REVIEW: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (1994, SNES)

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For some odd reason, Namco is wildly persistent on re-inventing Pac-Man to make him “relevant” and “hip” for a new generation. Whether be through giving him the Mario 64/Sonic Adventure treatment, pairing him up with Adam Sandler, or making him say this, they’ve tried literally everything. And today, we’ll be taking a look at one of the more obscure attempts – one that dates all the way back to the early-to-mid 90’s, to be exact, in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.

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Released in 1994 for the Genesis and the Super Nintendo, the game’s plot revolves around none other than that dot-munching ghost-chomping yellow sphere, as he embarks on a series of epic quests, which consist of:

-Getting milk for his baby daughter

-Picking a flower

-Retrieving his son’s stolen guitar

-Finding out why the Ghosts have stolen all of the locals’ bubblegum

….okay, so these quests are anything but “epic”. That can’t possibly be an indication of the quality of this game, can it? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS: I’d like to say that for something that’s based around one of the most visually simplistic arcade games ever made, the graphics are quite pleasing. Unlike most other games at the time, the graphics have a more sophisticated nature, eschewing fantastical wacky worlds and just going with towns, neighborhoods, and the like. Granted, while everyday locations might not seem exactly fit for a video game, it’s nice to see something that goes for this kind of approach. On the other hand, most of the character sprites by themselves are good, but for a Pac-Man game, there’s something about them that just rubs me the wrong way. I guess they were trying to go for a Roger Rabbit-esque style in which there’s cartoon characters living amongst humans, but the reason why it worked in that film is because it was live-action. When you bring it into a 2D environment like this game, it kind of goes against what the concept was trying to convey in the first place. Still, it does it a lot better than Sonic 06, that’s for sure.

THE SOUND: Going along rather fittingly with the graphics, the music has a more quaint aesthetic to it when compared to other games at the time. While there are some moments where they can be kind of annoying, the tracks as a whole are actually fairly well-composed and even a bit hummable. Of course, they’re no masterpieces, but they still manage to get the job done in a nicely fashion.

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THE GAMEPLAY: I would just like to say that in concept, the gameplay isn’t bad by any means. Essentially, it wants to be a hybrid of a Saturday morning cartoon and a video game, where you have to watch a character as they go through several locations while making sure they don’t land themselves in any shenanigans in the process. While it does sound like something that could be as entertaining as it is interesting, it also sounds like something than can be screwed up pretty badly if not done right, and unfortunately it falls into the latter. The main problem with the gameplay is that it’s just so boring. Most of the time, you’re just guiding Pac-Man around trying to keep him out of trouble, but due to how uncooperative he can be, it just becomes mind-numbingly frustrating and tedious! Oh, and I’m not joking when I say “uncooperative”. At times, it’s so difficult trying to keep him focused or out of a mood that it kind of becomes something of a lost cause. While there are some segments that break the pace of the game (as seen on the cover, there’s a segment in which you take control of a hang-glider), they aren’t very fun and are more of a hassle than anything.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Though it does have good intentions, Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures ends up falling flat in the long run, making for one frustrating and boring experience. I can see why this game has its’ fans, but it really just isn’t for me.

THE RETR0PIA RANKING: C- 

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SYSTEM SMACK-DOWN: Donkey Kong (NES, 2600, ColecoVision)

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The original Donkey Kong is nothing short of a timeless classic. Without it, Nintendo wouldn’t be the company that they are today, as they went on to set new heights for the gaming industry and the way that we view entertainment in general. While there have been countless ports/versions of the game, I’ll be covering and comparing three in particular: the NES port, the Atari 2600 version, and the ColecoVision version. Which one of these games is most deserving of the title of the legendary arcade hit? Let’s find out, shall we?

ROUND ONE: THE LOOKS

NES – One of the things that made the original game so groundbreaking for its’ time was its’ vibrant look and detailed character sprites – at least, as detailed as they could get at the time. With that said, the NES version is the most faithful translation in that category without a doubt. Aside from a few differences in coloring, the graphics are essentially the same as the original game, the only major one being that it’s just on an NES.

