Category Archives: Game Gear Games

Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Game Gear)

It looks like we’ll be heading back down memory lane with another of my Game Gear favorites. Today we’ll be looking at what was one of the first games I ever beat on my own, Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck. Growing up, I know I beat this game quite a few times. I remember it being a fun, but fairly easy game with a lot of charm. Unfortunately I can’t remember a whole lot about the game past the first few levels. Let’s hope it comes rushing back to me as I play.

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I’ve never played the original Chuck Rock game, I should probably pick that game up at some point to review too. Anyway, in Chuck Rock II, you play as Chuck Rock’s son, Chuck Rock Jr. It would seem Chuck’s archrival Brick Jagger has captured dear old dad, and now it’s up to you to save him. And so Chuck Rock Jr puts on a clean diaper, grabs his wooden club, and sets out on his own adventure. Do you have what it takes to survive the harsh prehistoric world to rescue your father? Let’s find out!

Gameplay

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The game starts with no introduction. Instead you’re simply thrown into the world and expected to find your way, which was a common opening for most games back then. You’ll quickly find yourself coming across some of your caveman neighbors who for some reason act as enemies in this game. Most of them seem to be minding their own business. Especially this guy who’s wig doesn’t seem quite dead yet.

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Even if the enemies aren’t all that threatening, the environment will be. In addition to smashing your enemies, you’ll have to use your club to smash down a few brick walls as well. You’ll also have to hold on tight as you swing over the occasional spike pit. But it’s all for the sake of saving dear old dad after all.

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Before we get too far, I want to point out that the game is just full of hidden surprises even right from the start. There are tons of hidden passages full of treats to find, and lots of invisible platforms to reach even more treats. Even out in the open, many of the flowers will give you points if you attack them. They look like just plain scenery, and really serve no other function, so it’s kind of impressive that they hid some points inside them.

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Anyway, the journey ahead is going to be full of many dangers. Landslides could happen at any moment causing rocks to come tumbling down the hills on top of you. You’ll have to swing across tons of vines, and risk your life over the spike pits. You’ll even face off against fierce dinosaurs hungry to make you a meal.

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…or at least your neighbors dressed up as dinosaurs for some reason. But don’t let any of that stop you. Face every danger head on and before you know it you’ll have made it to the end of the stage. We’re one step closer to saving dad now!

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There are of course great dangers lurking just around the corner for young Chuck Rock Jr. It seems he’s caught the eye of a hungry dinosaur, a real one this time. Despite being what looks like a brontosaurus, a plant eater, this dinosaur is eager to make a quick meal out of our diaper wearing hero.

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Chuck Rock Jr isn’t going to be quite the easy meal however. With his wooden club in hand his swings are strong enough to knock the teeth right out of the hungry dinosaur’s head. Next time he should pick a safer target for dinner, especially now that he’s lost all his teeth. It would be kind of hard to gum a creature to death.

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We may have escaped being eaten alive, but now it looks like we might be cooked alive instead. Just around the corner our young hero finds himself surrounded on all sides by red hot lava. Not only that, but the volcanoes in the distance are erupting, sending flaming balls of lava into the air.

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It would be hard for anyone to survive in these harsh conditions, yet alone a baby. However, the local dinosaurs seem to have figured it out. Equipped with full body fire retardant suits, these dinosaurs are perfectly safe from the heat. In fact they are so well adapted that they have come to master the flames with the use of their flame throwers. Wait a minute. Fire suits and flame throwers? What kind of dinosaurs are these.

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With genius dinosaur enemies like this, it’s good to know you have some friends on your side. In this case it’s a small turtle that seems to rather enjoy the lava. If you ask him nicely, he’ll be willing to ferry you across the lava to safety on the other side.

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Curiously, we seem not to be the only person here in the scorching waste. It would seem a mother is dragging along her children as they try to cross to lava fields no doubt in search of the greenery of the stages we just left. Unfortunately she becomes very hostile at the sight of our young hero and must be dealt with. Sadly this leaves the infants alone and vulnerable. They will no doubt soon die as well without their mother.

