Tag Archives: super nintendo entertainment system

FGC #245 Super Bomberman 2

Plasma changed color?The last time we saw a console Bomberman experience was seven years ago, back in happier times when the president wasn’t orange/bonkers and Super Mario Galaxy 2 had just been released. The last time Bomberman seemed nationally relevant was four years earlier than that, when Bomberman: Act Zero made us all laugh ourselves stupid at a realistic re-envisioning of a character that is best recognized with a purple deeley-bopper. And even before all that, twenty whole years ago, Bomberman 64 was the last time Bomberman was spoken of in the same tones as Mario and Zelda. Or… well… at least he got mentioned in Nintendo Power. That’s kind of the same thing. And, if you go back even further than that, to the far off epoch of 1994, you’ll find Super Bomberman 2, a game starring the titular Bomberman opposite The Dastardly Bombers, a group of nogoodniks that only ever appeared in one North American console Bomberman game.

So imagine my surprise when they were announced as the headlining antagonists of Super Bomberman R, a 2017 Nintendo Switch launch release.

So, since it’s been 23 years since Super Bomberman 2, I broke out the ol’ Know Your Bombers trading cards to help everyone get caught up in time for Super Bomberman R.

COLLECT 'EM ALL

FGC #245 Super Bomberman 2

  • System: Super Nintendo. It’s super!
  • BLOPNumber of players: Four! The original Super Bomberman came with the super multitap, and I’m betting pretty much everyone that snagged Super Bomberman also went for Super Bomberman 2. Well, except the six guys that just wanted that multitap for Secret of Mana.
  • Favorite Bomber Color: This was the first Bomberman (that I played) where you could freely choose your bomber’s color (as opposed to being stuck with white/black/red/blue forever). Green is a fine choice, but I have a tendency to go for Purple Bomberman. He’s so… regal.
  • Poor decisions: There are two additional stages in battle mode that are hidden by a secret code. They’re… not that exciting? They’re fun, and they’re “classic” stages, but I can’t find any rhyme or reason for why they’re hidden. It isn’t even a “beat the game to unlock” situation, they’re just… secret stages for the sake of being secret. What’s your angle here, Bomberman?
  • Did you know? Legend tells of Milon skulking around the password screen. Actually, there are four Milons to be found. That’s four more Milons than should ever be allowed on the Super Nintendo.
  • Would I play again: Here’s hoping Super Bomberman R supplicates any and all desires to return to this classic. Then again, if jelly bombs aren’t included…

What’s next? We’re going to look at the launchiest launch game of all time. No, not Mario. Let’s try something with a few more sports. Please look forward to it!

PUNT

FGC #231 Scooby-Doo Mystery

Now you're hearing that stupid musicI have never met a human being that actually liked Scooby-Doo.

I find this… odd.

I’ve privately referred to this phenomenon as the “Wendy’s Effect”. I’ve never met anyone that really loved Wendy’s. Yes, I’ve known people that eat there, and even possibly people that eat there quite often. But, aside from “it’s 2 am, what’s open?” I’ve never met anyone that genuinely stated, “Oh man, I’m hungry, let’s go get some Wendy’s!” I’ve seen endless debates about McDonalds vs. Burger King, and I’ve seen, firsthand, the casualties of the Taco Bell vs. KFC wars, but Wendy’s? It’s dog food for people. You open up a can of that stuff, slurp it down, and move on to licking your own genitals. I’ve seen people go crazy for White Castle sliders. I’ve seen people brag excitedly about how many Taco Bell newspaper-based tacos they can consume. I’ve seen people that openly believe Big Macs are made from edible materials. I’ve never seen a human being sincerely excited about Wendy’s.

Yet Wendy’s is everywhere.

Scooby-Doo seems to occupy that exact same space, as, despite the fact that I’ve never heard a human being say “let’s sit down and watch Scooby-Doo”, it’s been on the air in various forms since before I was born, and I’m convinced they’ll employ cyborg technology just to guarantee Frank Welker will be voicing Fred until the end of time. Is it because it’s cheap? I remember when Scooby-Doo headlined the USA Cartoon Express. I remember when A Pup Named Scooby-Doo kicked off Saturday morning cartoons. I remember when Scooby-Doo practically defined Cartoon Network, and, later, Boomerang. Scooby-Doo is big business! And the show has always been awful!

