Review by Crazy_tank51
"He’s gonna take you back to the past, to show you why those games (mostly) kicked ass!"
For those of you who don't know who the Angry Video Game Nerd is, I'll give you a rundown. Said Nerd is an aspiring film maker and old school game fan by the name of James Rolfe who possesses a penchant for reviewing. He used this penchant to make mostly satirical reviews of old games for his friends who requested he take his talent to the Internet. He did so, people loved his reviews, and asked for more. And he gave more and in doing so made his own persona for reviewing the games: a foul-mouthed, beer-slurping, crappy game fanatic who hates the games he plays so much he'd rather have any animal alive use his face for a toilet than play them. That persona is the Nerd and the star of this game.
If you haven't seen an episode of AVGN, then I urge you to do so; Rolfe knows how far to go on about the flaws of the games and how to keep his rage mostly fresh. A character like the AVGN excels at reviewing because he stays funny while keeping the focus on the fact the game he's playing at the least is mediocre if not outright putrid. And he also has the ability to recognize a good game when it's before him in spite of it's flaws (as seen in his Castlevania reviews). So you have a character who loves old school games and tearing games from that era a new one on where they failed. Is it a surprise such a popular character could get a game? Not really. Can you see the IGN or Destructoid crew in an adventure game? Nope. How about an FPS as Adam Sessler? I wouldn't play it and I doubt you would too. But AVGN in a retro-style platformer? Yes, such a game could work.
And it does mostly.
He plays the worst games of all time horrible abominations of mankind
The game as a whole is based on old school NES platformers and has just as much plot as them. In fact it outright copies the plot of Cheetahmen, the grand jewel(lol) of the horrendous game collection Action 52: The Nerd and his crew are playing a game when they all get sucked in and have to fight their way out. The plot does not go much further than that. In today's age, that is unacceptable, but this game gets a pass as it's going for that old school minimal plot vibe. But it loses points as it copies another game. However, it works here as Cheetahmen took it seriously and the person sucked in was pretty much a random plot device. In AVGN Adventures, the Nerd fights through himself and experiences most of the game flaws he has complained about first hand. It's a joke plot, and while it hurts that it is a copy, it hurts a lot that it steals another plot that wasn't that great to begin with, how it's portrayed saves it a bit.
The other aspect that saves the plot is the in-game dialogue. The game is supposed to be bad, and the Nerd never misses a chance to complain about it. In the first level which is meant as a tutorial, you get a glowing green orb following you called Naggi. Any old-school gamer knows it's meant to be a play on Navi, the infamous fairy from Zelda:OOT whom nobody liked for interrupting gameplay to state the obvious or mention controls you've probably discovered before either in the game or the instruction book. Naggi follows the same route, and the Nerd does not take it well (Jump button to jump? You're so brilliant! Now go away!). And that's just the first stage. Any random design flaw or mere irritation is brought up at every chance. For example, the game throws the old disappearing blocks trick from Megaman where you must jump to the next block as it appears while the one you were on fades at the same time. Upon spotting them, the Nerd whines Not this again! They're not pleasant, and he outright states it. When you die, which you should get used to, the Nerd spouts about how bad the game is and what he'd rather endure than staying in another second. The game is also chock to the brim with many references from AVGN shows. At one point, you must climb a series of platforms fast or be crushed by incoming spikes. But at one side there is a beer that can restore your health where if you go to get it, you are 100% brown bread. The moment you get out, the first thing the Nerd does is ask how anybody could get that beer, which happened in his review of the first NES Ninja Turtles with a pizza at the bottom of the screen with incoming spikes assuredly killing you if you make a play for it. It works as a standalone gag, as you can see getting the beer is impossible and an homage as it's the exact same situation.
The plot is a let down by being bare-bones and a rip-off, but is saved ultimately by it's humorous writing and representation of it's series.
He's got a nerdy shirt, and a pocket pouch Although I've never seen him write anything down.
The graphics greatly resemble 8-bit NES games and are just as limiting. But these days, particularly for indie games, art style matters more than sheer graphical prowess. The art style is very good for what it is. The level design is where it shines as they once again does it's mother series great justice. One level plays off the AVGN episode of the Nerd's review of Atari's infamous pornographic games with him running through a poorly pixelated strip club from hell. The graphics there are barely what they are supposed to be. You get assaulted in the level by what are supposed to be certain women and male anatomy but the graphics make them look more like donuts and purple water spouts while women who are so poorly created you can't tell their breasts from their bodies dance in the background. It's a refreshing break from an age where every single piece of graphics is a serious matter to where every single hair must be animated 100% like it should. It has fun with it's graphical style to the max. Today, it isn't that impressive as games have done most of it before, but it does it well, and that's all that counts.
He'd rather have a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in his ear
The music and sound effects treat you to old 8-bit style melodies and blasts. The sound effects are no more advanced than the effects of an NES or certain Atari games, but they are not bad; you deal a hit or take a hit, you'll know. You hit an enemy you can't hurt, a dull metal sound signals you can't hurt it. The Nerd's Zapper gun sounds just like a typical blaster from the NES era and his jumps are a small little ump sound. It's primitive, but like I said in the above section, art style matters more than power in the case of games like these, and the sounds are good enough.
The music is old-school as well. And it sure is awesome. The opening title gives you an 8-bit version of the AVGN theme song which is worth sitting and listening to. I particularly love the themes from the Castlevania-like stage and the fire stage. The boss theme is also awesome; you get an intense theme borrowing the chorus of the AVGN theme song for a bit. The songs are all fun to listen to and while not the best tunes I've heard are more than enough to make sure you don't ever want to mute anything.
Sounds: 7/10 Music: 9/10
He's got a Power Glove, and a filthy mouth Armed with his Zapper he will tear these games down
Like I said, the game borrows from old school 2D sidescroller shooters. The game design seems mostly to be borrowed from Megaman. The game has 10 stages; the opening tutorial stage, 8 main stages, then the final stage. Said 8 stages can be played in any order. Once inside, you must jump and shoot your way through to get to the end of the level while not dying. At the end, a boss will impede you. Kill it and the level is done. Yes, the game is pretty short, but it more than makes up for it with it's challenge. The game comes with 3 initial difficulties and some unlockable ones. Easy gives you unlimited life and six beers (Health points) and strong power, which you can use to adjust to the game and learn it. Normal drops the beer to 3 and gives you 30 lifes; you run out, you are instantly kicked out of the level and must do it again. Old school reduces your lifes to 15 and drops your continues to 5 and disallows saving, meaning you must beat the game in one go. Needless to say, this is an evil setting to play on and I shudder to see the hardest difficulty.
To get through, you have the Nerd's NES Zapper to tear through enemies and some power ups. The first are Friday the 13th style rocks that arc, making them OK for hitting things below you. It's mainly a gag weapon (What were they thinking!?) Then you have the Glitch Gremlin, which will freeze the entire game so you can move through easier. Last is the almighty Super Mecha Death Christ, who will abolish all enemies on the screen to oblivion. Other than that, you have passive power ups. Stray beers can restore your HP, Nerd heads give you another life, the Super Scope will make your shots much stronger til you get hit (which is typically like 10 seconds), and the Nerd's custom console the Nintoaster, which counts as a checkpoint for when you die. Thankfully, the game is generous with checkpoints and there are plenty to go around. Weapon power-ups are scarce though; Gremlins and Christs usual appear only once per level. Best use them fast, because once you die once, they're gone.
Also the Nerd is not the only hero in this story. If you find them hidden in levels, the Nerd's cast mates will lend their power and can be swapped to at any time on the ground. In total, you have 4 characters. The Nerd himself can aim his Zapper in any 8 directions, making him more flexible in dealing with enemies. His allies also have their benefits. One is Guitar Guy (AKA Kyle Justin), whose sonic booms both do more damage and pierce walls and other obstacles like fireballs, a great benefit for taking on bosses. But in exchange, he is faster (which is not that much a benefit in a game like this) and jumps much lower than the Nerd. Next you have James's assistant Mike Matei, who is armed with a powerful but short-range light saber and can also spot breakable walls to smash through and invisible blocks to walk on. Last is the BS Man from James's other series You know what's bull****!? His weapon is a very short range wad of...stuff that hurts immensely. His jumping is about the same as Guitar Guy 's jump, but he can jump once in midair. The character balance is for the most part well; the Nerd and Guitar Guy are typically the only ones you'll really use often, but Mike and BS Man have their edges. And you can still win the game solely with the Nerd.
As for the levels themselves, they are the game's greatest and lowest points. The levels as I mentioned have a great art design and are challenging while not being outright impossible. What makes them strong is the design being, as Rolfe himself put it when he tried the game, annoying you just enough to keep coming back. Enemies have some variety; mostly a level will have a weak to mildly powerful flying enemy, a strong ground enemy, invincible moving obstacles (mostly fireballs), and some miscellaneous threats, like a snowman spitting breakable snowballs in the ice stage. Each enemy is placed nicely and leaves the option of killing it or evading it being the best option. The stage has plenty of deathtraps around to where one mistimed jump or shot will at least get you hit by an enemy, if not killed. The bosses for the most part have a set pattern where if you don't catch on fast, you will die and even then you must put up a fight. The game hearkens back to the days of old where reflexes and quick thinking were what drove you to victory, as opposed to having the safety net of autosaves or team allies to help you. Also it means deaths are your own fault; there is no RGN or lag to screw you over or cheap mechanics that favor one tactic over another. You get killed, it's because you screwed up and you better figure out what you did wrong if you want to advance another step.