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Though we have become surrounded by death, these lava fields are also capable of breeding new life. Such is the case with the giant bird egg we find and witness hatch. Normally a bird would imprint on the first creature it sees and treat it as its mother. Sadly that is not the case with this bird. It is born with an instinct to kill by dropping flaming hot rocks on its enemies. This is something we can’t simply ignore, and we must teach this bird a lesson.

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This newborn sure does grow quickly. After a few dips in the lava, the creature seems to have grown out its feathers and even its beak looks more birdlike. No longer one to drop boulders on its prey, the bird now dive bombs at our hero in an attempt to finish the job personally.

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Again, we can’t let such actions go unpunished, especially from a newborn. With some quick actions, little Chuck Rock Jr brings his club down on the new born bird and sends it sinking back down into the lava where it belongs. Let’s hope mama bird wasn’t around to see any of that. I’m not sure we’d be able to handle her at our age.

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We made it out of that lava field and back to the safety of the green forests. No longer in the safety of our own neighborhood we won’t find any other humans out here. We will however find many of our distant cousins, the monkeys. These guys will constantly be jumping around, and throwing their bananas around at you. At least they aren’t throwing poop at you. Still, it’s very rude of them, and there’s only one way to stop them for good, a nice strong bash with your wooden club.

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Other than the monkeys, these levels are very similar the first stages. Swing from a few vines, try to avoid spikes and rocks, and just get to the end of the stages. The only new element I think worth noting are the giant ants you can occasionally ride to get across the spike pits.

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The monkeys of the forest may have been only a minor annoyance, but they’re no match for Ozric’s tentacles. This octopus like creature is ruler of the water, and a major threat to the life of young Chuck Jr as it spits water and throws small swordfish at our young hero.

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In a situation like this, there’s only one thing to do, grip up on that club and swing away at those swordfish. If you hit them just right, you can knock them into the air and arc them back to hit Ozric right in his oversized head. A few hits like that and he’ll be down for the count.

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Swimming past Ozric brings us down into the sewer systems. The idea of a sewer system on its own is very advanced for these cavemen, but where did they get all that toxic waste? That stuff doesn’t exactly occur naturally, especially not in clearly marked barrels like that.

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Also where did all of these pipes and conveyer belts come from? Am I missing something here? Did we travel into a different game entirely? I thought we were following a little cave baby rescue his cave dad. Are we working under Flintstone rules here where everything is stone age but somehow also futuristic?

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Survive the polluted horrors and you’ll finally find Chuck Rock and come face to face with Brick himself. At least I think that’s Brick. Is Brick a green fish bird thing? I have no idea who Brick is because I never played the first game. Whatever it is, it will regularly shoot its head off straight into the air as gears and springs come popping out. So I guess this must be some kind of robot controlled by Brick. Again this is very advanced for cavemen.

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After a few hits the green fish thing will disappear to be replaced with a somewhat more human looking thing that must finally be Brick himself. I think it’s supposed to be a seat back, but it has always looked like he has a massive tail like a kangaroo or something. With his robot fish thing destroyed he’ll try to finish you off himself by rising up and hitting you from below.

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Step out of the way when Brick goes for the kill, then swing away at his stupid face. How dare he kidnap your father like that? How dare he make a child travel across that treacherous world to get here. Bash him good until he can take no more and you’ve saved dear old dad.

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Just like that dad is safe, mom is happy, and brick goes to jail. All’s well that ends well.

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Verdict

Gameplay – 8.5 / 10

The gameplay is fun, but admittedly very simplistic. Each stage is fairly short and straight forward, but there are tons of secrets to find if you feel like looking for them. Then the controls are very responsive and everything is very intuitive. There are also a few standard mechanics I thought the game handled really well. For one thing, many of the spike pits are set up in a way that they won’t constantly damage you. After the initial damage you can safely walk among the spikes without fear of death. Finally there are the boss battles which are the cornerstone of any good action game. They all telegraph their attacks very nicely and make for fun but fairly easy fights.

