At a Glance: If you’re like me, and thankfully I’m not, you have vague memories of an old Nickelodeon game show called “GUTS.” I seem to remember that the idea of “GUTS” was to gather together kids with no athletic talent and make them feel better about themselves by showing them on TV competing in various events that require no athletic talent. I also seem to remember that the majority of the show consisted of a lady with an accent reading off scores and the host repeatedly pointing at the camera while politely informing the audience that “You only need 200 more points to make it to the one, the only, the totally extreme AGGRO-CRAG! Are you tough enough to handle the AGGRO-CRAG??? I’M NOT FUCKING KIDDING MAN, THE AGGRO-CRAG IS GONNA KNOCK YOUR WHITE ASS OUT!” right before they cut to a commercial and he shakily snorted a mixture of cocaine and Ritalin. Sadly none of that white-knuckled excitement has been captured in the SNES game, although you may get white knuckles due to blood loss after you play this game for ten minutes and decide to slit your wrists.
Platform: SNES (Download Emulator here - 395k)
Download: Download ROM here - 998k
Just like Caveman Games, GUTS is a collection of minigames that you can compete in to try and build up a high enough score to challenge the AGGRO-CRAG (note that it is far too extreme for lowercase letters). However, they forgot to make the minigames fun or interesting in any way.
Help, I hurt my face!
Slam Dunk: I hope you like this event, because you’re going to be seeing an awful lot of it. As the name implies, the Slam Dunk contest will allow you to soar through the air and slam dunk just like Michael Jordan, only instead of Michael Jordan you’re an awkward preteen who accidentally signed up for the wrong game show after the recruiter’s repeated assurances that Guts was “that one show where they throw slime at people.” After you take off from the starting area and float up past the hoop, you have about a ten-minute window to release the ball, at which point it magically gravitates toward the hoop and goes in. You have to hold down on the control pad during the whole trip back, otherwise you will land on the platform for a moment, wave your arms, fall off and slowly climb back on. You'd think you'd steer clear of physical game shows if you weren't able to balance on two feet without falling over.
Basic Training: Apparently doing “basic training” involves running and climbing around for several minutes on a gigantic death contraption in Nickelodeonland. This event, which I’m fairly sure wasn’t in the actual show due to the Not Killing Kids On Live TV Act of 1988 (which is the last documented year in which anybody actually watched Nickelodeon), requires you to race through a giant diabolical jungle gym that was originally designed by Saddam Hussein for all the happy little Kurdish children to play on. You’ll leap over huge drop-offs, jump from rope to rope 70 feet in the air, dodge flying punching bags that are bigger than you and occasionally run face-first into the wall if you’re me. Due to the stupid course layout and the fact that you can’t grab onto a rope if you’re more than a millimeter to the left or right, it might take you a few tries before you’re able to finish the entire course without turning the emulator off, tracking down the man who programmed this game and punching him in the throat.
Sadly, this young athlete has not yet mastered the fine art of "landing on a platform without falling down."
Spiral: I’m not sure how Viacom developers were able to bring themselves to make such a drastic change to their game formula, but somehow they were able to, probably with the help of a wide variety of illegal narcotics. Spiral is exactly like the Slam Dunk event, with two differences that drastically change both the event and the entire face of Nickelodeon-based gaming. Difference one is that the ball you throw at the goal has a slightly different shape. And I’ve saved the best for last here folks, because difference number two is that…the GOAL has a slightly different shape! Wowie wow wow, Roxy!
Tornado Run: It’s exactly like Basic Training, but with a bigger, stupider course. And naturally, since it’s the exact same event, it shares the terrible controls and awful design of the Basic Training mode. You can only jump in the direction you’re facing and you can only turn around if you come to a complete stop and spend almost a full second turning – each of these flaws would have been merely annoying by itself, but together they raise the frustration level of navigating this stupid fucking maze somewhere around the level of playing Super Monkey Ball 2 while someone sets your brain on fire.
They may be forcing you to leap from a rope a couple hundred feet above the ground, but they're very strict about making sure you wear a helmet.
Attack: Oh hey, they made ANOTHER event that’s exactly like Slam Dunk! Oh, those wacky developers! What will they do next? The only difference here is that you’re supposed to be throwing the balls into the goal with a lacrosse stick, only it looks more like a q-tip or a giant petrified sperm.
Enemies: There are no enemies in this game, save one…the AGGRO-CRAG, which is going to totally fucking dominate your face.
Weapons: Your only weapons in this game are your cool, hip attitude and the aforementioned giant q-tip.
Number of Levels: There are a total of six events. Of the five non-AGGRO-CRAG events, three are Slam Dunk clones and two are Basic Training clones. Guess what type of game the AGGRO-CRAG is going to turn out to be?
Number of Bosses: The Aggro-Crag is the boss of the game, and now that I’ve faced it down I no longer feel the need to glorify it with capital letters. Surprise surprise, it’s another obstacle course exactly like Basic Training, only slightly harder. But it has a much greater reward – when you hit all the markers and clear the event, you get a beautiful chunk-of-rock trophy and the game is over.
Defining Moment: Well, the rest of the game may be an exercise in brain-shrivelling tedium, but seeing that kid run at full speed and smack into the wall always brings a smile to my face.
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).
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.