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"Hi, my name is James. They tell me I'm the coolest kid on my street. Welcome to Nitro Rad, a show where I talk about some rad games, and some not so rad games."
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Nitro Rad is a Video Review Show, started in 2013 by Canadian reviewer James Lewell. The show specializes in video games from the NES era to the PS2 era but has become more known for the coverage of indie titles, primarily ones made in RPG maker. The show has covered a wide range of genres, with favorite genres being "B-grade mascot platformers", horror games, and indie games.

The show's channel can be found here.

A sister channel, Garanikor hosts sketch comedies with a rotating cast of friends, mainstays being Alex and Brady.


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Tropes:

  • Accentuate the Negative:
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  • Actually Pretty Funny: James bursts into raucous laughter upon discovering Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back calls the highest level of the main character's verbosity setting "Bubsy".
  • Agony of the Feet: He mentions that he accidently dropped a Wii on his foot while playing Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The plot of the Cold Opens of the three Siren reviews. Brady is chased by a Shibito, falls into a river after getting shot, and comes out possessed by the curse.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: James states in several videos that he really enjoys this trope in horror games, especially when the costumes are really goofy. Of note is the Fatal Frame II review is when he initially decides to not go for the remake's Promise ending, deeming the requirements (specifically defeating The Kusabi on Nightmare difficulty in under a minute) too hard for him, but changes his tune when he finds out about the Mario and Luigi costumes locked behind it.
  • April Fools' Day: As the channel grew bigger, April Fool's Day episodes became common.
    • 2016 had James review Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). He "praises" many of the game's common criticisms, claiming they make the game a complete masterpiece.
    • 2017 brought a review of OFF, which was highly requested from fans due to how popular it was. While it looks like a completely normal review, it had initially been advertised as a review about Tekken before the thumbnail and the title were later changed.
    • 2018 brought two reviews, both being licensed games of invoked dubious quality. The first one being a Cory in the House DS game, and the second one being a Drake & Josh DS game.
    • 2019 had a livestream parodying The Eric Andre Show. The first "segment" has a fairly straightforward review of another licensed game— Drake & Josh for the Game Boy Advance. The next few segments are just comedy skits with various guest stars.
    • 2020 brings yet another livestream, coupled with a review of Under The Skin, a little-known game created by Clover Studio. While parodying The Eric Andre Show yet again, it gets significantly... darker at the end.
    • 2021 has yet another licensed game review, that being iCarly for the Nintendo Wii. Initially James believes the game is invoked So Okay, It's Average and the actual review is barely over 15 minutes, one wouldn't expect that much from it... except as the video goes on, James discovers that he's stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop (actually a Lotus-Eater Machine) and he's stuck reviewing iCarly with Brady, who initially seems oblivious to his torment but then reveals that he knows more than he lets on about James' situation.
  • Author Appeal: Platformer games, indie games and horror games are the most commonly reviewed genres on his channel.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: He criticizes Ruff Trigger's awkward swearing of being this.
    James: They like to swear a lot in this game. And it's really weird because otherwise you'd think it was a kids game, but it got an E10 rating just because they thought by saying "Hell" or "Damn" they could make the game more edgy and badass (cuts to Shadow the Hedgehog).
  • Backhanded Compliment: In Frogger: The Great Quest he compliments a power-up that lets you run faster because it makes you beat the game quicker.
  • Berserk Button:
    • James absolutely despises turret sections and rail-shooter segments in platformer games, pointing out how they are often the worst parts of those games, are generally boring and tedious, and can bring the pace of the game to a grinding halt if executed especially poorly. Though his re-review of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger did see him let its turret section off lightly, since while he wasn't a fan of it there either, it was the only one in the entire game and thus barely affected the overall quality.
    • Jump Scares. James finds them more irritating to deal with and just startling rather than frightening. For him, fear must remain present even after the horrific moment passes, while jump scares just pop up and vanish. He also points out that they're too easy to make and as such are incredibly cheap as far as scaring people goes, even calling them the horror equivalent of a Laugh Track. Some videos have him parody the trope by replacing the original Scare Chords with goofy noises.
  • Brain Bleach: James has a "No. Just... No" Reaction to Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water's plot twist that Miu is the result of an incestuous relationship between Miku and the ghost of her brother Mafuyu.
    James: I have only one question. Who do I have to slap? Who wrote this. Why did they write this?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When discussing the sanity effects in Eternal Darkness, James edits a few audiovisual tricks to convey its effect, such as making the video appear to be buffering or playing the Discord notification sound.