WeeeeAnd, before anyone says it, dude, I know it’s for kids. Think you I would forget such a thing? The only time I could even tolerate Scooby-Doo was when I was a kid, and even then I was desperately fumbling to find something else on the boob tube. Never mind the fact that there might be mutant reptiles or space lions on other channels, I’d be content with some alternative Hannah Barbara offering, like Flintstones or Jonny Quest. Josie and the Pussycats (IN SPACE!) or Dynomutt shouldn’t be too much to ask for, but I’ll even settle for Shirt Tales over yet another “let’s split up, gang.” Go ahead and drive yourself nuts and look up how many episodes of Scooby-Doo are out there. There are 26 episodes of The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show alone! That’s thirteen hours of pure animated crap beamed directly into children’s eyeballs. The Geneva Conventions do nothing to protect us from this!

It’s also not hard to analyze Scooby-Doo. Here’s a fun fact: every damn episode is the same. It doesn’t matter if the Globetrotters or Batman show up, it’s always the same plot with the same running animations in slightly different locales. In a weird way, I can’t even rely on my memory to recall exactly whether there were an overabundance of haunted theme parks in the general Mystery Machine area, or if that was simply the same episode over and over again. How often did Shaggy ‘n Scoob wind up on a rollercoaster? Was that part of (one of) the opening credits, or was that just an easy bit of animation to reuse? Who cares? I’m not watching an episode of Scooby-Doo to make sure. That nonsense is boring.

So, in a way, Scooby-Doo Mystery for your favorite 16-bit platforms is completely true to its source material.

Really?SDM is, basically, an adventure game. To be clear, this isn’t an adventure game like Zelda, this is much more in the King’s Quest vein. Here’s another fun fact: want to know why the adventure game genre languished in failure for so long? It’s not because developers became convinced no one wanted to play adventure games or whatever Double Fine is claiming this week, it’s because it’s really hard to wholesale steal a good adventure game. You can make Mario-alikes, GTA-alikes, or Final Fantasy-alikes until the cows come home, and people are likely going to identify those clones as, if not good games, at least passable experiences. There are men out there that will die on the “Aero the Acro-Bat is good” hill, and it’s because it barely takes two thumbs to make a remotely enjoyable game where “jump” and “attack or something” are the only ways to interact with the world. On the other hand, adventure games are naturally boring, and live or die on their writing. The writing doesn’t have to be funny (though that really helps), but it absolutely has to be compelling enough to trick the player into searching a beach for a damn feather or whatever stupid doodad is going to advance the plot. As such, an adventure game absolutely needs good writing, which is difficult! Writing good is harder than… something… that is… particularly hard. Uh… a rock?

Though I suppose it is possible that a rock wrote Scooby-Doo Mystery. I call this an adventure game because you have to explore a (mostly) nonthreatening (though spooooooky) environment to find the right items to pass the right obstacles, but a number of the objects are just “clues” that are to be delivered to Velma, and… that’s it. Velma comments, “Oh, this clue is really going to help the case,” but the majority of this game is laid out in a manner no more mysterious than your typical Mega Man stage, and, here’s a tip, I think Magnet Man is going to be responsible for the caper that takes place in Magnet Man’s stage. So, without clever writing or even the remotest reason to explore beyond “gotta find stuff”, the only challenge in this game lies on the shoulders of random traps and animals that BANG“scare” Shaggy and Scooby. But, assuming you can master Shaggy’s anemic jump, there isn’t even a challenge there, and the player is just left with… boredom.

So, congratulations Scooby-Doo Mystery, you captured the very essence of Scooby-Doo. This game is boring, rote, and repetitive to the point of parody. The only saving grace of this adventure is that, thanks to the fact that nobody really likes Scooby-Doo, it probably sold all of six copies before haunting EB used bins for the next decade.

Scooby doobie do, where are you? Hopefully nowhere near a controller.

