Super Trio is a Korean-made platformer. Despite its initially sinister plot involving an evil vampire lord being resurrected in his ominous castle, the actual game takes place in colorful, modern-day-themed environments, featuring microscopic protagonists traversing everyday household objects arranged as platform structures. The player takes control of either the mouse Jake, the cat Tomi, or the dog Brudo. All the three characters play the same and are only distinguished visually. Two players can team up by selecting two out of the three protagonists. Weapon upgrades, health-restoring items, and lightning attacks can be found throughout the stages. Each stage has a rather strict time limit and ends with a boss battle. There is no possibility to save the game.
Dracula is on the loose once again to spread fear and terror in the world, and the only ones who can stop him are... a mouse, a cat and a dog. Seriously? Three puny pets against the lord of darkness? The intro to Super Trio would be more befitting of a Castlevania game, instead it drops us into this cute little platformer.
As you probably have guessed, there's three playable characters, and up to two players can team up for the task. All three characters play exactly the same, with only visual differences. The keyboard controls are a bit odd and not configurable, see the additional notes for reference, as it's not an easy task to find the right keys by oneself even though your abilities are limited to jumping, attacking and climbing. There's five kinds of different extras to pick up to raise your odds, health-replenishing food, invincibility, a lightning that destroys all enemies on screen, winged shoes for faster running, and last but not least weapon upgrades. Each of the three animals can upgrade its weapon up to four times, which raises their attack power greatly, and especially against bosses, it makes your life much easier.
In each level you have to find the exit, and then fight a boss before advancing to the next stage. Levels are rather short, but you're under a pretty tight time limit, because Super Trio was originally released in the Arcades and only then ported to the PC. If you can't reach the goal in time, it's back to the beginning. There's not much to worry, though. Every stage has to be completed in a very short time, anyway, and you've got unlimited credits to continue. It doesn't even make sense that there's a distinction between extra lives and credits, probably a leftover from the arcade version. So the only drawback is that you're back to your weakest weapon, and bosses can take a very long time to beat with that. Every once in a while there's a bonus stage, but the game doesn't communicate what to do at all, and before you know, you'll have lost it and move on to the next stage.
The graphics are very reminiscent of Tom&Jerry, or the Chip 'n Dale games on the NES. You're moving in a microscopic world with flowers and shelves as platforms and enemies like insects, toys or small household articles (there's even a not very subtly drawn Robocop action figure). Of course, because of that, the only player character whith whom the scale makes any sense at all is the mouse. The musical score consists of the kind of tunes the general public associates with video games since the 1980's, quite repetitive and rather lo-fi.
Super Trio usually is a fairly enjoyable little platformer - that means, unless you encounter one of the numerous bugs. The worst one causes some sprites not to be loaded properly, which makes them effectively invisible. This can turn out very bad if the sprite in question is a boss. You can still beat them thanks to your unlimited credits, but as soon as you've lost your first extra life and thus weakened, it'll take forever. Not enough, once the bug has been triggered during a session, it's very likely to repeat itself often, so most times it's for the better to just start from the beginning. The collision detection is always somewhat odd, as even the big bosses are made of by a single rectangular shape for hit detection, and even the enemies' dying animation will hurt you.
Those issues don't completely destroy the experience though. While the sprite bug isn't exactly rare, it's still far from being the norm. So, if cute mascot platformers are your thing, it's worth to give it a try, especially when you have the chance to play it with a friend.
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