Game Feature

The Weekly WTF: The Horror of ‘Hey You, Pikachu!’

Hey You Pikachu

As we know, nobody pimps out their flagship franchises like Nintendo. Eventually, the world will notice that every Super Mario and Pokémon is the effing same, but until then these wily bastards will keep on raking in the cashtacular.

To that end, the stars of the show have been given cameo appearances and spin-offs-amundo. The less said about Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix and other such branded wank, the better.

But sometimes, they take it a step too far. They combine their love for dead horse flogging with their lust for craptacular plastic peripherals (the Balance Board, tennis racquet attachments, the Wii Wheel…). And when this happens, unholy ballaches like Hey You, Pikachu! are born.

This little oddity hit the N64 in 1998. It was one of a mighty two different games to work with the console’s weird voice recognition dealie. Remember that thing? The one that looked like some kind of futuristic sex toy attachment for the robo-whores of the year 3090? Well, here it is, powering one of the most bizarre Pokémon experiences ever made.

It’s a kind of puzzler crossed with a life sim crossed with a dose of what-the-eff-is-going-on-here. In short, it’s every child’s dream back in the nineties: a big ol’ 3D Pikachu as a pet, responding to your voice and dicking about adorably as only this thing can. That was the plan, anyway.

Sure, it heard, but it gave NO SHITS. As usual.

Sure, it heard, but it gave NO SHITS. As usual.

By ‘responding to your voice,’ I actually mean damn well ignoring your voice, like the stubborn little asshole he is. Originally, the game was only available in Japan, so naturally only Japanese speakers need apply. It did make it to North America in the year 2000, but didn’t damn well work here either. As Bulbapedia reports, the device was ‘calibrated for a higher-pitched child’s voice,’ but even those whose balls hadn’t dropped had difficulty making themselves understood.

Without helium or a voice like Joe Pasquale, Hey You, Pikachu! was a festival of crap.

Even when you could get it to work (which you freaking couldn’t), the gameplay rates pretty highly on the balls-o-meter. It’s a series of minigames with the mascot of the ‘mon, based around a schedule of themed days. Discovery Days, Play Days and Daring Days. By interacting with the little dude enough, you earn its trust and it moves in with you.

But screw that. If I wanted to live with an obnoxious ass who completely ignores everything I say, I’d still be married.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Dr. Mario

Dr Mario Header

There is nothing –effing nothing– that Nintendo’s mustachioed maestro can’t do. Over his three decade career, he has taught us typing skills, competed in the olympics (both winter and regular-flavored), piloted spacecraft and submarines, done the whole ‘princess rescue’ thing on umpteen occasions and travelled through time with his lanky dumbass brother.

There was even that time he shrunk down and journeyed into Bowser’s colon. And if you’ve ever seen a Mushroom Kingdom public toilet after that huge bastard’s used it, you’ll know how ballsy that was.

But his crowning achievement? His contribution to medical research as his alter ego, Dr. Mario. Watch your ass, ebola. This guy’s on the case.

The good doctor first appeared in 1990, in NES puzzler Dr. Mario. At this time, Tetris owned the world of puzzley gaming goodness, so he had to bring something different to the table of… puzzle games. Or whatever. That something was giant angry mutated viruses, which were in need of some capsules-to-the-face righteous justice.

When the germs are the size of your freaking head, you've got problems.

When the germs are the size of your freaking head, you’ve got problems.

It’s a unique theme, at any rate. Differently colored germs lurk about on the playing field, and Mario throws his two-color pills down to meet them. Your job is to fandangle and maneuver said pills so as to match them with the appropriate virus. A chain of four reds, blues or yellows will eradicate germ and pill alike. It’s your standard match-three (or, y’know, four) scenario, all in all, and one that fans of the puzzletacular will pick up immediately.

But hey, the play field is a medicine bottle, and you don’t see that every day. Much of the time, your objective is different to the usual fare too. In Dr. Mario, the main gameplay is based around individual levels, with an increasingly difficult crew of viruses to murderize. As far as the usual endless modes go, that isn’t the way of the doctor.

The core gameplay wasn’t all that original (and by ‘all that,’ I mean remotely), but this is one hell of a compulsive puzzler right here. Remember The Tetris Effect (it gets capitalized because it’s an actual goddamn medical condition, recognised by sciencey science-dudes and everything)? That’s the sign of a truly affecting game, one that haunts your nightmares and sees vengeful tetronimos chasing you across hillsides to stamp on your face.

Well, Dr. Mario has it too. How many sleepless nights did I have, watching dodgy-looking pills cascading down before my closed eyes? Too damn many is how many. Screw you, Mario.

