Bebe’s Kids

Inside, he feels nothing. Nothing.
Inside, he feels nothing. Nothing.

The year was 1992 and a strange magic cloud descended on the world. For a little while, the sun was blacked out by the whirling and seething magic cloud, and the wailing of the people rose each day as their memory of sunlight diminished. Soon, they turned on each other, ravenous beasts loosed by the Stygian shadows. It was humanity’s darkest hour. Then, as if from a dream, the world woke and the magic cloud disappeared. All that was left behind was the terrible carnage we had wrought on one another and the feature-length animated film, Bebe’s Kids. Later that year society decided to collectively forget this fantastic and horrible event ever occurred – the only remnant of this time is a badly designed SNES game based on the movie. Bebe’s Kids is a reminder of this atavistic primal violence, an artifact of regret and shame. We must hold its lessons dear to our hearts, lest we ever forget and the magic cloud returns to claim us all.

You begin by selecting one of two characters from Bebe’s Kids: the titular children from which you can choose are LaShawn and Kahill. At least for the first level in the game, you cannot play as the smelly baby with the gravelly voice and a bellyful of whimsy. Perhaps you can enjoy traipsing about as that little ragamuffin later on in the game, but I will never know and would appreciate it if no one tells me so it can remain a mystery – a mystery that I could care less about only if I had some type of cybernetic Gives No Fuck chip implanted in my brain.

Wandering about the theme park Fun Land (the joke is that it’s not fun) and punching people in the crotch is a strange ballet that I’d find enjoyable if not for the fact the controls in this game aren’t very responsive, making movement seem as though you’re slogging along the bottom of an angry sea with high salt content. I can only listlessly hit a man wearing a mouse costume in the junk so many times before my attention begins to drift to thoughts of not playing this game. Just think about all the things I could do instead of playing Bebe’s Kids: eat a sandwich, …

I’m hungry.

Instead of wasting your time playing Bebe’s Kids, why not construct a fine sandwich? Go to the deli and buy some prosciutto, pick up some nice soft bread and a fine cheese (your preference). Mustard. A bit of crisp lettuce. Delicious, relatively healthy, and much better for your mental health than even a single minute of playing this game. Walk outside and enjoy your life while you still can: the magic cloud could be back and so could Bebe’s Kids.

Deep down inside, you know this to be true. And you’re afraid as I am.

Bazooka Blitzkrieg

And now you have seen pretty much every enemy in the game.
And now you have seen pretty much every enemy in the game.

Ah, the Super Scope.  One of the many peripherals for the SNES, and the one I wanted with every bone in my tiny, bony child body.  It was a bazooka, and at that point in my life bazookas were the trump card of all weaponry.  You’ve got a knife?  I’ve got a sword.  You’ve got a sword?  I’ve got a gun.  You’ve got a gun?  I’ve got a bazooka.  It’s over.  You have a tank?  Well fuck you, I still have a bazooka, and I still win.

Alas, I never owned one (neither a bazooka nor a Super Scope). Even now, as I play this game, I am using my mouse to aim.  As a fairly experienced FPS player, I am no crack shot, but I am able to pop heads from some distance.   As such, the difficulty of this game is surprising.  If an enemy is on screen for a second on the “normal” difficulty, they will start shooting, and each shot drains a noticeable portion of your life bar.  It takes two or three bullets to kill them, and some larger enemies require a missile.  The screen scrolls to the right, enemies pop out, you shoot them.  Occasionally, a power up appears.

There are no frills, no extra systems, nothing at all.  You don’t dodge or reload or anything.  You just pan inexorably to the right, watching your life counter and your missile counter.  The only explanation for this is that all the evildoers in the city are on that side of the street, and you are in some kind of slow vehicle – say, a lawnmower – armed to the teeth with high-powered weaponry.

When you scroll to the end, your lawnmower comes to a stop, and you are faced with some kind of unintelligible mess of machinery, which you belatedly realize is a boss as it opens up on you with twin machineguns.  I destroy those machineguns with my missiles.  But then I think, what the eff? How am I supposed to avoid damage from this thing?  It takes several missiles to destroy each machinegun.  And then it opens up its missile launchers, which fires missiles I assume I could have shot down had it not ruthlessly murdered me.

All this game does is make me think about the oddities of its associated peripheral.  Why Super Scope? Why not name it after a weapon, instead of a weapon attachment?  Imagine hearing that name without knowing what it was, not entirely uncommon in this pre-mainstream-internet-usage era.  Having none of the precious magazines that were windows into some kind of arcane knowledge of a video game world, I would have imagined some kind of science game, where I can examine the things on screen in microscopic detail through my super microscope.  Or perhaps an astronomy game.

Actually, those would be awesome, and both would automatically require a lot more thought and creativity than “scroll right, shoot enemies.”  This game is just a peripheral to a peripheral; it is there as a necessary function of the light gun.  It has no life or vitality of its own.  Do not disturb its dusty crypt.