Adventures of Kid Kleets

File this one under things that aren’t as they seem as well.

I mean, really– a no-name platformer with an ugly looking kid and a soccer ball for the SNES. This game has no right being good. And yet…

Okay, maybe it’s the soccer fixation speaking. That’s the only logical explanation that I would actually enjoy a game like this, right? I mean, I’ve never even heard of it. Surely someone would have told me it was worth playing at some point! A friend, a magazine, a ouija board, an opium dream, anything. I know the latter helped me break 1 million in Geometry Wars, where was it this time?

Seriously, this game is really fun. Don’t let the terrifying title/loading screens fool you. You have a soccer ball, and you can kick it screens away and it just waits there. If you run away without the ball, it doesn’t “find” you. Likewise, you kill a baddie, and he doesn’t reappear when you go back to look at the surprisingly good backgrounds. You can balance on the ball, kick it at enemies, kick it up to get secrets, bounce it on your head, bounce on it yourself, dribble with it… maybe more, who knows? And all of the sprites are fun and kind of hilarious. You can jump in the sewer and hit rats or battle fireman-slash-mechanic guys. There’s the typical “collect these funny looking things” angle, too, but it’s hardly a hassle, given he remaining awesome this game is drenched in.

Seriously, guys. Sports-related platformer. It works! Next I’m going to be a fan of Izzy’s Quest or something (Izzy was the mascot of Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics, and yes, he had a platformer, and yes, I remembered that without Wikipedia, so if I’m wrong, don’t act like you’re all better because you had the patience to fact-check me where I couldn’t fact-check myself).

In short: Play this game.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons – Eye of the Beholder

Get ready for this, because I am about to go all delusions of grandeur on your asses, but wow. There must be a God, and he must be toying with me. I set upon my epic quest top play video games and write about them to my slavering, adoring fans, and he drops bombs like this on me. This game mixes three of my favourite things in games, nay, three of my favourite things EVER:

1) D&D. Second edition, fair, but D&D nonetheless. Many a Sunday were frittered away rolling dice in my youth. Actually, by “my youth” I mean “until I moved out, about 9 months ago.” I also mean “and even then only because I was too far to keep playing with the same group” and also, “I miss D&D.” There, full disclosure. It was like improv but with more swords. Further full disclosure: I was/am a complete improv junkie. I don’t do it anymore, but I should. I should be on Second City. On SNL. I should have been a Kid in the Hall.

I warned you about delusions of grandeur, right? Oh yeah, those three things.

2) Capcom. Yeah, Capcom produced this sucker. Those same guys that gave me an excuse to beat up a blonde Jay Leno impersonator in red pyjamas. That’s the company. But, they’re not as awesome as the other company that ALSO worked on this game:

3) STRATEGIC SIMULATIONS INC.  You do not understand the deep man-lust I have for the SSi gentlemen. Star Command was epic. It was also the first of its kind I played, pen-and-paper or otherwise. Endlessly rerolling to get the perfect sniper/grenade guy/esper? PRICELESS. The only other game I loved this much was Warlords. Also SSi. Wait, shit. Wikipedia says that was SSG. Well, they were also awesome, I guess. There remain only three names in video games I’d follow off of a cliff, then: SSi (Strategic Simulations, inc), SI (Sports Interactive — have you PLAYED Football Manager? Because I have. Today. It was awesome. As always.), and SSG, apparently (Strategic Studies Group? Okay). Wait, I am making that list five long, to add Sir-Tech (for Jagged Alliance) and, well, I guess Tim Cain, even though I only liked Fallout. But I liked it a lot.

So. Add those three juggernauts of awesome together, and what do you get?

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons - Eye of the Beholder

You get Iron Rations and a Short Sword. FUCK!

To continue my trip into nostalgia, this whole first-person dungeon-crawler thing only did it for me twice in my life. Once was Space Hulk for the previously mentioned Amiga. Scared the stool out of me as a kid. The “freeze time” as it was called was light-years (haaaa) ahead of its time. It was like proto-proto-bullet time, allowing you a chance to make your moved before the genestealers ate your face. The second game that “got” me in this genre was abotu a week ago when I started Etrian Odyssey. And even then, it’s only because I have three hours of public transit a day. And even then it’s struggling to  find a place between Picross DS and New York Times Crosswords, for heaven’s sake. I don’t like these games. They’re a terrible replacement for good ol’ pen-and-paper crawls (which are terrible replacements for actually fighting goblins in an old catacomb, surely). This one’s no different. Not even making my own characters could save this game (if you must know, they were Chunk the human fighter, Foxxo the elven thief, Ugala the dwarven cleric, and Daeiei the elven mage). You ever tried to push a cockroach around with a nine-foot-long, five-millimeter-thick cooked piece of spaghetti? I imagine this is how it would feel.

There are no words.

I want to write more, but there are no words left. It’s too late. I’ve fallen into a pit of nostalgic ennui.

Wake me up when they make Jagged Alliance 3.