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Video Game / Revolution X

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Revolution X is a 1994 mounted light gun game from Midway Games. Set in 1996, you play a revolutionary who fights against a military faction known as New Order Nation (NON) who have criminalized all things fun and are arresting anyone between the ages of 13 and 30. You set out to stop them and all their heinous actions against the youth with your machine gun and explosive CD launcher alongside your fellow revolutionaries, the band Aerosmith.

Yeah, it's just that kinda game.

For a side-scrolling shooter, the game was pretty impressive, using live action technology and camera zoom-ins and outs to create a rather frantic experience. The game was, of course, also notable for its use of Aerosmith pretty much just as a marketing vehicle for the band. And oddly, it worked; many Gen-X'ers who never had heard of Aerosmith before became fans of them due to their exposure to the game.

While Revolution X was very successful at the arcades, the game did not translate well to consoles. More than one port of Revolution X wound up on the "Worst Games Ever" list of a gaming magazine or review site. Most ports suffered from poor controls and reduced graphics quality, and the game's quarter-munching gameplay didn't mesh well with a small, set stock of lives.

Put simply, Revolution X is akin to an actual Aerosmith concert: pure spectacle, and meant to be played with a crowd. The 16-bit ports on the Genesis and SNES censored the naughty bits and cut graphical quality, eliminating any point to the game. On the other hand, the PC, Sega Saturn and PlayStation ports fared a little better.

Here's a playthrough of the arcade version.

For other works by this name, see Revolution. Also, compare with AKB0048, an anime series with a very similar plot.