The Weekly WTF: ‘Stalin vs Martians’ Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin

Yup. Stalin. Versus Martians. What the hell could go wrong with an awesome idea like that? Absolutely freaking everything, that’s what. Buckle up, gentlemen. This is a real slice of shite right here.

You know how it can be with celebrities. After their star has waned and their fifteen minutes of fame is over, nobody is assed any more. You’re like that depressed fat guy at Comic Con, the forgotten has-been from a sci-fi show that got cancelled in 1978. Who wants your autograph? No bastard does.

All that’s left for these guys is to appear in terrible celebrity reality shows. It’s a similar deal for history’s crazy dictators, who have to appear in ballache strategy games like this.

Stalin vs Martians is a parody of the familiar World War II RTS games. You know the sort of thing: tiny tanks and tinier dudes blow each others’ asses off in relentlessly brown landscapes with dramatic explosions-amundo. For this one, though, it’s all a little different.

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Yep, this is just how Stalin vs Martians rolls.

Now, I’m no nerdly historian, but I’ve never heard of ol’ Joseph and his Soviets doing battle with martians. But hey, that’s the kind of interesting anecdote you miss when you don’t pay attention in class. The game’s official site sets the scene:
‘Year 1942. Summer. The martians suddenly land somewhere in Siberia and attack the glorious people of Holy Mother Russia. It is a hard time for USSR as you might know from the history books if you ever attended school. The situation is really f**ked up, so comrade Stalin takes the anti-ET military operation under his personal control. The operation is a top secret and virtually nobody knows about the fact of extraterrestial intervention.’

Those goddamn aliens. Was 1942 not enough of a shitstorm already?

Anywho, what follows is some of the most piss-takey gameplay you’ll ever see. The general unit-maneuvering battling and such is relatively conventional, in theory. But then the toontastic Monty Python-style slapstick comes in. As do Red Army tanks against that three-eyed alien dude from Toy Story. And the disco soundtrack, accompanied by Stalin getting his sixties groove on.

I don’t know why this is a thing. I don’t know why promo wallpapers exist depicting comrade Stalin looking at a map of the world, with the thought bubble caption ‘me so horny.’ But hey. Some things just are, and it’s fruitless to question them.

Images via Stalin vs Martians.

Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Bloody Roar

Yup. Bloody-mothereffing-Roar. This one originally went by the name Beastorizer, which probably tells you all you need to know about the kind of badassery that’s coming at your faces right now. Buckle up, gentlemen.

1997 was a good year for fighters. Tekken 3 arrived, and is still regarded by many as one of the biggest and best nad-punching games of all time. On top of that, it was also the year of… Bloody Roar. Because if there’s one thing Tekken was missing, it was the chance to turn into a werewolf and beat up a six-foot bunny guy.

You may also know it as Bloody Roar: Hyper Beast Duel. Whatever you want to call it, Hudson Soft’s brawler hit the PS1 that year, ported from the original chunky-ass arcade machine. Let’s take a look.
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The Weekly WTF: Blob-based Weirdtastic With ‘A Boy and His Blob’

When I was a boy, what awesome, badass-exuding pet did I own? A fish. Named Archie. Now, Archie didn’t have poisonous fangs or laser eyes or anything else we wanted our pets to have as boys. He couldn’t kill on command (unless ordered to ‘kill’ those sad brown flakes that fish eat). Frankly, fish do shit all.

What a bum deal. While Eliot was flying through the motherfreaking air on a magical bike with E.T and phoning home, I had Archie. Leaving those long, weird trails of crap behind him and otherwise being a damn fish.
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Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Castlevania

You don’t eff with Castlevania. This ol’ bastard has become a real gaming fixture. To date, there have been over forty entries in the series, and that’s pretty damn impressive. If I knew what fancy-ass words like ‘prolific’ meant, I’d be typing them in your face in Castlevania’s honor right now.

The franchise is approaching its thirtieth anniversary, and there’s only one way to celebrate that. With a heaping helping of snark and/or piss-takery, that’s how. So let’s party like it’s 1986 and look back at the very first Castlevania release. Which was called –just so our slow cousin Joe didn’t get confused– Castlevania.
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The Weekly WTF: ‘Minority Report- Everybody Runs’ Sucks So Much That It Doesn’t Suck

Now, let’s be frank here: there are a lot of shitty movies and video games. When the two collide, there’s usually a black hole of pure shit-tacular, insatiable and unstoppable until it has eaten all the horrible crap in the cosmos. (Or, as you may know it, Superman 64.)

It’s easy to suck. Suck is all over the damn place. But only a select few are elevated to ‘so bad it’s good’ status. Minority Report: Everybody Runs is one of them. Buckle up, gentlemen. It’s going to be a bumpy, hilarious and completely demented ride.
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