Bucky O'Hare, Part II
So it turns out that the whole kidnapping plot was a highly elaborate ruse to capture Bucky. I find it somewhat odd that they couldn't capture him when they grabbed everyone else, they couldn't capture him when he was alone, but once he has his entire crew back under his command, he is instantly apprehended. My suggestion would be to fire the entire crew, because clearly they're completely fucking useless. Well, maybe he should keep Jenny because she's... uh... nevermind. Let's just move on to the next part of the game.
You wake up in a jail cell with a stiff back and a sore ass. Blinky is sitting next to you, but your extreme homophobia prevents you from asking any questions. As you ponder how exactly you're going to get yourself out of this one, Blinky suggest using his weapon to break the door. Yes, that's right, Blinky's gun can break the fucking blocks that are keeping you trapped inside. This makes me wonder why he didn't bother escaping himself the first time he was captured. Maybe it's because he has low self-esteem and needs Bucky's approval to function in any capacity. Maybe he's just an asshole. Anyway, after breaking open the cell and killing the nonexistent guards, you get the joy of playing a fairly tedious level that involves rescuing your crew again. I say this level is tedious because it's filled with those fucking blocks that appear and disappear that have been in virtually every Mega Man game ever made, as well as lots of instakill spikes... which have also been in virtually every Mega Man game ever made. On top of that, almost every room has two possible exits, one that goes forward, and one that brings you either to a dead end or back to the previous screen. It's not that hard to figure out which one is which, as the correct passage generally requires a little more effort to get to, but it's still quite obnoxious. The first member of your crew that you come upon is Jenny. But before you can get to her, your archenemy, the Toad Air Marshall flies in and hits her with a mind-control beam! *GASP* Jenny then proceeds to try and kill you. Don't worry though, just like in real-life, once you pump enough lead into the bitch, she comes to her senses. A few more screens bring you to Willy's cell, where the same thing happens. After you beat the crap out of Mr. DuWitt and snap him out of it, you move on to Dead-Eye Duck, but not before braving an annoyingly long elevator sequence where you have to dodge spikes, giant brains, and toad soldiers. Once he's been rescued, the gang breaks into a rousing rendition of "New Age Girl" and everyone lives happily ever after. Or not.
The next level, Salvage Chute is pretty standard. It has jumps, enemies and some other things. . . . Okay, the truth is, I don't really remember the level that well. I played it at three in the morning, the day before writing this, so it's a little fuzzy. I do remember that there were giant crushy things, giant pincher beetles, red quicksandy stuff, and rooms where the lights shut off and you had to fucking guess where to jump. Other than that, I'm at a loss. And I'll be damned if I'm going to go back and play the level again. What? Do you think I care about you? You and your human feelings? Hell no. The level isn't important anyway, so let's just move on to the boss.
Behold, the Toad Walker. I know you're probably sick of me pointing out every similarity this game has to other NES games, but too bad. There may be some people out there that wouldn't recognize the fact that this boss looks identical to one of Dr. Wily's forms in Mega Man 3. And it is for those unfortunate few that I point out the obvious. Here's how this guy's attack pattern goes: He fires a few rounds of missiles at you, squats down, fires lasers out left and right, then jumps into the air and lands at a different spot on the screen. That's it. The first thing you have to do is destroy the dome on bottom. At first I thought it would be a grand idea to wait below where he was going to land and then shoot up at the dome. This proved to be counterproductive, as apparently having a large machine sit on you hurts. After you destroy the dome, you have to attack the head, just like in that other game. Use Jenny, and get it over quickly. We've got some more game to play.
Level 7, for those of you keeping track, is a very strange and diverse place. You have toads telling you that they hate you, toads in lipstick blowing kisses at you, puzzle wheels and those giant fucking snakes from Battletoads. The most interesting part of the level is most definitely the puzzle wheels, as I have so originally dubbed them. They turn 90 degrees at a time, so you have to jump aboard, then position yourself so that when the exit position is coming up, you are able to escape. It can get kind of tricky, and unless you're really good, you're probably going to get dumped in a pit more than once. I'm not sure if this sort of thing has been showcased in previous NES games, but it's a neat idea nonetheless.
The boss at the end of this level, the Magma Core, is a pretty cool R-Type type boss. First you have to destroy its missile launchers, then its laser cannons. Well, I suppose you don't *have* to, but it is highly recommended. After that, you break the glass shield and attack the electric eye it was protecting. And as if this thing didn't have enough fucking firepower by itself, rocket toads fly in to try and kill you as well. But just like any other boss, once you figure out its pattern, it goes down like a Saigon whore. One more level to go. Let's do this!
Now that you've severely fucked with the ship's magma core, things are going to get a little hectic. Methinks you're gonna want to get your ass out of there pronto. Lo and behold! Someone was kind enough to leave a crotch rocket lying around for you. This is the only autoscrolling level in the game, and it's done very well. Aside from having to dodge spikes and random jets of toxic gas, you also have to avoid toads who try to save their own asses by grabbing on to your ride. Not only does this drag you down, the only way to get them off is to impale the pitiful bastards on some spikes. You'll also have to dodge some miniature fighter ships, too. Eventually, you'll reach a miniboss.
As far as I can tell, this guy is either some sort of snake thing, or the worst looking toad robot ever fucking built. This boss is relatively easy, so I'll just explain what he does. First the two platforms move back and forth, allowing you shoot them, while the head spits bullets at you. When you destroy one platform, the head begins spinning around in place, spitting more bullets. After you destroy the second platform, the head bounces around the screen, making it somewhat difficult to hit. But after enough punishment, you move on to the next battle.
Before you meet the evil Toad Air Marshall in the final showdown, you have to destroy a giant toad transport ship. You have to circle the ship, destroying the turrets and eventually the engine. It's pretty standard stuff, but sometimes you have to fly into really small spaces to avoid getting killed, and when that happens, you can't help but eat a few bullets. Once you take out the engine, the ship crashes and the final battle ensues. For being the last boss of the game, the Air Marshall is very lacking in terms of offense. He flies in a diagonal direction until he hits a wall, then turns 90 degrees and keeps going. His only weapon is a bomb that fires a seven bullets spread when it hits the ground. Despite only having one attack, he is far from easy to beat. Managing the double task of dodging his attack and firing back is a challenge in itself, let alone keeping it up long enough to kill him. Still, I expected more from him. You really need to use Bucky for this fight, because he's the only one who can fire both forward and backward. After you dispatch the despicable toad leader, you exit the exploding ship and fly to safety.
The end sequence of the game firmly proclaims that "Bucky O'Hare and his crew won't rest until the aniverse is free." Well, apparently after you blow up the mothership, it is free, because Bucky O'Hare and his motley crew promptly vanished into the obscurity of one season television, never to be heard from again. Well, except for this web cartoon that some diehard fans decided to create.
So, was it worthwhile to take this trip into the past? Yes. Yes, it was. Bucky O'Hare's NES game may have been a complete rip-off of Mega Man, but that hardly makes it a bad game. If you're going to rip something off, you might as well rip off one of the greatest platformer formulas ever created. As Syd has shown us, Jaleco once ripped off the exact same formula to create Whomp 'Em, a fantastic little lost gem of the NES. Hell, Capcom ripped off the Mega Man formula themselves with their Darkwing Duck NES game. Would Contra III have made a better article? Probably, but I guess we won't know for sure until Syd or I choose to review it, now will we?
Posted by: Valdronius
LET'S CROAK SOME TOADS!