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Mendel Palace (known in Japan as Quinty) is a game set in a fantasy world where a player has to fight animated dolls in search of his younger sister, a witch who took his girlfriend away (in the American version, it's a princess, but the concept's still the same). To achieve this, you have to travel through eight different dollhouses (comprised of ten rooms each, the last room being a boss battle) and attack the enemy dolls by flipping the panels from underneath them to send them flying into the wall. Once you've done that, you get to enter the witch's palace and fight her on her own turf to win back your sweetie.
This was the first title developed by Game Freak, who are better known nowadays for their work with the Pokémon franchise.
This game uses the following tropes:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The cover artwork and modified title screen for the American NES version was actually a result of a misconception within Game Freak's staff, who believed that American players actually preferred mean-looking "realistic" characters.
- Art Initiates Life: The artist dolls.
- Bald of Evil: The dolls that appear in the final "Sky Palace" level.
- Baleful Polymorph: The witch has the power to turn you into any one of the dolls. Sometimes this can be avoided; other times, like on the sumo level, you'll want to do this on purpose. While you've taken on their forms, you're subject to the same rules as those of the mooks (i.e. being flipped into a wall kills you).
- Bonus Stage: Triggered by letting yourself fly off the stage on a glowing tile. One exists in each house.
- Collision Damage: If you touch an enemy or get flipped into a wall (when transformed), you will die.
- Counter Attack: The sumo dolls counter any attempts to flip them by stomping and flipping a shockwave of panels toward you (the pink ones will Ground Pound, sending tile shockwaves in two directions).
- Ditto Fighter: The copycat dolls only move and flip panels when you do the same.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Spinning tiles allow you to crash into and destroy enemies without suffering Collision Damage or having to push them into a wall. The ballerina dolls also attack by spinning. If attacked and destroyed while they spin in place, you can earn an easy extra life.
- Game Breaking Bug: You can crash the game completely and glitch out the characters if you flip the block to your right on the "fat guy" level boss fight right before the girl jumps up and throws magic at you. The sprites turn into mutated combinations of your arm sprite.
- Of course, not many have probably tried this since the boss is one you can defeat EVERY TIME by doing absolutely nothing - just stand in place and she'll transform you, flip the block you're standing on, trigger the fat guy body's "auto-stomp" move which makes him attack and flip all of the blocks in the direction he was hit from and it sends her flying into the wall for an instant win.
- The Heavy: The witch has a right-hand man who steals the princess away when you clear the clone dollhouse. You eventually get to fight him three times.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: With enough time and patience, it is possible to get the artist dolls to draw on all of the panels, preventing them from attacking you and giving you an automatic win. They resign in defeat when you do so. The boss battle in the sumo house is also an example, as the witch's "curse" makes it one of the easiest battles in the whole game.
- In a Single Bound: Some of the spiky-haired jumping dolls can leap off the screen, and they'll do this every time you attempt to flip them.
- Law of One Hundred: Collecting 100 stars will give you an extra life and increase your walking speed slightly.
- Marathon Level: Level 98 in Extra mode. The grid contains layers upon layers of Mook Maker panels, meaning that it will take a minimum of five minutes to complete as you're trying to deal with constantly Respawning Enemies, as well as them kicking at you repeatedly.
- Mook Maker: Glowing portal tiles will generate new enemies, and then disappear.
- Smart Bomb: The sun tile flips over all of the tiles in the room, and is a good way to clear a stage quickly.
- Songs in the Key of Panic: With the exception of the clone doll stages, the music will get faster once the time limit is up.
- Stalked by the Bell: If you take too long, the dolls become faster, change color and lose any restrictions they had on their actions (the swimmers get up and walk, and the copycat dolls move and attack you on their own).
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: You've cleared the witch's palace and prepare for a final battle with her. But then, she takes you away to a palace in the sky. Curses. For a more traditional example, see The Heavy above.