Video Game: Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World
A kabillion some odd years ago-ish, the Mayans predicted the world will end on December 21, 2012, which is a terrible idea since we as humans have not even invented a self-combing hair yet. Someone had to defend our planet and prevent this from happening. And that defender had to be me: Dikembe Mutombo.Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks To Save The World
is a web game produced by Old Spice, which follows the exploits of former NBA defensive player Dikembe Mutombo as he works to stop a series of events that threaten to destroy the world, and add more time to the ancient Mayan Calendar in the process.
The game, developed in part by Canabalt
creator Adam Saltsman, consists of a series of chapters that focus on a singular threat that Dikembe must overcome, including a dance craze, Hollywood vampire movies, an alien invasion force and more. Each chapter consists of two stages, often broken up by a short interlude or cutscene, with the latter stage featuring a boss who must be defeated. At the end of each chapter, Dikembe's friend Science The Bear congratulates the player
on defeating the threat, and the resulting high score is added to the Mayan Calendar (which is shown being engraved in real-time).4½ Weeks To Save The World
takes design elements and cues from classic 8- and 16-bit games
, and drops it into a surreal
series of missions that has Mutombo (who voices his own character) commenting on current trends, including dance crazes, the U.S. economy, consumerism, the British monarchy and more. The game had one chapter released each week for four-and-a-half-weeks
The game was played at OldSpiceSavesTheWorld.com, but is now just a redirect to the main Old Spice website, with external embeds no longer working, either. The game has been unoficially archived at the wiki-unfriendly URL http://kbhgames.com/8790/old-spice-|-dikembe-mutombos-4-1-2-weeks-to-save-the-world/ minus the finale, which you can watch here
after you've earned it.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range/Rubber Man: Both Dikembe and Science are both able of moving their bodies in abnormal styles (such as Dikembe's stretchy arms) and even grow another arm. This gets used in "The Problematic Hoagie Problem" when Dikembe's Yoga lessons allow him to stretch and contract the length of his legs.
- The Ace: Science The Bear, who is a super-smart bear that gives Dikembe instructions on how to defeat the various threats throughout the world.
I'm a hyper-intelligent bear with a keen fashion sense and a firm grasp of the English language. Of course I'm right.
- Airborne Mooks: The birds in "The Problematic Hoagie Problem".
- Alien Invasion: The Blurgies in "The Blurgpocalypse", whose return is prophecized to bring about the end of the world.
- Auto-Scrolling Level: In every chapter except the third.
- Big Bad: The Internet.
- Big NO:
- Dikembe in "The Last Game We May Ever Play?", when Science The Bear dies.
- Also in "The Great 2012 Dance Crisis": "Ohi-nooooooooooo!"
- Bittersweet Ending: Dikembe stops the Internet from destroying the Earth, but at the cost of Science The Bear, who performs a Heroic Sacrifice. The episode ends on a downbeat note at Science's funeral, and even the uplifting epilogue song notes that they've only managed to stave off Earth's destruction for another 15 months.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Science the Bear's Heroic Sacrifice does nothing to destroy the Internet, though it's moved enough to not destroy the world...for another 5 to 7 years.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Science The Bear addresses the player at the end of each chapter except the fifth and final one, and asks them to input their name in the high score screen and look at the Mayan calendar.
- Break the Cutie: Don't kill any Blurgies when children are around, or you'll break their tender little hearts (and lose a life.)
- Catch Phrase:
- Science The Bear's "It will surely be... the end of the world."
- Random Turkey's "For friendship!"
- Call Back:
- Everyone who was a minor character throughout the game shows up at the end of the final chapter, "The Last Game We May Ever Play?", at Science The Bear's funeral.
- The epilogue video has tons of references to the prior chapters, including the Blurgy King trying to shoot Dikembe again (and his laser blast bouncing off of Dikembe's gold medal, onto the spirit of Random Turkey, and back at the King).
- Caught with Your Pants Down: At the end of "The Lethal Dose of Teenage Vampire Movies", the action pans out to Science The Bear, who is watching video footage of a female bear stripper grinding on a pole, and hastily tries to cover it up while addressing the player.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Random Turkey in "The Blurgpocalypse". He shows up out of nowhere in the final cutscene to save Dikembe from being shot by the Blurgy King. He then returns as a spirit to tell Science the Bear what to do in the fifth and final episode.
