Game Cover
©Nintendo 1984
Release: 1984-11-22 (¥4500)
Cartdridge HVC-CL
Action/Puzzle game

American Version
Released in America as

European Version
European Version country
Released in Europe as
Clu Clu Land is a single screen puzzle/action game by Nintendo. The aquatic kingdom of Clu Clu Land is at stake - a group of sea urchins, the Uniras, have stolen all the treasures of the country. Goruppī (aka Gloopy) the bubble fish (known as Bubbles in the rest of the world) ventures out to retrieve all the gold they have taken along with them and hidden inside their underground lair. Each stage simply consists of a grid of turn posts. Gloopy is very fast but can't stop nor turn by himself, and therein lies the very core of the gameplay - she must hang onto these posts to turn around, or bounce off walls to change direction. All the gold is also hidden from view - Gloopy must uncover they all within a time limit by running over key locations on the maze (the gold bars usually form a recognizable shape on the playfield, helping the player to figure out where they are). Each maze is also riddled with traps and other hazards, such as black holes (this is where the Uniras come from, but then can swallow up Gloopy as well) and rubber bands (Gloopy bounces off them). Special items also appear from time to time on the playfield, they include Timers (freezes time), fruits and sacks (bonus points) and Flags (extra life). Finally, Gloopy can shoot electric shock waves to stun the urchins - but they eventually recover unless she crushes them against the outside walls. The mazes come in five different colors, and each color features four different pattern shapes (for a total of twenty). A bonus round awaits the player every six levels, in which Gloopy has to find and collect as many gold bars as possible within a time limit. Finally, Clu Clu Land features a two simultaneous player mode.
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It is interesting to notice that the original Japanese kana name for the game is 'Kuru Kuru Land'. Althrough Nintendo spelt it Clu Clu Land on the title screen, Kuru Kuru is actually an onomatopoeia that means 'going around', and it is most likely based on Kuru (繰る) which means 'rotating' or 'spinning'. Clu Clu Land is one of those early Nintendo franchise that was forgotten somewhere along the way. Clu Clu Land Famicom Disk A Famicom Disk sequel was released in Japan in 1992 though - this version is extremely rare and features two difficulty levels (beginner and Expert), more levels and a large Unira boss (picture on the right). It is technically a port of the Vs. Clu Clu Land arcade game originally released in 1984 for Nintendo's coin-operated VS System. This version of the game was later included as a bonus collectible in Animal Crossing (Game Cube, 2001), along with the original Clu Clu Land. Characters from Clu Clu Land still make cameo appearances every once in a while - Gloopy appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros Melee (Game Cube, 2001), the Unira urchin appears as an item in Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii, 2008) and there are Clu Clu Land microgames in Wario Ware Twisted! (Game Boy Advance, 2004) and in Wario Ware Smooth Moves (Wii, 2006). The game's concept also most probably inspired DK King of Swing released for the Game Boy Advance in 2005 (where Gloopy can be unlocked as a special character!) and DK Jungle Climber (DS, 2007).

Clu Clu Land / Zelda The trained eyes can notice something peculiar about Clu Clu Land - or more precisely about the gold-bar sprites. They are the same as the ones used for the rupees in Zelda no Densetsu ! (picture on the left)

Teaser text copied from the American version:
Are you clever enough to unravel the mystery of Clu Clu Land ? The evil Sea Urchin has hidden all the gold in Clu Clu Land in an underground mystery maze. It's up to you to find the gold before time runs out! But beware, the Sea Urchin will do everything in his power to stop you. He'll set up traps to trick you, like inviting you into his house, where you'll be swallowed alive! Or bounce you against the Rubber Trap, and land you flat on your back. But if you, or you and a friend, can control the Sea Urchin by stunning him with electric shock waves, you just might find out where he's hidden the gold and move on to an exciting bonus round.


Clu Clu Land Manual
Click on picture to enlarge


Add your Pov here !

Clu Clu Land is an odd and unique mix between Pac Man and Qix. Although I agree the comparison between these games is far fetched, the Nintendo classic does somewhat feature a maze roaming style and patterns/shapes to uncover. Anyway, I had a lot of fun playing this game and the first challenge is not to find the gold bars, but to master the unique controls - they do certainly twist your brain in ways you thought impossible. But once you get the hang of it, then the game reveals itself and becomes an enjoyable and addicting experience. Graphics and sounds are unquestionably simple (it's an early game after all), but they do the job fine. The two-player mode is also fun and adds a whole other layer to the game. However, once you've visited the five color-coded stage types, then the game becomes a bit repetitive - well, it's not a deal breaker though. All in all, Clu Clu Land has aged a bit, but it is still as innovative and as fun as it was back in the days.

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