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Mr. Nutz is a side scrolling, 2D platformer video game published by Ocean Software. It was first released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993[, then later released for the ]Mega Drive in 1994[, followed by ]Game Boy, Game Boy Color, then Game Boy Advance ports.
The player controls the one player character, Mr. Nutz an anthropomorphic red squirrel wearing shoes, gloves and a cap through six themed levels. The end goal is to stop Mr. Blizzard, a yeti, who is the final boss and is trying to take over the world by using his magic powers to turn it into a mass of ice. The game shares similarities with other platformers of the same time, being that jumping is the main technique used in the game to navigate both fixed and moving platforms and defeat or avoid most enemies. Ammunition, in the form of nuts, can be collected and thrown at enemies.
Ocean released in 1994 another game on the Amiga under the name Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad. Developed by Neon Studios, it featured the same titular character but with different, faster and more wide-open gameplay, unrelated levels and enemies, another story, and a large overworld map instead of a linear path to follow in a mini-map. This game was also going to be released for the Sega Mega Drive in 1995 as Mr Nutz 2, but never appeared.
After the closure of Ocean France, Philippe Dessoly (Character Designer, Graphist) and Pierre Adane (Programmer) decided to work independently on a platform game for Amiga, it was shown to Ocean Software which accepted to publish the game on Super Nintendo and Mega Drive/Genesis instead of Amiga, because the video game console market was safer against copy and more profitable, Ocean was also in charge of porting the game to console. The early title was Squirrel's Game, the developers changed it into Mr.Nuts but it was considered as too pejorative and vague by the English publisher, the final title became Mr.Nutz replacing the "s" by a "z". Mr.Nutz was drawn in a Disney style in the early sketches, Pierre Adane advised Dessoly to make the character less "cute" and more "cool" to appeal the young gamers. The development took 18 month for the Super Nintendo version and 6 month for the Mega Drive/Genesis version. Some levels, like a Water stage, was removed in the final version, the Game Boy Advance version contains those levels.
Mr. Nutz can run, jump, swim in some levels and collect items. The character can jump on most enemies, strike them with his tail, or throw nuts he has collected at them to defeat them. Apart from bosses, most enemies can be killed with one strike. As with many games, contact with hazards and enemies that does not sufficiently defeat them results in losing one unit of health followed by a few seconds of invulnerability as the character sprite flashes. No version contains a time limit, the player may spend as long as they wish on each level, although some versions of the game will reward the player with bonus points for clearing a level quickly. Coins found along the way will not only give points and bonuses during gameplay, but the total amount of coins collected in a level will determine the player's completion bonus at the end of a level. Coins, health, and hidden lives are often hidden throughout the levels.
The player starts with a number of lives and health units, the amounts are different depending on difficulty and port. Losing all health results in losing one life and the player must restart at the beginning of the current journey. After losing all lives the player may choose to accept a game over or to continue but must then restart at the beginning of the first journey in the current stage with the default lives and health and zero nuts, coins and score. The player may continue an infinite number of times.
In all versions except the original Super Nintendo version, passwords are shown when the player reaches certain levels and can be input to start the game from the beginning of that level.
There are six levels that must be played in order, they are generally increasing in difficulty, and each has a boss to defeat at the end. The levels are split into different sections called "journeys" but have a common theme throughout. Most areas contain many collectibles and enemies, and there are often secret areas to find.
- Woody Land
- A grassy area that starts off in day light and finishes at night. Enemies include walking fruit, caterpillars, giant Venus Fly-traps and porcupines on the ground. He also has to face hornets, fairies, and hanging spiders in the air. The boss is Mr. Spider, a giant semi-anthropomorphic spider, which jumps and creates other spiders to attack Mr. Nutz.
- Adventure Park
- An area containing many tall trees with high branches to explore. There are rope swings and bouncy spring-like blocks. The boss is a witch on a broomstick fought inside a house at the end of the stage. This boss can fly, shoot out skulls, and create men with jack-o-lanterns as heads to attack.
- Living Room and Foul Kitchen
- Mr. Nutz first enters the Living Room and Foul Kitchen area. In this area, Mr. Nutz faces electrocuting light-bulbs, cooked turkeys which walk, and hopping rabbits. Then, after achieving the golden cup, he shrinks, and falls into a sink. He enters a new area, where he is forced to swim on many occasions. Here, he fights plungers and lightning fish and must avoid dirty sink water by swinging on chains and crossing on sponges. The boss is a squid or octopus type creature, encountered in a drain leading from the sink, it swims and uses smaller jellyfish to attack.
- Volcano Underpass and Clouds
- This level begins in the underground caves of a volcano, with rocky passages filled with pools of lava. Enemies include fire creatures, miner weasels that throw pick axes, small fire-breathing dragons and flying bats. Platforms of smoke emitting from the volcano eventually take the level into the clouds with moving cloud platforms, flying cloud creatures, bees, birds and small bomber planes and crawling spiky caterpillars. The boss is a giant ogre named Ograoum Papas who attacks with his hands, tongue and reproducing bouncing eyes. Note that the hands of Ograoum are reversed of him, perhaps by an error in developing the game.
- Mean Streets
- An area that resembles an amusement park. Here, Mr. Nutz has to avoid many obstacles such as floating hamburgers, attacking hornets, and other monsters. In Part 1 of Mean Streets, there is a secret tool on top of the stage (in the version for Super Nintendo), which is the squirrel can fly (the same way that he swims in a stage above), in addition to being unbeatable. This effect is only in this stretch of the game is over when for the second part of the stage. At the end of the level, Mr. Nutz faces Little Clown. He can change his size (But only in the SNES and GBA versions), throw pies, and attack with reproducing floating heads.
- Ice Scream
- An snowy icy land, containing floating ice burgs, penguins and Eskimos who fire harpoons. In this level, Mr. Nutz has to enter an igloo where he has to find his way through a maze. Once exited, Mr. Nutz continues in the same area until reaching the Frozen Nutz area. Many of the enemies are the same here, but here Mr. Nutz has to navigate the area more due to the many platforms at different heights. After the level, Mr. Nutz has to face Mr. Blizzard, the yeti which took control of the wilderness. He jumps, throws snow flakes, and tries to blow Mr. Nutz off of his icy platform. The game is completed after defeating him.