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Recap / The Angry Video Game Nerd Season Five

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    Action 52 
After introducing his custom-made toaster-themed Nintendo console (affectionately dubbed the "Nintoaster"), the Nerd introduces Action 52, a highly requested curiosity. For starters, the design of the game's cartridge is unlike that of any other NES cart: it was transparent, so the internal circuitry of the cart was on display, which the Nerd takes as a sign that it is so awful, "it has nothing to hide". In addition, prolonged play sessions with this game made the cartridge hot and reek of burning plastic. Furthermore, the MSRP of the game was $199, making it the most expensive game in the NES library! The Nerd calculates that this means each game in Action 52 would be worth approximately four dollars each, and hopes to find at least one gem among the myriad games.

Upon booting up the game, the Nerd is introduced to a heavily compressed loop from Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" and a voice instructing him to select a game. With that, the Nerd begins to review each game:

  1. Firebreather (Fire Breathers): A two-player game where each player controls a dragon and tries to kill the other player. Very simplistic.
  2. Starevil (Star Evil): A vertical-strolling shoot-em-up which disappoints the Nerd from the start due to an obstacle appearing directly in front of the player when the game begins. Otherwise, the game was mind-numblingly easy: as long as you fire, the enemies can't hurt you. The end level boss also occasionally glitches and fails to appear, leaving the player stuck at the end of the level.
  3. Illuminator: A Donkey Kong-esque game where the lights go out at regular intervals, leaving the player blind and unable to navigate effectively unless they kill enemies.
  4. G-Force FGT. (G-Force): A horizontal-scrolling shmup that is, like Starevil, simplistic. The Nerd recommends Konami's Life Force as an alternative.
  5. Ooze: A mediocre platformer that uses B to jump, which the Nerd takes umbrage with, and has a convoluted method of jumping across gaps (tap B, then press the direction you wish to jump in). The game also has enemies that resemble Shit Pickle, and the Nerd notices that when Action 52 is booted up, Ooze is highlighted by default.
  6. Silver Sword: A mediocre Legend of Zelda clone.
  7. Critical BP. (Crytical Bypass): A bizarre side-scrolling shmup with graphics so harsh that it causes eyestrain for the Nerd.
  8. Jupiter Scope: A Starevil clone with different graphics and a screen that doesn't scroll.
  9. Alfredo (Alfred n the Fettuc): This game doesn't even load.
  10. Operat. Moon (Operation Full Moon): Another Starevil clone with altered graphics.
  11. Dam Busters: A maze-like shooter that doesn't allow the player to backtrack, trapping them if they run into a dead end.
  12. Thrusters: Yet another Starevil clone that is somehow glitchier than its predecessors.
  13. Haunted Hill: A platformer with a surprisingly buxom female protagonist that suffers from Ooze's bad controls.
  14. Chill Out: A Donkey Kong-esque "Eskimo snowball massacre". Failing to jump gaps causes the player to die in mid-air.
  15. Sharks: Players shoot at sharks that appear on-screen...if they appear at all.
  16. Megalonia: A G-Force FGT. clone.
  17. French Baker: A kitchen-themed Donkey Kong clone.
  18. Atmos Quake: Yet another Starevil clone.
  19. Meong: Players move across a grid field in the hopes of not stepping on a space that causes them to randomly explode.
  20. Space Dreams: Yet another Starevil clone.
  21. Streemerz: Players guide a clown with a grappling wire up the stage. Partway through, the game crashes.
  22. Spread Fire: Yet another in a long line of Starevil clones. Enemies rarely spawn.
  23. Bublgum Rosy (Bubble Gum Rossie): Another platformer with a weapon that does nothing. You can kill some enemies by jumping on them, but some will kill you if you try.
  24. Micro Mike: Another G-Force FGT. clone that scrolls too fast for players to dodge obstacles.
  25. Underground: An unfairly difficult Spelunker clone.
  26. Rocket Jock (Rocket Jockey): Another G-Force FGT. clone with a space western aesthetic.
  27. Non Human: Another platformer with bizarre green faces in the deadly pit players can all-too-easily fall into.
  28. Cry Baby: Another Donkey Kong clone where players play as a giant baby.
  29. Slashers: Described by the Nerd as "a poor man's version of Double Dragon".
  30. Crazy Shufle: A maze shooter with obscenely tiny characters.
  31. Fuzz Power: Another platformer where players play as a hairy man with giant feet. Players lose their fuzz when hit until they are stripped naked.
  32. Shooting Gal (Shooting Gallery): Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Of all the games, this is the only one that crashes when players try to return to the game select screen.
  33. Lollipops: Another platformer, this time candy-themed.
  34. Evil Empire: Another Donkey Kong clone that appears to be set in Russia. The sprites are very tiny.
  35. Sombreros: An overhead shooter where your character wears a sombrero.
  36. Storm Over D (Storm Over the Desert): An overhead tank shooter where your tank never gets destroyed. Occasionally, Saddam Hussein appears.
  37. Mash Man: Another platformer with another large-footed protagonist.
  38. They Came: Another space shooter.
  39. Lazer League: Another space shooter.
  40. Billy Bob: An Indiana Jones inspired platformer with surprisingly fluid sprite animation. Unfortunately, it's too difficult.
  41. City of Doom: Climb a building while tenants drop bowling balls. The game has no end: it continues forever (or until your patience runs out and you play another game).
  42. Bits N Piece (Bits And Pieces): A horror-themed platformer.
  43. Beeps N Blip (Beeps And Blips): Shapes shooting at each other.
  44. Manchester: Another platformer, this time music themed.
  45. Boss: A run-and-gun game with a dead end in the form of bombs being dropped in a way that is impossible to get past.
  46. Dedant: Ants shooting at other ants before they reach the bottom of the screen and kill you.
  47. Hambo (Hambos Adventures): Another Donkey Kong clone.
  48. Timewarp (Time Warp Tickers): Another platformer, this time with the player being a pair of walking fingers in a very bizarre setting. Killing enemies causes them to display the word "Time?".
  49. Jigsaw: Like Alfredo, it fails to load.
  50. Ninja Asault: Another poor man's Double Dragon.
  51. Robbie Robot: Another run-and-gun game. As long as you move to the right and fire your gun, you can't lose...until you reach the second level and need to watch for gaps to jump over.

