Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Silver Surfer", 1990, NES.

Something always rang fishy about this ad to me. In a comic book, I see people talking about video games, but all I see are comic book illustrations of comic book characters. Why no screenshots? Why is the copy so elusive, gushing about such abstracts as how many levels the game has? (How many keys on the C64 keyboard again, Mr. Shatner?) And even if the number of levels is a selling point, it's a bit odd to illustrate the number 12 by displaying five bosses. The other levels? Yeah, those are just filler.
INTENSE

12 LEVELS OF PLAY!

POSSESSOR
REPTYL
MEPHISTO
FIRELORD
EMPEROR

RIDING AN AWESOME WAVE OF 3 MEGA FIREPOWER!

The non-stop action of this high-energy, inter-galactic battle game will challenge all of your combat skills. With 12 levels of outrageous game play, amazing graphics, music and radical sound effects, it's the hottest game in the galaxy!

If the illustrations tell me that the game is too ugly to portray in screenshot form (ironically, by the team who would later capture the eyes and imaginations of all and sundry with the CD-ROM hit the 7th Guest!), the prose tells me that the person in charge of the ad hasn't actually played the game either. Really, I have some concern that at press time, the game didn't actually exist in any form yet, and they just ran the ad to measure fan interest in seeing such a title developed.

I like how they run out of adjectives -- "outrageous" game play, "amazing" graphics, "radical" sound effects... but the music, well, it's just kind of "meh", you know? I also question the editorial decision of slipping into surfer superlatives just because the silver gentleman in question happens to surf -- it likely has more to do with four green fellows who were making a big splash at the time. Just as well the music wasn't praised as "tubular", though who knows -- there are some great C64 SID conversions of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells!

Ah, but I digress. And speaking of digression -- "3 mega firepower"?