Saturday, June 22, 2013

Totally Rad

So I started going through my NES games, looking for the next one to play, and I came across this little gem. I never played this game as a kid, and I never knew anyone who played this game as a kid, and when I played it, I could see why. But the dialogue in the game was so hilarious that I scrounged up some Game Genie codes and played my way through it.

Now, this is going to be really picture-heavy, because most of the time, this one just speaks for itself.

This is just another basic game where you control some dude who fights through legions of monsters in order to save his girlfriend. Let's get acquainted with the main characters. There's Jake:

Oops, I mean:

There we go. In this particular image, Jake is talking about his teacher, the magician Zebediah:

 Zebediah might be one of the creepiest-looking mentor characters I have ever come across in a video game. In addition to that frightening, fake-smile, pedophilic countenance, the game animates his speech by just making his lips kind of twitch over his gigantic teeth. Remember when you were a kid and your mom was so angry at you that when she spoke, her teeth were clenched and her jaw didn't actually move? That's kind of the effect here. It's like Zebediah is really angry at you, but he's also some kind of freaky, super-happy Disney animation from the 1930's, so you're kind of sure he's going to come through the screen and try and eat your soul.

Also, I don't know why there's a giant P on his hat.

Now, let's introduce Allison, the girlfriend:

She, like, has totally gnarly hair.

The dialogue throughout the game is like this. Exactly like this. It's like aliens watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, decided that was how people actually talked.

So, back to the plot: Zebediah the Creepy Magician has been teaching Jake "magic." I'm just going to keep putting that in quotation marks, because you have to wonder about this guy. Then some bad guys swoop into the scene.

The element of surprise has surprised Jake. Just look at his face there. Now, at this point you don't know who these bad guys are; they just appear. The gameplay at this point is remarkably similar to the gameplay in Astyanax, which had just as fucked-up a plot as this game does. As it turns out, Jaleco produced both of these games. Sadly, Totally Rad does not feature a jazzercising fairy; just some idiot teenagers and their weird friend.

There are five acts to the game. Each begins with an image like the one above and ends with a boss fight and some more weird dialogue. In addition, Jake here has some magic up his sleeve.

 That's one of the menus you get when you hit start that lets you change what kind of magic ol' Jake is using. It took me FOREVER (forever = 20 minutes) to figure out how to use these different kinds of magic. Turned out you selected what you wanted, then hit up and B at the same time. Sometimes it would give you a suit, such as an underwater suit, a flying suit, and some kind of fox suit. Sometimes it created some big magical event that would kill a bunch of enemies. Check this out:

Okay, so the best part about taking screen shots when the screen is blinking is that you never really know what you're going to get. So the big blue guy in the corner is the magic spell. Apparently I'm using wind on a giant enemy. (You can only his his hand and part of a sword and food in this particular shot.) And there's Jake, doing some kind of Bob Fosse move there.

Here's another shot of doing one of these spells:

There's Dancing Jake, a purple enemy, and four rocks that spit pebbles. It's super useful. I guess.

Anyway. I'm throwing out screenshots in no particular order, but I was talking about Act 1. Here's the big boss:

Isn't that one of the guys from Insane Clown Posse? Which is odd, because Act 2 totally has a Killer Klowns from Outer Space vibe to it.

Here's your reward for making it through Act 1:

Wow, Zeb. That was blunt. But Allison's been kidnapped! Ohmygaw! What are we going to do about it?

In case you forgot, Allison's been kidnapped. Dude. By...Evil Elvis?

Here's your boss:

I really have no explanation for this thing. First you have to shoot out its leg, then the eye on its ass, and then its giant eye. This was probably one of the more bizarre bosses I've battle.

Here's most of the dialogue that follows. I'm just going to present the highlights, because there is no embellishment or exaggeration I can add to make it more awesome that it already is.

Not Photoshopped, folks.

And now...

This is one of those stupid underwater levels and comes up in every goddamn game, and it was made even worse by the fact that I didn't figure out how to make the fish suit happen until I was almost done with the level.

Anyway, the boss:

That's right, it's a giant, 8-bit angler fish. For more information on angler fish, please watch this video:

There's some boring dialogue after this, where Zebediah says that the bad guys who stole Allison's dad are people from the underground who took him because they wanted to learn all they could. He does not specify what they want to learn about. But at least now, we know the bad guys aren't aliens, demons, or clowns gone to the bad.

Next act:

Hey look, the cave has eyes! Here, Jake jumps around in a cave that is lit from no discernible light sources.

Here's your boss:

What in the name of the holy mother of God is that? Oh, I know!

It's a giant, bipedal mantis shrimp!

Okay, so you put on your flying suit, and you fly up and hit the monster mantis shrimp in the face a few times, and you get some more dialogue.

Stupid Allison then goes on about how she has herself trapped in a trunk underwater, so she can't come help you save her stupid father. On to Act 5:

Oh, Jake and Allison are surfers! That explains a lot! I guess. But this is where we finally get to the big, giant end boss. Of course, he's going to talk your ear off before you can actually get down to business:

BLAH BLAH BLAH. Jeebis. Also, I'm not entirely sure what a "traiter" is. Is it someone who assigns traits? Because I've assigned a few traits to Zebediah, mostly in the "creepy" and "MF'er" categories. Maybe I'm the traiter.

I do tend to get sidetracked. If you're still reading this, here's the boss:

Once you shoot out his kneepads, he sprouts his own wheelchair:

And then you kill him and save the gnarliest professor on the coast. We also learn that Jake is kind of a stupid turd.

See? Stupid turd.

At this point, Zebediah leaves a letter for Jake saying that now that the evil underground emperor is gone (turns out that's who the dude with the sword and flapping cape was), he's going back underground. Aw, damn. Bye, Uncle Creepy.

Not so fast, Jakey boy. Now, remember Allison was learning magic? She asks Jake here to continue to teach her now that Zebediah is gone, and this is his unedited response.

NO, Jake. It's NOT copesetic. Because the word you're looking for is COPASETIC. Don't be such a dick to your girlfriend when you can't spell.

Anyway, we assume they live happily ever after until Allison is tired of taking Jake's shit and finally leaves him for some hippie who runs a New Age bookstore. Or maybe it's a stock broker. I don't really care.