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Video Game / Rascal

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Kicking butt, saving his dad, and getting back in time to finish his homework.

Rascal is a video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Psygnosis for the PlayStation in 1998, with character designs courtesy of the London branch of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Callum "Rascal" Clockwise goes down to his inventor father's lab one night just in time to find it invaded by monsters and his father captured by the evil time master Chronon. In the ensuing confrontation, Chronon and Rascal's father are sucked into a time vortex and lost in time. Armed with just his father's Bubble Gun, Rascal sets out on a time-hopping adventure to stop Chronon and save his father.

The game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Bubble Gun, which shoots bubbles of various strengths and ranges depending how much ammo is left. Chronon also employs this in each battle with him (through the use of hourglasses and sundials).
  • After the End: The future levels are implied to be this, seemingly set long after the end of humanity.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The North American box art features a determined-looking Rascal taking aim with his bubble gun while surrounded by lightning and angry looking enemies. The PAL box art (pictured above) is similar, featuring Rascal walking through a white starburst graphic with his angry enemies around him in bubbles. Finally, the Japanese box art depicts a mischievous-looking chibi-style Rascal on a brightly-colored bubble-covered background with several (also mildly redesigned) enemies behind him.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the story outside the game's opening along with character/enemy backstories are found in the game's manual. Curiously, the American manual omits the sections on Rascal's school report and the "Rascal Questionnaire".
  • And I Must Scream: What happens to Chronon at the game's conclusion. After Rascal and his father escape back into their house, the Time Bubble they emerged from bursts apart on the powerless Chronon, permanently trapping him between time.
  • Awesome Underwater World: The visuals and music of the Atlantis levels are quite beautiful (although its future level's music sounds like a grieving requiem for a lost city that will never be discovered).
  • A Winner Is You: Curiously, you get nothing for beating certain bosses such as Gordon in Castle Hackalott. Averted with the overall game itself, which does have an ending sequence.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Castle Hackalott.
  • Bonus Boss: Gordon The Good-Natured is an optional mini-boss in the first level. If you go to his location in the cellar, you can fight him. A particularly infamous case because you get absolutely nothing at all for beating him, making it pointless (though there is an extra life in his area, however you do not have to actually fight him to get it). He later shows up in the final level and must be fought.
  • Boss-Only Level: All of the future levels feature battles with Chronon, who utilises various tactics in each battle. This also applies to the Corridors of Time, which itself features battles with both familiar and not-so-familiar foes.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The reason many of the characters in the game attack Rascal; Chronon used his powers to hypnotize them.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each level has several colored doors which can only be opened by finding the corresponding-colored key. The Atlantis levels take this one stage further not only in that the "keys" are pearls, but also have to be put in corresponding-colored clams before the respective doors can be opened.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In the lava sections of Castle Hackalott.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some versions of the cover show a mechanical dragon. The description also mentions mechanical dragons. The mechanical dragon does not appear anywhere in the game. The only dragon is Gordon, who is a flesh and blood dragon.
  • Eternal Engine: The Dodgy City future (boss) level appears to be set inside a factory, making it stand out far more than the prior boss levels.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Rats, bats, spiders, lionfish, crabs, scorpions, snakes, eagles. And those are just some of the minor ones!
  • Excuse Plot: Rascal is just set on rescuing his dad, having to chase him and Chronon through time to do so.
  • Fake Difficulty: Poor weaponry and health, Tank Controls, useless maps, bad camera, all of it makes the game needlessly hard.
  • Fool's Map: An unintended and unfortunate case. The maps in the game aren't detailed at all, only showing the general layout of a stage and only provide you with a vague idea of where in the level you are, which makes them almost useless for navigating the levels.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The manual claims that Chronon stole the time machine plans after he kidnapped Rascal's father. The game's intro instead shows that in his attempts to extract the information from the professor, Chronon accidentally activated the time machine and was pulled through time, taking the professor with him.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The Jolly Raider Pirate Ship levels.
  • The Ghost: Pun aside (ghosts appear as a hazard in a few areas in the Castle Hackalott present level), several characters mentioned in the manual don't appear at all.
  • Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Rascal's proportions in cutscenes and the cover and game art are visibly more realistic, whereas in normal gameplay he takes on a much shorter and squat appearance.
  • Giant Spider: In the Hollywood level (the present version of Dodgy City), there is a giant version of the common spider enemies that drops down from the ceiling at one point.
  • Kid Hero: Rascal himself.
  • Life Meter: A Heart Symbol in the top-left corner indicates Rascal's health. One also appears in the top-middle of the screen during the battles with Chronon to indicate his health. To distinguish the two meters during these battles, Chronon's is black.
  • Mayincatec: The Aztec Temple at Chichimeca, including its present day counterpart.
  • MacGuffin: The Time Clock. Each past and present level is focused around collecting all six pieces of it, some of which either require a puzzle to solve, are hidden or even guarded by prominent enemies.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Largely averted with the minor enemies which are mostly appropriate for the levels they spawn in. The lionfish from the past level of Atlantis stand out as they aren't evolved for terrestrial living.
  • Poison Mushroom: Enemies can sometimes drop red pick-ups with skull and crossbones on them (referred to in the manual as "Chronon's gift") that injure Rascal when picked up.
  • Punny Name: Several characters' names are a play on words of something, most notably the teachers mentioned in Rascal's report card in the manual (each being a play on words of something regarding the particular subject they teach).
  • Rule of Three: Three of Rascal's teachers end their gradings on him from his report card with "Says [historical figure] will help him, if he asks him nicely!"
  • Silence is Golden: There is no dialogue at all in the game aside from the occasional "Ow!" Rascal makes when hurt. Even in the opening cutscene, the only dialogue is gibberish. However, this was not considered a good thing by most players.
  • Some Dexterity Required: A reason for the game's poor popularity. The developers initially wanted directional controls, but the publisher insisted on rotational controls after seeing Tomb Raider.
  • Taking You with Me: Chronon attempts to do this with Rascal's father in the game's ending.
  • Tank Controls: The game was not originally supposed to have these, but the developer forced the game to use them at the last minute with no time to redesign the game, which pretty much destroyed the controls.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: If the report card in the European version's game manual is any indication, Rascal's teachers are incredibly lackadaisical toward the boy's encyclopedic and very detailed knowledge of history, giving him grades no higher than an A. It's especially noticeable with his metalworking class teacher, who excitedly notes that Rascal is creating a working time machine in their class...and gives Rascal a mere B-.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Rascalís Voice Grunting consists of extremely high-pitched screams that almost sound like mouse squeaks.
    • Mrs. Washboard, the only female enemy in the game, has the same male grunt as the other enemies.
  • Your Size May Vary: Certain minor enemies from one level show up in a later level as a bigger version of themselves. Case in point, the crabs that spawn in the Atlantis past level later show up in the Jolly Raider past level as slightly larger versions of themselves.