Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions

Upon finishing the Lost finale last week (no spoilers I promise), I began to theorize that if Season 6 unfolds according to my expectations, it will be revealed that everyone is actually a handsome time traveling vampire. Take THAT for an enteritaning twist, JJ Abrams! I then began to recall the alleged Lost videogame which, despite all the fanatacism and magical seduction the TV show generates within the masses, looked like a whole lot of boring running through the jungle. Would have probably been better if it was about time traveling vampires, but in it’s final form it just didn’t manage to capture the Lost spirit as it were.

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There’s a point to all that Lost stuff and how it relates to Daffy Duck’s debut on the SNES. Believe it or not (hold on to your knickers JJ!) in Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions you actually get to fight… (JJ, you let go of your knickers, ya goof!) time traveling vampires!!! Ok, not really (Haha JJ you lost your knickers for nothing, ya goof!),¬† but here’s the comparison: there’s an obvious disconnect once you start playing The Marvin Missions wherein you realize that playing a videogame of a Looney (and maybe even Tuney) character is definitely not the same as watching that character in a cartoon. In the particular case of one Daffy Duck, he’s always been known to be a talker, not a fighter. Daffy’s ceaseless ability to quack away in his snarky duck dialect was clearly his weapon of choice during his feature animations, but in this game Ducky’s strapped into a space hat and can only user¬† a wide arrange of ACME galaxy guns to stop Marvin the Martian and his structurally awkward space minions…
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…Which isn’t necessarily a bad scenario to start off with. Upon embarking on your first quest, you get to hand-select which badical ACME guns you’re gonna buy with your cold, hard space-cash. There’s a whole menu of them, ranging from the Anti Matter Gun to the, dare I suggest, Three-Way Gun. But from that point on the gameplay is pretty much your average case of platforming antics.

Aside the occasional trademarked Daffy Duck duckpletive sounding off here and there, there’s nothing really new here. You navigate Daffy forward with the d-pad, gradually making your way across the planetary terrain while dodging the typical fireballs and other threatening debris. Power-ups keep you going and extra rocket fuel allows Daffy to accelerate up while jumping for a while. Evading laser shots and using that large inventory of guns as defense, at the end of each level you get cornered into a room where an old man cowers in fear while you nick off a few Martin the Martian-grown aliens. Once you win, you proceed to the next level as one would expect. Oh yeah, and if you get desperate you can always go for the “Nutty” button, in which Daffy goes “nutty” and bounces on everything.
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Pretty typical stuff, but two things to look out for. The first may be entirely related to the fact that I was up like an insomniac playing this at six in the morning, but Daffy’s ability to jump and land seem awfully, well, duck footed (tired of duck puns yet? dont’ worry the post is almost over). A little too floaty and frustrating for my tastes, so much that I often ended up killing myself a few times attempting to jump on a moving platform over a pit of lava. Pretty sad. The second is that the first level boss is impossible, or rather after several legitimate attempts of accurately shooting Marvin multiple times in the face, thursting all of the power that ACME had weilded me with, I came out the loser.

So maybe the whole point of Daffy Duck: The Marvin Mission was to teach me an important lesst. Maybe I’m the flawed one after all. ME. For not managing floaty platform mechanics, for getting my ass kicked by Martian the Marvin, for assigning entirely false hopes that maybe there’d be at least one cameo of a time traveling vampire in this game. And for THAT, I give this game a “nothing memorable without any vampires”, but “memorable to the extent that Daffy Duck is wearing a space hat”. Aaaaaanddddddd….

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Civilization

Alright. Let’s get this story straight. Truth be told, Sid Meier’s Civilization is the kind of game that certainly necessitates more play-through than a barely-awake hour and a half on a red eye to New York by someone who has no prior experience with turn-based strategy games. Fortunately, Civilization is the kind of game that has a large and enthusiastic fanbase of players who can surely detail you with the many triumphs that it accomplishes as a game. But until I talk to one of those guys, this review will be delightfully stunted.

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I’ll begin with my first impressions, starting with the menu items. My impressions are that they are great. How often do you get approached with the option to choose between starting your game with “Customize World” (yes please) or “EARTH.” I start my game, and I’m approached with THE choice. I have to choose my tribe. My roots. My blood brothers. I made love to the idea of being a Mongol at first, but ultimately chose to side with the Aztecs, a decision that fatally brought my first game to its dire end.

As an Aztek (named MICKEY!!!, nonetheless), I was approached by a beautifully tanned goddess who promised she’d teach me the ways of irrigation, obtaining raw materials, and road building. Anticipating at least some sort of hand-holding guidance as I made my way into the world, little did I know that the tutorial messages were turned off by default. Thus, in my first baby steps toward world conquest I could only think to wander my tiny settlers piece across the world, in a lonely, 20-minute journey tangled in menus and fruitless turn-based exploration. Eventually I figured out how to finally create my city, MONTEZUMA, which I quickly turned into a democracy, a democracy that I then swiftly determined to rebel against. End of civilization.

Game two, was in fact, slightly more successful.

I knew I couldn’t mess this civilization business up the second time around, so I went with my actual roots and assigned the young and virtuous CHOW to lead the Chinese to victory. This time I putted around with the controls enough to recruit a few men to defend my city of CHINA (I figure that’s a lucky enough name for a civilization, right?) and encountered enough straglers to recruit a decent assembly of men. With their assistance, I met the rulers of both Germany and Russia, who unbeknownst to me were both close neighbors of CHINA.

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Frederick, The Ruler and Emperor of Germany, was polite and dressed to the nines. Despite the clear advancements his civilization had made in hairstyles and tailoring, Frederick offered to trade my sages’ knowledge of wheel-making for horse riding, to which I enthusiastically agreed to. Deal done! Then, there was that awkward run-in with Stalin, in which he demanded the same terms as Frederick and things got tense when I told him Frederick was the only man I could trust with that information. Shucks. Despite the increase of action in this second go with civilization, CHINA actually ended up with a lower score than MONTEZUMA. Double shucks.

So that’s it. By the end of the day, I was left with two boring, futile civilizations. With a little more time I’m sure I would’ve had more exciting stories to tell, but, hey, on the bright side, I did learn some valuable lessons. Number one: sometimes you need to read the directions before playing. Number two: stay true and never teach Stalin how to make a wheel. Now go and spread civilization.