A Zelda-styled video game. Released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994, Young Merlin showed the titular Arthurian icon as a blonde-beefcake in his younger years. As the game begins, Merlin spies a woman drowning in a river near his home to which he plunges in after her only to be swept into a mysterious land overrun by the Shadow King and his army of cussing David the Gnome look-alikes that tend to join together to create other monsters.
Along the way, Merlin enlists the aid of the Lady of the Lake, gets items of power, meets friendly characters, traverses dungeons, and, yes, he skates on a minecart or two (or three... ).
The game's dialogue is carried out by odd noises, gestures, and pictographs - so no reading's involved.
This game provides examples of:
- All Just a Dream: The ending.
- Ambiguously Gay: Everybody seems this way. Have Merlin use the comb. Nearly every enemy stops what they're doing and gawks at him with hearts above their heads as he combs his hair of "hawtness".
- Clairvoyant Security Force: The Iron Knight and the Mushroom enemies.
- Combining Mecha: Sort of. The goblins, small as they are, generally band together to form larger monsters like hogs, evil trees, and homicidal shrubbery.
- Enemy Chatter: The goblins do a lot of this.
- Excuse Plot: You get the feeling the designers wanted to just put Merlin in some random location for the sake of it.
- Fake Difficulty: Save for the minecart-skating and puzzle spots, the only difficulty seems to arise from knowing what to do next. The items have no real obvious use.
- Foreboding Architecture: Those black flags with red eyes painted on them in the last stage.
- Guide Dang It!: Without a walkthrough, you'll more than likely play it, get stuck, and never play it again.
- Game Within a Game: The minecart rides.
- Gravity Barrier: Most notable under water.
- Healing Spring: Several. In fact, the only body of water you can't get it from is the water around you when you dive below the surface.
- Informed Equipment: Until you use it, naturally.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Some of the confusion arises from this, making it even more difficult to understand what the items are to be used for or even where to go next in some cases.
- Mercy Invincibility: No such thing here. The way Merlin's health rapidly depletes while his "damaged" voice clip repeatedly loops over itself when touching an enemy to a point it sounds like beatboxing certainly demonstrates that.
- Mood Whiplash: You spend most of the game in a generic fantasy setting until you go through the gateway in Pinedale. Welcome to your game on drugs where rainbows, dragons, giant insects, mushrooms, and ladders popping up out of the ground and turning into giant purple people-eaters at any moment are the norm. :)
- Only Smart People May Pass: Only in the first dungeon. Block puzzles ahoy.
- Overheating: Several items do this. The Snowflake. The Medallion. Even the Torch.
- Point of No Return: The last minecart segment counts as this.
- Save the Princess: Merlin tries to do this at the beginning only to find the girl is fine later... then has to do it for real in the climax.
- Story-Driven Invulnerability: That Giant Spider? You can't touch him until the rematch. Same with the Shadow King.
- Teased with Awesome: The $@#in' Thunder Spell.
- Temporary Bulk Change: When you use the balloon item to climb up cliffs and get out of the ocean.
- Totally Radical: Merlin treats skating on his... mining... board as such.
- Underground Level: The mines are a sinister maze that will get old very quickly.
- Voice Grunting: All characters "speak" this way. Sometimes to an unsettling extent.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Bubble Wand.