TKO Super Championship Boxing

Technical Knock Out?

When I was a child, I was allergic to swearing. Goodness gracious, yes. Here’s an anecdote, followed by a transition into a review:

The trouble started when, drunk on youth and innocence, I went to a friends house, only to discover that treachery resided therin. It lay in his eldest brother, a pubescent lad with just the hint of a ‘stache’ upon his pimple-scarred face. We were playing a game of EA Sports Boxing when the villain appeared. He held out his hand for the controller, and, as I remember it, grinned an evil grin for the devilry he was about to commit. He loaded up a character of his own creation. “Don’t tell mom,” he said, and I had but to look at the name to determine the reason: “Shitkicker.” Gadzooks! My heart a-pounding, I carried on living, but only just. Later, I would ponder what awful thing had happened to the older boy to cause such vile behaviour in him. I came to the conclusion that he was a terrible person by nature; he was the “Shitkicker.”

It is only now that I realize just how wrong I was. He not a hateful boy, but only one who had seen the true potential for comedy provided by the boxing genre. Following in his mighty footsteps, I named by dutiful TKO boxer-man “DesiresIntercourse.” He wears it well. Not only does he desire intercourse, most probably of the sexual kind, but he punches other men in the face to get it. He punches them in the face until they fall down, he does. Or he should.

 

A tale of woe, / Of sorrow and so / on.

But instead, he chokes. It’s probably my fault; I don’t play this game’s strategy well. It tries to force me to box like an actual boxer, to bide my time, keep my defenses high, and strike when the time is right. I’m far more comfortable with just dropping the gloves and going all hockey fight on the other guy’s ass. Despite my failure at all attempts at competence, it is this very aspect of the game that I find intriguing. It helps give it some depth missing from a lot of boxing simulators and makes it less about how many punches you throw, but when you throw them. Which is, I guess, what boxing is all about — some kind of gentleman’s game of strategy.

But for purists like myself, who really just want to make that other dude fall down, it’s hard to think about not hitting him.

In the end, my friend’s brother got caught, his mom banned him from the computer for life, and now he’s a porn-actor. I mean a porn-activist.

Kids, don’t swear. You don’t know who could be listening.

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Tiny Toon Adventures: Wacky Sports Challenge

I was bad at this event. And all events.
I don’t really want to review this game. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t want to do it. I’ve been looking at it, sitting here in my REVIEW QUEUE for a few weeks now, and I have nothing to say about it. I can tell you what the game is, I can describe the events in the game, I can talk about the Tiny Toons franchise…but none of this seems worthwhile. It could be said that nothing I ever say in reviews is worthwhile, but at least it’s usually amusing, right? RIGHT? 

This game has left no impression on me at all. It looks ok, it sounds ok, it plays ok, it’s ok. One thing that does stay with me is that I don’t like the premise: Montana Max offers a million dollars for some WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGE and the other toons kill each other to get it (well, compete with each other, no fatalities as of yet). I don’t like the premise because it’s dull and uncreative as shit. The best thing you could come up with is that they want a million dollars from the series’ resident rich asshole? The Tiny Toons show was actually kind of clever at times, and from what I’ve seen of this game, it is not.

Here’s a better premise for making the Tiny Toons compete against each other in a WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGE: Montana Max is dying. He does not want to face the reaper alone, so he kidnaps the other toons. Soon, they’re thrust into a deadly game where the only winner is the one who dies the least painfully. I would play this game and gladly review it. In the meantime, if you want a game that has a series of WACKY SPORTS CHALLENGES, I suppose you could do worse than this game. It’s competent!

Timeslip

In movies, whenever some dude gets into a time machine, he goes “zzzzzzap!” and he disappears. But this is ridiculous! Would it not make more sense for a eager-faced time traveler, who is able to jump to any point in history, come back at the immediate moment in time that he left? This would be practical: he would be able to go about his daily life without anyone realizing that he was zapping off to the past to see their great-grandparents. (This will always be a trouble with owning a time-craft — one has to always keep it hidden from those who would long to go back. To go back to see a loved one, or a religious leader. People long to justify the way in which their life — something universally defined by the past. If we could only go back, to where it all started, we could tell ourselves, ” This here: this is why I’m here.”) Or perhaps he jumps back in time right before something he doesn’t want to do. “Oh dear. Tomorrow I am to take that exam on nuclear fission. Oh, I know! I’ll skip it by going back in time, possibly to see some hot broad, and coming back after it happens. That way, I wont have to go because no one will find me.” No one would find him, incidentally, because he will have disappeared.