Graphics – 9 / 10

I thought the graphics were very impressive, especially for a Game Gear game. The environments are all very vibrant and detailed. All the characters also have a lot of expression and humor to them, like the people dressed like dinosaurs or the dinosaurs with flamethrowers.

Audio – 9 / 10

I love the soundtrack of this game. All the music is very upbeat and fits the game perfectly.

Story – 3 / 10

The story as described in the manual is a fairly interesting one. Unfortunately none of that is really portrayed in the game. Really, you could go through the whole game without ever knowing what your goal is. However, that was common place for games of the time.

Total Playtime – 0h 40m

It’s a really short game, and even with all the secret areas there really isn’t much you can do about that. It’s kind of to be expected though. The game has no save system, and the Game Gear can only stay on for about 2 hours on a full set of 6 batteries.

Total Deaths – 12 Deaths

The game isn’t very hard, and most of my deaths were from simple carelessness. Like I said, I used to be able to beat this game legit when I was a kid. As it is, I only died 2 times more than would have been allowed in a legitimate playthrough. I’m sure I could beat it for real if I played it again right now. On the subject of deaths, I would like to point out how well this game handles dying. Any time you die, you get to continue playing right from where you died without much interruption to the gameplay.

Overall Score – 8.5 / 10

I loved this game as a kid, and I still love it now. The game is very short and easy, almost to a fault, but what little game is there is a fun one. The graphics are great with a lot of humor on the little screen. Then the music is fitting and memorable. Possibly most importantly are the fun boss battles. They were all easy if you paid just the slightest attention, but they still felt like epic battles. The first boss in particular has always been my favorite. There’s just an odd thrill to knocking its teeth out and seeing as his face became bandaged and swollen. If you still have a working Game Gear, do yourself a favor and pick up this great title. If not, there’s also a version for the Genesis which has extra levels in it. Honestly I’ll have to pick up that version for myself at some point too. Whichever version you end up playing, you’re almost certain to have a good time.

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Yay! We’re a family again!

 

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Jurassic Park (Game Gear)

I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs. For the longest time I even considered becoming a paleontologist when I grew up. But then the reality set it that paleontologists spend hours and hours outside in the hot desert sun digging giant holes with tiny shovels, and that was the end of that nonsense. I never stopped loving dinosaurs though. Growing up I know I had my share of plastic dinosaur toys, and I remember watching the Land Before Time movie more than was probably healthy. Little Foot and the gang were great, but the summer of 1993 changed everything for me with the release of Jurassic Park.

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At this point I think everyone already knows how great of a movie Jurassic Park was, especially considering it was the highest grossing film worldwide at the time of its original release.  Jurassic Park blew people’s minds with how realistic the dinosaurs looked. In fact it’s still one of my favorite movies partly because of how real the dinosaurs look, as well as how well the other actors interact with those dinosaurs. As with any great movie, it eventually gets sequels, and spin offs, and of course videogame tie-ins. Today we’re going to look at the Game Gear version of Jurassic Park. I remember loving this game as a kid, and if I remember right, it was one of the first games I ever beat on my own without any cheats. So join me on Isla Nublar to see if I can survive the escaped dinosaurs, or if I’ll become one of their dinners.

Gameplay

Welcome to Jurassic Park, the island theme park where scientists have brought real live dinosaurs back from extinction. And a theme park which may never open to the public now that computer problems have allowed the dinosaurs to escape their enclosures, threaten the safety of everyone on the island. With no one else to turn to, they fly in Dr Allen Grant to contain the situation. I think the staff might have taken the title of “Dinosaur Hunter” a little too literally when they hired this paleontologist to round up their escaped dinosaurs, but we’ll do our best anyway.

