By Video_Game_King 15 Comments
Excitebike( OK, what the hell's going on?) How have I not beaten this game already? It's probably the seventh game people think about when they hear "NES." (Hey, Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and some other games already occupy the top spots.) What have I been playing instead of this? Apparently, games like Spriggan Powered, Bulk Slash, and Tail Concerto. Really? Huh? How? How did I skip this game for so long? It's so short that I could've knocked it out in an afternoon.
And when I say short, I fucking mean it. There are only five tracks and two modes (not counting the level design, because playing around with that would be the gaming equivalent of (emotionally painful) masturbation), making for...five tracks. Turns out that the only difference between the two modes is that one of them has other motorcycles are there to fuck things up for you. These assholes can't be sober, since they spent less time driving and more time trying to spell the letter S with their skid marks. At first, I thought that I was supposed to race them, but I soon found out how stupid such a logical idea was. Turns out that you're racing the clock throughout the whole thing. It starts off easy enough (I got through the first few solely on the slower gear (I didn't know of other gears)), but things quickly go to hell on the third track. There, all hopes of getting the best time die off as you stumble upon speed bump after speed bump. Normally, I'd bemoan the game for its cheapness, but three reasons against that: first, I chose the mode with the drunkards. Second, Excitebike can officially suck it. Finally, there's actually quite a bit of skill to be found in this game. Who expected an early NES game to be so complex? I was expecting Atari-level gameplay (why?), but I got shit like overheating, sick jumps, and more terrain than there is in actual motocross. There's a lot to it, even if the game itself isn't that long. Or memorable. Wow, that was a really short fucking blog. Do I need a synopsis for this?
I'm sure you've seen this already, so let's just get it out of the way and see what game I have in store after this.
Classic NES Series: Excitebike( Uhhhhhhhhhh...)
Knuckles' Chaotix( Well, I think I thoroughly fucked things up in this particular blog, so don't expect any non-obscure games soon.) Hell, let's list off all the ways I fucked up! First, I chose a game that gives me less material than an Atari game. ( No shit.) Second, you know that "I accidentally chose the same game twice" joke? Turns out I already did it...and fucked it up in the exact same way. Third, Knuckles Chaotix? I'm really pushing it with that title, aren't I? Who the hell has even seen a 32X? I'd say that this would be a reason to buy the damn thing, but for one game? I'm not kidding; this is the only good 32X exclusive (I said "exclusive" because adding Mortal Kombat II would be cheating.).
Oddly enough, though, it seems like Sega doesn't want you to know that this is a thing. In this Sonic game, you won't find Sonic in the title, you won't find him in the game proper, nor will you find the X Hill Zone, Tails, the Chaos Emeralds, or anything remotely related to Sonic. It's like Sega knew what a piece of shit the 32X was and wanted to forget about it as quietly as possible. So what do you get? Well, Eggman has started an amusement park with Metal Sonic. Somehow, this is evil. Knuckles must venture forth and pretty much be a low-fi version of Sonic Colors. You know, the game where Sonic writing finally started getting decent? Hell, I could just use that blog here, dumb it down a little, and you wouldn't know the difference. For example, remember how the staff in charge of level concepts was just a tank full of manatees? Here, there really don't seem to be any major level themes besides "here's a boat" and "I don't know, something about a clock." The only unifying theme seems to be a confusing amalgam of shapes and colors to make you think you're on bad acid. (Remember that for later.) The weirdest part, though? The game still looks pretty good. The technicolor travesty is there to show off just how much color the system can pull off, and when you combine that with all the scaling the game does, it's almost like Chaotix was desperately trying to prove that the 32X could be the SNES. Every squish of the Combi Catcher thing is just another cry from the doomed hardware. So what does that make the polygonal special stages? Simply put: pained howls manifested as a mediocre Flash game.
Of course, those only make up a small part of the game, so what the hell is the rest of the game like? Well, it's like your average Sonic game, only with far more confusing level design. Who would have thought that levels resembling a cubist nightmare would be hard to navigate? Granted, I was able to finish a few of them in under a minute, but a lot of them amounted to little more than me just trying to figure out where the hell I was supposed to go. It didn't exactly help that there were some incredibly basic puzzles impeding my process (didn't they get rid of that by the first Sonic game?). This is not what Sonic is about, Knuckles Chaotix. It's about going super fast...which you deliver oddly well. When it wants to, the game propels you super fast all over the place in a confusing rage. That's the good part of why you don't know where you're going: because you're going too fast to recognize anything. One second, you're going left, and the next has you going right, and you have no idea what the hell just happened. Actually, now that I think about it, that's pretty much this game's version of the loop-de-loop, because it pops up A LOT. I'd say that the levels feel kinda same-y, but from what I've seen, the levels pretty much are the same. Maybe. Again, it was hard to get a grip on things, but it looked like the same five templates repeated five times each. That's right: twenty five levels (not including the oddly difficult tutorial level) of confusing confusion, along with a few bonus stages that are even more reminiscent of a drug trip gone awry. What more could you want? Something? Again, I'm not sure if I should want more or want nothing. This is such a c...
OK, we both know what you came for: the partner mechanic thing. (Why am I starting all of my paragraphs with the letter O?) You know how I hated Dead Rising for tethering you to a dumb piece of shit for half the game? Guess how I feel about a game based around it entirely? What's that? I hate it? Beatings are obviously in order. Remember what I said about the speed at the end of the last paragraph? Having a partner hold you down oddly causes a lot of that, and a gimped spin dash just ensures said speed. The only flaw with it is that there's not a lot of motivation to use it. I'm already passing by loops and shit, so why should I pimp walk my crocodile until I rubber band to speed? Oh, I forgot to mention the characters: you have an armadillo that can wall jump like Meat Boy, an echidna that can climb walls, a chameleon that can run on walls...fuck. It's hard to base a game around switching characters about when they're all fairly same-y (or when you pick them (like everything in this game) through a lottery). The only unique one is Charmy, but seriously? Charmy? The fucking bee? Eff that. Anyway, I was going to complain about how you can't switch characters mid-level, but given that there are essentially only two of them, I'll complain about something else: the power ups. Wait, did I say "complain?" I meant "absolutely praise." Sure, you have the regular speed up and ten coin power ups, but like the rest of the game, the rest of the power-ups are completely insane. Want all your rings to stay together when you get hit? OK. How about you grow or shrink or whatever? Why the fuck not? Let's make this game Alice in Wonderland, even if it has zero effect on the actual game. And that's why I like (and don't like (somehow)) this game: all the insane confusion. This honestly shouldn't surprise you, as I'm the guy who played Cho Aniki and that Michael Jordan game. Never forget that.
- Graphically, this game stretched the 32X hardware; musically, it was OK, at best.
- Nothing about this game approaches anything resembling sense, and that's part of what makes it so cool.
- Remember how Dead Rising employed a "drag this asshole around" mechanic? Now imagine if somebody made it fun and enjoyable.