2600 – Even if this is a 2600 game, I’m not sure if even that excuse could save this version from looking like a complete and utter mess! While Jumpman’s character sprite looks okay at best, Paulina and DK don’t even barely resemble their arcade counterparts. Speaking of which, why the heck do the barrels look like chocolate chip cookies? Also, for some reason your number of lives are represented by blocks that change color depending on the color of what level you’re in. I get that the 2600’s graphical capabilities were extremely limited, but c’mon Atari, couldn’t you have made them look like Jumpman heads, or at the very least, numbers?

COLECOVISION – Though it’s different from the original game in a handful of aspects, it can’t be denied that Coleco still did the best they could in order to emulate the look and feel of it. Though Paulina and DK still don’t look quite like themselves, they’re still admittedly better than their 2600 counterparts. Jumpman on the other hand is more or less identical to his arcade counterpart, which is good.

WINNER – NES

ROUND TWO: THE SOUND

NES – Like the graphics, the sound in the NES port is more or less the same as the original game. I honestly don’t have that much to say in this category, but I will say that they do an impressive job on replicating the sound and music of the original.

2600 – Though the graphics are somehow lower than the typical Atari standards, the sound on the other hand isn’t all that offensive. If anything, the most extreme criticism that I can give is that it feels a bit nonexistent, as there’s no music whatsoever and barely any sound effects. Other than that, it’s typical Atari quality.

ColecoVision – Similar to how they attempted to emulate the graphics of the original, Coleco also did a fairly impressive job in carrying over the sound effects and music. Of course, like the graphics they’re different from what they were in the original, but they still get the job done nonetheless.

WINNER – NES

ROUND THREE: THE GAMEPLAY

NES – While the translation of the graphics and sound are impressive, neither of them stack up to just how identical and faithful this port is to the original. Practically everything, from the controls, to the hammer power-up and items, and the placement of enemies show that a great amount of time, effort, and care was put into making sure that this resembled the original as much as humanly possible.

2600  Seeing as how the graphics, especially for a game released on a system such as the 2600, leave plenty to be desired, it’s kind of important that at the very least that the gameplay is at the very least enjoyable. And while I can’t say that it’s anything mind-blowing, I will say that it does manage to bring the formula of the original into a format like this. Though the layouts of some stages have been completely re-arranged and some of the stages are missing, the controls and jumping are fairly tight, and the hammer works the way it should.

ColecoVision – In terms of which game comes closest to feeling like the original, the ColecoVision would land somewhere in the middle. The controls and jumping are on the same level of tightness as the NES and 2600 versions, and the hammer still works just fine. However, there are still some missing stages and some slight differences in the layout of them. Despite this, it’s still a rather impressive recreation.

WINNER – NES

THE RETR0PIA RATINGS: 

NES – 9/10

2600 – 6/10

ColecoVision – 7/10

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AND VICTORY GOES TO…THE NES PORT!

retr0spective: LucasArts Adventure Games (Part Four)

After a brief one-year hiatus, LucasArts went to the bikers in the 1995 cult classic, Full Throttle. 

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Notable for being Tim Schafer’s first ever game with him completely at the helm, the game takes place in a distant, Mad Max-esque dystopian future in which the leader of a biker gang named Ben must find a way to clear his name after he is framed for murder. The idea for the game was originated when Schafer was listening to a story about an biker club in Alaska, which ultimately resulted in him getting the impression that “bikers were sort of like pirates”. The game also features a number of A-list voice actors, such as Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Steve Blum, just to name a few. While developing the game, Schafer researched a wreath of information about bikers, the Hunter S. Thompson novel Hell’s Angels serving as the central resource. The game was also supposed to have a scene in which Ben underwent a drug trip, though it was ultimately scrapped. However, it did serve as the inspiration for a certain other game that Schafer worked on. When it was released, the game was met with fairly decent reviews, though over the past several years it has gained a large cult following. LucasArts also had plans for a sequel entitled Payback, but it was ultimately scrapped. In the early 2000’s, they made a second attempt, with the name this time around being Hell on Wheels. Unfortunately, it too was ultimately scrapped. However, though it might never get a follow-up, there is a remastered version on the horizon which is set to release next year.

During that same year, LucasArts would also unleash another installment to their increasingly popular line-up of adventure games with The Dig.

