Peter Pan and the Pirates
At a Glance: I suffered very serious trauma about a year ago at the hands of a different Peter Pan game, but I was still willing to give this game a shot due to my open-mindedness and my amazing ability to never ever learn from my horrible mistakes. If the previous Hook game was my first warning, then my second was the title screen, which attained a record-breaking level of fruitiness that developers were unable to match for years until Kuja showed up in Final Fantasy 9. And while not technically a warning, the fact that the developer was called Equilibrium did bring back bad memories of a movie by the same name, which I heard nothing but good things about until I watched it and it turned out to have writing, acting and action scenes that all rivaled Battlefield Earth for pure stupidity. So what do you get when a bad game simultaneously reminds you of another bad game AND a bad movie when you simply look at the title screen? The answer, if you know what's good for you, is "drunk."
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 56k
Game Plot: Since I was no longer a Peter Pan rookie, I assumed the boss of the game would be Hook, but that turned out to be a wretched lie. Instead the villain appears to be a giant wrinkly blueberry with spaghetti draped across it, and a face that looks like Abobo from Double Dragon had a stroke. This mysterious Blueberry Pirate also has a nice big cap'n hat with a crossbones symbol, although the bones look like they were taken from a guy with a bad case of rickets. The plot really starts to thicken when the blueberry guy's floating head informs Peter Pan's floating head that he is going to "destroy the world you hold dear." Peter calmly replies "It's a duel to the death for Neverland." Of course if he had stayed in THIS world instead of Neverland, he would have known about a much more efficient disposal method for giant blueberries. I think it involves Oompa Loompas.
When the game itself starts up you will quickly discover that just like the sword in Hook, the number of times you'll actually kill anybody with it can be comfortably counted on one hand by a guy who has no hands. In fact it doesn't even look that much like a sword; he's probably just running around trying to stab people with one of the shards of the world he held dear after Blueberry Head came along and destroyed it. With a lot of enemies, particularly the pterodactyls that materialize in front of your face every three seconds, the reach is so short that it's almost impossible to hit the enemy before it hits you - your best bet is to just wait until you get hit once and then attack, taking advantage of the fact that the enemies in this game prefer to simply attack once and then never move again for the rest of their badly-animated two-frame lives.
Enemies: There is a very small number of unique enemies in this game. But don't worry! They compensated by making it so if you kill any flying enemy and then move more than two millimeters to the left or right, the enemy will respawn right off the side of the screen and dive at you again to continue its never-ending quest to peck your face off. The actual pirates don't respawn, but just so they didn't feel left out by not being as obnoxious as the other enemies, they decided you shouldn't be allowed to finish a level unless you've killed every single pirate. Here are some of the very few different enemies you will meet on your quest:
Peter Pan - Since this is the character you control, normally that would disqualify him from being labeled an enemy. However, you will spend most of your playtime struggling and fighting against yourself, since controlling this retard is like trying to push around a double decker bus full of sumo wrestlers. Besides not wanting to ever change directions or pay any attention to what you're hitting on the controller, Peter hates landing on the edges of platforms. He prefers to inexplicably fall right through and get eaten by an alligator.
Sad Pirate - Each of the game's levels featured about a dozen chronically depressed pirates moping around, sullenly pondering why no one cared enough to give them any AI. All they do is walk back and forth Koopa-style, and then when you get right up next to them they try to stab you. That's all they know how to do. Sad Pirate does, however, have two other forms - one looks like Cap'n Crunch, and the other looks kind of like a fat version of Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama.
Pterodactyl-bird-thing - The PBT shows up more and more frequently as the game goes on, and in the later levels its sole purpose is to annoy you into a towering rage until you rip the game out and throw your Nintendo into the ocean. It attacks by simply flying up to you, ripping a chunk out of your feminine face, and sitting there motionless while you smack it once with your sword to kill it. But for every one you kill two more spring up in its place, kind of like ants or Awful Link sites hosted on Geocities.
Atomic Campfire of Doom - While it's good that Peter Pan and his friends don't mind leaving gigantic open flames unattended in a wooded area, the fact that the fire can hurt you and also spew embers that hurt you is significantly less good. But there are two interesting things about this freakishly potent fire - one is that even if you're right in the middle of it, you won't take any damage as long as you're standing still. But then the instant you move your health will plummet to zero faster than the population of a Battle.net chat channel entitled "PRESS ALT+F4 FOR NAKED AMAZON HACK." The other interesting property is that the campfire doesn't emit light and is only orange-colored during the day - in level 5 (which is exactly like level 3, but dark) the fire blends in perfectly with the dark blue background and you don't even know it's there until you notice that your character just went from full health to dead in under two seconds. Exercise extreme caution.
Death Spiders - This enemy shows that the creators of this game were strongly influenced by Counterstrike, which is very impressive since I'm fairly sure Counterstrike wasn't around in 1990. This enemy shows the designers' impatience with "camping", which is Counterstrikese for "you stayed in one position for two seconds in a row and for that you deserve to choke to death on molten steel." If Peter Pan hangs around in one place for too long, this spider guy will drop on him from the ceiling, and if he lands on you he'll suck all your health away before you can say "Double-yoo tee eff you noob!"
Weapons: Your only weapon is the starting sword. You can also find an occasional marble lying around, and although you can't pick it up, you can hit it and send it slowly floating off in one direction. If this happens it will kill any ground-walking enemies in one hit, while passing through airborne enemies with no effect whatsoever.
Number of Levels: There are seven total. But level 6 is just a recolored version of level 2 and level 5 is a recolored level 3, so there are really only five distinct levels. It's a fairly easy game, since once you get used to the horrible controls, all you need to worry about are Allah's Great Cleansing Campfires and the occasional Death Spider if you stand in place for too long. The other enemies might be able to piss you off, but they're not really much of a threat.
Number of Bosses: There's only one boss, which I assume is the blue guy, only when you fight him he doesn't look blue at all. In fact, he looks exactly the same as one of the "Cap'n Crunch" pirates, with literally no difference at all. In order to dispatch him you have to poke him about 200 times with your sword to push him out to the edge of his plank, at which point he falls into the water and you win.
Defining Moment: Seeing the game's ending had to be the defining moment. See, the title screen was fruity, but at least it was outfruitied by Kuja. If Kuja met up with Tidus and Squall, and all three of them picked up their sailor boyfriends before going to the mall to play some Dance Dance Revolution and whistle at men who walk by, it would still not be as flagrantly homosexual as the ending to this game.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).