This game provides the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The secondary fire function of your gun unleashes explosive compact discs ("Yes, death by exploding CD's!"). You can also obtain "Lazerdiscs", which upgrade your CDs to flaming CDs.
  • Ambiguously Human: Many of the enemies.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": While Steven Tyler hams it up as usual, Joe Perry delivers his lines in total monotone with no discerning facial expression at all. He just does not care.
    "These guys are maggots, they're putting chemicals in all our food!"
  • The Baroness: Helga, the leader of the New Order Nation, is a leather-bound, Sinister Shades-wearing cold villainess.
  • Bee People: NON uniforms and vehicles sport a yellow-on-black color scheme, intentionally invoking this.
  • Big Bad: Helga, the leader of the New Order Nation, who is actually an alien being called Mondor trying to brainwash everyone on Earth.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: A giant centipede awaits you at the end of the Amazon.
  • Blob Monster: A mid-boss in Evergreen Chemicals, a sentient slime that takes the form of a skull. It shows up at the end of the level as well.
  • Body Horror: Near the end of the Amazon Jungle stage, you find a machine that turns hostages into withered mutants, dresses them in hazmat suits, and ejects them as Everdrones.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: NON actually has an armored school bus with gun turrets on the roof and in the windows to transport their hostages to a "Reprogramming Center." In Egypt.
  • The Can Kicked Him: At the start of the Club X stage, remember which way the screen scrolls. Once you enter the club, move in that direction and you'll have a chance to go into the bathroom, where you cam ambush some hapless NON troopers in the toilet stalls (as well as an embarrassed bassist — sorry, Tom).
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Helga's chalkboard tells you not to shoot things for powerups.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: A hilariously racist pack of tribesmen with masks and spears. The game justifies it slightly by stating they're under NON's mind control.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Bombs flash the color of the player who shot them (red for the leftmost player, blue for the rightmost player, and yellow for the center player). The same color coding applies for score values for destructible items and collectibles.
  • Company Cross References:
    • At the start of the game, a Trog will appear if you shoot the cat atop the brick wall enough times.
    • Several broken-down Mortal Kombat II cabinets have been dumped in the Middle East stage.
    • After the conclusion of Aerosmith's concert in the Good Ending, Steven and company await you backstage. Steven will greet you by saying, "Come on in. You've got your wings. Welcome home! This is the real Pleasure Dome. Hoo-wah!"
  • Cool Car: Steve's Lamborghini. The game itself even notes it once you get to it:
    Aerosmith's car... Cool!
  • Coolest Club Ever: Club X, the opening level in Los Angeles.
  • Credits Gag:
    • "Why not come to Norway on Holiday!"
    • "This game is 100% bat free!"
  • Culture Police: The New Order Nation have banned all things fun, like video games, television, magazines, and music.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Towards the end of the first level, you see Aerosmith playing, and watch impotently as they're abducted by NON thugs — not unlike the ones you've been slaughtering for the past few minutes.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: If you destroy the bus too quickly in the Middle East stage, you won't have a chance to find Joey Kramer (needed to get the good ending).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Steve's congratulatory, "Now you got protection!" whenever you pick up a shield.
  • Dystopian Edict: The New Order Nation has banned all forms of music, television, magazines, and video games, and anyone between the ages of 13 and 30 have been arrested, along with the band Aerosmith.
  • Elite Mooks: Skatetroopers are more intimidating then their yellow brethren, brandishing a riot helmet, a ballistic shield, and a voice like Darth Vader. They are highly vulnerable while moving, however, and will slip and fall. You should save your CDs for these guys; they can be troublesome. Also a threat are Yellowjackets, which take a bit more punishment, and Berzerkers, who charge at you with throwing knives and machine guns.
  • Evil Brit: Helga barks out threats in a cockney accent and dresses like a Sex Pistol - which is odd for an authority figure promoting cleanliness and order.
  • Evil Laugh: Helga laughs at you if you fail to destroy the school bus.
  • Executive Suite Fight: You face a Yellowjacket with a transforming desk at the end of Pacific Rim.
  • Expy: Helga's second form may as well be Mutoid Man.
  • Fanservice:
    • Let's count all the scantily-clad female hostages, shall we?
    • Helga and her Hell-Bent for Leather outfit also fit.
  • Foot Popping: In the best ending, Kerri Hoskins quadruplets hang on Steven Tyler as he welcomes you into the band.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: When you get to the Aerosmith backstage dressing room in the first stage (the one where you watch that taped message by Steven Tyler), try not to kill all the NON soldiers flooding the screen. After a while, even if they're still there, the VCR will still appear, and you'll still be able to see Steven talking to you and giving you the car keys - while the soldiers are shooting you (something that is ordinarily not possible). And what's worse, you cannot shoot back while the tape is running.