FGC #231 Scooby-Doo Mystery

  • System: Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The Super Nintendo version has the occasional platforming area, while the Sega Genesis version is just the adventure game elements. Pick your poison.
  • Number of players: Even though “control both Shaggy and Scooby” would have been a no-brainer for two controllers, it’s one player.
  • Just play the gig, man: Oh, and the music is that one stupid Scooby-Doo song that was probably composed in all of seven seconds by farting in the general direction of an oboe with the slightest amount of rhythm. That’s pretty much the entire soundtrack. Come to think of it, if this article comes off as mean-spirited, it’s likely because of that damn song.
  • And such small portions: The Genesis version is two stages, and the SNES boasts a total of four. That’s it. Even for a licensed cash grab, that seems particularly short.
  • SPOOKY!For the record: I am aware there are likely people that distinctly like Wendy’s and Scooby-Doo. I’m just assuming they are such a small subset of the population so as to be statistically insignificant.
  • Minigame Mania: There are two (seemingly random) minigames that involve Scooby gathering sandwich materials and Shaggy playing whack-a-mole with rubber-mask monsters. Both games have the possibility of awarding extra lives… and probably the only reason this game has “lives” at all is to justify the minigames. It’s an endless cycle of terrible.
  • Say something nice: Okay, Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. is actually a worthwhile Scooby-Doo experience. It doesn’t justify decades of absolute crap, but it at least makes an unlikely heroine out of a woman named “Hot Dog Water”. I can get behind that.
  • Did you know? Shaggy is just a nickname. His real name is Norville Rogers.
  • Would I play again: You know what? I did not care for this game.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… War Gods for the N64! ROB, you’re on a real roll with “fun” games here. Is a “3-D” fighting game featuring magical neon gods any better than finding clues with a cowardly dog? Let’s find out! Please look forward to it!

Get 'em

FGC #222 Out to Lunch

Fun times aheadSometimes I wonder if Nintendo Power did permanent damage to my brain.

Today’s game is Out to Lunch. Out to Lunch is one of those “could have worked on the NES” style SNES games. You’re Pierre le Chef, a happy little dude that apparently lives in a waking Hell where all food items are giant, sentient, and capable of escaping from the fridge. Pierre doesn’t want to starve to death, so he grabs his best butterfly net and sets out to re-capture the ingredients for… let’s see here… potatoes, turnips, tomatoes… I suppose he’s making Ice Climber soup. Each level winds up being something of an expanded-Bubble Bobble type affair: each “board” is a seemingly random assortment of obstacles, and you’ve got to stalk your veggies all over the map, capture ‘em, and then drag them (presumably kicking and screaming) back to a specially prepared giant vegetable cage. Jumping on an escaped foodstuff stuns the thing-that-should-not-be, and there are a few powerups lying around, like hot sauce that can lead to fire breath, and salt that is… salt. Look out for Le Chef Noir (roughly translated: something racist), Pierre’s nefarious rival, who will open the cage and let your meals run wild again! The lunch rush was never so literal! Food pun!

Out to Lunch isn’t a bad game, but that paragraph contained basically everything there is to see in the game. Aside from a roaming bacteria or two, practically every trick and trap this game has in store for the player can be experienced within the first level, and, a half hour in, you’ll be ready to put the controller down and play something slightly more robust, like Duck Hunt. Yet, somehow, there are 48 separate levels in this game. That would be kind of impressive on a NES cartridge, but this thing is on the same system as Super Mario World, and that game had 96 exits and a dinosaur. Nowadays, Out to Lunch would be a simple browser or cell phone game, and maybe it would be pay-per-salt to gain an advantage over your unseasoned foes. There they goOne guy would pay a thousand dollars for a million Lunch Coins, Facebook would mock him for a solid week, and that would be that. The world keeps turning, and Out to Lunch is quickly forgotten.

But… why do I own a copy of Out to Lunch?

It’s not because it’s a treasured childhood memory. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even rent this generic platforming whateverthingy. Launch games like the previously mentioned Super Mario World, Final Fight, and even Gradius 3 were all much better experiences than OtL. And it’s not because Pierre le Chef is some beloved childhood character. Even today, I’m likely to buy a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Star Wars game on the spot on the power of license, because I’m weak and a slave to my desires. But Out to Lunch has no such hold over me. Where did this blasted cartridge come from?

