Producers do not make movies and television. They exploit properties. I couldn’t tell you if David Kirschner exploited Pirates of Dark Water and to what extent because I never saw it. Chances are that was during one of the periods we didn’t have cable so I was probably trying to make out the ghost of saturday morning cartoons on the rabbit ears or doing something outside. I don’t even know. Given his repertoire, I can take a guess. This man’s money bred The Seed of Chucky, but it also gave us Frailty and An American Tail. We’ve talked about An American Tail before, so you probably already know that Don Bluth has gouged a thousand twenty-somethings into what they are today.
As for Frailty, I don’t even know where to start. It’s probably one of my favorite movies about a guy who is a serial killer (or is he?) Couldn’t tell you why. Anyway. Pirates of Dark Water.
So anyway you are some pirates with inefficiently shaped swords and you have to beat up a bunch of other, palette swapped, pirates and take their treasure and whatnot to prevent an incredibly bad dude from ruling the dark water. Easy enough. And man are there palette swaps, I am not even joking. You fight like 1,000,000 D. Riders, A bunch of Big Pirates, a number of Lady Pirates, some Tall Pirates and some Tattooed Pirates. Then you fight them when they’re orange.
In playing this I realized that very few beat ’em ups let their players block. The enemy can all they want but you have to juke around on the z-axis like a damnfool to keep from getting slit open like a particularly stubborn candy wrapper. That entire idea seems to have stopped at River City Ransom and started up again somewhere around, I don’t know, God Hand?
Beat ’em ups need people. The only thing to help out with the awful bonus lives vs. attrition grind is someone to talk to. Otherwise, rather than a social activity that actually involves literally rubbing elbows with friends and strangers alike, one ends up with an endless solipsistic void, a world where everyone is just a reskin of someone else and the accumulation of empty wealth and the recovery of girlfriends is the sole objective. It’s the idle comparison of slushie flavors that can drag the terminally bored through this death march through an entire nation of pixel people. In the end, you walk away, lay down, and let the Dark Waters cover you. You give the dying of light no satisfaction.