What drags the stage design down of this game is the deathtraps I mentioned. The problem is that while the death traps up the ante and stage design, they plague every single step in this game. One element are skull blocks that cause a kill on touch and there are some that randomly appear; the idea behind the fading blocks is go between them when they are gone and wait until they disappear to move on. These things are so commonplace it's out of control. You remember that deathtrap I mentioned with the closing spikes and the unobtainable beer? Literally 2 blocks below it is a series of fading death blocks that are obviously there to make you screw up the climbing process. And guess what? That's just the middle bit. Right below you is a series of steps to climb up with a death block replacing one of the steps. Unless you are half-asleep or are running a computer so obsolete Minesweeper slows it to a crawl, you'll probably never hit that block. So why include it? Because the game takes any opportunity to fling a deathtrap at you. Pretty much every hallway you walk down will include those death blocks on top of non-death hazards like spikes or fireballs. You will be hard pressed to find a simple jump without some sort of hazard at the beginning or end of it that will at least take a bit of beer from you. Even the boss fights feel the need to squeeze deathtraps in over other forms of attacking. One boss involves flying around and dodging fireballs it sends. While that's hard enough due to the area the fire covers, the game sends death blocks at you from the side. More often than not my death was due to either a fireball smacking me into a death block or having to take one hit too many to dodge a death block. This game is not the worst in that regard. There are more sadistic games out there, like I Wanna Be The Guy or Super Meat Boy. But those games are built to be short spurts of intense platforming. AVGN Adventures is an homage to NES era sidescrollers, and I don't recall sidescrollers having this many deathtraps. They had plenty, sure, but not to the point of where ever walking point and jump was one.
After the death traps, what's left? Well, for one, it has some secrets to go around. You have hidden NPCs from other Internet shows like Game Grumps hidden that fork over loads of power-ups. There is also hidden **** Pickles (the jocular character from some AVGN episodes) that go toward a Steam achievement. Also while the stages are good fun, it could do with more. 10 levels (one of which is meant to teach the controls) is pretty sad for a $15 dollar game. If you ask me, five more (give or take two) would be better.
Overall, the game has two flaws; it's way too heavy on deathtraps and it's a little short. Beyond that, the game is very fun and a great challenge.
They rip you off and don't care one bit. But this nerd, he doesn't forget it
Once you've played through the game, there's very little to do other than go back and keep doing it. There are plenty of secrets scattered about to keep you going, but once you've discovered them all, that's it. And once you've beaten the highest difficulty, you're pretty much finished. Granted, the game is fun and challenging enough to keep your interest for days if not weeks, but it's still a bit barren compared to games of today, especially one that costs $15 dollars, but hey, it's better than the costs during the NES days.
They make him so mad he could spit. Or say Cow-a-bunga? Cow a ****ing piece of dog ****!
Final score: 7.6/10 -> 8/10
+ It's AVGN!
+ Very funny dialogue and stage design
+ Nice representation of the show
+ Graphics are good for their level
+ Good sound effects and great music
+ Satisfying challenging gameplay
+ Enough secrets and difficulty levels to keep you engrossed for awhile
- WAY too many deathtraps
- Kind of short (especially for it's price)
- Not much to do after beating the game other than do it again on a higher difficulty
BUY OR NOT?
He'd rather eat the rotten a****** of a roadkill skunk and down it with beer!
The game is a worthy buy to be sure. If you ever gamed in the NES era and liked those games, you will like this game. If you like AVGN, you will like this game. If you like both, this game is a must-buy. If you hate both, then this game isn't for you. However, while I picked it up the moment it launched on Steam, it's $15 dollar price tag is a little much compared to what you can buy on Steam for that amount of cash. It's mainly up to how much of a NES sidescroller lover you are to decide if it's worth it. If the game goes on a sale and winds up around $10 never mind half-price, then the game is instantly a great addition to your library. In short, I recommend it to any NES gamer or AVGN fan, but I'd suggest letting it go on sale first before you purchase this game. But in the long run, I'd rather have an electric eel dump it's 1.21 jigowatts of crap down my throat than go without this game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/27/13
Game Release: Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (US, 09/20/13)
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