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YMMV / Action 52

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  • Accidental Innuendo: "G-Force Fgt."note 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The main character of Non-Human and Micro Mike and the enemies of Spread Fire are perfect for Rorschach tests.
    • And what about the fellow from Sombreros? Some thieves steal a bunch of hats in such a rush that they drop them all over the place. This prompts our hero to pick up a gun, walk down the middle of a road into oncoming traffic, shoot a bunch of innocent cars (which explode) for getting in his way, and try to shoot the unarmed culprits dead while they try to frantically escape his line of sight, all to get said hats back.
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    • In the unaired commercial, Apollo says "We come from the Action 52 game world, where every game is..." before Hercules interrupts him. People have joked that he was trying to warn players of the game's quality.
  • Awesome Music: To quote a comment on YouTube, "The only good thing about Action 52 is the music."
    • The theme from Cheetahmen. No one is sure how it happened, especially when every other song on the cartridge ranges from "mediocre" to "Beethoven's Ode to Pain," but it did. Additionally, it got many, many remixes on the Japanese video site Nico Nico Douga.
    • The theme for Ooze on the Genesis version, which was done by Nu Romantic Productions, who were responsible for the soundtracks of Toe Jam And Earl and Kid Chameleon.
    • The Dam Buster's theme. Northernlion approves!
    • The attempted fan-remake Action 52 Owns gave us this rendition of the Sombrero theme.
  • Bile Fascination: Everyone knows how horrible Action 52 is. Despite this, years later, players are still delving into the games in this title, using emulators to beat the ones that are unbeatable (or to actually play the ones that normally crash immediately upon selection), and even posting tips and tricks for the games on YouTube.
  • Demonic Spiders: Most games include at least one type of it, and frequently more. Some deserve a special mention:
    • Hairdryers in Fuzz Power, which shoot nearly impossible-to-dodge stuff at player at random. Made worse by the fact that main character has only a melee attack.
    • Balls in Hambo (especially bowling balls) which spawn onto tiny platforms, often making the game Unwinnable. Dynamite that spawns on top of ladders also qualify. That you start with only one life doesn't help.
    • Tiny red spheres in Micro Mike can spawn in random parts of the screen and then home in on the player. Since it's only possible to shoot forward, getting hit is guaranteed when these spawn above, below or behind the player.
    • Starting from stage 3, many enemies in Bleeps 'n Blips have incredible speed and homing ability, allowing them to hit the player in a fraction of a second. It doesn't help that your character can only shoot in the direction it's moving (and not diagonally).
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    • Almost every enemy in the 5th level of Cheetahmen has these traits. They either move so fast and lock on to the player that there's only 0.2 seconds maximum to shoot them down, or they're just too low to hit (Apollo can't duck).
    • Pretty much any enemy in Haunted Halls, due to their random spawning, Goddamned Bats behavior, and the fact that you can't crouch. The worst one may be the "Skull of Doom".
    • The literal Goddamned Bats in the later levels of Illuminator. They home in on you at high speed, are nearly impossible to hit before they hit you, and you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder to boot.
    • Spiders in Dedant. If they come down to your level, they stay down there till they get you, and you can't shoot diagonally or sideways.
  • Ear Worm: The Cheetahmen theme, as mentioned previously. Some other games have catchy beats as well, such as Timewarp Tickers.
  • Game-Breaker: Debug Mode in Alfredo and the Fettucini. It's also required for the final boss, the original Alfredo.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The background music in the Cheetahmen game has become popular in the Japanese video game remix scene.
  • Goddamned Bats: Of course, these games have quite a few of them:
    • Sharks and especially jellyfish in... Sharks.
    • Enemies in later levels of Storm over Desert.
    • Droplets in Ooze. To defeat them just wait for them to fall. Slowly. Many times in some stages.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Glitches to get around the glitches. There are many of them, some of which have to be used to complete the level:
    • In Manchester, you can't pass a certain point because of flames being in the way. However, you can fall through the floor and walk past a huge stack of note blocks.
    • These are also found in Underground. While walking into the walls is sort of amusing, the ability to fire through the walls (properly utilized) takes the game all the way to "genuine fun" territory.
    • In Dedant, the player can only shoot upwards. If enemies reach the bottom row, death is almost guaranteed unless you hide at the edges of the screen where no enemy or their projectiles (not even the homing ones) can get you.
    • Aries (in the 2nd level) and Hercules can jump in mid-air by pressing jump just after attacking. This trick carried over into Cheetahmen 2.
    • In many games, Bottomless Pits actually make the character reappear at the upper side of the screen. In Lollipops, attacking in mid-air while falling will reset the falling height and cause the character to reappear in the sky, allowing you to skip a few sections of the map.
