“See you at the party, Richter!“
- Genre- Platformer
- Platform- Nes
- Developer- Interplay
- Publisher- Acclaim
- Release date- 1990
In 1986, when directing the film Dr. Cornelius and the Fundongium, it was rumoured that director Paul Verhoeven dabbled with black magic for some time. Verhoeven, it is claimed, tried to bring about the birth of the Antichrist on earth. Using a vast array of potions, dead animals and rubber tubing Verhoeven created a shrine, a sickly devotion to the creature he was attempting to pull through that dark veil for which man wasn’t meant to peer beyond. Verhoeven then spent an estimated 26 days chanting, praying and disembowelling numerous dead creatures around his shrine. A portal eventually opened, a portal that within it lay a path to utter darkness. At this point Verhoeven was said to regret his actions and quickly tried to close the portal which he had opened. He cleaned up the blood, discarded the potions and eventually- though it took two hours- removed the rubber tubing that clung to his arms, legs and that tightly cradled his man-goods. The portal collapsed… but something did come through. Something wicked. It was a box, just a simple box. He picked it up, puckered his lips and in a voice only Paul Verhoeven could pull off he read out what it said on the front in broken slimy English- “Nintando Entortanmint Seestim… Total Rekall”. And thus this is what led to Vehoeven directing Total Recall in 1990, a film inspired by what he found on that cold September morning in 86′.
This is the worst game ever. Ever. And yeah, I mean that. Damn right I do! Total Recall for the NES is woeful and almost serves as a manual on how not to make games. Granted, video game tie-ins of films are never really great. Apart from a handful it’s never been done right but even the lowest of expectations can’t prepare you for how god awful Total Recall is. Ok first off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of the film. I’d go as far as to say it’s in my top 10 of all time and I adore just about everything about it. Yup. From the bulging eyes on the surface of Mars all the way down to the deformed chick with the three breasts- Total Recall is perfection. That said, I don’t know whose bright idea it was the make a game based on it. The game, developed by Interplay and released in 1990 for the NES, pretty much bears no resemblance to the film. The basic story structure is there but rather than being, say, a shooter with a dash of espionage action the game is a simple plaformer to the point whereby you almost half expect the main character to grow a thick black moustache and pop on red cap.
You start off in the street- the fucking street- for no reason. The buildings are a stomach churning dank, dreary and pale grey which, you know, contrasts nicely with the main character luminous green jumpsuit. Yeah, just like the movie, right? Wrong. The main characters stance looks like he’s trying desperately to hold in a foot long crap while his run is stiff, jerky and generally gives the appearance that he’s running on the spot rather than moving forward. And crouching, oh man, when crouching it looks like he’s… how do I put this correctly… assuming the position?. The game mechanic is simple: RUN. PUNCH. END OF LEVEL. That’s it. Which I guess is fine for a game like Mario that has perfected that style but even with the bare bones of a game mechanic Total Recall fails. It fails hard. And while you start the game thinking, “why the hell am I in some random street?” as soon as you dragged into unavoidable alleyways you’ll soon be thinking, “how do I inflict pain on the developers?”. These random unavoidable alleyways, once you get dragged in, are pretty much a small play area whereby you have to defeat a few enemies. Why are bearded midget enemies that wear bright red jumpsuits down an alley that is coloured a horrific neon blue? No reason, just play it, I guess! Also, to add insult to injury to get out of the alley you need to do battle with jumping over hot pipes blowing steam as well as killer rats. The bosses? Laughably nauseating especially the boss to level one that has you up against an almost unbeatable 8-bit Sharon Stone followed by an equally invincible 8-bit Michael Ironside. Still, Michael Ironside, it seems, is just as beautiful in 8-bit as he is on the big screen~
What I shouldn’t forget to mention is that apart from the midgets that plague you at every turn you’ll also find yourself up against cats, frogs, homeless people and the police. What a nice little combo there, folks! However, even more bizarre, is the fact that near the end of level one you’ll find yourself up against what could only be described as a ‘glory hole’ wall with a vendetta. As you walk past this wall- which is covered in holes- fists pop out to punch you. Man, I loved that scene in the movie! However, from what scenes were in the movie and have been recreated here have been watered down and ravaged of interest. Remember the x-ray scene in the movie where you can see Arnies entire skeleton walking around? Well, it makes an appearance in this but pretty much just revolves around the same old tired game mechanic but instead of looking like Arnie is an luminous green jumpsuit you just look like, well, a skeleton. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
The music is the auditory equivalent of Chinese water torture. It’s harsh, sharp and fucking relentless. You just want to scream, “No! No more! Please!”, and just give up. Even mere seconds into playing it would take the most battle hardened gamer not to puncture their own ear drums in terror. Yes, it’s that bad. From the graphics, the music and especially down to its handling of the source material Total Recall is horrendous, simply horrendous.
There you have it, folks, with the return of Gaming Horrors sees a game so bad that it’ll be hard to top. Yes, you don’t have to be a fan of the movie to feel offended and violated by this game but, hey, it helps!