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The staff has identified four areas of damaged fence where the dinosaurs are escaping from. There’s the Velociraptors to the north, Pteranodons to the east, Brachiosaurs to the south, and the Triceratops to the west. Since they’re probably the most dangerous, and I wouldn’t want them roaming around very long, I chose to try to contain the Velociraptors first. However, just getting to that side of the park in one piece is going to be its own challenge.

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Each area starts with a mini-game showing your drive to each of the sites. Apparently the sound of the jeep lures out every dinosaur in the area, and you’ll have to defend yourself if you ever want to make it out alive. You control the crosshairs on screen and it’s up to you to shoot all the dinosaurs that try to attack the jeep before they cause enough damage to break it. Thankfully, every dinosaur you kill will also drop an item of health to heal you.

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These sections could easily be brushed off as just simple mini-games to pad the length of the game, but in reality they do have a significant impact on the rest of the stage. While most of the dinosaurs attacking the jeep only drop health, there are a few that drop more useful items such as extra lives. Even more important however are the ones that drop gas cans, which when collected will actually add extra bars to your health for the duration of the stage. Failing to collect these can make the rest of the stage a lot more difficult.

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Rounding off the mini-game is a boss encounter with a larger dinosaur, a Pteranodon in this case. These larger dinosaurs are much harder to kill than the others, and actually have their own health bars in the upper right corner. You’ll have to shoot them quite rapidly to prevent it from ramming into the jeep. To make matters worse, the occasionally rock in the road will launch the car into the air, throwing off your aim with the crosshairs as well.

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Win or lose, you’ll still advance to the action stage of the level. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at what equipment we have available. Bringing up the pause menu will allow you to switch between any of the three weapons available. There is a Tranquilizer Rifle which serves as your general purpose gun, sending a wave of energy in front of you to knock out the dinosaurs. You also have Concussion Grenades which you shoot up into the air and are most useful against Pteranodons as well as any dinosaurs that might be on ledges above you. The final weapon is the Fireball Grenade, a weapon a rarely used. The Fireball Grenade is the most powerful, but it is thrown in an arc and I just found it hard to use compared to the Tranquilizer Rifle. Also in the pause menu are first aid kits. These are scattered around the levels, usually in hard to reach places, and allow you to restore your health at any time.

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Onto the stage itself, the computer problems seem to have extended far beyond just the fences as they’ve managed to destabilize the very ground you walk on, seeing as it crumbles away as you walk across it. Not only that, but it has cause lava to shoot up into the air in a perfectly synchronized water fountain like fashion. Having destroyed the bridge in the process, you’ll have to grab hold of the upper supports and swing your way across. And that’s all just to make it to the front door of the building.

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Inside you’ll be greeted by a flock of Pteranodons that have somehow managed to get inside. They seem to be quite content inside this warehouse, even though I would think the metal framework would make it hard for them to fly around. Whatever their state of mind, they still see me as potential dinner and will go into a dive bomb as soon as they see me. Of course, this is the Velociraptors area, and as would be expected, there are a few of them just around the corner waiting to pounce. A few good shots with the Tranquilizer Rifle and it will be lights out for them.

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However, even the Velociraptors seem to be the least of my problems here in the power station. There are several areas of exposed wires shooting off electricity at anyone foolish enough to walk by them. There’s also an elevator ride with constant threat of electrocution as the electricity shoots straight out from the walls, forcing you to press yourself against the opposite wall. I can only hope and pray that these dangers are a result of the computer problems, or even the dinosaurs themselves damaging the equipment. I’d hate to imagine the power station was actually intentionally designed this way.

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Avoid being fatally electrocuted and you’ll come face to face with the first boss, the alpha Velociraptor. Considering the Velociraptors are perhaps the most dangerous of the four escaped dinosaurs, it’s kind of amazing that the boss battle is the easiest one. I never even had to move from my starting position. There are four doors in the room and the Velociraptor will appear in one of them, and then run straight across to the other open door in the room. It really pays no attention to you as it runs around, and after shooting it once, it won’t hurt you for the rest of that run, even if it touches you. So just stand still and shoot it as it shows up, you really don’t need any more strategy than that.