At this point, the Nerd is incredulous that this game sold for the price of a video game console. He sums up the common themes of all of the games he played in Action 52: glitches, crashes, bad controls, bizarre graphics, some games with tiny characters, too many shmups, dying in mid-air, misleading titles, garish graphics, not enough enemies, games you can't win at, games you can't lose at, nonsensical games, and so forth.

However, there is still one more game the Nerd needs to play to complete his review of Action 52, one last chance for this compilation's redemption...

Featured games: Action 52 (NES, featuring Cheetahmen), Cheetahmen 2 (NES), and Action 52 (Gen)

After enduring fifty-one of the craptastic games of Action 52, the Nerd is prepared to play the fifty-second and final game of the compilation: Cheetahmen, which was meant to be the main attraction of the whole of Action 52 and came with its own comic book with promotions for future merchandise. Surely, this was where all the effort in Action 52 was dedicated!

Sadly, it doesn't take long for the Nerd to realize that the quality of Cheetahmen is barely any better than the rest of Action 52. The game had its own Excuse Plot about a gamer pulled into the world of video games and meeting the eponymous Cheetahmen. As for the gameplay: it is a mediocre brawler and platformer that extensively reuses assets from the other titles in Action 52. Frustratingly, the game doesn't allow the Nerd to proceed up a path until he traverses as far right along the level as he can beforehand, and touching holes in the ground results in instant death. Levels end abruptly, and the platforming levels have a glitch that allows the player to jump infinitely (unless they move beyond the top of the screen, in which case, they die).

The third level gives players control over a different Cheetahman, and is where the difficulty picks up greatly: there is an enemy obstructing the path early on, and the Cheetahman's large size makes it impossible to dodge projectiles. The jumping glitch is still in effect, but less effective.

The Nerd drops into a pit, expecting to die, but finds a 1-Up and skips to the next level, amusing him. Curiously, the fourth level is also called "Level 3", and a health bar suddenly appears for the first time. Sadly, the jumping glitch is gone in this level. In addition, the Cheetahman moves faster than the screen, making it all too easy to run into enemies and take damage. The boss at the end of the level also kills you instantly. In order to beat it, the player essentially has to cheese the boss by moving in such a position that they can hit the boss without getting hit themselves.

"Level 4" (which is actually the fifth level, by the Nerd's count) provides a Cheetahman with a crossbow. Unfortunately, the weapon is barely effective at all, missing enemies more often than hitting them. Also, the health bar is hidden once more.

At this point, the Nerd is done with Action 52 on the NES. However, it was not the end of Cheetahmen: a sequel, Cheetahmen II, was developed, but never released in stores. Only 1500 prototype cartridges exist, making it one of the more rare games of the NES library. The cartridges, themselves, are essentially the same as for Action 52, but with "Cheetahmen II" printed on the back side.

The game's story is more sensible: a mad scientist creates an Ape Man to destroy the Cheetahmen.

The gameplay is very similar to the original Cheetahmen. The health bar is always visible, but glitches still prevail. Falling damage is also in effect: jumping from a great height results in death. There is no way to duck, and thus, no way to fight short enemies. Enemies that have a higher orientation are worse, since you can't jump over them and shooting them down is too hard. By comparison, the second level's boss is too easy: he can be jumped over and shot down with little trouble.

The third level provides the large Cheetahman and the jumping glitch, which proves more useful this time, since most enemies are short enough to be jumped over. The Nerd feels no shame or guilt in cheating the game after dealing with the previous two levels.

The fourth level, again labeled "Level 3", is a boss fight against the Ape Man. However, the boss glitches out, leaving the Nerd stuck and with no way to die. He has no choice but to reset the game and work his way up to the Ape Man again. This time, he manages to defeat the boss, but the end result is the same: stuck in "Level 3" with no way to proceed. With that, the Nerd decides that he has officially beaten Cheetahmen II, since this was, for all intents and purposes, the end of the game.

Not even this was the end of the Cheetahmen legacy: Action 52 also saw release on the Sega Genesis! Rather than remaking the original Action 52, the Genesis version features unique games unto itself, of which the Nerd samples a handful, including:

  • More space shooters (albeit not nearly as many as the NES version)
  • Myriad puzzle games
  • "Echo", a Simon Says clone
  • A cowboy-themed rail shooter
  • Pinball
  • A boat game
  • A skiing game
  • A castle-themed action game
  • Another Donkey Kong clone
  • A jet fighter game that the Nerd describes as "worse than Top Gun"
  • A racing game that the Nerd describes as "shittier than Rad Racer"
  • "Norman", a tank game similar to "Storm Over the Desert", except your tank is very much destructible
  • "Alien Attack", a very easy run-and-gun game
  • A ninja game with no hit detection whatsoever
  • "Bombs Away", another easy game where your only objective is to not get hit by bombs
  • A boxing game
  • "Freeway", a clone of an Atari game of the same name with a dog that dies in a very gory manner
  • "Skater", a game where the only major obstacles are dead cats
  • "Sunday Drive", a driving game that is not as relaxing as its title suggests
  • "Dyno Tennis", a two-player tennis game with dinosaurs
  • "Appleseed", where you control a farmer catching falling apples
  • A mediocre drawing program
  • "1st Game", the 51st game in the collection, which is basically just Pong
  • "Challenge", a trial run of Action 52's hardest levels

Unlike the NES version, the Genesis version of Action 52 is much more functional, with the Nerd reporting only one game crash. The games taken from the NES version, while still not very good, are also vastly improved.

Finally, the Nerd plays game #13: Cheetahmen. There is no prologue this time, the music was mediocre compared to the NES version, and the Cheetahmen now die in one hit from any enemy. The Cheetahmen still outrun the screen, making it easy to die from running into an enemy. In addition, the punching attack requires pixel-perfect accuracy to work. The goal of the first level is ostensibly to collect Cheetah icons scattered throughout, but the icons reset upon death.

