Everyone Else Writes About Video Games, So Why Not I? – An Unholy Trinity

One of the most prominent veins in Video Game Journalism On The Internet is reminiscing about retro gaming.  Be it masturbating over Super Mario Bros. 3, or throwing a fit over how godawful some bad games were, it seems like it is a cool thing to do.  So, seeing as this column of mine was conceived in a “If you can’t beat them, join them” attitude, why don’t I join in on the nostalgia fest.

So, our story begins with your faithful narrator perusing a used video game store the other day.  I usually patron these stores looking for SNES games, because those are the only used video games I want to buy.  Anyway, recently I have been on a mission to find Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest.  I have soundly defeated DKC 1 and DKC 3, and since I’m a habitual collector, I pathologically need to purchase and defeat DKC 2.  I have had a whore of a time looking for this game, so I have been scouring every used video game store in town.  On one fateful day, I walked into a game store, and what did I find?  No, not DKC 2.  Something else.  Three SNES Carts I had not played in a long, long time.  Each were marked at $9.99, and since it was payday, I figured, “Why Not?”  I bought them, and I brought them home.

I posted this picture on my Facebook account the day I purchased them, and was met with some adulation.  The fools, they clearly have never played these games.   This unholy trinity of games are ghosts of my childhood.  Three games that I could never, ever beat.  No, scratch that.  ‘Three games that kicked my ass’ seems more appropriate.  Granted, I am vastly more intelligent now than I was at 8 years old, but the fact remains; these games were unnecessarily difficult.  Several video game generations later, it was time to put them to the test, once again.

First up, Super Empire Strikes Back.  Or, so I thought.  See, for one reason or another, the previous owner had decided to open the cart up and swap it with Super Return of the Jedi.  That’s alright, both of them kicked my ass equally.  So, I pop the fucker into my beloved SNES, and the game proceeds to kick my ass, AGAIN.  I had forgotten just how dang hard the Super Star Wars games are.  There is absolutely no mercy with these games.  If you fuck up, it will make you PAY.  There is no straight-forward path from beginning to end; the game will make you get lost within it, and punish you for your foolishness!  However, I have a secret weapon, a trick up my sleeve that the sadists who designed these games could never have anticipated.  CHEAT CODES, HO!!

So, I log onto GameFAQs, and I score myself the Debug Code.  One of the perks of the Debug Code is that you can play any side-scrolling level with any character available.  You can barge into Jabba’s Palace with Han Solo.  You can wander around Endor as Leia in the Boussh costume (or her gold bikini, for you fucking PERVERTS).  You can destroy the Endor Power generator as Luke.  Or, you can do this…

That’s right.  That’s Wicket W. Warrick battling the Emperor Palpatine for the fate of the Galaxy!  I chose to play the game solely as Wicket, because I think the Ewoks get unfairly shat on.  Oh, Debug also gives you unlimited Thermal Detonators, so that helps a little.  So yeah, from the wastes of Tattooine, to the Emperor’s Throne Room, that plucky little Ewok carried the Rebellion on his furry little shoulders, and brought freedom to the Galaxy!  HOORAY FOR THE EWOKS!!!

Next up, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage.  In case you forgot, The Venom Saga was a BIG FUCKING DEAL during the 90’s.  Like, we’re talking about the most significant thing to happen to Spider-Man since that fateful spider bite.  It was the Age of the Anti-Hero, and Venom was as anti-hero as you could get.  So, we have Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, one of the first video games to take its plot directly from a comic story line.  See, somewhere along the way, the Venom symbiote has babies, and one of the babies bonds with this serial killer to create Carnage, a villain that makes Venom look tame by comparison.  And so, Carnage recruits a bunch of shitty Spider-Man villains (Doppelganger and Shriek and some others you don’t care about) and attempts to take over New York City.  So, now you know the plot!

The game itself is very misleading.  Initially, it gives you the impression that it’s a standard “Beat’em Up” game: go through, level by level, punch some no-name sprites in the face, and go through the standard line-up of Big Boss villains.  But, that’s not what happens.  Not by a long shot.  It takes some considerable effort to beat these no name thugs, as they now have life bars.  And, they also get increasingly stronger with each level.  Also, you get three lives, and ONE FUCKING CONTINUE.  I made it as far as the level where you break into the Fantastic Four building, and you have to beat up all of Reed Richards’ stupid security robots, and then gave up out of frustration, when I used my last continue.  I was spent.  This game once again kicked my ass, as it did before.  The game is ALL over the place, to the point where you don’t play it: IT PLAYS YOU.  I’ll beat this game some day, but not now.

And now, we come to the Piece De Resistance, Jurassic Park.  See, for the longest time, I had kept Jurassic Park in high regard, as one of my Top Three most hated games (Batman Forever and Super Ghosts n’ Ghouls are the other two).  See, no matter how hard the Super Star Wars games were, and no matter how irrational Maximum Carnage was, at least those games were a fun challenge.  Jurassic Park is just fucking torture.