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Having initially originated as an idea by the acclaimed Steven Spielberg as an episode of the anthology television series “Amazing Stories” and even a film, the game’s story revolves around a trio of astronauts that find themselves stranded on a mysterious alien planet. The game had a somewhat troubled development, with development beginning in 1989 and lasting until 1995 when it was finally finished and ready for release. The game is also much darker then LucasArts’ previous games, mostly discarding their goofy tone and aiming for a much more blockbuster-esque experience. The game also went through a slew of creative directors, from Noah Falstein, Steve Moriarty, and Dave Grossman. In the end, Sean Clark was the one chosen to lead the project. In addition to the more adult tone, the game was also set to be extremely violent, being something more along the lines of a Dead Space predecessor. However, after getting complaints from parents about the more brutal scenes in Jurassic Park, Spielberg decided to remove most of the violence in order to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. The game also received a tie-in novelization by Alan Dean Foster. When it was released, the game was met with a slightly more mixed reception than any of LucasArts’ previous games. While the game was still a commercial success, many people felt that the game went too far with its’ difficulty, and that the writing was a bit bland and uninteresting. On the other hand, however, the soundtrack was met with unanimous praise.

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To be continued…

retr0spective: LucasArts Adventure Games (Part Three)

In 1991, Guybrush and co. made their return in LucasFilm Games’ (now known at this point as LucasArts) first ever sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge.

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Taking place months after the events of the first installment, the plot revolves around Guybrush (who now sprouts a fine goatee) searching for the treasure of Big Whoop, while LeChuck, the antagonist of the first game, returns as a zombie to seek his revenge. Development of the game began a month after the release of the first, with LucasFilm in utter surprise at how well it did financially and critically. Most of the development team from the first returned, such as Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman, and Tim Schafer. During production, a port for the Sega CD was planned, but was ultimately sent on a one-way trip to the shelf after the Sega CD port of the first game failed to meet expectations sales-wise. The game also features a numerous amount of references to Disney theme park rides, the ending (which I won’t tell due to just how weird it is) being a shining example. When the game was released, it was met with the same amount of critical acclaim as the first, with praise going to the significantly improved graphics, puzzles, and writing in comparison to the first.

Sadly, after the release of LeChuck’s Revenge, Gilbert had quit LucasArts in order to pursue other opportunities. Though a Monkey Island 3 wasn’t entirely out of the question, this did mean however that it would not happen for quite some time.

In 1993, LucasArts unleashed their next big game, a sequel to Maniac Mansion entitled Day of the Tentacle.

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Taking place five years after the events of MM, the game focuses on Bernard, one of Dave’s friends and sidekicks, as he must thwart the evil plot of one of the Edison family’s pet tentacles, Purple. Accompanying him in his adventure is Laverne, a medical student who may or may not be legally insane, and Hoagie, a chubby roadie. One of the more immediately striking aspects about this game is its’ visual style; in comparison to the more realistic and down to earth (well, as down to earth as pirates, mystical realms, crazy scientists, and aliens can get anyways) visual styles of LucasArts’ previous games, DOTT aims for a much more stylized and cartoonish look. This was the intent of David Grossman and Tim Schafer, the creative directors of the game, as they were inspired by classic Warner Bros. cartoon shorts in terms of humor and design, most notably the ones directed by the late great Chuck Jones. The game also features an amusing take on the concept of time travel, as the characters end up getting separated and stranded in different time periods when an attempt to use a time machine called the Chron-o-John that is meant to send them back in time to stop Purple ends up going horribly wrong. When the game was released, it was met with even bigger praise than any LucasArts game before it, with compliments going to the art style, the humorous tone, and the puzzles, with one review going as far as calling it “light years ahead of the original”. In terms of sales, the game did fairly well, managing to sell a total of 80,000 copies.

After the release of DOT, LucasArts turned their attention away from focusing on their own IPs to do something rather different; a game based off of Steve Purcell’s ever-so-popular comic book dog and rabbit buddy cop duo, in 1993’s Sam & Max Hit the Road. 

