Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (Prototype, Nintendo Entertainment System)
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom for the Nintendo Entertainment System never takes itself seriously. How can it with a name like that? The game fuses the humor of an old school Lucasarts adventure with the gameplay of Shadowgate or Deja Vu.
What makes Princess Tomato stand out is its tongue-in-cheek translation written by the veggie heads at Hudson Soft USA, a subsidiary of Hudson Soft, which eventually folded in 1995. Like Maniac Mansion, Princess Tomato pushed Nintendo’s censorship boundaries considerably.
During one scenario, for example, your character sneaks into a steamy bathroom and a girl showering inside calls you a pervert for spying on her.
As for differences in this prototype, which was purchased from the Dutch collector Niels Thomassen, I’ll begin with the password system.
The password screen in the prototype is completely different and does not have any numbers, which makes many of the passwords from the released North American version impossible to enter. Even all-lettered passwords used in the final game (like PPWCXTVWXTW for level 4) do not work when used in the prototype.
After some experimentation, I did discover a way to covert the released game’s passwords to make them work in the prototype. It’s all a matter of matching up where each symbol is located on the 7 x 5 grid.
For example, the debug password, which when entered takes you to a looping rock-paper-scissors match, is accessed by inputting the code GG62 in the released game. On the prototype’s password screen, there’s a P where the G is located on the released game’s password screen; where the 6 is located on the released password screen, there’s an F; and where there’s a 2 on the released, there’s a B in the prototype. Therefore, entering PPFB on the prototype takes you to the same debug mode. This trick works with all of the other passwords as well.
The most comical difference between the prototype and released versions is the name change of a certain item available for sale in two of the game’s shops.
The first time I ran across the item in question was in Level 2’s antique store. Take a look and see if you can tell what’s wrong with the scene below.
For a game concerned with talking anthropomorphic vegetables, you know there has to be some homegrown herbal remedy lying around. And in the prototype, there is!
In the released North American version, “pot” was changed to “vase,” probably to avoid any unpleasant misunderstanding by parents curious as to why little Tommy and Suzie Lou are buying marijuana from a pear-headed drug dealer.
There’s also a lot of fun that you can have when you have an item named “pot” in your inventory.
Let’s get this party started right! Try to USE some POT in this nightclub…
And you’re denied by the ladies! Bunch of narcs! Who needs them? We can get away and head into the bathroom to toke…
That’s right. Let’s light up and have our own private party.
Go back outside after toking to see what’s up…
You’re a lemon with breasts asking me for a compliment. I think the weed is working.
Or maybe you don’t walk out with the pot because you suspect it might be a set-up and the Pear is an undercover cop? DUMP the POT and the game says this:
In fact, everything you learn about the store seems to take on a new meaning now in the prototype.
The Pear is freaking out! He’s freaking out, man!
If you bought the pot and it’s still in your inventory by the end of that level, the Farmies, the local corrupt police force, will take it away from you. You just know they’re going to smoke it themselves!
Of course, there’s nothing really alarming going on here. Like other items with long names, “pot” is an abbreviation for “clay pot.”
Still, it seems that Hudson Soft USA wanted to avoid any and all confusion and decided to change the name completely to play it safe.
It’s not surprising. The translation team verges on pushing the theme of drugs elsewhere in the game. There’s even pseudo-psychedelic grass that you use at one point.
It certainly doesn’t help, either, that the rest of the game is seemingly on a never-ending acid trip.
But the Level 2 antique store is not the only time that you run into a shop selling pot; there’s a an old man named Uncle Peanut working at the pharmacy in Level 6’s Peanut Village who’s also got the stuff.
If you say you want to buy from him, he’ll ask if you’re a student. He must get most of his business dealing to kids.
You’re never too old to toke, Uncle Peanut. Just ask Bill Maher.
Try to buy pot from him and…
He must suspect something’s up! Uncle Peanut won’t deal to just anybody!
As you can see, the name was changed to “vase” again in the released version. We can’t have sweet old Uncle Peanut selling pot to the kiddies.
In terms of the cartridge’s appearance, there is a neat Hudson Soft label on the back with the company’s contact information and its trademark bumblebee logo.
(Image source: Google Earth)
Hudson Soft USA was located right by the water, wedged in the middle of two marinas in beautiful South San Francisco. Not a bad place to design video games. Not a bad place at all.
There are two silver stickers on the EPROM chips with “Tomato 0 6/30 E082” and “Tomato 1 6/30 0ABA” written in black marker.