Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru
North American cover art
Yo! Noid, known in Japan as Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru (仮面の忍者 花丸 Kamen no ninja Hanamaru?, lit. "Masked Ninja Hanamaru") is a 2D action platform game developed by Now Production and published by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was first released in Japan on March 16, 1990 and was localized in the United States to promote the Noid, the claymation mascot of Domino's Pizza in the late 1980s. The game is also released as part of Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 series and featured in the Japanese TV show GameCenter CX.
Despite having the same gameplay, both games were different in terms of storyline.
In Yo! Noid, Wild Slime-like creatures led by Mr. Green were running amuck around New York City as they cause havoc. The Mayor of the city decided to call the Noid to stop his evil duplicate who is causing all the trouble on the city to save everyone, and get his massive pizza reward.
Both games use the modified engine of Wagan Land and shared the same gameplay. Hanamaru/Noid has no life meter, and loses a life by either making contact with an enemy or running out of time before completing a level. For offense, both characters use different weapons (a Hawk for Hanamaru while a yo-yo for Noid) but they can gather magic points by collecting scrolls and use them for screen-clearing special attacks or very rare power-ups, both kinds of which are found in large scrolls opened with their weapons. Extra lives are awarded for every 20,000 points scored. Most levels are traveled on foot, but some exception in levels varies which includes a skateboard and an autogyro (In Hanamaru, Hanamaru uses his hawk companion for flight). Minigames varies also on either versions. On Hanamaru where the player whacks penguins in one stage, Yo! Noid has a "Pizza Crusher" level, as seen on the "Avoid the Noid" commercials. The Boss battles also varies in either versions. On which Hanamaru uses card-based battles for the bosses, Yo! Noid focuses on the Pizza-eating contests.
Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru was first released in Japan on March 16, 1990. During the game's development on localizing the game, Capcom teamed up with Domino's Pizza to promote the company's mascot, changing a lot of graphics, sound and presentation. However, none of the game mechanics were changed. The localized game was released in the rest of the world as Yo! Noid in November 1990. In the process, the game gained coherence in locations but lost it in plot and character design. Most of the game's music was re-used for Yo! Noid, though a few tunes were changed. A few new tracks were written for the latter to reflect a more American atmosphere. Before Kamen no Ninja Hanamaru got released, the Wagan Land engine was used as a base for the game itself. And Namco Bandai Games now published the Wagan Land series while Capcom published both Hanamaru and Yo! Noid.
A sequel was supposedly in production for the Nintendo 64, however, the project was cancelled early on.