and at a much lower rate than the throwing balls, this makes some of the later parts of the game tough, and a speedy kill of the diver boss impossible if you haven't gotten insanely lucky with your health drops.
  • Monster Clown: Some enemies.
  • Mook Maker:
    • An enemy that looks like a humanoid frog on a box, standing still, that spawns little frogs, but only one at a time.
    • Also those things on the way to the knight boss that spits those little worm-things.
  • Non-Indicative Subtitle: The game is not a saga at all, especially since all the Hebereke games made after it have nothing to do with it.
  • Opening the Sandbox: There's not too many areas you can go in the game at first, but once you find the Suction Cups for Bop Louie, which allows him to scale any wall in the game, the bulk of the game opens up for you to explore!
  • Power Up Letdown: Gil's power up is a very slow bomb that does no damage to enemies; it only slowly blows up solid blocks, which respawn if you pause the game.
  • Pun-Based Title: It's a pun on "euphoria" and the fact that u have to control four characters.
    • There's also an actual UFO, and everything looks rather alien.
  • Railroading: As soon as you go left upon starting the game, you can find a closed off area with an arrow indicating you're supposed to go up it, but until you get Bop Louie's suction cups that let you climb the nearby wall, it's a dead end, forcing you to go right.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • It's possible, albeit very difficult (think subpixel positioning and frame-perfect jumping, making it pretty much a TAS-only trick), to skip Shades entirely.
    • By using the Good Bad Bug mentioned above, you can get a few (non-required, but making it useful for 100% Completion Speedruns) items that require Gil's bombs early, rather than backtrack to get them later. More useful is reaching the knight boss by bombing a wall before picking up the bombs, as that saves a detour later. Sadly, exploded brick walls return when you enter the character select screen - while this is no problems for vertical brick walls, as you can bomb it while stuck inside it, the horizontal screen of bricks you have to go through to reach the light switch is impossible to get past this way. Skipping Gil's bombs would otherwise have been the single biggest time-saver in the game, especially for a Minimalist Run that could instead spend ten seconds to pick up Shades' hammer.
    • Even without using the bug, Freeon-Leeon's Secret Weapon can easily be skipped by using Shades to bounce on the enemies hovering over the lava on the way to the knight, get hit by the last one, switch to Gil and use the Mercy Invincibility to get out of the lava before it starts sapping ten hit points per second.
  • Shout-Out: Some wall-crawling enemies have Mickey Mouse ears (they are called Mickeys in the Japanese instruction manual).
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Some areas are frozen and covered in snow, and only Freeon-Leon can walk over them without slipping and falling over.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: You actually come across the Temple Gate (which leads to the final boss) fairly early in the game, but it requires the three keys to open.
  • Spikes of Doom: They appear, but are rather underused for a NES platform game of The '90s.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Even the characters who can't swim (Bop & Shades) won't drown in water.
  • Unique Enemy: The large, stationary, square-shaped red slime only exists in one single room in the game.
  • Waddling Head: The first enemies you meet look like hooded heads with feet.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The first boss you fight just runs back and forth, and you butt stomp it so it will drop an object to throw at it. Several of the other bosses are just variations of this basic boss.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The UFO boss, the first of the three bosses you fight for a key. It's hitbox is smaller than the other bosses, it can do some nasty damage to you if you collide with it, and it's combo of spawning enemies while moving in an arc can make it frustrating. It also has a second phase, which isn't hard per se, but it's ability to turn invisible can give it a chance to land a cheap hit on you.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Only Freon and Gil can swim, and only the latter can actually go underwater.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: One of the Key Guardians, a Knight, is already a fairly easy boss if you attack it with Shade's special attack. But then it cues its second phase—where it turns into a harmless cat that stands in place and cries. It won't even try to attack you as you stomp on its head.