The Nerd is ultimately unable to beat the first level of Cheetahmen on the Genesis. He deems it to be less playable than its NES predecessor. However, there is cause for celebration, for the Nerd can now wash his hands of Action 52 once and for all!

    Game Glitches 
Featured games: Pooyan (NES), Metal Gear (NES), Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES), Mega Man 2 (NES), Super Mario Bros 1-3 (NES), Super Mario World (SNES), Mountain Climb (A2600), Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii), Rocky (PS2)

    Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link 
One of the most requested crappy games for the Nerd to review is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, a request the Nerd finds surprising, since (CD-i titles aside) the Zelda series had always been stellar. The Nerd, himself, thinks Zelda II is a good game, but admits that not everyone shares this opinion, since it was radically different from other games in the series. It had been some time since the Nerd last played it, so he decides to give it another go and see how it holds up.

The Nerd's first criticism is with the game's overworld, where Link looks tiny (but is bigger than the towns) and the graphics are underwhelming.

One of the most common criticisms with Zelda II is the fact that the action takes the form of side-scrolling platforming, rather than the overhead view seen in every other title leading up to the Nintendo 64 titles. To be fair to the game, though, the Nerd states that it was only the second Zelda game ever released, and the series had not yet found its true calling, experimenting with another type of gameplay before settling on an overhead perspective.

One thing the Nerd finds annoying is the lack of combat in the overworld. Instead, generic-looking monster indicators appear, and touching one leads to a battle using side-scrolling gameplay. While a good way to gain experience, monster encounters are annoyingly frequent. Some encounters don't even have monsters to fight, instead having rocks that the player needs to dodge as they leave the encounter. In fairness, however, the game at least lets you see the monsters coming at you in the overworld, as opposed to many RPGs such as Final Fantasy.

Ganon doesn't make an appearance in this game (except for the Game Over screen), a curious omission, although it can be explained away in the game's story: Ganon is dead, and the villains of Zelda II are trying to revive him using Link's blood.

The overarching goal of the game is to travel to towns, learn magic, and use the magic you learn to conquer the game's main dungeons, known as palaces, where players fight bosses and retrieve items that can be used to conquer other palaces.

The game is one of the most Nintendo Hard entries in the NES library: while the first palaces are fairly simple, the difficulty ramps up when you reach Death Mountain. The Nerd believes this dungeon would be better suited for closer to the end of the game rather than so early on. Later dungeons are still hard, but their difficulty is more manageable due to the fact that you'll have more health, better items, and stronger spells than you would have going into Death Mountain. To stand a chance in Death Mountain, you'd need to grind for experience beforehand, but even then, you'll have a hard time.

Once you clear Death Mountain and gain the hammer, you can proceed further into the game, finding a secret entrance to the next dungeon in a graveyard which is also grueling. Making things all the more difficult is the fact that, if you lose all of your lives, you need to start back at Hyrule Castle, as opposed to the previous Zelda game where you can at least start dungeons over at their entrance instead of having to trek all the way back to them.

Towns provide much-needed respite from fighting, but the townsfolk don't provide a lot of help, many speaking in cryptic riddles (such as "I AM ERROR") and making references to things that don't appear in the game. Each town also has a woman that invites Link into her home to restore her health. It's not shown how she is restoring Link's health, but the Nerd reckons she's helping him by letting him stick his sword in her forge.
The Nerd finds a bit of humor in being able to run across a town's roofs. He attempts to use a spell to transform into a fairy while jumping beyond the top of the screen, but causes the game to glitch such that when he leaves the town, he's trapped in the middle of the ocean, unable to proceed any further in the game. The Glitch Gremlin rears his ugly head as the Nerd repeats the experiment and find himself stuck in the floor.

There is a wizard Link has to fight, but without the Reflect spell, it's impossible to beat him. To get the spell, however, you have to rescue a lost child.

The Nerd finds some of the items in the game underwhelming. The candle in Zelda II is used to light up dark caves, but in the original game, can burn bushes. The flute was used to warp in the first game, but here, is used to proceed past an obstacle on a bridge and open the way to the sixth dungeon. There's no way to know to do so, however, as the game provides no clues to this.