Lemmie take you back, again, to the land of the 90’s.  See, no matter how big the Venom Saga was, Jurassic Park was GIGANTIC.  It suddenly turned a generation of kids into Dinosaur fanatics, and made the occupation of Palaeontologist seem cool.  And, buddy, I bought the fuck into Jurassic Park.  I watched the movie over and over again.  I owned trading cards, comic books, and toys with the Jurassic Park logo.  So, when they released a Jurassic Park video game, I was all over that shit.  Could you blame me?  Every bit of Jurassic Park was fucking fun, so why shouldn’t the video game be fun!  Believe me, this game is NOT FUN.

See, the biggest problem that this game suffers from is that there is absolutely no save feature; you MUST beat this game in one sitting.  Which would be fine, if this was just a simple side scroller.  But, it’s not a simple side scroller.  It’s a complex quest game, like the Legend of Zelda.  But, see, the Legend of Zelda has the ability to save your progress, so you do not have to spend FIVE HOURS playing the game.  I’m serious, too.  I actually spent 5 hours straight playing this game, because I HAD to.  If I stopped, if I had turned it off, I would have had to start from the fucking beginning, and that is unacceptable.

So, there I was, playing Jurassic Park for 5 goddamned hours.  The main part of the game is annoying enough, going from place to place, collecting eggs for some reason, and getting eaten by fucking Velociraptors.  But then, you have to enter some buildings, and that’s when the game gets aggravating.  See, the makers of the game tried to incorporate a First Person Shooter element into this painful game.  It was ambitious, but unnecessary.  Completely unnecessary.  It’s VERY frustrating, trying to navigate a three dimensional game with the limitations of the SNES controller.  Thankfully, the AI for enemies within (a barrage of Raptors and Dilophasaurs) is really crappy, which makes it easy to kill them.  The Raptors will only attack you if you are standing RIGHT beside them, and the Dilophasaurs stand perfectly still and look at you cockeyed, as if they WANT you to shoot them, and are curious as to why you haven’t done so yet.

So, in the three games I have purchased here, I come the closest to (honestly) beating one of them with Jurassic Park.  Five Hours of toil.  Five Hours of pointless tasks, most of which don’t even happen in the fucking Movie.  I’ve cleaned out this cargo ship of Dinosaurs, and all I gotta do is simply drop a nerve gas bomb in a Raptor Nest, and that’s it.  The game is FINISHED.  So, I’m making my way out of the boat, in the stupid First Person Shooter mode, and I get stuck.  Literally stuck.  In a wall.  The game glitches, and I am trapped in a wall.  There is absolutely no way I can get out of this wall.  The game is over.  Five hours of hard work, and it ends in a goddamned glitch.  Screw that.  I am never playing this game again.  As far as I’m concerned, I beat it.

So, there you go.  Three classic-yet-fucking HARD SNES games.   As hard now, as they were when I was a kid, each in their own, frustrating way.  Three games that would NOT let me beat them, or beat them honestly, at least.  I would only recommend playing these games, if you are a glutton for punishment, like myself.


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3 Responses to “Everyone Else Writes About Video Games, So Why Not I? – An Unholy Trinity”

  1. Al Creed says:

    See, I could handle Carnage. The Separation Anxiety storyline, however, is completely nonsensical.

  2. G says:

    Haha! I can relate to the cart swap thing a bit… well music wise. I went to buy Face to Face's second album used at some pawn shop of East Hastings back in 1999, and the first album ended up being inside. Same deal, didn't own either on CD, so it turned out to be fine by me.

    Looking at the Jurassic Park game, I missed that one. I'm shocked that I never played this title… and can't believe that it's designed without passcodes! WTF is up with that?

    I enjoyed the Super Star Wars titles, but never got to pull off the haxor Ewok "carnage" you enjoyed here! Speaking of which, I missed out on the Spiderman title too. What was I doing back then? I have all the original issues that introduced the psychopathic villain too… HA HA! I have the issue where Spidey gets the black suit during the fucking awesome Secret Wars series as well…. Classic Al Creed satire here, loved the article!

  3. PatMan says:

    “See, for one reason or another, the previous owner had decided to open the cart up and swap it with Super Return of the Jedi.” – WTF ? Thats strange, oh well at least it was one of the trilogy of games, I suppose.

    I actually was able to beat Super Star Wars and Super Empire Strikes Back with out any need for cheat codes. However, I could not beat Super Return Of The Jedi for some reason.

    As for the The Venom Saga of the 90s, I just couldn’t get into the Carnage character . Venom was cool,but they should have just stopped while they were ahead with that story line.

    When you find DKC 2, and have the time, a review of it would be cool !