Skull and Crossbones
At a Glance: I can only assume that most of you who managed to locate this review possess ultimate e-knowledge. Brandishing your salsa stained fingers like swords, you are the hardiest of internet pirates. You scour the seven seas of the net, plundering and looting information like an acne-riddled supervillian. Well I'm here to say that being a pirate hasn't always been as easy as downloading programs made by someone else to figure out your ex's livejournal password. In fact, I believe it's time to see if you really have what it takes to become a sea-fairing scallywag who'll keelhaul any scurvy dog who gets in their way! Obviously, I do not.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
Game Plot: Beyond gout, dysentery, and good ol' American smallpox, a pirate loves nothing more than adventure. And beyond fantasy conventions and that brand of Munchies that has Captain Crunch and Doritos in it, wizards love nothing more than capturing girls and shooting them with their magic finger missiles. Instead of joining forces and making some sort of top-rated TV sitcom, the wizard in this story just goes and steals your girl. That's about it for the story.
As per the pirate code (not the book on linux that you share with your dungeon master), you have to struggle your way through various dangers to win back the love of your crack whore sort of girlfriend who only says she's "with you" when no one else is around.
Clearly Tengen was attempting to appeal to the true spirit of the pirate by depicting the main character as a lopsided, one-eyed, shambling sort of man who obviously has the sort of motor deficiencies only found in roadkill. I like to believe that he was wounded in a ghost pirate battle that included jetpacks, giant squids, and a tear in the space-time continuum. But it was most likely what he got from that whale of a woman he porked in the "Virgin Islands". On the same subject, the pirate you are in charge of takes plenty of time jumping into large holes due to the control scheme in this game. Perhaps he knows more than you, looking to end his pathetic life instead of facing the mighty wizard who sports a much more powerful moustache.
As far as the sound is concerned, it is rumored that Tengen went out and bought a tiny ten cent keyboard to play the music for this game on. Then again I shouldn't be saying that because this might be a "classic game" in some guy's collection that he keeps telling his friends that they should play. This person is an idiot.
Note to Nintendo fans: This game was made back in 1990 and Paperboy came out the next year by the same company. Both of these games are probably in your collection, breathing heavily and petting your hair while you sleep.
Enemies: Black people, Asians, rats, and horrible disfigured guys with maces are all the types of enemies you face here in this game. You have to defeat 15 of them to have any hope of continuing the level within the slim time limit. In reality, this time should be used by your character to make sure he hasn't thrown up on himself. The majority of your fights are spent dodging little things that zoom in from each side of the screen. Oops, did I say dodging? I am writing comedy here.
This game has everything that is the staple of pirate life: adventure, damsels in distress, pirate weaponry, and racism. You didn't think the seven seas were full of hysterically racist green-tinted Japanese guys, Mexicans, and black pirates did you? Well, think again. Now think some more before you click that download link. Yep, keep thinking. That's enough, you can now stop thinking and read the rest of this review.
Weapons: You get most of your weaponry from either buying them with the treasure you hoard in your booty room, or by scounging them up from piles of bones that litter the landscape about you. Of course, some of these piles of bones have poison, which you cannot touch or your character will gobble it down like it is the juice of life. This is called irony.
At the end of each stage you return to your booty room to, as the game puts it, "trade booty for weapons." This is yet another reality based decision by Tengen that shows you the depths that a pirate had to go to free their girlfriends from wizards who commanded green-skinned ninjas. This didn't actually happen, but it will no doubt be included in your next masturbation fantasy that includes a furry version of Lindsay Lohan.
Levels: Six levels of unbridled fury that came from some little Japanese man whose hatred can only be subdued by the death of the innocent and can only be defeated by a blow to the forehead with a bullet carved from the finger bones of the only person on this planet to enjoy this game. This little man also enjoys run-on sentences.
Bosses: Six. All of which can hit you before you can hit them. This is a remarkably accepted method used by game designers to make sure that enemies are challenging. Other people call it "cheating". Some people say this same thing while they develop a serious case of TMJ. It should be noted that I could never defeat any of these bosses without losing a life. This will be carved on my tombstone, which shall be an event done before I die using my own face.
The last boss fight is with the wizard himself. He can stun you by shooting little things out of his Dorito-stained hands and also uses little bouncing balls that can also immobilize you. Since you have a convienant time limit of "a couple moments or two" in this game, this translates into you spending almost an entire minute frozen in place as you try to hit this magician with your bare fists. I believe this translation comes from the ancient language of pain, deriving from the testament of Steve. That guy is always down. Last week his girlfriend got hit by a bus driven by his grandpa who had a stroke because Steve told him he hated him on the phone. And then a meteor flattened his new car. And then a boat came in and dropped anchor on his Star Wars collector plates.
Based on the difficulty of actually getting anywhere in this game I found myself at a dilemma. So, like my father and his father before him, when faced with the task of overcoming completely ridiculous odds programmed into a game by a ten year old with an overbite, I did the only honorable thing: I gave up and used the game genie. This is my reward for my efforts.Was it worth it? Only time will tell...
Defining Moment: Six, I mean my frequent visits to the booty room. Oh yes, I spent much of my time in that place.
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).