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Based off of an 1989 story entitled “On the Road”, the plot revolves around the titular characters as they hit the road  in order to track down a stolen bigfoot, engaging in a wide variety of humorous situations and parodies of American culture along the way. The game’s origins go all the way back to Purcell himself being an employee of LucasArts at the time. Having initially used the characters as test models for the rapidly-evolving SCUMM engine, many of the studio’s employees took a liking to the duo when a number of comic strips featuring them were published in its’ quarterly newsletter. Wanting to do something new after having dabbled in a string of sequels, LucasArts and Purcell reached an agreement to develop a game starring the characters. Many locations in the game were inspired by Purcell’s childhood experiences, such as being dragged out to a supposed “Frog Rock” only to be disappointed that it didn’t even look like a frog. At one point, Bill Farmer (if you’re not familiar with him, this might give you something of a hint) was set to voice Sam, but he was nearly dismissed due to his take “sounding too dry”, though he did ultimately win over LucasArts. Upon release, the game didn’t quite set the scores on fire like LucasArts’ previous games did, though it was still met with a good enough reception, with the comedy, graphics, and design being considered the major highlights. During the early-to-mid 2000’s, a sequel by the subtitle of “Freelance Police” was planned, but was ultimately cancelled.

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To be continued…

REVIEW: Earthworm Jim (1994, Genesis)

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Though not quite on the level of universal popularity, Doug TenNapel is regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of the modern age. While he has a wide range of creations, such as the Nickelodeon cartoon Catscratch and the computer adventure game The Neverhood as well as its’ side-scrolling platforming follow-up Skullmonkeys, his most recognizable one would most certainly have to be none other than Earthworm Jim. 

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Developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Playmates Interactive in the US and Virgin Interactive in Europe and released in 1994 for the Genesis, the SNES, the Game Boy, the Game Gear, and the Master System, with ports for the GBA, Sega CD, and PC quickly following as well as a sequel, two spin-offs, and a television series, the game’s ridiculously surreal plot revolves around an earthworm named Jim, who embarks on an epic quest to save the aptly-named Princess-What’s-Her-Name, while also preventing the grotesque Queen Slug-For-A-Butt’s hostile takeover of the universe. Does the earthworm’s debut still hold up after all these years, or was his popularity nothing more than a spur-of-the-moment trend? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS – If there’s one thing that everyone can pretty much agree on, it’s that this game just looks BEAUTIFUL. Starting off with the character sprites, they have a short of Tex Avery/Bob Clampett look to them (heck, Tex Avery himself is mentioned in the games’ credits), something that is most definitely clear-cut in their varied, interesting, wonderfully bizarre, and in some cases grotesque designs and their smooth and even impressive animations. On the other hand, you have the wonderfully varied and detailed backgrounds of the levels, from the green-skied New Junk City, the fiery pits of Heck, and a group of connected underwater tubes, all coming together to give the game a rather unique atmosphere to it that no other 16-bit game before it had – not even Sonic!

THE SOUND – Helping to add to the game’s unique atmosphere is the music. Composed by musician Tommy Tallarico, each track truly brings each stage to life, whether it be the ironically soothing elevator music for Heck, the fast-paced banjo music for the Andy Asteroids segments, or the bass-heavy New Junk City. The sound effects are also some of the most top-notch I’ve ever heard in ANY 16-bit game, as they truly give off the feeling as if you’re playing an actual cartoon. Though the Sega CD version (or as it’s officially referred to, the Special Edition) is technically better, I’d say that the Genesis version of the soundtrack is the second-best, with the SNES in third place.

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THE GAMEPLAY – On paper, the gameplay doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the table, being your typical side-scrolling run and gun a la Mega Man/Contra. However, what really matters is how they pulled it off, and my lord did they do it spectacularly. Starting off with the level design, it’s what truly sets it apart from other run and gun games before it. Not only does it compensate the style, but it also adds in mechanics and set pieces appropriate to each stage. A great example of this would be in New Junk City, where you have to bounce on rubber tires in order to get to a higher place. As for the controls, they’re tight and responsive, making the stages and the wide variety of guns and blasters fun to navigate through and use. However, there’s one little elephant in the room that must be addressed, and that is the difficulty. A lot of people tend to criticize the game for it, but honestly, I don’t think that it’s as brutally impossible as some claim. Unlike games like Bubsy and The Lion King, the difficulty doesn’t really frustrate me as much as it motivates me to see where and what I did wrong so I can master each stage. In short, think of it as a “trial and error” short of thing.

THE BOTTOM LINE – Earthworm Jim is one of the greatest games of the entire 16-bit era, with a goofy and amusing sense of humor, addictive gameplay, and an incredible soundtrack. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s itching for something truly out of the box in almost every way imaginable.