- Coup de Grāce Cutscene: The Blurgy King is killed in the post-fight cutscene by his own laser pistol.
- Delicious Fruit Pies: Subverted in "The Blurgpocalypse". The action stops so that Dikembe and a young boy can reminisce on the closing of Hostess (complete with a song and a lamentation about how delicious they are), but it doesn't factor into the rest of the level.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "The Problematic Hoagie Problem".
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In "The Great 2012 Dance Crisis", Dikembe is tasked with throwing ballots at voters to stop them from dancing to an ersatz version of PSY's Gangnam Style... except that the beat is infectiously catchy, and it's often easy to continue playing the level just to hear the song loop over again and again.
- Dramatic Deadpan:
- Due to the Dead: "The Last Game We May Ever Play?" ends with the cast of the previous four episodes (and more) gathering at Science The Bear's funeral.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In the epilogue video, Dikembe realizes that he's only put off the end of the world for another 15 months as Science The Bear explains it to him.
Science The Bear: We extended life for 15 months, 17 days, 9 hours and 34 minutes.
Dikembe: (eyes widen) Wait, only 15 months?
Science The Bear: And 17 days and 9 hours.
Dikembe: 15 months?
Science The Bear: My calculations were off, but you're just looking at the negatives. There's also a lot of POSITI-I-I-I-I-IVES!
Dikembe: 15 months?!? Are you kidding me?
- Excuse Plot: The various stages are introduced via short cutscenes where Science The Bear gives a nonsensical reason why the world will end if something isn't stopped (among them, stopping a Hollywood tycoon and delivering a hoagie to a British princess), and Dikembe gladly agrees to help, even if he doesn't completely understand what's going on most of the time.
- Genre Roulette: The game starts out as a Shoot 'em Up filled with large obstacles, then becomes a side-scrolling on-rails level, then becomes a platformer, then goes back to on-rails, before finally capping off with a Bullet Hell Shoot 'em Up.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
- Dikembe takes the time to mention that his movie date with Science is completely platonic.
- Also, before Science's Heroic Sacrifice, he tells Dikembe that he loves him...as a friend, of course.
- Heal Thyself: With Old Spice deodorant in "The Blurgpocalypse", green vials in "The Lethal Dose of Teenage Vampire Movies" and fruit in "The Problematic Hoagie Problem".
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Random Turkey in "The Blurgpocalypse".
- Science The Bear in "The Last Game We May Ever Play?" Subverted - he sacrifices himself, but it does nothing to stop the Internet mainframe from reforming. The mainframe then decides to spare the Earth anyway.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Blurgy King in "The Blurgpocalypse" is killed by his own laser gun, which shoots back out of Random Turkey and hits him.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Random Turkey has no problem eating Thanksgiving dinner.
- Interface Screw: The very Final Boss reverses the player's controls.
- Large Ham Announcer: The announcer in the fifth and final chapter announces each boss with an over-the-top pronunciation of their name, in a style reminiscent of Saturday Night Live.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler:
- The (now complete) calendar carving screen after entering your initials after any stage now plays a new epilogue cutscene after leaving it for a couple of seconds. Said cutscene blatantly references the ending, spoiling it for any first-time players.
- This was originally a clip that is now only available on the Old Spice YouTube page. It has been replaced with the Week Six cutscene, which has the same spoiler, but much further into the cutscene.
- Lethal Joke Item: Dikembe beats down members of the Queen's Guard, terriers and overzealous birds with a giant American hoagie sandwich.
- Lost Forever:
- Memetic Mutation: In-universe in "The Last Game We May Ever Play?" The mainframe of the internet attacks Dikembe with popular "meme" characters like Nyan Cat, the Dancing Banana and several image macros.
- Minigame: In "The Problematic Hoagie Problem", Dikembe stops to play a game of Pong with a talking paddle, who is celebrating his 40th birthday.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hollywood Fat Cat wasn't going to use the lottery money to make another teenage vampire romance movie. He was going to make an inspirational bio pic about a small-town teacher so inspirational it would make people go to school to get degrees in proper child nutrition in desert countries, and all the proceeds would go to saving every endangered animal in the world. Okay, not really.