  • Brick Joke:
    • At one point in the Haunting Ground review, he notes that one of the games puzzles bears a similarity to Matoran text. Later on, when discussing the ending of the game, the "Spoilers End Here" warning is written in the aforementioned script.
    • In his The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: Jet Fusion video, he points out the low-quality model of Jimmy's brain during a Brain Blast and wonders to himself whether Jimmy had been taking crack. During the tribal section of the game, Jimmy begins fighting the inhabitants of a village Jimmy had just stated he planned to save, causing James to break into a rant ending with "are you on crack again?!"
  • Broken Record: In the Frogger: The Great Quest review, this moment occurs courtesy of an unbelievably slow Escort Mission.
    James: Why do I have to wait for her to walk this slow? Why does she take this long? Why does she take this long? Why is she taking this long? Please, walk faster. Walk faster. I swear, I'm going to blow my own dick off with a rocket launcher.
  • Butt-Monkey: Brady has been killed or injured in videos the most out of any of the Garanikor cast. Parodied in "Brady Dies".
  • Call-Back: The "Wrong X" drumming joke, used in the Whiplash review and brought back when James and Brady review Punky Skunk.
  • Catchphrase: "So in the end is (X-game) a good game?" said usually in the summation at the end of his earlier reviews.
  • Caustic Critic: Downplayed. The show usually showcases titles not in the mainstream and as such the reviews are predominantly positive though there are a number of titles James just enjoys ripping into.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Alex plays Revolver Ocelot like this. He speaks in these bizarre sexually inappropriate metaphors that lose themselves all the while making weird hand gestures.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In response to the Perfect Dark Zero incident, Brady throws James into a Lotus-Eater Machine where he's forced to review an iCarly shovelware game in an infinite loop.
  • Creepy Child: Notes in the Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within review that he doesn't really get affected by this kind of character, noting that he feels it would be easy to overpower them due to their small size.
  • Critic Breakdown: Gets one in the Bubsy 3D review, as he gets visibly more exhausted the more he progresses throughout the game and borders on Sanity Slippage, lets his frustration out more often than usual, such as yelling at Bubsy to shut up in a scene, and badmouthing the game in a demonic voice while the screen turns red in another. And when he finally beat the game, he does a Post-Victory Collapse, and in a unique, straight play of the Accentuate the Negative trope he usually averts or downplays, calls Bubsy 3D the worst game he's ever played, says everything about it sucks, and closes the video by saying he'll go hug his mom and cry.
  • Cuteness Overload: It's shown on many occasions that one thing he'll always commend a game for (even if it's bad) is cute character design. Characters like Blinx and Kao make him gush shamelessly due to their endearing design & idle animations.
  • Dartboard of Hate: One featuring AntDude pops up for a moment during the Rayman M crossover with him. Doubles as a Funny Background Event as no attention is drawn to it.
  • Deliberate VHS Quality: The opening to the Hypnospace Outlaw review, where James introduces the game in the style of a commercial, uses this effect.
  • Double Jump: Interestingly considers the lack of one in a Platform Game as often being a good thing, pointing out how its presence is downright endemic in platformers of lower quality or that focus on other things than pure platform action, and thus rely on the ability to instantly rewrite your trajectory in mid-air to make up for less polished game design. Games that do not feature it (including some of the biggest names such as Super Mario Bros., Rayman, or Crash Bandicoot) instead rely on extensive movesets, less immediately gratifying variants, or simply tighter design and physics. The Super Mario Galaxy games are noted as an exception, practically requiring the existence of the Spin because their gravity gimmick is inherently very disorienting.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His earlier videos are a little more pessimistic, moderately echoing the Caustic Critic trend that was popular on YouTube at the time (notably, he called the first Ty the Tasmanian Tiger game "painfully mediocre," a statement he regrets having used). As he got more experience, he mellowed out and became a lot more of the optimist he is known as today.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: James noted that Mr. Bates from Clock Tower: Ghost Head steals every scene he's in, and stated that it almost made playing the game worth it. invoked
  • Even Better Sequel: While James really enjoyed Anodyne he stated that Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a better and more accessible game than the original.invoked
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Gradually develops these in his Bubsy 3D review, and bears them on the thumbnail of both said review and Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back for that matter.
  • Fanservice: He generally doesn't really like this in certain franchises (especially the sexual variety), but he does enjoy when it's incorporated well in the context of the game. For example, he hated that Silent Hill: Homecoming just flat out re-used assets from Silent Hill 2 for no reason beyond them being "iconic to the franchise", but he enjoyed how the nurse enemies from that game made a return in Silent Hill 3 because they were reinvented to resemble dolls, fitting the younger character of Heather and the story rather than just bringing something back for its own sake.
