Sponsored by Novo Nordisk, makers of the Novolin-brand insulin, Captain Novolin is an educational SNES
platformer that was released in 1992, intent on teaching players on diabetes
. In fact, the eponymous protagonist
, a superhero
, has diabetes himself. The game follows Captain Novolin's mission to save the mayor of Pineville (also a diabetic) from the alien Blubberman. To make matters worse, the mayor can only survive forty-eight hours without insulin.
Before each level, the game--with the help from a couple of doctors
--goes through what Captain Novolin should eat and avoid depending on the meal and time of day. The player must then check his glucose level and inject insulin into his blood stream.
The game plays like a standard platformer that plays from left to right. Enemies (aliens disguised as "sugary junk", like candy
, chewing gum, and donuts
) come from the right, and usually either run, jump, or fly
towards the player. They can be avoided with well-timed jumps
and dashes or stomped on, and being hit by them will cause Captain Novolin to lose health
. Occasionally, Captain Novolin rides a speedboat
, but this doesn't change the fundamental basics (Novolin can still jump with the speedboat) besides the fact that you're constantly moving forwards.
Littered throughout each level are various foods. The type of foods depend on the time of day. For example, bananas
crop up in the morning, while chicken
and potatoes appear at night. A suitable amount of these healthy foods must be picked up to keep Captain Novolin's glucose level stable; too many, and the character will fall onto the ground, face down, unconscious (and one life is lost) with a message informing the player that his blood glucose level is too high. Players can earn bonus points by answering multiple choice questions about diabetes correctly at checkpoints
Each level is also linear
with no alternate paths or hidden levels. At the climax, the player must defeat the only boss
in the game--the antagonist
Blubberman, who throws pies
--before saving the mayor.
Captain Novolin is regarded as one of the worst games on the SNES, with many people citing the shallow and repetitive gameplay as the main reason. However, given its educational purpose, it is unlikely that the developer made gameplay its highest priority.