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It’s still a boss battle though, and it will take a few rounds before you finally put him down. Of course, you aren’t here to KILL the dinosaurs, they’re the star attractions of the park. To bring that point home, the post battle scene shows the Velociraptor alive and well inside a cage, and ready to be transported back to his enclosure. Let’s just hope those bars can hold him better than the electric fences did.

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With the Velociraptors now once again contained, I already feel like the island is a safer place. And so, we’ll just travel clockwise around the island to capture the rest of them. That means our next stop has us trying to contain the Pteranodons. It also means another mini-game. The bulk of the journey is the same, except we’re shooting small Pteranodons instead of the little dinosaurs from before. Also the boss battle is slightly different. We’re still fighting a Pteranodon, but this time it’s carrying a large bolder which it tries to throw at the jeep. You’ll have to shoot the boulder out of its claws or risk it being dropped on your jeep.

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Death Count: 2

 

Upon arrival at the site, we find ourselves at the bottom of a cliff side. We also learn that Grant can’t swim, not even the slightest as the water below acts as a bottomless pit. I guess it makes sense, spending hours out in the desert digging in the sand doesn’t exactly prepare you for swimming. You’d think any full grown adult would at least be able to tread water though, and not just sink like a rock. Speaking of rocks, the cliff side seems to be experiencing some kind of rock slide, as giant boulders are regularly falling down from above. I’m sad to say that while the boulders never hit me, they did distract me long enough to make me slip off the cliff and fall into the water again.

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I’d better get inside the work tunnels before I fall into the water a third time. Unfortunately, these tunnels don’t seem to be much safer. They’re an odd maze of random elevators and moving platforms over pits of sharp rocks. Not only that, but there aren’t even paths to many of the platforms, which leaves climbing along the ceiling Grant’s only option. I guess a paleontologist really was the best choice for this job. All those hours digging have strengthened his hands and fingers into the tools of the gods, allowing him to find support in what looks like a smoothed flat rock face.

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Death Count: 3

 

Having navigated the tunnels and scaled the cliff side, we’re now open and exposed to the Pteranodons swooping down from above. The Concussion Grenades make quick work of them, scaring them off into the sky. However, the dinosaurs once again prove to be the least of my problems. Just like back in the Velociraptors area, the ground here in unstable and crumbles as you walk across it. This caught me off guard, making me miss one of the jumps, and once again go plunging into the water. Someone buy Dr Grant over here a life jacket to wear! We need to focus or we’ll never capture all these dinosaurs!

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Those small Pteranodons were just target practice apparently, as now we come face to face with the boss of the stage. Just like in the Velociraptor fight, the Pteranodon pays little attention to you and instead flies in a predictable pattern between the trees. The stage itself is actually rather interesting. From the screenshots, you can already tell that we’re high up in the trees, jumping from branch to branch as we try to avoid the Pteranodon as well as line up some shots to subdue him. What you can’t tell from the stills is that the screen is constantly scrolling upwards, adding another element of danger to the stage.

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After enough hits, the Pteranodon can take no more and is returned to its enclosure. With all the trees around, I guess they couldn’t get a truck out here to drive it back, so they bring in one of the helicopters to air lift it out. A rather risky move if you ask me. It’s barely contained in any way and its wings are just kind of flopping down. If it wakes up and starts moving around it’s going to pull that helicopter right out of the sky. But I guess I shouldn’t worry about that right now, there are still two more dinosaurs to capture.

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We now head south to the Brachiosaur area. With how big a Brachiosaur is, I’m not sure what they expect me to do to capture it, but we’ll have to try something. Of course the drive to a new area means another mini-game. The little dinosaurs are back this time and provide some nice target practice. The boss however is much different. This time instead of a Pteranodon it looks like it’s a T-Rex hot on our tail! QUICK, SHOOT IT IN THE FACE BEFORE IT EATS US!