  • Game-Over Man: Steven shouting "Don't give up!" when all the player's health is gone.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The vast majority of NON's foot soldiers.
  • Golden Snitch: If you find all five band members and beat Helga, you get to go backstage and grab "Mammy Award" trophies. Each one adds 50,000 points to your bonus, which in turn is multiplied by 6 for finding everyone. Your final bonus can easily run into the 12-15 million range and end up being over half your total score.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Believe it or not, the final boss appears to wear heart-print boxers.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game isn't very clear what you're supposed to do in certain battles. Such as the bartender who chucks grenades at you (you have to shoot the sign above him), the centipede boss (you have to keep it back during the chase then destroy the bridge when you reach that point) or the battle against Helga (you have to position her in front of the throne, then blast her onto it to trigger her transformation into Mondor).
    • Finding each member of Aerosmith (for the score-multiplying wings that unlock a bonus room at the end of the game) is frustrating. You have to take an exact set of actions to find them, and you only get one shot for each. With one specific exception, it's very hard (if not outright impossible) to find a member by accident:
      • Tom Hamilton appears in either the male or female restroom (which not only do you not know you can end up going into, but is determined randomly at the start of each game) early in level 1. Which one he is in is dependent on the very first movement after you reach the rooftops.
      • Steven Tyler appears on an alternate route that requires you to destroy a pair of fish with CDs and then break a mirror after reaching a certain point in the Lounge of level 1.
      • Brad Whitford actually has a map in the level (Pacific Rim) showing where he is, but getting to him is annoying. You have to go to a specific gate, shoot a box, shoot an arrow sign that becomes exposed when the box is shot, and then quickly shoot the sign again.
      • Joe Perry is located in a secret room inside another secret room accessed via a secret elevator (specifically, he's behind a grate in a room full of hostages) in the Amazon.
      • Joey Kramer can easily be obtained by pure coincidence. In the Middle East stage, shoot each of the first three Sphinxes in the nose with a CD to open the mouth, then pick up the gold CD inside. The challenge is to do all of this while fighting that freaking school bus, but you can at least slow down your driving speed to give yourself as much time as possible for each Sphinx.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The Big Bad, Helga. By the way, that's her on the side of the arcade cabinet as seen in the flyer above.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The enemies you come across during the Pacific Rim Warehouse level. Heck, they look more like wrestlers than ninjas.
  • 100% Completion: Finding the hidden Aerosmith members in the game. Miss any of them and you get a "Congrats, you win but didn't get everything" ending upon beating the game.
  • It's Up to You: Aerosmith can't help you; they get run off the stage in the first level and end up hiding out all over the world. Steven even name-drops the trope in his video message at the end of the stage ("It's up to you now; find our car...").
  • Jungle Japes: The Amazon.
  • La RĂ©sistance: What you are essentially doing.
  • Large Ham: How Steven Tyler acts throughout of the game.
  • Levels Take Flight: Level Two, the chopper battle.
  • Limited Animation: One of many examples: the NON soldiers forcing Aerosmith out of the stage at the beginning of the game, followed by Helga appearing to taunt you.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Shooting enemies with CD's will turn them into a shower of blood and body parts, and destroying Helga/Mondor at the end leaves blood and bits of flesh raining down on the stage.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Helga's OBEY banners.
  • Marathon Boss: All of them, save for the centipede in the Amazon stage (which only needs a gimmick to be beaten). They need an ungodly amount of hits to be taken down, and don't even stop shooting at you while they're being punished. Notably, the armored school bus has a time limit to be destroyed, but it can take so much punishment, you sometimes wonder how is it even possible to beat it. Not that it can't be done, mind you, it's just that hard. It doesn't help that just firing bullets from the main gun only slowly whittles down their health. The CD Launcher is vital in taking down the bosses since it does massive damage, so it's wise to grab as many CDs as you can through the stages before you reach them.
  • McNinja: Sure, why not? They dress like Power Rangers, natch.
  • Metal Scream: Steven does his occasionally in response to the ongoing action.
  • Never Say "Die": Played straight and subverted at different times.
    NON pilot: Land the chopper now, or we will destroy you!
    Helga: I will destroy you!
    Mondor: Pray for a quick death!