- Not Quite Dead: Lampshaded in the epilogue video. Science The Bear returns in the body of a computer (and sporting his turtleneck sweater), and comments on how everyone who should be dead really isn't.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Dikembe describes Science the Bear as "My best friend that is also a bear that talks."
- Painting the Fourth Wall: In the Pong segment, the ball will bounce off of Dikembe and the paddle's word balloons as well as Dikembe and the paddle themselves.
- Player and Protagonist Integration: Of the "Controller" variety. Dikembe explicitly says that he needs the player's help, and while he does act on his own in cutscenes (and make comments about the action during gameplay), it is up to the player to direct him. After each chapter, Science The Bear thanks the player for a job well done.
- The Power of Friendship: After the Internet mocks Dikembe because it knows that he intends to attack the mainframe, Science The Bear shows up to help, and deliberately mentions this trope.
- Product Placement: For Old Spice body deodorant.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The "mixtape" Random Turkey makes for Dikembe in "The Blurgpocalypse" is Nicole Westbrook's "It's Thanksgiving" (made by the same studio that gave the public Rebecca Black).
- Requisite Royal Regalia: The Princess at the end of "The Problematic Hoagie Problem" wears a crown and sits on a throne, and is flanked by three servants.
- Retractable Appendages: Dikembe has a third hand/arm he uses to play the flute in the game's intro.
- Running Gag:
- Every act except the fifth has at least one sequence where the action stops to have Dikembe and/or another character address the player via text or song. In "The Great 2012 Dance Crisis", Dikembe stops to make a comment on how consumerism is killing America. In "The Blurgpocalpyse", a child stops Dikembe to sing a song about the death of Hostess snack foods. In "The Lethal Dose of Teenage Vampire Movies", Random Turkey appears in a dream to tell Dikembe about the U.S. fiscal cliff, and in "The Problematic Hoagie Problem", the action sequence stops so that Dikembe can play a game of Pong.
- Science The Bear will say, "(x event/person) will surely be... the end of the world," at least once in each episode.
- Satire: Of consumerism, the "teen vampire" movie genre and the British monarchy.
- Say My Name: In "The Blurgpocalypse".
Science The Bear: Oh. My. Goodgriefness. Look! (holds up a newspaper with a picture of a Blurgy)
Dikembe: Blurgies? BLUUUUUUUURGIES!
- Signature Move: Dikembe does his signature "finger wag" to the state of Florida at the end of "The Great 2012 Dance Crisis".
- It should be noted that the mouse cursor is a wagging finger as well.
- Taking the Bullet: Random Turkey in "The Blurgpocalypse".
- Turns Red: All of the bosses do this once they are damaged enough.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Given that the game is heavily dependent on 2012 trends (the U.S. fiscal cliff, the state of Florida constantly accruing errors in the voting process, Kate Middleton's pregnancy and the closing of Hostess), it falls into this category.
- Un-Person: Old Spice seemed to do this to the game itself. A mere couple of weeks after the game was finished, the website containing the game redirected to the main Old Spice website. If you try to play the game embedded on an external site, the actual data for the game itself has been removed. To top it off, their YouTube channel has made all videos related to the game private, making them unlisted and unwatchable by anyone. This may have something to do with the game covering topics that are no longer relevant.
- Verbal Tic:
- Videogame Caring Potential: In-universe. Dikembe decides not to kill the Blurgies in front of the children in the factory, because he doesn't want to "break their tender little hearts". He also comments in "The Problematic Hoagie Problem" that he "looooooooooooooves baby peoples" and will get the unborn child whatever it needs.
- World of Ham: The entire series. The villains chew the scenery, Dikembe and Science the Bear have more outlandish conversations than anyone else and the situations get more and more absurd as time goes on.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The game deliberately goes out of its way to avoid mentioning Gangnam Style, Twilight or Kate Middleton.
- You No Take Candle: The Blurgy King in "The Blurgpocalypse", who speaks in a muffled voice and can only be understood by reading the subtitles.