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We escape the T-Rex only to find ourselves on a water front. Focus Grant, we already know you can’t swim. There are a couple different kinds of dinosaurs in this area. There are a bunch of Pteranodons pecking at the bones of some creature. But they fly off as soon as I get close to them. The threatening dinosaurs are the ones that jump up out of the water, taunting Dr Grant with their ability to swim. I’m not sure what kind of dinosaur they are, but a quick shot from the Tranquilizer Rifle sends them right back into the water where they came from.

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As we make our way inside, we’ll have to look out for more Velociraptors. I thought I took care of those guys back in the first stage. I guess more of them escaped than I had thought. Maybe being inside with them isn’t the best idea. We’d better head out the back way and hope they don’t follow. Of course, the escaped Brachiosaurs are waiting just outside the door. They’re huge, but at least they don’t seem to mean any harm, they’re just kind of curious to see what I am. But curiosity from such a giant creature can quickly turn dangerous. With nowhere else to turn, I guess this inflatable raft on the river will have to bring us to safety.

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I don’t think I could have made a worse decision in my life if I tried. Brachiosaurs apparently love the water, and their long necks allow them to easily come up for air. As innocent an action as that might be, with me out here on a little inflatable raft and possessing no ability to swim whatsoever, this is a terrible situation for me to be in. We’ll have to knock the poor thing out before it can knock me into the water. We were sent here to capture it anyway.

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After a few hits from the concussion grenades, the Brachiosaur finally collapses on the river bank. Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park staff doesn’t seem to have any better idea than I do on how to get the massive thing out of the water. They brought a crane, but even that doesn’t seem big enough for the job. They’re the professional though, and I’ll just have to trust they know what they’re doing.

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With three of the dinosaurs already safely recaptured, that means there’s only one left, the Triceratops. Again, there is a mini-game as we drive out to the west side of the island, and again we use those dinosaurs as target practice. Once again, the boss dinosaur changes, this time to a bipedal dinosaur with a boney plate on its head, possibly a Pachycephalosaurus. Whatever it is, we’re going to have to shoot it in the head a few times to stop it from ramming our jeep.

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Here in the Triceratops sections, Mother Nature seems to be pissed and want nothing more than to kill us. Whether it be small localized tornados, or constant lightning strikes punching holes in the ground, I can only stop to wonder what I did to piss off Mother Nature so badly.

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The lightning strikes become so bad that they even start the ground on fire. We’ll have to jump up into the trees or we’ll be burned to death. That’s not really the best strategy however, since the fire will only spread into the upper branches. When I found a small pond, I thought I might finally be safe, but I was so wrong. Mother Nature took that moment to strike the pond with lightning as well, sending ripples of electricity through the water. We’ll have to hold onto the branches or risk electrocution in the water.

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When we finally do find the escape Triceratops, it seems a welcome change to the forces of nature that preceded it. There is however very little room to manure in this clearing. With the triceratops gearing up to charge, our only hope is to jump up into the trees out of its attack range. Now stuck with its horns in the tree, we can get in a few shots with the Tranquilizer Rifle before it can recover. It’s a cleaver beast however as it kicks up dirt with its back legs while trying to free itself. Not only that, but it has learned our tactic, and will now kick up dirt to attack us in the trees.

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It’s the toughest battle so far, but eventually we manage to knock it out and can bring it back to its enclosure. However, I can’t help but question the competency of the staff at this point. They did ok with the Velociraptors when they put it in a big cage. But then the Pteranodon wasn’t restrained at all, and they couldn’t figure out what to do with the Brachiosaur. But I have to draw the line here. Who thought it was necessary or even helpful in the slightest to put traffic cones down around the Triceratops? Are we scared some random car is going to come out here into the woods and somehow not see the 10 foot long creature laying on the ground? Even Dr Grant looks like he’s pointing and yelling at people to do something helpful. What are you two doing just leaning up against that tree? Go get another cage or something before it wakes up!

