Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"AbadoX", NES, 1989.

It's October, and to celebrate the month of thrills and chills, we're again investigating scary games. Or, as often happens in games as in movies, works where gore at least is substituted for fright.

AbadoX

DO YOU HAVE
THE STOMACH
TO BATTLE
IN THE BELLY
OF THE BEAST?

UGLY EYEBALLS
MUTANT DOGS
GUARDIAN GHOULS
SKELETON FISH

If this game was promoted in Germany, this ad would have featured a lot of the colour green. It's true -- in addition to outlawing the display of Nazi iconography (which makes playing German localizations of WWII-themed games such as Wolfenstein 3D a somewhat redacted experience a bit heavy on the Iron Crosses and a bit light on the swastikas... which is a bit funny when you consider what Zelda and Final Fantasy got away with), more gory portrayals of violence are typically forbidden from sale to minors and not displayed on store shelves, with storylines often revising human opponents to alien impostors or android impersonators, prone to spilling puddles of green lubricant when fragged. It's like a whole country where the sanitized SNES version of Mortal Kombat won, making for a country where, strangely, the adventure game genre never died, commercially. (Couldn't help Lucasfilm's sequel to Fate of Atlantis however, Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, since the plot was too entirely concerned with occult Nazism to survive the necessary amendments in their biggest market.)

None of this has any bearing on the game up for sale in today's post, a kind of body horror writ large. The game itself is of a more typically sci-fi genre, the top-down shooter, as exemplified by Galaga or R-Type, emerging from Space Invaders roots. To distinguish themselves from the competition, some (as well as unrelated games such as Contra and Strider) followed an early lead of interest in the H.R. Giger aesthetic (minus all the disturbing sexuality, territory left for the Cho Aniki games) and adopted an anatomical Innerspace/Fantastic Voyage setting. Are the enemies enormous or is the player minuscule? Who cares!? The important part is that they explode in juicy throbbing gibs when fragged.

The artwork suggests a "nightmare mode" in edutainmental game "Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon". (And dig that capitalized concluding X! The '90s are coming! They're going to be totally wiggety wiggety wackX!) Despite the effortless screenshot captions, all things considered, the slogan picked must be considered relatively witty.