A 1990 Arcade Game, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... is, essentially, madness given video game form. And not merely in the conventional way, no. It is the scrawling on the walls, babbling incoherently while trying desperately to remember where you placed your arms form of insanity. Created by Data East of Bad Dudes fame, this game is also a Beat 'em Up... or something similar, at least.
In fact, the gameplay is not that incomprehensible. Upon starting, you're presented with a choice of three characters: a ninja, a tough guy, and a swordsman. You then have a simple objective: Upon defeating enemies, they will sometimes drop hearts. You must collect a certain amount of these hearts to face the boss, defeat it, and clear the stage. Sounds ordinary enough, right?
Except it turns out that the gameplay is merely an afterthought to everything else, and the stages are usually trivial. Instead, the game focuses entirely on attempting to reduce its player to tears of confusion and anguish. Describing the entirety of what makes this game so utterly mindbreaking would be a several paragraph endeavor, but suffice it to say that with the armies of Karnov, the (almost) inexplicable "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" stage, copious amounts of Engrish, never-interrupted stage music, battles with pink sheep that curse you, a surprise appearance from Colonel Sanders, and a Gainax Ending that gives Neon Genesis Evangelion itself a run for its money, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... succeeds in its title's plea.
In Japan, the game is considered to be one of the progenitors of kuso-ge, or "crappy games", games known for their astoundingly horrible nature. In fact, the game was deliberately designed to be bad (and insane), which also qualifies it as baka-ge, or "stupid game".
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Big Damn Heroes: Karnov's attacking some defenseless turtle! It's your character to the rescue.note And- oh wait, now it's your turn to beat up the turtle. But it's okay, it was actually your mentor hiding under a hollowed out turtle shell for no apparent reason. And now you have to fight him.
- Blatant Lies: "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" No, you'll be just as confused as when you started.
- Blob Monster: The mooks in several later, sci-fi-themed levels. Blue ones just ooze at you, yellow ones turn into vaguely lizard-like forms and walk at you, green ones bounce, and red ones... operate Powered Armor.
- Boss-Only Level: The level with the Giant Foot of Stomping only consists of a battle with it.
- Cameo: Colonel Sanders and what appears to be the Queen of England riding a large fish appear as enemies. The former may be a reference to the Curse of the Colonel. The latter? ...
- Cursed with Awesome: The sheep might actually be more powerful than the normal player characters, depending on how much you've upgraded their weapons. Regardless of upgrades, as a sheep, you're invincible when you duck. (But you die if you try to move while ducking.)
- "CRUETY" is the Only Option: The final level has you beating up a bunch of harmless animals in a park.
- Doppelgänger Attack: The ninja's Double special adds a clone of him for battle.
- Drop the Hammer: Chelnov's Weapon of Choice as a boss character is a mallet that Akane Tendo would find excessive.
- Dual Boss: One of the earlier boss fights is against two skeletons with machetes.
- Engrish: Just about every line of text in the game. According to Wikipedia, the Japanese version, while being in, uh, Japanese, also had unusual grammar, making it a fitting choice for the translation.
- Excuse Plot: ...In...verted? While it's hard to call the game's plot a plot, it's clear that the gameplay is merely there to string together the bizarre levels and elements.
- Explosive Stupidity: At one point, Karnov puts a bomb, hides behind it with his ears covered, then walks back to it and it blows up in his face.
- Extendable Arms: Mr. Chin can elongate his arms so they reach through the entire screen width.
- Flash of Pain: Some of the enemies flash a darker color when hit.
- Forced Transformation: In the level "Curse of Sheeps", whether you win or lose, you'll be cursed to turn into a sheep for the next stage.
- Gainax Ending: After fighting your way through hordes of zombies, robotic tanks, slime monsters, a lot of ninja, Karnov enemies, Chelnov, and strange bosses, the final level takes place in a peaceful park. Oh no, is some horrible monster threatening the peace? You make your way forward, and... nope. Your character encounters a few nearly harmless animals and, for no other reason than that you must to beat the game, kills them all. So then does the final boss appear? Again, nope. Upon killing the last animal, you get the good old "WIN WIN" message. The game then has the audacity to tell you "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" before scrolling down under the sidewalk, where a pair of giant orange bloodshot eyes stares into the screen. The pair of eyes then lifts the sidewalk under your character's feet into the air before dropping it back down. You then exchange a few words with your mentor, and the game ends.ROSE SUB: That was great!
