For whatever reason, the Genesis seemed to encourage a bit more creativity than most other systems. When it worked, it made for some pretty remarkable titles. But when it didn’t, things often got weird – the Genny was home to some pretty strange titles, and we’ve already gone through more than a few of them while doing this project. But there have been a few that, even by Genesis standards, were pretty, um… inspired. Here’s a showcase of the five most bizarre:
#5 – Alex Kidd in Enchanted Castle
Overview: A platformer, sort of like Super Mario Bros, but with special items you get by playing a minigame.
Strangeness Rating: 1/5 – Alex Kidd isn’t much weirder than a lot of other platform games, although he does look like a cross between a monkey and a hobbit, and he punches the shit out of cars.What is a little unusual is that he lives on the planet Paperrock, where everyone is obsessed with playing Rock/Paper/Scissors.There’s an ominous warning in the intro that anyone who isn’t good at the game won’t last long…
Epitome of Weirdness:Playing a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors in which the winner gets a helicopter and the loser… is murdered.
C’mon, don’t be a wuss.
Conclusion:It’s really not that much fun playing a game that’s centered around life-or-death matches of Rock/Paper/Scissors.Yes, it’s a bonus game to get you special items, but without the special items, this is a pretty below-average platformer.To be fair, it was one of the earliest Genesis games, but that still doesn’t make it fun.
#4 – Decap Attack
Overview:Play as Chuck D. Head, as you journey through stages and kill enemies by whipping your head at them.
Strangeness Rating: 2/5 – Aside from the fact that you use your own head as a weapon by throwing it at enemies, the rest of the game isn’t really extraordinarily strange.Then again, how much weirder do you really need it to get after that?
Epitome of Weirdness:Using your head in such a reckless fashion can lead to some interesting outcomes.For instance, you might lose it.Don’t worry though, there plenty of spare heads laying around to substitute it with.They’re pretty interchangeable.
Conclusion:Decap Attack is kind of fun, but nothing really special.It depends a little bit too much on the novelty of its concept, and once you get over the whole head-throwing thing it’s a solid, but pretty ordinary, effort.
#3 – Stormlord
Overview:You play as the Stormlord (or something), and need to free fairies from imprisonment through a combination of platforming, puzzle solving, and action.
Oh, also, this is a pretty typical scene in Stormlord.
Strangeness Rating: 3/5 – Stormlord takes place in a fantasy setting, and by fantasy, I mean that the cover of Heavy Metal magazine threw up all over the stages.There’s plenty of fantasy-themed stuff scattered throughout the stages – cauldrons, giant skulls, tress that have been made into houses, but it’s all just thrown around in a completely random way.There’s no rhyme of reason to any of it, and the overall impression is rather strange.
Epitome of Weirdness: The landscape is dotted with these fairies coming out of pots… for some reason.They don’t move or do anything other than occasionally block your path.
I guess a wall would have been too ordinary.
Conclusion:Weird or not, Stormlord is really, really crappy.The control is less than ideal, cheap deaths abound, and there’s a bunch of ways to screw yourself over and not be able to win.This game just plain sucks.
#2 – Marvel Land
Overview: Another platformer, this time set in an amusement park.
Not pictured: Slug Car.
Strangeness Rating: 4/5 – Marvel Land is whimsical, but at first glance, it doesn’t really appear to be any more strange than a lot of other platformers. Take a closer look though, and things definitely take a turn for the weird.The main enemy early on isn’t just a slug, it’s a slug that been turned into some kind of car. There are plants with faces on them, not too weird – until they throw their lips at you.Marvel Land takes the normal cartoonishness seen in a lot of video games, and adds a bizarre, sometimes sinister edge to it.
Epitome of Weirdness: This walking, man-eating flower, which just happens to also be a dominatrix, complete with whip, leather bikini, and red high heels.
This is troubling on multiple levels.
Conclusion:Marvel Land plays like a rejected version the first Super Mario Bros. game.On drugs.At times it almost feels as though someone took a copy of SMB1, removed the fun parts, and replaced it with whatever their fever-ridden brain happened to think of.It may be strange, but it’s also simplistic, dated, and pretty mediocre.
#1 – Trampoline Terror
Overview:Overhead-style game in which you dodge enemies and do some minor puzzle-solving.
Strangeness Rating: 5/5 – Airships have blanketed the skies over your homeland, and its up to you- Trampoline Terror (yes, that’s your name) – to destroy them.Luckily for you, Trampoline Terror (a name so awesome bears repeating), the engineers who designed these ships left a bunch of self-destruct buttons on the outside of the ships.Apparently oversight isn’t a big deal with these guys.So its just a matter of running around on these ships, mid-flight, and pressing all the buttons.Oh, one other thing – each airship is made out of trampolines.So, to recap, the point of the game is to save the world from the eminent threat of being surrounded by groups of flying trampolines.
Epitome of Weirdness:The flying trampoline airships are, naturally, infested with wheeled snapping turtles that want to kill you.
At least the turtles are smiling
Conclusion:It takes a little bit to get going, but after about the fifth stage or so, the game starts to get pretty fun. Like the girls I used to date in high school, the fact that it’s more than a little bit insane merely adds its charm. But even without that added bonus, this would still be a pretty good game.