She'll eventually come around. They ALL do.
The Spiritual Successor
to Don Bluth
's popular Dragons Lair
laserdisc arcade game, Space Ace
was similar, and yet it wasn't.
Instead of a knight
and a princess
, the characters were Dexter, a pulp space hero
, and Kimberly, his buxom, short-skirted, sarcastic girlfriend. Their mission was to locate the evil Commander Borf, a blue behemoth of an alien who had taken it upon himself to create something called the Infanto Ray, that he would use to transform the inhabitants of Earth and any other planet he wished into babies or children.
Before the game itself, Ace is zapped with said ray, which transforms him into his previous geeky teenage self. The rub is that, due to some apparent malfunction or his own body chemistry, the effects turned out somewhat wonky, and he switches between his adult, musclebound self and his younger self at the least opportune times. The game itself took care of this by utilizing one button that served as the weapons button and the "energize button", and when Ace's wrist weapon flashed you had the option of transforming into Ace or simply remaining as Dexter to carry out the mission... and thankfully, Bluth animated two separate scenes for each of these instances
seeing as how Ace could dispatch enemies quickly and Dexter had to use his smarts to get past them.
Unlike Dragon's Lair
, where Dirk was semi-mute, both Ace and Kimmy spoke throughout the adventure, commenting on the weirdness around them as well as going over the game plan to reach Borf and stop him, which added a little more humor to this game than Dragon's Lair
. Though it came second, it carved out its own nice little niche in gaming history.
It was originally released on laserdisc on April 15, 1984, and has since been ported to the iPhone
, the PSN, and Android
. There was recently a comic mini-series based on the game incorporating elements from the original game and its Saturday Supercade
segment (mainly Ace's changes to Dexter and back happening at random). It was also released on Steam
on August 27, 2013.
Space Ace contains examples of the following:
- But Thou Must: You can play through most of the game without energizing, but in the final area, even if you choose not to energize while fighting Borf, the game does it for you.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: In spades. In the Trope image, for example, Ace and Kimberly are having a casual dialog about rescues, all while Ace is picking off minions left and right without even looking at them.
- The Chick: Kimberly.
- Creator Cameo: Don Bluth is the voice of Borf in the game.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ace, occasionally. "Oh, wow. I've been hit." (zapped back into Dexter, iris out)
- Fanfare: Whenever you take the option to Energize (and transform Dexter into his musclebound adult self), a short transformation sequence leads into the triumphant Space Ace theme song. The theme that plays during that short transformation sequence lets you know that much ass-kicking is about to commence.
- Evil Counterpart: Dark Dexter/Ace.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Borf and Dark Dexter/Ace.
- Fiery Redhead: Kimmy can not say anything to Dexter/Ace without being full of sass.
- Fountain of Youth: The Infanto Ray, which turns people into infants, and which turned Space Ace into a weak teenager.
- The Infanto Ray also makes a cameo in some of the episodes of the Space Ace cartoon version. It appears they have yet to work all the bugs out, hence it only turning Ace into a scrawny runt, and changing back to his normal self at random.
- Game Over Man: Borf. (Actually, he only technically appears when you lose a life.)
- Hoist by His Own Petard: How Borf is defeated.
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Kimberly.
- Insistent Terminology: "Call me Ace, huh?"
- The Lancer: Ace.
- Literally Shattered Lives: One death during the hand-to hand combat scene near the end of the game has Borf kick Ace so hard in the face that it shatters.
- The Many Deaths of You
- No Indoor Voice: Dexter. "I'LL SAVE YOU, KIMMY!"note
- Panty Shot: Frequently with Kimberly, apparently.
- Platform Hell: The SNES port. Check out Frankomatic's playthrough of the game and you'll come out believing it to be one of the hardest games ever made. And to top it off, to view the game's ending, you have to get the highest rating in every single level (kill a requisite amount of enemies and collect enough glowing disc powerups, and with near perfect accuracy and minimal shots fired to boot). Given the game's wonky controls and absurd difficulty (Dexter dies in one hit to anything, has limited lives, there are no level checkpoints, and the game is loaded with ridiculous memorization, unclear level layouts including leaps of faith you need to make with no indication to do it, and psyche outs), this all adds up to a near impossible task without the use of save states. Hell, even finishing the game at all is near impossible.
- And oddly enough, the port actually does follow the original pretty damn closely. Just don't expect to ever get far enough to notice.
- Revenge of the Nerd: Implied, given that the macho, self-confident Ace was originally scrawny, nerdy (but still obviously athletic) Dexter. Could also be interpreted when the nasties hunting down Dexter find themselves mashed or vaporized when the nerd suddenly transforms into Ace.
- She Is All Grown Up: Male version, with Ace.
- Spiritual Successor: To Dragons Lair.
- Super Rug Pull: In the cartoon, in one part of the episode "Wanted Dexter," Dexter is locked in the prison and notices Baby Face Nerks with Kimmy, and tries to get the sheriff's attention with no success. So, Dexter throws the mug at the blaster, causing it to fall to the floor. Then Dexter grabs the rug and says, "Come on blaster. Come to Dexter." And then he proceeds to pull the rug so hard that it creates a shockwave that sends the sheriff flying and Dexter gets the blaster, and after energizing, escapes the prison.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Transform into Ace and the heroic "Space Ace" theme plays!
- They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: It's possible to die by blowing up the station you're on with a single errant blast.
- Tickle Torture: One of the death scenes involve Ace and Kimberly falling off of a maze and into a pit filled with pink balls called "Tickle Plants." This is reinforced by Ace and Kimberly's hysterical laughing upon falling into the pit. There's an alternate scene that has Dexter instead of Ace.
- TOTALLY COSMIC!!note