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Video Game / Socket

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Released for the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) in 1993 by Vic Tokai, Socket (known as Time Dominator in Japan) is a 2D Platform Game that attempts to strike gold with the Mascot with Attitude craze that was in full swing at the time. The eponymous duck is tasked with putting a stop to the evil Time Dominator, who is interfering with time and wrecking havoc to Take Over the World. To do so, he must journey through seven stages, each with three acts.

Socket is powered by electricity - he has a cord with a plug on the end as a tail, and plugs himself into a machine at the beginning and end of each stage. During gameplay, his energy constantly depletes. Collecting the lightning bolts scattered throughout the levels will build his energy back up.

  • The first act is a High-Speed Area that represents time travel. Enemies and obstacles are at a minimum and the emphasis is on running very fast. All High-Speed Areas are themed to resemble futuristic cities.
  • The second act is the Athletic Area. This act introduces a unique theme for the level and is typically a general platforming stage, with equal parts running, jumping, fighting, and exploring.
  • The third act is the Labyrinth Area, which continues the theme the previous act set, specializes in exploring and finding the correct path, and ends with a boss fight against Time Dominator.
  • In addition to these three level types, Athletic and Labyrinth areas also contain doors Socket can enter. Inside these doors are miniature levels, each with a unique gimmick. Some act as level warps, some are required to access further sections of the stage, and others don't lead anywhere. The boss fights are also accessed via doors.

While it does have a few fans, Socket is unknown to most and generally considered to be simply a Sonic the Hedgehog knockoff by the majority of those who do know about it. With neither the acclaim of Sonic or the Hatedom of Bubsy, Socket remains merely another failed '90s mascot to add to the pile of failed '90s mascots.

This video game contains examples of:

  • Alien Sky: Emerald Forest has two moons in the sky.
  • Animal Mecha: Stone Age is home to several robot dinosaurs.
  • Antagonist Title: The Japanese title, Time Dominator, is the name of the game's main villain.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Time Dominator appears to be a six-limbed (wings and arms) anthropomorphic bat in purple Space Clothes with a top hat and monocle.
  • Big Bad: Time Dominator.
  • Boss Room: Every boss fight takes place in a special boss room, accessed via a door.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Socket's only means of offense is an electrically-charged kick. Your energy drops faster if you use the kick frequently.
  • Critical Annoyance: A very loud, constant beeping starts up whenever Socket's health gets low. It speeds up the closer he is to death.
  • Down the Drain: Level 5, Antiquity.
  • Dual Boss: The boss of Level 6 is the only boss that doesn't involve Time Dominator. Instead, you fight two robots. One looks like Frankenstein, is invincible, and hops around trying to land on you. His compatriot is a round, slow-moving, flying robot. To win, Socket needs to dodge the Frankenstein robot and attack the round one. After enough hits, Frankenstein explodes and the round robot begins attacking directly.
  • Dug Too Deep: Level 3, Olien Cavern.
  • Floating Platforms: As you'd expect, there are a lot of them, many of which move. Selective Gravity applies.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The final boss battle begins with you going up against Time Dominator one last time. However, something is off - he flies around and doesn't actually attack you (although he can still hurt you with Collision Damage). Upon his defeat, you are suddenly confronted by an enormous never-before-seen cat-like creature that is much more dangerous. Kill him, and you face a second Space Flea when a small red creature with one eye appears and begins zipping around the arena at high speed.
  • Gravity Screw: Level 6, Future.
  • Green Hill Zone: Level 1, Emerald Forest.
  • High-Class Glass: Time Dominator, complete with top hat.
  • Idle Animation: Socket glares at you and makes some sort of odd motion with one hand if you leave him alone too long.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The green, spiky plant-like objects found in one of the mini-levels, the strange cannon-like things in the trees of Stone Age, the rolling balls, the exploding balloons from Antiquity, and the jack-in-the-boxes from Time Castle.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: One of the mini-levels consists of Socket running full speed back and forth to reach the top of a tower before it sinks into lava.
  • Kids Love Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs are also featured prominently on the game's boxart and in the credits sequence, despite not being important in gameplay at all - a clear case of using dinosaurs to attract kids.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Level 4, Stone Age, as well as the aforementioned tower climb.
  • Luck-Based Mission: One mini-level forces Socket to choose one of many switches. Hitting a switch triggers a caterpillar-like platform that follows a set path. Socket must continually move to stay on the platform. Some of the platforms lead directly into traps, and there's no way to know which without prior experience.
  • The Man Behind the Man: See Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Socket himself. The back of the U.S. box for the game boasted about how he's fast enough to switch off the lights and get out of the room before it turns dark and how he has more alternating current than the electric company.
  • The Maze: Future's Labyrinth act, and most of the other Labyrinth acts to a lesser extent.
  • Mecha-Mook: Every single normal, killable enemy.
  • Place Beyond Time: Probably the location of Time Castle.
  • Power-Up: The usual suspects here - invincibility, a shield, and of course the 1-Up.
  • Prehistoria: Stone Age.
  • Projectile Platforms: One fairly common stage element is the ability to ride small rockets to access new areas.
  • Recurring Boss: Time Dominator.
  • Ridiculously Anatine Robots: It's not necessarily obvious from looking at his sprite (although the plug-tail is a clue), but Socket is a robot that just happens to be shaped like an anthropomorphic duck.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The tower-climbing mini-level.
  • Roof Hopping: Another mini-level has Socket carefully hop his way along the tall edges of buildings. Most of the platforms are temporary and the threat of falling is ever-present.
  • Score Screen: After every act.
  • Sequential Boss: The second-to-last boss fight has two phases, the final boss has three.
  • Spikes of Doom: A common obstacle. Some of them appear and disappear. Occasionally you'll run into drills which work similarly.
  • Status Line: The HUD is located at the bottom of the screen. It includes the score, an energy meter, and the level you are in.
  • Supervillain Lair: Level 7, Time Castle.
  • Take Over the World: Time Dominator's goal.
  • Temporary Platform: Three variations are present:
    • Instant-collapse platforms appear in Stone Age and Time Castle.
    • Fixed-interval platforms are seen in the roof-hopping mini-level.
    • Delayed-collapse platforms are seen in a few of the mini-levels.
  • Threatening Shark: One of the enemies is a robotic shark.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Every boss fight. There's no physical timer, but Socket's health system and the fact that lightning bolts never appear in boss arenas lends a sense of urgency to the battle.
  • Time Police: Socket. The ending implies that Socket is only one of an organization of robots with this purpose.
  • Toothy Bird: Socket has teeth.
  • Wackyland: One of the mini-levels features particularly trippy imagery and music. Socket has to jump back and forth between the foreground and background, avoiding lasers and strange dancing green things that pelvic thrust in your direction should you get too close.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Socket apparently has a very short battery life.