Why? I’ll tell you why! Because movie-going audiences are lambs that must be guided through movies with sticks and carrots a-plenty. They need to be shown the villain by the cruel music that is played on his appearance; so too cannot the audience see the hero disappear and then reappear instantly, before following his first disappearance, plot wise.

But there is another possibility: perhaps the hero, having disappeared from this time, cannot return. Perhaps he dies in the past, or maybe there are multiple time-lines. Perhaps this is the message that we slip in every peice of anything around time travel: you never can come back.

With games like Timeslip, it’s hard not to wonder if time travel is really worth all the pomp and frivolity. It follows Pan-Dimensional Bert, who goes back in time to, in his own words, “Drive those cavemen crazy with my Lynyrd Skynyrd.” He never does. Instead, they decide to show him who’s boss. They do this in such a beautiful way I can hardly describe it. They stand, just off screen, see, and they continually spawn — faster than you can shoot them, in fact. Thus, every platform becomes a major risk to jump to, since you can’t advance the screen past the entire platform, thus ebbing the tides of limitless baddies.

Eddie's last thoughts, as he turned into ooze, where of his wife and five children, whom he loved dearly.
This is the start of the game. I spent five minutes here.

Naturally, it’s eventually possible to get enough of the guys cleared out that there’s a free spot big enough to jump to, but you’d better fire your gun while you jump, or you will hit a wall of baddies and fall to your death, you unlucky soul.

So, this game is strange as hell, and I’m not really sure what to make of it, honestly. I like the concept (Dr. Scientistdad raids the refrigerator, falls into a black hole in his cheese tray, travels through time, finds true love etc.), but I’m just not sure I like the game play. It tends to feel like a game against the poor design of the game rather than any fun.

Thus, I must refrain from recommending this game to all but the most enthusiastic time-traveling fanatics.

Adieu

Time Trax

It's Trax for Time Trax! I mean Time! Time for Trax Trax! I mean...oh whatever
A SNES game based on an obscure Australian/American sci-fi show that ran for all of one year? Yes please! If you were alive and watching Australian television between 1993 and 1994, you might have been lucky enough to catch the adventures of Darien Lambert as he did his level best to capture time traveling criminals.

Aided by a holographic companion (sound familiar?) and his keyless car alarm remote gun (yes, for serious), Darien would traipse around looking for fugitives to send back to the future. Anything is possible when you have SELMA (Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive—I feel dumber for having typed that out) on your side!

What a rare treat for the fans of the show who also managed to find a copy of the SNES game*! Except not really, because this game is kind of bad. “Kind of bad” is still probably better than most of the games we review here, but it’s still bad. The graphics are nothing to write a review about, but they’re capable at least—where this game fails is in its fiddly controls and relentlessly respawning enemies. Ask anyone being tirelessly hunted by Jason Vorhees: it’s really frustrating to kill someone or something only to have it reappear moments later, even more annoyed than it was in the first place at your attempts to kill it. Lousy revenants.

Time Trax is the hardest kind of game to review: it’s not so bad or ridiculous that it’s really easy to mock, nor is it so good you can gush praise from whichever orifice you normally use to gush praise. Instead, it manages to dance a line of mediocrity so unassailable it’s difficult to do much other than recognize the game exists and explain its genesis.

If I ever find myself capable of time travel I might return to the past to convince its creators to forget the entire thing, but there’s zero chance I’d ever remember to do that and I’d be too busy harassing Jane Mansfield anyway. No, this game isn’t likely to leave much of an impression on anyone, for good or for ill, just like the review you’ve finished reading.

* Approximately six people, give or take six people.

The Tick

SPOON!!

The Tick sucks, which is only appropriate for a videogame based on a sucky cartoon based on a sucky comic book character named after a bloodsucking parasite.

This irritates me perhaps a little more than it should, because The Tick is a parody of the superhero genre. I think parodies have a responsibility to at least be good if they’re going to be at someone/something else’s expense.  The fact that the videogame is a carbon copy of every terrible Spider-Man game is almost vindicating.  Almost.

The whole thing reeks of mid-90s Jim Carrey-ism.  I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to retrospectively put a bullet in my own 10-year-old head until I just coined that sentence.

Thunder Spirits

I feel for interstellar spaceship pilots. I really do.