    • In several games, the number of enemies spawning can be reduced by firing a lot of projectiles or not killing current enemies on screen. Often it's also possible to scroll enemies off the screen which is extremely useful in Haunted Halls which stops the enemies spawning behind from getting you.
    • In Chill Out, when jumping constantly, edges of the screen can be used to get up without using ladders. This helps to get up and shoot the enemies relatively safely.
    • In Slashers, you can walk around the enemies so you don't even have to fight them.
    • Certain actions in Fuzz Power make the main character unable to do its attack, but in return, make him invulnerable.
    • In Non-Human you can jump and stand on the mouths of the green Elton John heads without dying. It is possible to bypass the entire level this way.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Action Gamemaster was a failed system, but nowadays, the Retro Duo Portable System can play both NES and SNES games with today's technology. And the Retron Console can even play Genesis games as well. If only Action 52 was a decent game and the company would've waited until today ...
    • The Big Guy of the Cheetahmen trio, Hercules, has a glitch that enables him to jump indefinitely. 25 years later, and in another infamous video game flop, Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric, Knuckles - who has been redesigned to be given The Big Guy treatment - also has a now-memetic glitch that enables him to jump indefinitely!
  • Junk Rare: Getting an actual cartridge of either Action 52 or Cheetahmen 2 will cost you upwards of at least $300, making it one of the most expensive NES games. But $300 for a unfinished glitchy mess of a game? Not worth it unless you're a collector.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Cheetahmen games (especially part II, which was in its own cartridge) are the subject of several parodies and tributes on the Japanese video site Nico Nico Douga.
  • Misattributed Song: The music from Silver Sword, French Baker, Fuzz Power, Streemerz, Time Warp Tickers and Ninja As(s)ault were actually composed by Ed Bogas. Ed's work is used without approval, and uncredited.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The jump sound effect in Manchester.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The somber, minimalist music from Lollipops Level 3 is absolutely unnerving and melancholic.
    • What's more shocking, that's only what it sounds like using a ROM Utility, in-game? Even worse.
    • Also interesting to note that the game's manual states the Lollipops' story is something about the main character trying to rescue his girlfriend and it gets darker as he goes. Makes you wonder what kind if Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant the game could have been if it was developed better.
    • The street-crossing dog getting gorily smooshed to pieces in the Genesis A52 game Freeway.
    • The harsh, industrial-sounding, dramatic music in the Genesis A52 game Sharpshooter, juxtaposed against gameplay of shooting cute little animals in a carnival with bright flashing lights.
  • Nightmare Retardant: In Non-Human, after fighting waves of weird-looking mutant horrors, you then start facing off hungry cyclopean heads. They look like adorable smiling orange dog/cat/hamster heads, which takes away any creepy factor.
  • Polished Port: The Sega Genesis version, while still by no means a good game, was a marked improvement over the NES version.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Some people would call this game a masterpiece among horrible games. The numerous funny glitches certainly help out here.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The level 1 theme from Lollipops is a variation of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet "Something Stupid."
    • The intro sounds exactly like "It Takes Two" by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, as pointed out by The Angry Video Game Nerd.
    • The theme of Dam Busters is very reminiscent of Pachelbel's Canon in D, specially the second half.
  • That One Boss: In the Action 52 Owns remake:
    • The Giant Enemy Crab/Bug thing in the Hard mode of Non-Human. It has two heads as the weakpoints, the top head fires out a bouncy energy ball while the bottom fires out one that travels across the floor, then moves up when under you. Both of these attacks hurt a lot, and then there's the fact that the boss is constantly advancing towards you and limiting your space. Your solution is to shoot the heads to push him back, easier said than done because the crab can use his claws to guard either the top or bottom one!
  • That One Level: For the curious, if a single game on the cartridge were to be chosen as the worst of the lot, it would probably be safe to go with Micro Mike. As for individual levels themselves, there are quite a few candidates:
    • Levels 3 and up in Bleeps and Blips
    • Level 1 and 2 in Billy Bob.
    • Level five of Cheetahmen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Check out the Cheetahmen commercial. Great animation for late 80s, the Cheetahmen's personalities stand out, and their voice actors aren't completely terrible. Seriously, this was BEGGING for an Animated Adaptation right off the bat. If the games were any good this would have been a no brainer. Here's an 80s show theme done for fun.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: About the only thing that can possibly justify the existence of Timewarp Tickers, other than... well, you know...
  • Unfortunate Character Design: In the third screen of the NES Cheetahmen's intro sequence, one of the trio's tails is sticking between his legs in a way that looks more than a little phallic. The illusion is made even worse by the fact that we only see the Cheetahman from about thigh-up in that screen.

Example of: