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Video Game / Captain Comic

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"Entering orbit around the planet Tambi, Captain Comic, galactic hero, prepares for his impossible mission: to recover treasures stolen from the planet Omsoc.
Armed with only his courage, he enters the teleport chamber..."
Splash screen

The Captain Comic series comprises two early metroidvanias for the PC, made by Michael Denio. It has a cult following.

The first game, The Adventures of Captain Comic, was released in 1988. The game is a treasure hunt, as the titular character retrieves stolen regalia on the planet Tambi. You do not start with a weapon. Instead, you must collect cans of Blastola Cola to power your gun (although the first can is right at your starting spot). Additionally, you cannot duck to shoot enemies on the ground, instead needing a corkscrew attack to kill them. Enemies have very simple patterns and explode when they touch you.

It was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System the following year, and released by Wisdom Tree (as Color Dreams) on unlicensed cartridges. While the scrolling was made smoother and music was added, the controls were slippery and the enemies moved way too fast. The original game was (one of) the first scrolling platformers on the PC (as it predates Apogee Software and id Software) and is considered very good for its age; whereas the NES had plenty of platform games, and the port is considered one of the worst.

A sequel, Captain Comic 2: Fractured Reality, was released in 1990. It introduced larger levels, more variety in enemies, a grid inventory, and new items like a jetpack and a magic wand that transforms other items. It also introduced a very useful save function. Its plot involves Captain Comic responding to a distress call and beaming down to the surface of an unknown planet. There he meets the arrogant Skrejgib aliens, who want him to retrieve six crystals stolen by the planet's natives. Captain Comic finds the natives' underground hiding place, and learns the crystals have caused reality to fracture into alternate universes. He must go to each different world and collect each crystal to set things right.

It ends on a blatant sequel hook, but due to poor sales, no third entry in the series was ever made.

These works contain examples of:

  • Bag of Spilling: Come the sequel, Comic doesn't have any of the gadgets from the first game.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The crystal mines.
  • Cave Behind the Falls. The second game has waterfalls. Although it isn't hinted at, you can press the "enter doorway" key to enter these as well, and find secret areas.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: The first game is a big offender.
  • Copy Protection: If you're playing a copied version of the second game, one third of the way in a native will remind you you're missing something. And that something is not very expensive, so you should get it.
  • Dream Land: Dream reality, one of the six areas you need to retrieve a crystal from, in the sequel.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Comic can't crouch, which causes a lot of trouble trying to shoot enemies that stay to the ground until you collect the Corkscrew item, which makes shots move in a wave pattern. The second game also gives you the corkscrew, but the wave pattern is much more spread out; you need the Pinwheel item to get a tighter wave.
  • Every 10,000 Points: The first game gives an extra life every 50,000 points.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The first game has such esoteric enemies as space pollen and killer beach balls.
  • Fake Difficulty: It's easy to waste jetpack fuel when switching to your wand. Likewise, when you die and get sent back, you're not reimbursed any spent fuel.
  • Gravity Screw: The Moon in the first game has low gravity, though the base on it has Artificial Gravity to make it the same as the rest of the game.
  • Heal Thyself: Shields. Grab one at full health and you get either an extra life in the first game, or a healing potion in the second. These are Too Awesome to Use.
  • In a Single Bound: The high jump boots.
  • Lethal Lava Land, one of the six areas you need to retrieve a crystal from, in the sequel.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Magic reality, one of the six areas you need to retrieve a crystal from, in the sequel.
  • Minecart Madness: the second game has a mine level where part of the floor is missing, and you use a poorly-controllable minecart to get across.
  • Mineral Macguffin: In the first game, one of the three MacGuffins is gemstones. In the second game, all six of the MacGuffins are gemstones.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first game has limited lives with no saving, and plenty of Bottomless Pits which kill instantly.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Fractured Reality, the storyline.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The soundtrack of the NES version consists of badly mixed classical music. In addition, the original PC version uses the Marines' Hymn as its main theme.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The Senots earthquake.
  • Screen Shake: During the earthquake in Senots.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Planet Omsoc, the Skrejgib, the city of Senots.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Arctic reality.
  • Space Zone: In the first game, you go on a trip to the moon.
  • A Taste of Power: The infinite jetpack fuel cell, found very late in the game. The last level forbids jetpack use.
  • Teleport Spam: The teleport wand in the first game.
  • Time Machine, one of the six areas you need to retrieve a crystal from, in the sequel.
  • Tomorrowland: Techno reality. Beware the epileptic flashing lights.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Ration your jetpack fuel wisely. When it's gone, it's gone, and you can't finish the game (you are set to 25 units if you start a new life with less). However, you only need the jetpack in two spots, and there's plenty spare fuel around. In fact, there is a green fuel pack hidden in the Time level that gives you unlimited fuel. (The red packs give you 25 units each, up to a maximum of 99 units.)
  • With This Herring: You don't start out with Blastola Cola. In the first game, you get one right away, but in the second you have to search for it.