Monday, September 2, 2013

"Kid Dracula", NES, 1993.

It's been a bumpy ride! I acquired a pre-owned copy of the text adventure reader, Twisty Little Passages, under tremendously dire circumstances; I went on a trip to Victoria, where I introduced my 14-month-old to Ms. Pac-Man on the ferry and went on my customary shopping spree at Island Collateral.

I know, this is Donkey Kong Jr. It was the return voyage 8)

Then I returned, and picked up a single solitary Game Boy game at a garage sale (wondering whether I can even play it, a Japanese game, on eg. my Super Game Boy adaptor -- turns out I now have 2 working SNES machines, but only one good set of cords, so I can enjoy GB games on the big screen -- now I just need some GB games!) ... later that day my partner kindly picked up an Atari Flashback on my behalf as well as a positively decrepit Mac Powerbook that, as best as I can tell, is only good for making the Mac startup sound. But by that point I'd already looked up ads for my GB game (so as to better indicate to this gaijin just which game I'd actually just acquired) and was moved to post it here. The ad artwork is borrowed wholesale from the awesome Retro Gaming Australia site, whose author actually appears to have personal experience with nearly all the games posted (even when joking about how long they took to get released in Australia, if ever), and provides great context regarding the games' production and reception. Me, I just poke fun at the pictures and choices of words.

Meet a Dude You Can
Really Hang Out With.

Meet Kid Dracula, the coolest living corpse ever to stake his claim on Game Boy. He's got 7 powers, 2 fangs and 1 serious attitude. And he'll need it all to rip through the hundreds of creeps who stalk his 8 level, 5 subgame kingdom. It's enough to drive you batty!

[screenshot]
Transform into a bat and overcome varicose villains like Frankenpunk.
[screenshot]
There's no escaping Kid Drac's Wing 'N Homing Missiles.
[screenshot]
Use the Bitin' Bullet to keep the living dead from getting a big head.
[screenshot]
The Umbrella Lagosi will protect you from the exploding volcano.
[screenshot]
This amazing power will make your worst enemies look up to you.
[screenshot]
These bat dudes will drain the life out of the nastiest nemesis. Cool!

OK, yes, this is a game about Dracula (yes, the same Konami Drac who is the antagonist of the Castlevania series!), who is tied by tradition to bats, which sleep upside-down. This is the crux of our ad's promotional angle -- bats: they sleep upside-down.

"Stake his claim" seems a bit gratuitous of an excuse to invoke the anti-vampiric word "stake". Then, a gang of numbers to confound and overwhelm the consumer. (2 fangs? No need to assert that -- it's standard. And this is the '90s, so the serious attitude is also implied.)

Varicose var·i·cose adjective \ˈva-rə-ˌkōs\: Latin varicosus full of dilated veins from varic-, varix dilated vein. First Known Use: circa 1730. Either Frankenpunk is a lot more disgusting than I thought, or this word is being used incorrectly. Umbrella Lagosi is making someone dead roll over in their grave, not least because the surname reference has been garbled to a phonetic equivalent. (Do volcanoes even have power over vampires?) Bat dudes... I... I just have to wonder if this game was a stupid in the original Japanese or if it was fortified with extra moronity for the North American audience.

Of course, this is all just a premonition of October, now soon approaching, wherein just like last year I'll be making blog posts about scary games, boogety boogety. Also relevant to the earlier, irrelevant preamble: for local readers, my next retro consoles party will be in mid-October, you'll be hearing more about it here.