  • Follow the Leader: invoked Being a connoisseur of B-grade games, he comes across games that do this quite a bit. Whether or not this is something that bothers him varies depending on how well executed it is in the game.
    • Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy is an obvious knock-off of Ratchet & Clank, right down to the plot being ripped off from the second game in the series, Going Commando.
    • Kao The Kangaroo: Round 2 obviously draws considerable influence from Rayman 2: The Great Escape, though in this case, James doesn't hold that against it as he feels it does enough on its own to be entertaining in its own right.
    • Escape From Detroit is described as a "shittier, clunkier, grosser, less polished, less appealing, less interesting, less fun, less everything version of LISA".
    • James notes that Kingsley's Adventure takes quite a bit of influences from the 3D The Legend of Zelda games (in terms of exploration and equipment gathering), but executed in a much less involved and interesting way.
  • Foreshadowing: In the 2021 April Fools Special, the review points out little specific things/lines (Spencer is trapped in the statue, "rue the day" and the Donald Duck alarm clock app). This is a clue towards James' fate: He's trapped and continuously ruing the day he crossed Brady, and he needs to wake up.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The iCarly Wii review for April Fools' Day gradually turns into this, as James is trapped in a neverending loop where he is forced to review iCarly with Brady over and over again. However, the loop is broken when Saltydkdan tells James to pull on his earlobe as hard as he can... which reveals that James had been trapped in a bloodied bathtub acting as a Lotus-Eater Machine. Brady also says that he has his uncle trapped in one as well, forcing him to endlessly mow the lawn and getting sunburns from all the time spent in the sun.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: In his review of Starshot: Space Circus Fever, where a bank apparently threatens to blow up a circus's rocket if they don't pay their dues in 10 days, James wonders what the IRS would look like if they operated by the same logic.
    James: (to Brady, who just opened his front door to him) You have 10 days! (Sticks a bomb to Brady's chest to his horror)
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: invoked Discussed.
    • The bad Silent Hill games he feels play heavily into this. Origins and Homecoming rely too much on what came before. The former plays itself too safe and hangs on to its status as a prequel by regurgitating Silent Hill 1. The latter tried too hard to be Silent Hill 2 with reused monsters (especially Pyramid Head) and plot beats that tried to recapture the "glory days" of the franchise.
    • He felt that too many fans wrote Super Mario Galaxy 2 off as this. On the whole, he enjoyed Galaxy 2 much more than Galaxy 1 and feels that the game went out of its way to clear up many of Galaxy 1's issues and was much more creative with its ideas.
  • Jump Scare: He tends to frown upon these in his horror game reviews, believing that they're a cheap way to generate fear. His reviews of The Crooked Man and Subway Midnight both have segments about why he dislikes them and how it could have possibly been made better.
  • Left Hanging: The sad fate of too many Yume Nikki fan games, especially the good ones.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: At the end of the 2021 April Fools' special, James learns that Brady trapped him in one of these... which is also James' bathtub.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The end-credit song for the iCarly Wii review initially starts off like the normal theme song... but then the singer begins to sing about how she wants to wake up from the eternal nightmare she's trapped in, all set to the peppy tune of the show's theme tune.
  • Market-Based Title: He discussed this with the Clock Tower series, comparing it to how for a while, the Final Fantasy series had numerical confusion due to skipping certain entries, and noted all the localized games, with the lone exception of Clock Tower 3 (and even then, only because it happened to even out), got their names changed due to the original never being brought to North America. For his videos, he refers to them by their original Japanese names rather than the localized ones, partly because he started with the actual first game in the series.
  • Naked People Are Funny: From the Hylics review:
    James: You can get better at cooking by putting clothes on? Well that explains why I always burn everything! (Cuts to a naked James cooking in the kitchen).
  • Nightmare Face: At the end of the Siren video, the screen starts to fill with static and the audio becomes somewhat garbled as James wraps things up, then freezes for a moment when he finishes talking... then we get this.
  • Nightmare Retardant: James loves it when horror games feature goofy costumes as unlockables, specifically for this reason, and laments that more modern horror games don't include them as much. invoked
    James: I just really love the idea of your reward for getting through this nightmare being something that's so betraying of the horror genre. "Oh, you made it through? Okay, here's something to make the game a little less scary."
  • Oh, Crap!: James, when he realizes that he has to review Bubsy 3D.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • invoked James discusses this with a few games. The PS1 port of Glover got hit pretty bad with it, with Camera Screw worse than the original, and he notes that you jump higher than in the original version, but the level design was not changed to accomodate this, leading puzzles to be way easier to solve than intended.
    • A less severe case of this is in his review of Psychonauts. The PS2 version is undeniably inferior to the Xbox and PC versions, and he doesn't understand why the PS4 has an emulation of the PS2 version instead of a remaster, but he said it's a fine enough way to play the game if all you have is the PS2 or PS4 to play it on.
  • Precision F-Strike: James seldom swears in his reviews, but when he does, usually it's because the game is really bad or really got under his skin. Or both.
    James (about Bubsy 3D): It would be like, um... it would be like you're playing, um... it would be like you're too upset to think of an analogy because you're WASTING HOURS OF YOUR LIFE PLAYING THIS PILE OF SHIT!
  • Quote Mine: When talking about the cover of Bubsy 3D featuring a quote from Electronic Gaming Monthly: "...stunning...original...Bubsy 3D climbs back to the top...check it out!" Naturally suspicious, James actually went and tracked down the article the quotes were taken from; unsurprisingly, the quotes were not only being taken completely out of context (being spread across multiple completely disparate paragraphs throughout the article), but they weren't even from the final review (which gave the game 3.25 out of 10), instead being taken from a preview of the game written before it was actually released.
  • Running Gag:
    • Canadian restaurant Mary Browns, Brady dying in Garanikor videos, and James' Lucario plush.
    • Comparisons to Ty 3 pop up in almost every platformer review. He eventually lampshades it, complaining that he had to choose that game where other reviewers have much more memorable games like Final Fantasy 1 (ProJared) or Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (The Angry Video Game Nerd) as their running gag.
    • Bringing up how annoying Gex's dialogue was in Gex: Enter the Gecko when it comes to voice-acting or humor. After Bubsy 3D, where the main character has an even more annoying voice, he promises to stop doing it as Gex's stupidity had more charm.
    • Whenever Behaviour Interactive gets brought up, James always mentions they used the name A2M (Artificial Mind & Movement) before realizing invokedit also stood for "ass-to-mouth" and reverting to Behaviour. He's stated it's one of his favorite developer stories.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Scissorman in the review of Clock Tower 3, in response to James affecting a British accent and conjuring up a magic bow and arrow to fight him off with.
  • Sequelitis: invoked He talks about this trope when it comes to franchises.
    • An inevitable talking point when it came to Silent Hill. While James does have good things to say about the fourth main installment and Downpour, Origins and Homecoming play this straight with uninteresting plots and an over-reliance on older elements to try and recapture lost glory.
    • The Siren franchise took a nosedive with its final game. While not a bad game per-say, it did away with a lot of the scary elements from the previous games, had a cast full of unlikable characters, and the main gimmick of the games, the sight-jacking, was rendered nearly useless.
    • While Clock Tower: Ghost Head is more of a spinoff than a straight sequel (despite being called Clock Tower II outside of Japan), he felt that while the game's story was strong, the actual gameplay was tedious at best, and full of Fake Difficulty at worst, with many requirements essential for beating the game not even being hinted at, requiring loads of trial and error and Save Scumming unless you know what to do ahead of time. Because he still enjoyed the story, he noted that it had a few adaptations, admitting it was to give people an alternative over actually playing the game.
    • While James loved the plot, characters, and themes of Echo Night: Beyond, he found himself so frustrated by clunky gameplay mechanics and obtuse placement of plot-critical items that he admitted it was a difficult game to recommend, comparing it to Rule of Rose in that regard.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: His playthrough of Bubsy 3D. He managed to finish the game, only for the game to end on a Downer Ending where the Woolies invade Earth. He then acquires all the collectible rocket parts (using a cheat code, as he refused to put himself through any more of the game than he had to) to achieve the 100% completion... only to find out that it still ends with the Woolies invading Earth, only with Bubsy stranded in the Stone Age.
    James: (sounding utterly exhausted) I got all the rockets, but the future refused to change.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In his review of Frogger Helmet Chaos, he points out the inconsistency of the Frogger games by mentioning that, in My Frogger Toy Trials, the titular character went from a frog-looking dude to just a frog-looking... frog.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Lampshaded in his Kingsley's Adventure review, where he points out that, despite the atmosphere of the game being largely medieval, the music that plays over the credits sounds like something from an EDM rave.
  • Speech Impediment: James had a noticeable lisp back when he was wearing braces. He lost it once he got them removed.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: James speculates that the narratives of Anodyne and its sequel, Return to Dust, run in direct contrast to each other: whereas Young decided to leave The Land and try and overcome his flaws, Nora is trying to bury herself in escapism in New Theland due to being unable to move past her own insecurities.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: invoked Discussed.
    • Silent Hill: Downpour. Though James notes that the game was considered one of the worst due to its broken launch he considers it the best of the Western developed Silent Hill games. He praises the game for trying to be more original with a better story and more scares. Though he finds most of the enemies uninteresting he does praise the Bogeyman for being its own creation and not a Pyramid Head rehash.
    • Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. While James largely considers it So Okay, It's Average due to its short length and fairly basic gameplay, he does note that it fixes quite a few issues that have plagued the series since the beginning, and actually finds it to be somewhat enjoyable on its own.
  • Surreal Horror: Quite a few of his main videos contain bits of this, most notably the April Fools' specials. The videos on the GARANIKOR channel rapidly oscillate between horror and humor.
  • Take That!:
    • In his review of Banned Memories, he says that it's time to bring indie horror back to the days of truly good horror, "and far, far away from Five Nights at Freddy's".
    • When he brings up the failed Kickstarter for Shadow of the Eternals in his Eternal Darkness review, he takes shots at both Mighty No. 9 and Denis Dyack (in particular the infamous lawsuit against Epic Games).
    James: Way to end your own career, dude!
    • In his Petscop review, when he briefly discusses fan videos about the series up on Youtube, Pyrocynical and Game Theory's names are changed to "Poopystinker" and "The Lame Theorists" respectively.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: invoked He talks about this trope sometimes in his videos.
    • He's argued against this with a video rebutting Jimmy Whetzel's video accusing Yo-Kai Watch of ripping off Pokémon.
    • When talking about the Kao games, he acknowledges that they're all very derivative of more successful platformers (Crash Bandicoot and Rayman) but for the most part that's not a bad thing since they can still be fun. They're not original but he doesn't hold that against them, in contrast to Ruff Trigger which is terrible on top of being a complete ripoff of Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: James asks for his audience to wish him luck before playing Bubsy 3D, because of how infamously bad the game is, and sure enough, he endures a Critic Breakdown while trying to beat it.
  • Uncanny Valley: invoked Discussed.
    • During the Siren retrospective, he has a long discussion about how well the games use this trope. The overly expressive rudimentary motion captured faces on top of primitive character models are used to great effect to make the game unsettling. Forbidden Siren 2 especially utilizes this trope well with its use of enlarged heads and faces where they shouldn't be, both utilizing the same choppy motion capture.
    • He describes nearly all of the character designs in Frogger: The Great Quest as "terrifying, for all the wrong reasons," claiming if he had played the game as a kid he would have gotten nightmares from how ugly and disgusting all of the designs look.
  • Unfortunate Implications: invoked Pointed out in his review of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Jet Fusion for the Game Boy Advance. He talks about how one of the levels revolves around Jimmy going into a native village and killing ooga-booga cavemen depictions of the natives, later calling Jimmy "Super Hitler 2".
    James: Like, I get that they're holograms, right? But you have to remember, this is an adaptation of the book. Like, it's just the implication that Jet Fusion goes into a village and kills a bunch of innocent people to get a coconut at the top of the hill.
  • Vindicated by History: invoked In his review of the obscure Capcom title Under The Skin, where he points out that one common criticism from contemporary reviews was its short length (whilst also being a full-priced game), but nowadays, with shorter games being much more common, as well as the game no longer being full-priced, that isn't so much an issue anymore, allowing greater focus on the more positive aspects of the game like its quirky aesthetic and engaging gameplay.
  • What an Idiot!: invoked During his playthrough of Ruff Trigger, James has this reaction to Ruff drinking a random test tube of unknown chemicals at a spaceship crash site.
    James: Ruff, what are you doing? Why did you do that? Ruff, what is wrong with you!? You're on an alien planet, you're at a crash site, you find this disgusting green ooze in chemistry tubes! Your initial reaction is: "What the hell is this? (gulp)" NO!!!

 
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That's what backups are for!

During his review of Kuon, Nitrorad's disk suddenly gave out within minutes of starting the game. He then whips out a backup copy and discusses how playing legitimately nowadays is shelling out more than a thousand dollars for a disk that he just showed would most likely fail to play in a decade or so. This gives a good lesson on why people keep circulating the tapes.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (14 votes)

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