Some dungeons have flying horse heads that piss the Nerd off to no end, just like the Medusa Heads from the Castlevania series. Thankfully, the Fairy spell provides an excellent (if somewhat cheap) workaround to this problem, but it's only a stopgap measure: you only have a limited amount of time to use it before your magic runs out, and there's a wall obstructing your path.

After beating the dragon and finding a hidden town, Link learns a new spell that changes enemies. However, this spell has another function: using it at a supposed dead end summons another dungeon. There's no way to know this without a strategy guide or a subscription to Nintendo Power.

Thankfully, when you reach the final dungeon, you'll be able to start over from its entrance instead of having to travel back there from Hyrule Castle. At the end, the player fights Shadow Link, but Shadow Link is one of the toughest end bosses in games. The Nerd gives up trying to fight Shadow Link, likening the game to your own shadow: you can't beat your shadow, because it knows you better than you know yourself. As an off-hand joke, the Nerd dares players to try to beat Zelda II with a Power Glove, hooking one up and wearing it. As the Nerd gives his final thoughts on Zelda II, however, the gestures he makes with the Power Glove lead to him accidentally defeating Shadow Link and beating the game, to his astonishment.

    Back to the Future Revisited 
Featured games: Top-Gun (NES), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (NES), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES), Back to the Future (NES), Back to the Future 2&3 (NES), Back to the Future 3 (Gen), and Super Back to the Future 2 (SFC)

The Nerd talks about his days as the "Angry Nintendo Nerd" and how he wanted to redo some of his previous reviews, playing some of the first games he reviewed and trying to complete them. He takes some time to poke fun at the changes made to the original Star Wars trilogy by mentioning the changes he would've liked to make to some of his earlier videos, such as giving the explosion from his Sonic Booming his TV in his Top-Gun review a halo, or making Jason shoot first in his Friday the 13th review. He has no actual intentions of making those changes, however, and rather intends to give new, better reviews to the games he reviewed in the past.

When the Nerd first reviewed Top-Gun, he only made it about halfway through the game. This time, he intends to finish it and show the ending. When he makes it to the final level, he finds that his objective is to destroy a space shuttle, which never happened in the movie. Afterwards is one final instance of the dreaded carrier landing sequence. The Nerd answers the question of why he had such difficulty in these sequences: the vertical controls for the plane are reversed so down moved the plane up and vice-versa, similar to other flying games. The instructions, however, don't make it clear whether you should press down, or press up to move the plane down. When the instructions say "Up! Up!", it doesn't specify whether you should speed up or go up. Finally, the Nerd figures out the key to succeeding is to go by the altitude and speed readings on the HUD.

After several tense moments, it looks as though the Nerd may overshoot the carrier. However, the plane suddenly flies off the screen and out of his basement window, leaving him confused.

Next, the Nerd takes a second look at Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. He brings up the point in the game where you find Jessica Rabbit's phone number, which is an actual 1-800 number that players were supposed to call to receive a clue on how to proceed from Jessica Rabbit. The Nerd never thought to call the number before and tries it this time, only to find that the number no longer connects to Jessica Rabbit's tips and tricks, but a phone sex hotline, surprising the Nerd: a Nintendo game giving a number to a phone sex hotline? "That's fucking awesome."

The Nerd then takes on Judge Doom, the final boss, who is frustratingly difficult: Doom can shave off large portions of the player's health while barely taking any, himself. Doom's fighting pattern is also irregular, making it hard to find the right pattern to lay into him. After knocking Doom onto the ground, players had to get the Dip cannon, select it, and use it on Doom before he can get back up and kill you in a single hit.

The Nerd then returns to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES, of which the Nerd only showed three levels in his previous review. The Nerd still finds himself getting stuck at a tricky jump in a sewer where his forward momentum is cut off by an overhead platform, making him fall into the sewer water below and force him to start the stage over. Later, the player needs to fight the Technodrome, which is as hard as they come; but first, they need to find it in sewer caves and fight their way through extremely difficult enemies. Even then, it's a crapshoot whether the player ultimately finds the Technodrome or an empty room. By the time the player finds the Technodrome, they will have lost at least a few turtles and be low on health as the boss tosses so many enemies and projectiles out that it causes slowdown. Afterwards, the player needs to fight their way through the inside of the Technodrome, but at that point, defeat is all but guaranteed.