  • Nintendo Hard: At least, if you play solo, this game is a pain in the ass. Supposedly, with more players to share firepower, it becomes more of a cakewalk.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: The final stage, Wembley Stadium. In order to reach Helga, you have to blast your way through a wall of monitors that stretches the full width of the stage. Helga pops up on the screens every so often to threaten you as you shoot it out with the last of her troops.
  • One-Winged Angel: Helga, the final boss of the game; after you knock her into her throne, she suddenly turns into some minotaur-like monster in biker clothing, with said monster (named Mondor) being a guy. The implication is that Helga was actually some evil alien thing in human disguise trying to brainwash everyone on Earth.
  • The Power of Rock: "Music is the weapon!"
  • Reaching Between the Lines: Steve's dressing room mirror conceals a television screen. His recording tells you where to go next, then tosses you his car keys.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The console ports replace the following songs for these stages:
    • "Fever" in place of "Toys in the Attic" for the Middle East stage.
    • "Dude Looks Like a Lady" replaces "Walk This Way" for the end credits.
    • Additionally, "Rag Doll" is used for the title screen. There was no theme song in the original arcade version.
  • Rope Bridge: You cross one of these in the beginning of the jungle level. You have to cut it to kill this level's boss after luring it onto this bridge.
  • Rule of Sexy: Even the Grammy statuettes are busty in this game. This must be how the world looks through the eyes of Steven Tyler.
  • Score Multiplier: The Wings are the end-of-stage bonus multipliers.
  • Shoot the Television:
    • TV sets are among the many destructible items strewn throughout the game.
    • In the final stage, the player is confronted by a wall of monitors on which Head Mistress Helga taunts you. The player must destroy all of them before facing her directly.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mondor's nonplussed reaction to getting its legs blown off. "It's only a flesh wound!"
      • Also, the credits end with a "Llamas Trained by" credit, and the screen starts flashing to complete the reference.
    • Steven Tyler crying out, "TOASTY!", when you shoot the Skull Bomb. Well, this was made at the height of Kombatmania. Not to mention it's the same developer.
    • "Welcome to the real Pleasuredome!" (Good ending only.)
    • Blow up the school bus in the Middle East and you get a screen informing you that "School's Out... Forever."
    • The New Order Nation's logo looks like a parody of the Nine Inch Nails logo.
    • The game itself is a nuttier take on Kilroy Was Here. A lot nuttier.
    • Before the last level begins, Tom Hamilton tells you "Tear down the wall!"
  • Slave Mooks:
    • Berzerkers are ex-musicians who have succumbed to NON brainwashing. They are among the sturdiest enemies in the game, and attack by throwing axe-shaped guitars (geddit?) and firing machine guns.
    • Everdrones are hostages who have been turned into zombie workers in the food processing area of the Amazon level. You can knock them down with a gunshot, but they'll get right back up; only a CD will stop them for good (and blow them to pieces), or you can shoot their oxygen tanks on their backs to send them flying.
  • Smart Bomb: The Skull Bombs, which kills all onscreen enemies, or inflicts heavy damage on tanks.
  • Smooch of Victory: In Club X, freeing the cage dancers will earn the player a kiss from her. Also, in a multiplayer game, the player with the highest score to that point will get a kiss from the bikini girl.
  • Stripperiffic: All the cage dancers.
  • The Syndicate: The New Order Nation has shell companies all over the world, including Evergreen Chemicals and an outfit called KemmyTech. Their main functions seem to be experimenting on scantily clad babes and using them for slave lbor.
  • Thong of Shielding:
    • Yes, those cage dancers are 'hostages'.
    • Somewhat justified in the labor yard, where the hostages are upgraded to... denim hot pants.
  • 20 Bear Asses:
    • You have to find all five members of Aerosmith to get the real ending. The members of the band are ridiculously hard to find, and you only get ONE chance to find each of them. These are five particularly annoying asses.
    • Not getting all five asses, in this case, results in quite the A Winner Is You situation. To sum it up: "You beat the game except you didn't, go find the members of Aerosmith!" All of the members of Aerosmith are hidden except for Brad Whitford, who actually has a map telling you where he is... but he's ridiculously difficult to reach (as mentioned above, Tom Hamilton can be rescued in the very first level if you're quick to make a left [or right] turn upon entrance to Club X. The other four? Good luck).
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The revolution begins on November 11, 1996.
  • Writing Lines: "Helga's No Nos." An amusing way of outlining the game's goals.
    NO! Shooting power-ups
    NO! Looking for Aerosmith members
    NO! Tattoos
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Kerri Hoskins, best known for mocapping Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 3, plays Mistress Helga. She also posed as the thong-clad cage dancers/chain gang prisoners/lab test subjects throughout the game.
  • Zerg Rush: NON troopers, ninjas, and natives have the resiliency of tissue paper. Trouble is, they never stop coming. It gets even worse if you don't shoot out the security cameras in the Amazon Jungle and Pacific Rim stages.

Remember, Music is the weapon!