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A 1989 Arcade Game, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... is, essentially, madness given video game form. And not merely in the conventional way, no. It is the scrawling on the walls, babbling incoherently while trying desperately to remember where you placed your arms form of insanity. Created by Data East of Bad Dudes fame, this game is also a Beat 'em Up... or something similar, at least.In fact, the gameplay is not that incomprehensible. Upon starting, you're presented with a choice of three characters: a ninja, a tough guy, and a swordsman. You then have a simple objective: Upon defeating enemies, they will sometimes drop hearts. You must collect a certain amount of these hearts to face the boss, defeat it, and clear the stage. Sounds ordinary enough, right?Except it turns out that the gameplay is merely an afterthought to everything else, and the stages are usually trivial. Instead, the game focuses entirely on attempting to reduce its player to tears of confusion and anguish. Describing the entirety of what makes this game so utterly mindbreaking would be a several paragraph endeavor, but suffice it to say that with the armies of Karnov, the (almost) inexplicable "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" stage, copious amounts of Engrish, never-interrupted stage music, battles with pink sheep that curse you, a surprise appearance from Colonel Sanders, and a Gainax Ending that gives Neon Genesis Evangelion itself a run for its money, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... succeeds in its title's plea.In Japan, the game is considered to be one of the progenitors of "kuso-ge", or "crappy games", games known for their astoundingly horrible nature. In fact, the game was deliberately designed to be bad (and insane).
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
Baleful Polymorph: In the level "Curse of Sheeps", whether you win or lose, you'll be cursed to turn into a sheep for the next stage.
Big Damn Heroes: Karnov's attacking some defenseless turtle! It's your character to the rescue.note Possibly this is supposed to refer to the folktale of Urashima Taro. And- oh wait, now it's your turn to beat up the turtle. But it's okay, it was actually your mentor hiding under a hollowed out turtle shell for no apparent reason. And now youhave to fight him.
Blatant Lies: "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" No, you'll be just as confused as when you started.
Blob Monster: The mooks in several later, sci-fi-themed levels. Blue ones just ooze at you, yellow ones turn into vaguely lizard-like forms and walk at you, green ones bounce, and red ones... operate Powered Armor.
Cameo: Colonel Sanders and what appears to be the Queen of England riding a large fish appear as enemies. The former may be a reference to the Curse of the Colonel. The latter? ...
Cursed with Awesome: The sheep might actually be more powerful than the normal player characters, depending on how much you've upgraded their weapons. Regardless of upgrades, as a sheep, you're invincible when you duck. (But you die if you try to move while ducking.)
Engrish: Just about every line of text in the game. According to Wikipedia, the Japanese version, while being in, uh, Japanese, also had unusual grammar, making it a fitting choice for the translation.
Excuse Plot: ...In...verted? While it's hard to call the game's plot a plot, it's clear that the gameplay is merely there to string together the bizarre levels and elements.
Gainax Ending: After fighting your way through hordes of zombies, robotic tanks, slime monsters, a lot of ninja, Karnov enemies, Chelnov, and strange bosses, the final level takes place in a peaceful park. Oh no, is some horrible monster threatening the peace? You make your way forward, and... nope. Your character encounters a few nearly harmless animals and, for no other reason than that you must to beat the game, kills them all. So then does the final boss appear? Again, nope. Upon killing the last animal, you get the good old "WIN WIN" message. The game then has the audacity to tell you "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" before scrolling down under the sidewalk, where a pair of giant orange bloodshot eyes stares into the screen. The pair of eyes then lifts the sidewalk under your character's feet into the air before dropping it back down. You then exchange a few words with your mentor, and the game ends.
ROSE SUB: That was great!
MR. CHIN: Best we ever had!
KAMAKURA: Thanks for cheering me up
MR. CHIN: Superb
SANTOS: I'm faint from hunger
MR. CHIN: Well done well done
Game-Breaking Bug: There are a few. Including, according to at least one source, the ability to freeze the arcade machine if you get unlucky while performing your special move in midair.
Game Over Man: Its just as fucked up as the rest of the game: Of all the faces to show up on the continue screen, you get Michelangelo's Dying Slave. And if you continue the face changes to a cartoonish one.
Ninja Log: The ninja character briefly turns into a log when he gets hit.
Old Master: Mr. Chin, who upgrades your weapons with a "LUCKY! CHA CHA CHA" during a roulette section after each level, and battles you twice throughout the game.
Patchwork Map: While there isn't any definite transition between stages, you go from a desert to a jungle in the span of a few stages, and end up in a pleasant park by the end.
Power Up Letdown: Santos' maximum strength main attack is W-Fist, which causes him to fly forward or straight up with his fist extended. While this can cover great distances in a hurry, he will not stop or change direction until he hits something (or something hits him). This makes platform-heavy stages a good deal more difficult.
Shout-Out: The three playable characters appear to be parodies of other Data East videogame heroes. Rose Sub the barbarian is clearly based on Rastan, Kamakura the ninja reminds of The Legend of Kage's protagonist, and Santos could be based upon the Bad Dudes.
Performing your magic attack "cures" you somehow...
Time Stands Still: In the level "THAT WAS GREAT" the phrase "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" appears bit by bit on the screen. When the exclamation mark appears, all action freezes. Yes, all action, enemies and player alike. Why? It's a reference to the Japanese children's game "Daruma-san ga koronda" (lit. "The Daruma doll fell down")note the boss in this level is a giant Daruma doll, which bears similarities to Red Light Green Light. Not that it would be out of place if it was completely meaningless.
Timed Mission: There's actually a time limit for every stage that you won't see until there's 30 seconds left.
Too Long; Didn't Dub: The giant foot boss is labeled "TAROSUNOASHI" in Latin characters written directly on its sprite; clearly this is supposed to mean "foot of Talos".