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I was brought in to capture the four escaped dinosaurs and I did just that. Whatever the staff ends up doing with these dinosaurs is none of my concern. However, the ride back into base reveals one last challenge. Perhaps the one people should have been most concerned with the whole time. The Tyrannosaurus Rex has also escaped his enclosure and is heading straight for the Visitors Center. This stage is actually a secret bonus level in the game. As a kid, I could never figure out how to unlock it, and I thought it was random, but I now know that it’s unlocked by completing the other four stages all without using a single continue. With how easy the rest of the game is, this feat is quite easy to accomplish. However, I always dreaded unlocking this stage because it is so much harder than the rest of the game. You’re also given little chance to learn the layout of the level because of the fact that you lose all of your continues at the start of the stage. As a kid I never managed to beat it. Let’s see if my skills have improved over the years.

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One final time we embark on the mini-game. This time we really need every bar of health we can get. When the boss shows up he’s terrifying compared to previous bosses. He’s bigger, and a blood red color and he is much more aggressive than any of the others. He’ll be right up on the jeep before you know it, and he isn’t likely to be knocked back like the others were. You’ll just have to keep shooting as fast as you can and hope it’s enough. Upon arriving at the Visitors Center, you’re greeted with an equally terrifying sight as the staff and scientists are seen running in terror for their lives. What have we gotten ourselves into now?

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Death Count: 4

 

I always thought it was the dinosaurs they should be running from, but in reality, the computer problems may have just triggered the automatic laser defense turrets mounted seemingly everywhere in the Visitors Center. I want to let that sentence go, but I just can’t. Why on earth are there such an excessive number of automated laser turrets set up in the VISITORS CENTER?! What kind of paranoid psychotic architect did you guys hire that they were insistent the visitor’s center needed an extensive laser defense grid?

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It doesn’t even keep the dinosaurs out! They’re too smart for that. The Velociraptors have figured out how to use the automatic garage door openers to hide in the various conveniently placed storage areas. The juvenile T-Rexes on the other hand have taken up hiding inside the walls like the worst kind of infestation imaginable. The only time you see them is when they stick their heads out one of the holes they managed to break in the walls just to eat people that walk by.

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Death Count: 7

 

When I finally made it to the Tyrannosaurus, I had no idea what to do to knock it out. None of the weapons seem to have any effect on it. There are also no safe areas in the room. It’s just you and the T-Rex locked in a tiny room together. When he pins you in the corner, there’s really nothing you can do but curl up in ball and accept death. That death will of course come quickly because every attack from the T-Rex takes away 2 bars of health.

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Death Count: 9

 

After a few deaths and much struggling, I finally figured out at the very least a way to hurt the behemoth. By using the Concussion Grenades, I managed to knock some of the boxes off the shelves above which came crashing down on top of him. They didn’t do a whole ton of damage though, and there still aren’t any safe places to hide when he attacks. It wasn’t until I remembered those med kits I’ve been picking up throughout the whole game. I haven’t needed them even once so far, so I completely forgot that I even had them. I’m sure there must be a more effective strategy for fighting this boss, but I just can’t see it. While it might not have been a very good strategy, the results speak for themselves as the T-Rex comes crashing down to the ground.

I included the Staff Credits because i have my doubts any of those are real names.

Now that the T-Rex is contained, all the dinosaurs are accounted for and reconstruction can begin. Dr Grant is treated as a hero, and several months later the park finally opens to the public. From the handful of images shown, very few safety precautions are put in place, and no doubt those dinosaurs will escape again to terrorize the island. But I will be long gone by then, and it won’t be my problem. Good luck everyone stupid enough to visit Killer Dinosaur Island!

Verdict

Gameplay – 8 / 10

I’ll admit that the gameplay is rather generic, but I’ve said it before that generic doesn’t automatically mean bad. The game doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it handles everything very well in my opinion. Starting with the minigames leading into the stages, I do believe those are the best console crosshairs I’ve ever encountered. The speed and responsiveness of the movement is absolutely perfect, or as close to it as you can get with a D-Pad. Then on the stage proper, the controls are well handled, the environments feel alive, and the level designs are fun and varied. The ratio of environmental hazards to actual enemies might be leaning heavily towards hazards, but that never detracts from the game. Then the boss battles at the end of each of the stages are all fun and rather unique, though admittedly a bit too easy. All together it forms a very fun experience, which is exactly what you’re going for.