THE RETR0PIA RATING – 9/10

Sonic 25th Anniversary Party Highlights

Yesterday night was…quite an interesting one, to say the least. While it did feel rather prolonged, a certain long-anticipated party more than certainly delivered on its’ promise; revealing just what the future has in store for everyone’s favorite speedy blue critter, Sonic the Hedgehog. While quite a lot of things did happen during the party, I felt that it would be most suitable to pin-point some of the most noteworthy ones. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at Sonic 25th Anniversary Party Highlights.

First off, let’s take a little peep at the first new game to be revealed as well as the one that I’m looking forward to the most, Sonic Mania.

Taking cues from Street Fighter X Mega Man, Sega has turned towards their fan-base in order to help bring this compilation of updated versions of the blue blur’s first four side-scrolling adventures to life. The game is being produced in association with Christian Whitehead, a user of the fan website Sonic Retro who has also helped to produce ports of the original games, and is also set to feature entirely new zones as well. The music is also being composed by Tee Lopes, who did the music for the upcoming fan-remake of the second game. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles have all been confirmed to be playable, though Sega might pull a Tropical Freeze and introduce another character down the line. The game is slated for a Spring 2017 release, so it won’t be that long of a wait, fortunately.

Next up, we’ve got… *sigh* the trailer for Sonic Boom Season 2.

As some of you may know, I cannot stand Sonic Boom. In fact, in my Top 20 Worst Video Game Cartoon Episodes List, I outright called it the worst iteration of the franchise to date, with its’ tired, stale humor, uninteresting plot-lines, and how it completely derailed the personalities of nearly all of the characters, as well as adding some new ones for no apparent reason. And from what’s on display here, it doesn’t look like much has changed. Aside from the animation getting a slight upgrade (emphasis on slight), the jokes are still forced and the plots still look boring. A premiere date hasn’t been set, though it probably won’t be long until it’s revealed.

Next up, things are about to get a bit blocky, as we take a look at Sonic in Lego Dimensions.

This had already been confirmed for a month, but we only just saw what Sonic looked like and nothing else…until now. This trailer revealed quite a handful of information, such as Green Hill Zone being a new world, the moves that Sonic will be able to do, the items that he’ll be available with when you purchase him, and more. I haven’t played Dimensions nor am I sure when I’ll get around to doing so, but the way they implemented Sonic’s abilities in here is seriously impressive. Sonic’s figurine and level pack gets released in November, so be sure to be on the lookout.

Finally, let’s wrap things up with a little peek at what is without a doubt the most talked-about of the announcements, Sonic 2017.

Other than this brief announcement trailer, not much was revealed about the game. However, judging by what can be found in this, everything appears to hint towards a sequel to Generations, which in my opinion, is the best decision that the franchise and Sega in general has made in a while. It also looks to be a return to the style of gameplay for Unleashed, Colors, and Generations (thank god), which is also a good sign. The game has been slated for a Holiday 2017 release, which is admittedly a long way off. However, if this means that Sega won’t rush it out like they did with certain two other games, than it’s all for the better.

What was your favorite part of the Sonic 25th Anniversary Party (if you watched it, that is)? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions below, and thanks for reading!

Top 20 Worst Video Game Cartoon Episodes (No. 10-1)

This is it, folks. Just ten more episodes, and this whole nightmare will FINALLY be done and over with. So, let’s not bother wasting any time.

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NO. 10: Happy Birthday, Mega Man (Captain N)

Captain N was a show that admittedly had a lot going for it. The idea of several of the NES’ most popular games at the time coming together in an action-adventure cartoon along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit was one that drew a lot of people in, and in the end it actually ended up becoming a fairly popular and well-received series. Looking back on it now, though…yeah, it’s total garbage. That shouldn’t be surprising though, considering that it is made by DiC. The main problem with this episode (besides the fact that the NES characters look NOTHING like themselves) is that it’s just…well, boring. Aside from Mega Man (who sounds like Popeye if he had a severe case of throat cancer) wanting to be human and the heroes going on some sort of lame quest, there really isn’t much of an actual plot to be found. Oh, and for an added bonus, Roll makes her first (and only) appearance in this series as “Mega Girl”, once again proving that DiC couldn’t bother to research information about the games they make cartoons about even if there was a gigantic book right on top of their desks. Happy Birthday, Mega Man: At this point, I’m anything but “Happy”.