Next is the main event: revisiting Back to the Future on the NES. After having deja vu from destroying a copy of the game in a toaster as he plugs the game into his Nintoaster, the Nerd revisits some of his old criticisms: the gameplay is divorced from the plot of the movie on which it is based, consisting of collecting clocks while attacking with bowling balls and dodging all sorts of bizarre obstacles, in addition to the unforgiving cafe stages.

The walking stages are pallet-swapped copies, and there is another bonus stage where Loraine shoots hearts at Marty which he needs to block. The Nerd becomes frustrated at how literal the game is: "It's about time, so let's have clocks. It's about romance, so let's have hearts."

Eventually, the player makes it to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, where the game reenacts Marty playing the guitar on stage. Players are tasked with collecting musical notes in the guitar as Marty plays "'Johnny Be Good' on crack".

After more walking stages, the player takes control of the DeLorean as they must go back to the future. Players must hit 88 MPH by the end of the stage while dodging lightning (a complete reversal of what happened in the movie). For the player's effort, they get a lame ending and more of the irritating main theme loop.

Next is Back to the Future II & III on the NES. The opening of the game follows the movies better than the original, but once the game begins, the player is beset by bizarre enemies that have nothing to do with the movie, with only the movie's title in the bottom left corner of the screen reminding the player that this is, indeed, a Back to the Future game.

The Nerd figures out after his first attempt at reviewing the game that the objective is to collect 30 objects from the various bonus stages in the game and return them to the correct place. Getting to the bonus stages requires finding keys for locked doors, which are dropped at random from enemies and drop off the screen without landing on the ground, so players must get them quickly or leave the level, return, and try again. Even then, the key won't work on every door.

Once the item is collected, the player must take it back to its proper location. These locations are hidden in obscure locations in each level, and even when they are found, the player had to solve a word jumble puzzle to figure out which item is supposed to be brought to this location. If players select the wrong item, they will lose the item and need to get it all over again. Worse still, the item players get from the bonus stages are randomized, and players had to travel to thirty different time zones to get each one.

In addition, there is no save feature. And even if the player manages to get all thirty items to their proper place, they've only made it halfway through the game; they need to play through Part III of the movie series. Thankfully, there is a code that lets players start at Part III. Unfortunately, this entails an even bigger word scramble puzzle, leaving the Nerd pissed that LJN seemed to monopolize movie-to-game adaptations on the NES.

Next is Back to the Future: Part III on the Sega Genesis. Unlike the NES games, it has the movie's theme song (albeit in exceedingly low quality). While the game is more faithful to the movie, the first stage is exceedingly difficult: players take control of Doc Brown as they race to save Clara from falling into a ravine, but the stage is filled to the brim with obstacles that knock the player off of their horse, costing time. Too many hits, and Clara dies, ending the game. The game only has four stages, which is too short for a Genesis game, leaving the Nerd incensed that the developers tried to pad out the game with Fake Difficulty. The game drives the Nerd into a blind rage and a fit of drinking Rolling Rock.

As the Nerd recovers from the shittiness of Back to the Future: Part III on the Genesis, he finds one more game based on the series: Super Back to the Future: Part II on the Super Famicom. To the Nerd's surprise, this game turns out to actually be decent, featuring pleasant anime-style graphics, serviceable gameplay, and an arrangement of the movie's theme that's a joy to listen to. The Nerd is pissed that the one good game based on Back to the Future never came out of Japan.

There is one last game the Nerd needs to revisit. The thought of going back to it leaves the Nerd dreading the prospect, though...

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Revisited 
To complete his revisit of the first games he reviewed, the Nerd must review one last game. It is the game he hates the most, the one he dreads revisiting above all others: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. In the Nerd's second ever review, he warned audiences to avoid the game at all costs, but his warnings fell on deaf ears; in fact, his review compelled others to try it. He believes the reason for this is because he didn't show just how shitty the game was, only showing a very short part of the game. He must play it more to demonstrate why it must be shunned.

