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Video Game / Totally Rad

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Totally Rad instruction manual

If Bill & Ted made a videogame, this would be it.

Totally Rad began as a 1990 Famicom Platform Game by Jaleco titled Magic John. It featured ordinary anime teens with magic powers, and a dorky and forgettable plot.

Then Jaleco USA localized it as Totally Rad. The main character and his girlfriend were replaced with a bodacious surfer dude and his happenin' babe. The plot was mostly kept the same, but was turned into a self-parody, featuring exaggerated and ridiculous surfer dude slang throughout. It concerns Jake, an apprentice to the magician Zebediah Pong, who is learning magic. However, his girlfriend Allison is kidnapped, and Jake has to take off to save her. Afterward, Jake discovers Allison's kidnapping was just a feint to force Allison's father, a renowned scientist, out of hiding. Jake must not only rescue Allison's father, but ultimately take down an evil underground king who plans to lead a group of under-dwellers up to take over the surface of the world.

The game is perhaps best known for inspiring the webcomic Kid Radd.

Not to be confused with the 1986 film RAD, which is just as Totally Radical, despite not having "Totally" in the title. It is also not be confused with the 2019 Double Fine Roguelike RAD.

This totally excellent game has examples of only the most extremely bodacious tropes, as follows:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: As quoted from the manual. "Little did Jake and Allison know that they had become pubescent pawns in the pestilent power politics of Edogy, the malfeasant underground menace who, through mental malpractice and mesmerism, has managed to impose the malevolent meanderings of his morally moribund mind onto the majority of the inhabitants of the underground world. Whoa! somebody slap me!" Try saying that radical paragraph 3 times fast, dude.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: At the end of the game:
    Professor: Are you the one who saved me?
    Jake: Dude, did you get a blow to the head or something? Of course I saved you. I'm here, aren't I?
    Professor: Yes, of course.
  • Cultural Translation: The localization transforms the prepubescent Japanese-style cartoon friends into adolescents from 1980s California.
  • Damsel in Distress: Allison because, like, her locked underwater chest escape artistry needs work and stuff. The translation has it Played for Laughs like everything else:
    Allison: Jake, they're like stealing me or something.
  • Gag Dub: The localization is essentially the videogame translation equivalent to one, translating the entire game into intentionally over-the-top surfer-dude lingo and relentlessly making fun of the original plot in the process.
  • Game-Over Man: Zebediah, who doubles as a "Continue Man".
  • Multiform Balance:
  • Nintendo Hard: The game can get totally difficult at times, even for a rad dude (or dudette) like you.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The cutscene before the final boss mispells "traitor" as "traiter".
  • Save the Princess: Jake has to save Allison after she gets stolen.
  • Self-Parody: Yeah, baby - far out!
  • Spoiled by the Manual: Invoked; immediately after spoiling Zeb's backstory (which is only revealed, as a surprise, at the very end of the game itself), it says "only, there's no way you're supposed to know that yet, ok?"
  • Stealth Parody: Like, there were these critic people out there who thought that this game's content was being all serious-like in appealing to teens, rather than a parody of it. How dumb can you get, right?
  • Surfer Dude: Jake all the way.
  • Totally Radical: It's, like, in the game title, bro.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The elemental magic (fire, water, wind, and stone) hits every enemy on the screen. This at first seems, like, totally awesome, but it costs 2 totally precious and unrechargable points and most enemies will respawn after just a few seconds. Bogus! But those same totally crazy expensive spells can, like, half kill any boss, if you don't use up your magic points bro!