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NO. 9: Kombat Begins Again (Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm)

Mortal Kombat was, without question, one of the most mature game franchises of the 90’s. It had a significantly non-kid-friendly cast of characters, themes such as corruption and revenge, and was packed to the brim with all kinds of brutal, bloody violence. So, with that in mind, WHO THE HELL THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO MAKE A CHILDREN’S CARTOON BASED OFF OF IT? But believe it or not, the idea by itself is the least of this thing’s problems! For starters, the character designs just look…off. It’s obvious that they were trying to invoke a Bruce Timm-esque style, but there’s something about that just doesn’t seem appropriate for a Mortal Kombat show. Next, the writing. You know how I said that Battletoads was nothing but lame jokes and catchphrases? Well, that’s exactly what this is, but somehow even worse. Lastly, the fight scenes. I don’t know if I can even call refer to them as such, because they’re so slow and so dumbed down to the point where I’m not sure if what I’m watching is an actual Mortal Kombat show! Kombat Begins Again: Forget Annihilation, THIS is the worst thing to have the Mortal Kombat brand’s name on it!

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NO. 8: Oh Brother (The Adventures Of Super Mario Bros. 3)

Like Sonic, Mario does not have what one would call a good track record with cartoons. Unlike Sonic however, Mario’s cartoons were so bad that they only made three before they decided to call it quits, and after watching this piece of crap, it’s not hard to see why. The main problem with this episode is that it’s just so dang predictable. Be honest, how many times have you’ve seen an episode of ANY show where the protagonists have a scuffle over some random circumstance only to make up at the end? I’d also like to point out that throughout the episode, various sound effects from the games themselves can be heard, which is kind of cool at first, but after a while just becomes irritating. At the very least, the voice actors do their best with what they’re given (Walker Boone and Tony Rosato are definitely no Charles Martinet or even a Lou Albano and Danny Wells, but they do get the job done) and even deliver some fairly amusing performances (I actually wish that Harvey Atkin was the voice for Bowser in the actual games, or Koopa as he’s referred to in the cartoons). Oh Brother: My god, even the titles are starting to reflect my mood.

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NO. 7: ALL Of The Ape Escape Shorts

Yes, believe it or not, at one point there was actually a series of animated shorts based off of the now-dormant PlayStation franchise Ape Escape (made by the same production company behind shows such as Adventure Time and Fairly Odd Parents, no less). And to the surprise of no one, they were…pretty awful. Now, I could just list off a single short and be done with it, but when it all boils down, they all suffer from the same problems: The character designs are terrible, each joke fizzles like a bacon strip on a frying pan, the pacing is awkward, and it’s just not very faithful to the games in general. Honestly, I think that this, Dragon Ball Evolution, and others serve as reminders on just how careful we need to be when adapting Japanese material for an American audience. Ape Escape: To watch this would truly drive someone bananas.

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NO. 6: Bad Rap (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show)

Have you ever wondered if something could be so desperately “hip with the cool kids” to the point where it just became downright insufferable to watch? Well, wonder no more, because DiC’s got you covered with this stinking heap. For about the entirety of the episode, the characters speak in nothing but rap. Oh, and for some added bonuses, the main setting of the episode is a city called “Rap Land”, Koopa’s referred to as “Rappin’ Koopa”, there’s two walking fat jokes called the “Flab Boys” and there’s a not-so-subtle parody of James Brown called “King James”. Bad Rap: “Bad” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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NO. 5: Three Hedgehogs And A Baby (Sonic Underground)

While Sonic Boom is my least personal favorite out of the Sonic cartoons (And I don’t even think that ANY of them are good to begin with), I can’t help but to admit that Sonic Underground is worse on a technical level, this episode being a major factor into that. The plot revolves around Sonic and his siblings (Who only appear in this show, and for some reason are also voiced by Jaleel White) finding an abandoned infant, whom Manic takes a liking to. However, unbeknownst to them is that the infant is actually a life-like android designed by Robotnik and his two cronies Sleet and Dingo (who also only appear in this show), who intend on using it to track them down. So, what exactly is wrong with this episode? Is it the numerous instances where the characters randomly go off-model? Is it the laughably terrible music sequence? Is it the complete and utter disregard for following any of the games, or even SatAM which this show is supposedly closely related to? Yeah…it’s pretty darn awful. But you know, maybe it’s so awful, it’s kind of amusing. Three Hedgehogs And A Baby: Take it away, Joel.