It is a task that he, himself, is afraid to undertake. For several moments, he tries to delay the inevitable by talking about various trivia about the book and its movie adaptations, but eventually, he musters his courage, finishes his Rolling Rock and starts imbibing in stronger spirits, and plugs the game into his Nintoaster.

His first attempt at the game plays out just like in his original review: as Dr. Jekyll, his health is reduced to zero in mere moments, prompting his transformation into Mr. Hyde. Mere seconds afterward, lightning strikes Hyde, killing him and ending the game.

This time around, however, the Nerd has a better understanding of how the transformation mechanic works. As noted before, when Jekyll runs out of health, he transforms into Hyde. As Hyde, there are two ways to die: running out of health, and proceeding further in the stage (which is a mirrored version of Jekyll's stage) than he had as Jekyll. To continue, the player must transform back into Jekyll by killing a specific enemy to reduce Hyde's stress meter until the transformation reverses.

The Jekyll stages are unforgivably difficult: everyone and everything is out for your blood, from the townsfolk to animals. Jekyll's cane is effective against none of these enemies (except for tiny bees, to the Nerd's unending confusion and anguish). On the other hand, as Hyde, you have the ability to punch monsters and launch "Psycho Waves" that travel in a very unpredictable manner, making it hard to kill enemies. The Hyde stages are actually more enjoyable than Jekyll's, but the player is tasked with not transforming into Hyde, only adding to the Nerd's befuddlement. Adding to the frustration with Jekyll is an enemy that drops bombs that can hit you from halfway across the screen and potentially kill you instantly.

The game ultimately proves too frustrating for the Nerd, as he describes it as a horrible concoction not unlike the elixir Dr. Jekyll created to expose one's inner evil. Indeed, the game ultimately transforms the Nerd into a violent no-good-nick similar to Mr. Hyde who decides to take revenge on Robert Louis Stevenson. The Nerd digs up Stevenson's skeletal remains, which suddenly reanimate and taunt the Nerd. The Nerd swings his cane at Stevenson, but to no avail. Stevenson taunts the Nerd further by commanding him to play more Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

The Nerd awakens on his couch in his basement: his encounter with Stevenson was but a dream, it seems. That dream helps him reach an epiphany that the game may actually be the best game ever made: a very clever commentary on the duality of man, as demonstrated by the player wishing to be Hyde but only succeeding by remaining as Jekyll, for if Hyde is allowed to progress further than Jekyll, evil will triumph. Even though Jekyll is beset by everyone and everything wanting him dead, he must maintain the moral high ground, hence why the cane doesn't work on anything: the game does not reward evil. It is a demonstration on Freud's ideas of repression in psychology.

...or, it fucking sucks.

    Lester the Unlikely 


    How the Nerd Stole Christmas 

    Day Dreamin Davey (NES) 

    Star Wars Games 
Featured games: Star Wars: The Arcade Game (A2600), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (A2600), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (A2600), Star Wars: Jedi Arena (A2600), Star Wars (FC), Star Wars (NES), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (NES), and Super Star Wars 1-3 (SNES)

    R.O.B. the Robot 
Featured NES games: Gyromite and Stack-Up (both NES)

The Nerd walks into his basement and takes a few moments to take in the fact that he is surrounded by shitty games. After ranting for a minute, he decides to play a game, settling on Gyromite, one of the launch titles of the NES. He is perplexed to find that the game's name on the title screen is Robot Gyro, but it only gets worse when he finds himself unable to proceed through the first level due to a wall blocking his path. Eventually, he figures out that a second controller is needed to move the walls, which he initially believes is the result of picking a two-player mode. However, resetting the game doesn't change things: a second player is needed in one-player mode while the actual two-player mode simply has players taking turns.

As the Nerd wonders who would play Gyromite with him, he is approached by R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy, who volunteers to play with him. However, the Nerd cannot simply hand the controller off to it: R.O.B. tells the Nerd it needs an "adaptive device" that holds the second controller in place so the device's actuators can press the A and B buttons. This, however, still isn't enough: R.O.B. also needs "gyros", small spinning top-like devices to place onto the actuators.