And then it hit me: this game was a mistake.

I never wanted Out to Lunch. I wanted Panic Restaurant.

I still have yet to play Panic Restaurant. And why is that? Simple, it currently sells for about $500 used. It’s a NES game, and it was one of the last ones off the assembly line, and nobody bought it because panicking eating establishments are not the most appealing venues for videogames, and, fast forward about two decades, now only six people have a copy. There was probably a time in history that I would have shelled out that kind of dough for a rare NES game, but now, even with a more significant disposable income, the rise of reproduction carts has frightened me away from the field. What’s the point if you can’t even know you’re buying the real McCoy? And am I going to disassemble something I bought for half a grand to find out for sure? Hell no. It’s not like the ROM isn’t right there, and I probably know enough about cart engineering to make my own if I was really that dedicated. YummyWhere was I? Oh yeah, I’m never playing Panic Restaurant for some stupid excuse I’ve concocted. Same goes for you, Little Samson!

But I did always want to play Panic Restaurant, and that’s entirely thanks to Nintendo Power. Panic Restaurant was featured in Issue 38 of Nintendo Power, coincidentally the issue that covered Street Fighter 2. As you can probably guess, since I was young and hungry for street fighting, I read that issue an estimated twelve billion times. It was also the July issue for the year, which meant it got some “extra” reading over the course of the annual Florida vacation (which involved a car ride that lasted roughly as long as the rise and fall of the Roman Empire). Oh, and was this an issue with that Legend of Zelda comic? It was! Oh God! This is a perfect storm, people! I might be able to recite portions of this magazine from memory. I bet Super Mario Bros. 3 was the number one NES game that month! … Okay, that was a gimme.

But, as I now leaf through this issue of Nintendo Power (yes, I have it readily accessible… don’t you?), I realize that a number of these games I wouldn’t play for another ten years, if at all. Magic Sword? Going to have to wait for emulation for that, young Goggle Bob. Gameboy Toxic Avengers? Sorry, same deal (and it ain’t gonna be pretty). Even R-Type, Super Smash TV, and Shatterhand, all featured in this month’s Classified Information, were games that I wouldn’t touch for years, if not decades. Make no mistake, I wanted to play Super Smash TV (the arcade… comes home!), but I think I want to rent the new, BOUNCEnot-in-arcades Mega Man X this week. But that desire… the need to play these games featured in a magazine I read over and over… that only grows… and festers… and, soon enough, I’m at a used game store ten years later, looking at a SNES cartridge with a whacky chef on the cover, and… yeah… I think this is something I want, right? Yes, please, let’s buy this, play it for five minutes, and then never think about it again until some daffy robot demands it be played. That’s a plan!

And I wonder: if Nintendo Power can get me to buy some weird 16-bit game on a misplaced memory of an 8-bit game, how else is that beloved publication influencing my thinking today? Are articles I read twenty years ago manipulating the life or death decisions I make daily? Is Counselor’s Corner controlling the man I am now? Oof, that’s almost too much to contemplate. I’m my own person, dammit, I’m not going to let Nintendo Power tell me what to do!

I think I have to go lie down now. Maybe I’ll call my doctor, get some advice straight from the pros…

FGC #222 Out to Lunch

  • System: Super Nintendo and Gameboy. This game would be more tolerable in a portable format… but then it would probably also just be Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle. That’s not a good thing.
  • Number of players: Two player alternating. And you both play as the same chef. Couldn’t get a recolor going, guys? Lame.
  • GotchaFavorite powerup: There are spiked shoes, and I thought they would help stomp on enemies more effectively, but, nope, they let Chef “stick” to the icy platforms, and not slip around. Considering that damn slipperiness pretty much killed my desire to keep playing this game, I’d say that’s the best powerup available.
  • So, did you beat it? Nope. I’m not sure I’ll ever be bored enough to grapple with this much tedium.
  • Did you know? Because I will never own the game, I will never review Panic Restaurant as part of the FGC. And that looks like a more interesting game than Out to Lunch, too! Right here in Nintendo Power, it says that…
  • Would I play again: I never wanted to play this game in the first place!

What’s next? Let’s review 2016! Please look forward to it!