I mean, it’s got to be at least four years of flight/military training. Then you probably have to travel to a distant galaxy to actually see any action. Who knows how long that would take in this speculative future. Years? Days? Months? Millennia? Then, when you finally come into contact with whatever alien beings you’re dealing with, they kick you out the airlock with a tube of toothpaste and some jammies and you’re face to face with a laser-breathing space-worm.

As you frantically search your flight manual for “Laser-Breathing Space-Worm,” you realize your mother was right. Tears begin to form in your sleep-deprived eyes as you reach for the flight-stick, panic guiding your shaky hands. But it’s too late. The space-worm is upon you. His thick, spiny skin touches the outside of your cockpit and PAF — you’re gone. A waste? Maybe. But I’ve got two more.

Unlike most side-scrolly, shooty type games, Thunder Spirits endeavors to make you painfully aware of the sacrifices of the pilots you command. It seems to be less a game and more a chance for you to connect with each of these extraordinary human beings in the short time they have on this plane of existence. And, as you begin to love and cherish them, something magical happens. You feel real sorrow — I mean real sorrow — when they are, seconds later, wiped out of existence by some ludicrous rocket. I see a new pilot blink into existence, and immediately I worry for his safety. He is young, inexperienced, and he’s up against, like, an infinite wave of aliens, all designed with the specific intent of giving his guts a good munching. And, when he dies, so too the innocence inside me. Inside all of us! This is more than just a game; this is a recognition of our own mortality. We are so fragile! Like these sacrificial lambs, we are sent on our way along life’s fearful space-path, and one misstep later, we’re food for some monstrous dragon’s sweltering ego.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We can act to make a safer future for ourselves. Maybe we can reduce the number of lasers that shoot us from below and above at the same time so that we have to fly forward really fast or die. Or maybe we can stop those fleets of wombly alien bastards from coming so fast that we can’t, in all seriousness, possibly kill them before they fuck us in the asshole. And maybe, just maybe, we can turn that fire-breathing space-dragon at the end of the first level into a giant hug-monster, who just loves hugs. Or maybe even smooches?

On some level, though, this game appeals to the part of me that says, “Do it better. You’re not doing it right. Do it again.” But I hate that part of me. And so I raise my hands in anguish only to bring them crashing down again in frustration.

Like this: hskdjaj.

Thomas the Tank Engine

I want to punch this face.
Choo choo, that’s the sound of this review leaving the station! Oh no! There’s a flood of shitty mini games that’s destroyed the tracks! Look out Thomas, look out! 

This game is weak. I know I’m not its target audience, but that doesn’t excuse its complete pointlessness and half-assery. You developers do realize that adults will have to sit with their kids playing this game over and over and over, right? Way to be jerks with your coal-stained shovelware.

Each of the mini games in Thomas the Tank Engine is sadder than the last. There’s a game where you arrange the pieces of a sliding puzzle. This should take about 3 minutes tops unless your child is dead. There’s a game where you set track switches so that Thomas takes the correct route to the station. This should take about 1 minute unless your child is blind and afraid of train noises. I hate this game.

WELL DONE THOMAS, YOU REALLY ARE A USEFUL ENGINE FOR COMPLETING THESE MIND-NUMBINGLY EASY MUNDANE TASKS.

Oh, you want to hear about more excruciatingly dull mini games? Sure! Here goes:

Can you do this puzzle? Of course you can because the image you’re trying to make is the background of the puzzle. I know you want your kids to feel successful in their endeavours, but c’mon. Give them some credit.

Are you ready for a race? If you’re ready to alternate between mashing two buttons, you bet your ass you are! Quick, press the go button and occasionally let off some steam to make certain that Thomas doesn’t explode and put us all out of our collective misery!

GREAT RACE THOMAS YOU FUCK

Build some tracks to take Thomas from the farm to the mill and ultimately to the station! Hooray! Your child isn’t a rock or a pile of wires. Here’s some corn.

RACE TIME AGAIN! Whoo, mash those buttons! Go Thomas go. Go to hell.

Enjoy a Thomas the Tank Engine story where James (another train with a face) fucks up and derails and maybe kills some people. Do you care? No, but your 3 year-old will probably really care and make you watch this forty times. Too bad it’s as boring as this sentence. This game takes about 5-10 minutes to play in its ENTIRETY. Imagine paying for this game. Just imagine it.

I hope Thomas the Tank Engine jumps the tracks and kills Mr. Conductor.