MR. CHIN: Best we ever had!
- or:KAMAKURA: Thanks for cheering me up
MR. CHIN: Superb
- or:SANTOS: I'm faint from hunger
MR. CHIN: Well done well done
- Game-Breaking Bug: There are a few. Including, according to at least one source, the ability to freeze the arcade machine if you get unlucky while performing your special move in midair.
- Game-Over Man: Its just as fucked up as the rest of the game: Of all the faces to show up on the continue screen, you get Michelangelo's Dying Slave. And if you continue the face changes to a cartoonish one.
- Giant Foot of Stomping: One of the bosses. The way to efficiently defeat it is to wait for it to break through the floor, as it takes far longer to beat it normally.
- Goomba Stomp: A variation; jumping can't kill any enemies, but you do harmlessly bounce off anything you land on that isn't the ground, including projectiles.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If you leave the bomb-setting Karnovs alone, they will check up on their own bombs after a few moments, only to be killed in the ensuing blast.
- Interface Screw: Not in the game itself, but during the "Enter your initials" high score screen, the game randomly skips letters, going in no set order. By the way, you're timed. Good luck!
- Improbable Weapon User: The weapons used by the player characters range from a punching bag to what appears to be a giant grill lighter.
- Larynx Dissonance: All enemies make one of two sounds when hit: A meow-like sound or a deep grunt. When bosses are destroyed, they simply loop that sound infinitely until they leave the screen.
- Lost in Translation: Certain aspects of the game make slightly more sense with knowledge of Japanese culture. Slightly.
- Ludicrous Gibs: One of the ninja's special attacks involves getting hit by lightning and exploding into bits.
- Maneki Neko: One of the bosses.
- Mercy Invincibility: Inverted for some of the boss enemies. Most have long periods of Mercy Invincibility, but a few have none at all, so they can be destroyed with one or two well-placed hits.
- Mind Screw: The entire game.
- Ninja Log: The ninja character briefly turns into a log when he gets hit.
- Old Master: Mr. Chin, who upgrades your weapons with a "LUCKY! CHA CHA CHA!" during a roulette section after each level, and battles you twice throughout the game.
- Palette Swap: The purple Karnovs, who spit out poison instead of fire.
- Patchwork Map: While there isn't any definite transition between stages, you go from a desert to a jungle in the span of a few stages, and end up in a pleasant park by the end.
- Poison Mushroom: The unlucky option on the slots lowers the levels of both the main and sub weapon.
- Ratchet Scrolling: Most of the stages are short and wrap infinitely in themselves, but you can still only scroll to the right.
- Shared Life Meter: The "enemy" meter shows the combined life of all bosses if there are more than one, which often exceed the maximum amount visible.
- Shout-Out: The three playable characters appear to be parodies of other videogame protagonists. Rose Sub the barbarian is clearly based on Rastan, Kamakura the ninja reminds of The Legend of Kage's protagonist, and Santos could be based upon the Bad Dudes.
- Status Effects: Poison. There doesn't seem to be any way to cure it except to perform your magic attack. Hopefully you haven't used it by then.
- Time Stands Still: In the level "THAT WAS GREAT" the phrase "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" appears bit by bit on the screen. When the exclamation mark appears, all action freezes. Yes, all action, enemies and player alike. Why? It's a reference to the Japanese children's game "Daruma-san ga koronda" (lit. "The Daruma doll fell down")note , which bears similarities to Red Light Green Light. Not that it would be out of place if it was completely meaningless.
- Timed Mission: There's actually a time limit for every stage that you won't see until there's 30 seconds left.
- Too Long; Didn't Dub: The giant foot boss is labeled "TAROSUNOASHI" in Latin characters written directly on its sprite; clearly this is supposed to mean "foot of Talos".
- Victory Pose: Along with a heroic cry of... something.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Upon killing a dog, the game displays the word "CRUETY" (sic). Is it condemning your action? Hard to say, especially since you need to in order to complete the game...