Little Things: Low G Man

Ah, Low G Man. Or Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man, as it is fully and needlessly titled. It’s the perfect example of a standard-issue NES action game. A routine side-scroller that pits a high-jumping hero against a planet’s worth of robotic invaders, it has just enough good ideas to mollify its bad ones and land squarely in the middle. One might forgive the protagonist’s odd armaments of a spear and stun gun when those weapons allow you to commandeer enemy vehicles. One might forgive the occasionally bland graphics when there are bosses several screens high and a catchy soundtrack behind it all. One might even forgive the loose controls and unreliable frame rate when the game lets you leap ridiculously high.

Or perhaps that’s just me. I forgive a lot when a game lets me leap ridiculously high. And when it has bugs that look just a little like the Ohmu from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Low G Man is not a game of intricate personality. As with most NES games from KID, it gets the job done with only periodic inspiration. The enemies are mostly standard mecha with a dash of aliens, and the introduction scarcely bothers to introduce either Low G Man himself or the invaders known simply as “they.” There is, however, one stroke of trickery that I admire.

Starting in the second stage, Low G Man may encounter imprisoned humans. They’re presumably factory workers taken hostage by the alien interlopers, though their relative lack of detail makes them strangely abstract, as though you’re glimpsing little pixel souls twitching back and forth in torment.