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NO. 4: The Medium Is The Message (Street Fighter)

Even if it is considerably more family-friendly than the likes of Mortal Kombat, the idea of turning Street Fighter into a kids’ cartoon is one that sounds like a recipe for disaster. And lo and behold, it IS a disaster! Once again, the story of the games have been dumbed down into something that barely even resembles the games, except this time it’s a G.I. Joe rip-off! And the characters…dear LORD, don’t even get me started on them. I know that they exactly have any intricate depth in the games, but here they’re just so damn stereotypical! You’ve got Gulie, the strong but moralistic leader, Cammy, the no-nonsense action girl, Ken, the totally radical surfer dude, M. Bison, the hammy-as-hell antagonist, and so forth. Their degradation also shows through the writing, which is packed to the brim with all sorts of campy one-liners and mindless action sequences. At the end of the day, it is technically better than the two live-action films, but that would pretty much be like saying getting ran over by a truck is better than getting ran over by a train. The Medium Is The Message: You know something’s bad when the only thing that people remember about it is literally just this.

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NO. 3: The Shadow Falls (Double Dragon)

Many consider Double Dragon to be one of the major pioneers of the beat ’em up genre. As for its’ television adaptation however, most tend to just outright deny its’ existence, and judging by this episode, its’ not hard to see why. It’s just a huge, cluttered mess of a vapid prophecy storyline, bad animation, phoned-in voice acting, characters that were either drastically redesigned to the point where you couldn’t even recognize them or weren’t from the games in the first place, and the most laughably terrible theme song to a cartoon that I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Oh, and guess who made it. Just guess.

Seriously, who the hell let these people be in charge of so many video game adaptations? The Shadow Falls: There’s no need to cast a shadow of doubt that this sucks hard.

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NO. 2: Out Of The Dark (Darkstalkers)

…okay, making a kids’ cartoon show out of Mortal Kombat was bad enough, but…Darkstalkers? Darkstalkers? A game in which one of the characters is a friggin’ SUCCUBUS?  Pffft, sure, I don’t see what’s wrong with that! In all seriousness though, even as someone who hasn’t touched a single Darkstalkers game before (Though I do intend on trying out one of the games at one point), I can say that this episode is nothing short of horrendous. Once again, the story of the games have been dumbed in order to appeal to a younger demographic, which when you really think about it, is kind of an odd move. I mean, if you want to make a kids’ show, why make one based off of a game which, one again, HAS A SUCCUBUS AS ONE OF ITS’ CHARACTERS? Also, the characters have been more or less stripped of any or everything that made them so interesting and intriguing in the eyes of arcade fighter fanatics, not having as much of a personality as they do simple, one-note traits. Also, for no apparent reason they made an entirely new character called Harry. I…really don’t have anything to say about him, mainly because he’s just so damn uninteresting. Out Of The Dark: It really should have stayed in the dark.

Take AOSTH, and put it on a strict diet of crystal meth and stale energy drinks. Then, take the most obnoxious, noisy, in your face “90’s ‘tude”, and combine it with said show on said diet. The end result would what is, in my opinion, THE NO. 1 Worst Video Game Cartoon Episode EVER MADE…

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NO. 1: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Dropped Pilot)

Bubsy was already bad enough as a video game series, but in terms of a conceptual animated television series, it completely SKYROCKETS in terms of awfulness. The characters are irritating. The backgrounds look like Salvador Dali threw up in the back of an alleyway. The running gags are either relentlessly cruel (Poor, poor Arnold…) or aren’t even funny in the first place. The story is all over the place. I could go on for HOURS on just how wretched this thing is! Matter of fact, I’d take Bubsy 3D ANY DAY over this abomination. What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Everything…just….everything…

And that’s all I got for the Top 20 Worst Video Game Cartoon Episodes. Now, if you excuse me…I need a glass of water.

THE END

What is your least favorite video game cartoon? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions below, and thanks for reading! Stay retr0!