At a Glance: In early 1991, American Softworks released the NES Cart "Treasure Master" with delicious toy prizes inside: 36,252 of them. Players had a few months to practice playing the game before a super secret code was released on MTV that would allow players to have access to a prize world tacked onto the end of the standard ones. Once completed, the player would be given a code that had to be called in before midnight on April 11th, 1992. This game actually exists, this contest actually was held, and this is a review of this terrible game.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
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Apparently this is all you need to win 10,000.
Story: Unlike most games I review, this game about a kid with a neon green hat and neon orange shorts has more of a story than most games about fighting dragons and wizards. The story starts simple enough, stating that "Skooter is a typical kid. He usually has a lot of stuff going on. You know, like playing ball...riding his skateboard or just messing around with his friends. The problem is that none of this is really exciting or adventurous." All this completely changed for little Skooter when he came across a, you know, old coin.
Typical of skater kids from the 90s, Skooter placed the coin under his pillow and went to the library to find out what more about the coin. "For weeks he spent at least an hour a day in the library and for weeks he was unable to find even the smallest hint. Not a picture, not a drawing...nothing."
I'm under the impression that Skooter thought this coin was made out of weed because I never spent weeks in the high school library doing anything but watching Stickdeath flash movies. Perhaps it was Skooter's strange dreams that he has been having?
"They weren't nightmares...even though they were kind of scary...they were more like 'fantasy adventure dreams'." The manual only gets stranger, with Skooter finally coming across a "Legend of the Treasure Master" and being told about a sorcerer named Osciban. With a name that is a simple reversal of "Nabisco", it's safe to assume he's a cookie sorcerer capable of controlling Wafer Golems and casting spells that launch fiery dough at unsuspecting but eventually happy children.
The manual closes with: "Skooter knew it would be dangerous and he would be taking a terrible chance if he attempted the quest, but there was never a moment of doubt in his mind. That night, Skooter set out on an adventure that would take him to places where no one had traveled before...worlds within his imagination. The quest to become a Treasure Master would be the adventure of a lifetime."
Game Plot: When you start the game itself you instantly notice how the breathtaking wordplay of the manual is a clever cover up. The game starts with a battle cry, then throws you right into a clunky world where you have to solve puzzles and die a lot. Your first and most trusty weapon is a pair of radium-plated boots, granting you the power to kick your enemies and complete sterility. What you can kick, however, has some major problems. The first and only one worth mentioning is complete incoherence.
Video game history has been riddled with awkward concepts for enemies like those found in this game. "Headless boxing man with spring for legs" is not a naturally occurring thought. I am convinced they kept a child locked in a cage and beat him with brooms whenever he tried to speak, forcing him to use cubes with words like "boxer", "spring", and "radish demon" to form requests for food.
Graphics: Ugly. Don't argue with this, I have an art degree. I had two but I burnt the other one for warmth.
Enemies: The enemy faucet is turned on full blast in this game, murders of bug eyed robots and outer space moles hoping to keep you from attaining those delicious prizes. Even though the prizes included an SNES or 10,000 dollars, with enemies like this I don't think there was a shot in hell you could beat this game before midnight in a single day no matter how much time you had to practice. Everything shoots bullets and I mean everything. And they don't shoot these bullets constantly, they shoot them randomly so you'll be walking by something and it'll just pop a cap in you like it ain't no thang.
Fun: Since there is no fun in this game to be found anywhere, I've rented this space out.
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Defining Moment: I was a kid in the 90s and I could be convinced I could strike gold using a drill in my urethra but I could never be convinced that playing this game would ever get me anything besides humiliation and a good lesson on how to jive walk.
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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.