Now set up with its actuator, gyros, and a spinner for the gyros, R.O.B. is finally ready to play Gyromite. To play, the player has to alternate control between the Professor in-game and R.O.B. in the real world: pressing start and inputting commands into the first player's controller causes the screen to flash blue, which instruct R.O.B. via sensors in its eyes to rotate its arms and pick up or put down gyros. The process of putting a gyro in place to move a wall proves to be very time-consuming, and the first time the Nerd pulls it off, he is almost immediately killed by an enemy that corners him.

The goal of Gyromite is to collect every stick of dynamite in each level. The Professor can climb ropes, but can't jump, so R.O.B. is needed to move the walls to help the Professor get around. The lack of an ability to jump also leaves the Professor vulnerable to enemies called "Smicks": the only way to deal with them is to leave radishes around to distract them or crush them with the moving walls.

The game would, ultimately, be decent if not for the fact that R.O.B. was needed to play it.

Exasperated, the Nerd decides to switch games. R.O.B. insists on playing Stack-Up (AKA: Robot Block), another NES launch title that requires R.O.B. The game comes with stands to place on R.O.B., five colored blocks, and an alternate set of hands for R.O.B. to hold the blocks. The objective is to set the blocks up on the stands in a pre-arranged pattern, then move the blocks into a new pattern as quickly and with as few moves as possible. Upon completing this objective, players press start to move on to the next stage. However, there is no way for the game to know the player succeeded, so it is possible to simply cheat and keep pressing start. The methods for controlling R.O.B. in this game are also very convoluted.

The Nerd decides to play a different game. Unfortunately, R.O.B. only wants to play Gyromite and Stack-Up, in spite of the Nerd's insistence that he has over eight hundred different games to choose from. After R.O.B. makes its desires perfectly clear by throwing his games in the Nerd's face, the Nerd decides to indulge R.O.B. for a while. The Nerd finally reaches his breaking point while playing Gyromite and constructs a "Gyromite Controller'' by sawing the halves off of two NES controllers and taping them together before deciding to play something else.

However, the Nerd discovers that his entire library of NES games have turned into either Gyromite or Stack-Up. R.O.B. then takes control of the Nerd's controllers to restrain him and beat him to a pulp, then transforms his entire library of games across every console generation into Gyromite and Stack-Up and doing them same to every video game across the globe as part of its "prime objective". With this change comes an end to long passwords, bad game music, bad controls, bad graphics, and bad weapons. R.O.B. reveals that it was created in response to the video game market crash of 1983, which was caused by the market being over-saturated with sub-par games created by human imperfection. Nintendo was prophesied to bring about a savior that would restore the games industry, which R.O.B. says is itself.

The Nerd, however, believes that Nintendo's success has nothing to do with R.O.B., and the industry's true savior was Mario. He punctuates this point by fighting R.O.B. with a Mario plushy. Sadly, not even the Mario plushy can stand before R.O.B., who destroys the plushy before blasting the Nerd into submission. With the Nerd defeated, R.O.B. grows into a giant and begins to terrorize a nearby city.

As the Nerd lay unconscious, he thinks about R.O.B.'s words about removing shitty games...

"...I won't fucking have it!"

The Nerd gets his second wind and dons his battle armor (two Power Gloves, a Laser Scope headset, a Power Pad cape, and a U-Force chestplate with a Super Scope) before growing into a giant and facing R.O.B. in their fated final battle. The Nerd ultimately emerges victorious, destroying R.O.B. and undoing its power, restoring his library of games back to the way they were. Upon returning to his basement, he takes several of his games, good and shitty alike, and gives them a big hug as Simon's Quest rests on the ground next to him.

    Spielberg Games 
Featured games: Jaws (NES), Hook (NES), Jurassic Park (NES, SNES), Jurassic Park (Gen), Jurassic Park Rampage Edition (Gen), Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues (SNES), Jurassic Park (SCD), Jurassic Park the Interactive (3D0), E.T. Go Come (A2600)

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