At a Glance: When you hear the term "sci-fi" what do you see? Do you visualize the grand battlefield of your robot miniatures set up in a galactic war about who gets to bang Samus Aran? Is the image of that chick with the three breasts in Total Recall saved on your computer somewhere? If the answer to either of these questions is "yes", you have now a level 2 sci-fi fan and should read this review. Hp up! Intelligence down! Interest in Phillip K. Dick up! You can now cast Fireball.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 133k
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Caution: Daring escape in progress. Story: Three. Breasts. Wow, did you see that dude? It's like the best or breast thing ever! I mean, imagine it now dude. Imagine a girl with three boobs. Seriously, close your eyes and just feel it. Oh man would that be sweet! If you get bored with two, just hop on over. If one goes flat she'd have a spare like my jeep. And you could finally use all those names you wanted like "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" or "Alvin, Simon, and Theodore" that didn't make sense when you only had two breasts to name. Three, dude. Count them. Three boobs.
Gameplay: The game play starts out with promises of fun and laughter but ends up disappointing and horrifying you, like the bomb hidden inside a kitten that turns out not be a kitten but a robo puppy with fur stapled to it. Right away you have the choices of being shot in a drive by, blasted in the back by your personal assassin named Richter, or grabbed by a midget and dragged into an alley. None of these prospects are as remotely pleasing as they seem.
It gets worse, too. If you manage to pass the glory hole gauntlet, the crazed police men, bombs, and alleyway dwarves you are rewarded with a timed boss battle. After this you are transported to a level designed in some infernal factory of despair where programming code and happiness get shoveled into a furnace's gaping maw like coal on a train engine to hell. You enter the level behind an x-ray screen, allowing you to see the complex inner workings of an action hero. With you inside this contraption are two guards, three floating robot balls, and lots of death. Over a span of 30 tries I died within half a minute.
Total Recall is incredibly short for how terrible it can be. A total of eight or nine different areas are contained within this game, many of these consisting of small boss battles or a car driving section. Often the term slow is coupled with the term painful, but gladly/sadly this is not the case with this game. This begs the question: How can video game designers keep their hate alive and strong through the entire length of production?
Why, energy canisters of course! These little items drop at a frequency rating between never and when you least need them. About to die because ten dogs are ripped off your knee caps while a cop shoves bombs in your armpits? Good luck finding energy; I barely found enough to finish this paragrap
Graphics: You are the Michelin Man's tan brother in a green jumpsuit fighting mouthless cops and eyeless hobos. Cut up and tossed within this pixel salad is a variety of angry, bug eyed faces that clearly show the Nintendo could make Total Recall look better than legendary Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven could.
Enemies: In Total Recall your enemies show no mercy, have no fear, bake no cookies, iron no shirts. The determination they exhibit is like that guy who works overtime in your office just because he likes to work. I would not be surprised if these guys would crawl after you using only their teeth after you broke their arms and legs.
As mentioned earlier your first boss encounter is practically timed, where if you take too long finishing off your train wreck wife an assassin appears and starts unloading an infinite stream of bullets at you. Cops, midgets, robots, dogs, whores, hobos, cats, people in windows, boomerang aficionados, and ultimately cars go out of their way to try and kill you so you can't stop the bad guy on the "angry red planet".So does this mean girls have tracking devices in their heads?
If the developers of Total Recall wanted to do their best to instill a constant state of panic in you I would say they did an amazing job at making me question my sanity. Not in a cool cel-shaded Keanu Reeves way but in a way that makes me feel like someone out there hates me personally and deeply enough to make a game just to ruin my day.
Fun: There's a scene in Total Recall where Arnold pulls a globe out of his nose. This is the face I made every second I played this game.
Defining Moment: My moment came when I realized something at the end of the game when Quaid starts the reactor: The explosion blasts water out into the atmosphere so that Mars would turn into a hospitable planet like Earth. We've recently found out that Mars has ice caps but lacks greenhouse gases. Methane is a green house gas. Earth equals Mars plus farts.
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The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.