Stanley: The Search for Dr. Livingston
At a Glance: If there's one thing I can't stand it is something that can't be found. And I am no exception to this mad lust for finding. Kings and Queens have ravaged cities to the point of extinction in search of their keys. In the year of 1870, one Henry M. Stanley was sent in search of a Dr. Livingston. Since all new media will take the classics and retell them, it was natural that the NES would finally live up to its literary potential and chronicle this mighty exploit of courage, hope, and punching snakes in the face.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
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Game Plot: Henry Stanley put a foot down on the continent of Africa and said aloud, "I will be the man to find Dr. Livingstone!" At least that's how the new liberal textbooks (more like LIEbooks) would indoctrinate you to believe. In reality Henry Stanley was a complete, total bigot. After he spat a load of tobacco on the nearest starving child, he said aloud, "The only way to show those Africanians how to do it right is with a fist and a flag, I say." What a jerk. Kicking a defenseless three legged puppy out of his way, Stanley punched the nearest local and demanded to know what Livingston was up to before he disappeared. Apparently he was in search of a mystical temple named "Am-Zutuk." He didn't want to be found, either, taking some of your crap and hiding it. Stanley giggled like a schoolgirl as he snapped the informant's arm like a twig because he felt like it. "That's for letting him double cross me."
It didn't matter that the guy didn't know Stanley at all. He was just that much of a bitch. Think I'm lying? Read up on him. Stanley picked up a few supplies and then marched out into the Congo to find Dr. Livingstone and hurt as many ethnic groups as he could along the way.
Enemies: Despite what the crime statistics say for the more urban parts of the United States, crime is nowhere near as high as it is in the Congo. I can say with confidence that five times out of ten I will never see a guy jump out of the background while I walk into a Detroit supermarket and shoot darts at me. In the dark heart of the Congo, this happens EVERY DAY. In the dark heart of the Congo one can encounter bugs that shoot lightning, snakes that spit little pellets of stuff, and purple tigers. This is where I put a drug joke but I don't feel like it. Add your own.
A strange inclusion in this game is the ability to actually walk through an enemy without it damaging you. Most enemies are only capable of harming you if they hit you with their weapons. With this game being developed in 1992 by Electro Brain, this means that it took exactly one thousand nine hundred and ninety two years before humans were able to fight their opponents without losing life from their touch.
Weapons: You know what Stanley Henry would say about this topic?
"If you're going to fight the darkness that can only be won over by the guiding light of the West, then you have to pack some white heat. Machetes, clubs, throwing daggers, rocks, and blow guns are all tools you can use to bring some reason to these primitives."
What a total jerk.
Levels: With only a map drawn in crayon on a piece of ancient toilet paper given to you by a local map dealer. Thankfully, she had one remaining magical map that changes to show where you've been. Henry did what he usually does: snagged it, refused to pay, and got her stoned to death by proclaiming her a woman of loose morals. With a free map and a "thanks for helping us stone the slut" badge from the chief, Henry took off into the jungle and saw the great variety of areas one would expect to find in the Congo - lots of pitfalls, lots of vines hanging all over the place, and lots of stones laying around. That's pretty much the Congo for you&boring as hell. It's unfortunate that Electro Brain couldn't have taken some steps to liven up this dull place. I mean, historical accuracy is out the window when they pretend Henry didn't enjoy spitting on grandmothers. Perhaps they could have done something truly bizarre like making you fight beetles the size of your head.
Bosses: Bosses are probably this game's biggest weak point. Perhaps it's this cheat sheet I have next to me. Perhaps it's these save states that I use that allow me to jump back to a point where I have full health and know what's about to happen. Maybe it's my ability to play a game way past the point that anyone with three brain cells would have gathered them up in a knapsack and left town. It's more than likely poor programming. I mean, where do these game developers from ten or more years ago get off? They could have done so much more if they just would have gotten their heads out of their asses! Why didn't they try harder? I mean, come on. I could do better with my hands tied behind my back. And when I finally finish stealing the code for this flash game and replacing a few sprites, I'll show you all how real game play works.
Defining Moment: The moment I realized I should stop searching for Doctor Livingston out in the wild and figured out I should start searching&in my heart.
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).