Avoid the Noid
Surprisingly decent Domino's cash-in
As blatant advertisements go, Avoid the Noid actually isn't too bad. It's basically one long commercial for Domino's, the pizza company, and follows in the footsteps of other tie-ins like Pushover, Zool and Cool Spot, but like these games, it's a fun and enjoyable little platformer. The basic gameplay is pretty simple and requires players to don their delivery boy hats, with the intention of getting some much needed pizzas to a very important client who happens to reside at the top of a very tall apartment building. However, while this might not sound that difficult (especially if you've never delivered pizzas before), there is of course something standing in your way. In this case, it's the titular Noid, a bizarre creature which looks a little like an evil man in a full-blown bunny suit and who has an unhealthy interest in stealing away all the pizzas before they can be delivered. You are required to run, jump and avoid the Noids who populate the building, watching out for trapdoors and the like as you go, while later stages introduce even deadlier elements, like Noids with pizza-seeking missiles. Avoid the Noid turns out to be quite well put together for what initially seems like a dodgy idea. The visuals are straightforward enough, but quite charming in their own way, with the Noid in particular being a deliciously nasty creation. There is a nice sense of humour to the whole thing, but above all, the gameplay is slick, quite polished and undeniably enjoyable so if you want some undemanding pizza-themed fun or are just in the mood for a retro throwback, check this out.
Cynical but fun pizza-related tie-in
Joining the dubious ranks of things like Zool, Cool Spot and Pushover, Avoid the Noid is one of those games which was created to advertise a mainstream product unrelated to the world of videogames. In this case, it was pizza giant Domino's who sought a way to promote themselves by appealing directly to the gaming market but if you can overlook the blatant commercialisation of Avoid the Noid, it is actually a surprisingly decent little game, albeit one which doesn't provide a lot of long-lasting appeal. It's based on Domino's advertising campaign from the 1980s and sees the player taking the role of a delivery boy who must get his pizzas to the top floor of an apartment building. Blocking his way are numerous Noids, bizarre little creatures who have an unhealthy interest in destroying pizzas. Gameplay is pretty simple and involves running, jumping, rolling and of course avoiding Noids, in a series of side-on levels which are also populated by trapdoors and with later levels introducing Noids with pizza-seeking missiles and the like. For a brief bit of undemanding fun, this actually isn't bad, with action that is slickly put together and which is highly enjoyable. The graphics are decent enough, particularly the Noids which are characterful and well drawn, while the sound is even more impressive given the game's age, with neat digitised effects and some excellent music. However, while the game is reasonably challenging, it's not going to last forever and once you have completed it there is little incentive to return. While it does last though, this is an odd little curiosity that makes for a good time.
Engaging platformer with cool gimmicks
McDonalds too tried their hands at serving a game to aid their marketing efforts, but couldn't quite produce enticing enough games. However, a relatively unknown pizza company (at least for Europeans, that is), Domino's Pizza created a platformer that is not only very playable but also sports original ideas. You are a delivery guy, and you have to make it to the customer in time. On the way however, you are faced with all sort of traps, and other things that will block your way. There are floods that require you to time your movements right to avoid getting drowned, there are ice fields that are slippery and other such gimmicks to make advancement interesting and challenging. Also, Noid sprinkled a few minigames, such as whack the mole and a few others, to make the game more diverse. Graphically the game is better than expected but in the vein of other late 80s era. However, the game is still very playable and, as I mentioned terrific in its diversity and gameplay ploys. Were it not for the advertisement that it is, maybe it would have had a better chance at being a recognized classic.