Graphics – 9 / 10

Considering the limited space to work with on the game gear screen, the graphical quality is actually really good. Dr Grant himself ends up somewhat generic. Actually, for the longest time I didn’t even acknowledge that it was supposed to be Dr Grant. For some reason the player character always gave off a feminine vibe to me and I thought maybe you were playing as Dr Sattler instead. Though neither of them are actually a good fit for the gun toting hunter you play as.  The Dinosaurs however look amazing, and really the dinosaurs are the stars of the game anyway. They have impressively large sprites which are very detailed for the time, and many of them look truly menacing.

Audio – 7 / 10

I’ve always enjoyed the music in this game, but again, it’s a bit generic. All the music fits well and adds a nice atmosphere, but none of it is particularly memorable. I do have to give them credit for really nailing the T-Rex roar and using as the starting cue for each of the stages. But then at the same time I feel I need to be really critical of the fact that the iconic theme song doesn’t appear anywhere in the game, unless I just missed it somehow.

Story – 8 / 10

The story in the game takes a huge departure from the movie. Instead of being on the island when the systems fail and trying to survive, you are actually flown in after the fact with the goal of containing the situation. It’s an acceptable change which lends itself nicely for the type of game they were trying to create. While playing, everything is held together nicely and with more thought than most other action games. The beginning of the stage minigames show the hazardous drive to the different parts of the island, followed by the stage proper, and finally the capture of the escape dinosaur. It’s the post boss battle screens that really seal the deal for me, showing off that the dinosaurs are still alive and well. I just love the fact that the dinosaurs aren’t being hunted like monsters. Instead you’re trying to contain escaped zoo animals, for lack of a better term.

Total Playtime – 0h 41m

The game is kind of on the short side. But to its credit, the Game Gear ate batteries faster than you could buy them, so it had to be a short game if you ever wanted to finish it. Despite the short playtime, they manage to pack a lot into the game to keep it exciting. Then the secret Tyrannosaurus stage added a lot of replay value to the game. Like I said earlier, I never managed to beat it as a kid, and without the extra lives I gave myself, I not sure I would have beaten it this time either.

Total Deaths – 9 Deaths

The bulk of the game is very easy. I had 3 deaths in the Pteranodon area all from bad jumps and falling down the bottomless pits. But those 3 deaths were my only deaths until the final secret T-Rex Section. Even there, I died once from those stupid lasers, and not again until I fought the T-Rex himself. Then of course it took 5 deaths and 3 med kits before I killed him. So really, the T-Rex was the only actual challenge of the whole game.

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I might be a bit biased towards this game since the Jurassic park movie is one of my favorites, but I love this game. Everything about it is just so much fun. The gameplay is great, as are the graphics. While the game is admittedly very easy, it’s not so easy to be boring. You still need to be on your toes or you’ll easily get blindsided. It does have a few flaws. The playtime is short, and the game is very linear, which might turn off the explorer types. Then considering this game is a Jurassic Park title and should be all about the dinosaurs, it’s a bit surprising how few you actually encounter. Even so, the seeming lack of dinosaurs never hurts the game any. At the end of the day Jurassic Park ends up being an entertaining adventure game and definitely one that would appeal to fans of the franchise. If you still know where your game gear is, consider adding Jurassic Park to your collection. You won’t be disappointed.

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The headlines read “Mass incompetence causes the death of dozens of Jurassic Park employees!”

 

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I hope you enjoyed Jurassic Park. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

Ren and Stimpy: The Quest for the Shaven Yak

SNICK, The Big Orange Couch, All That, Ren and Stimpy, Are You Afraid of the Dark? I can’t remember a more important time block in my childhood life. I loved all those shows, and I wish I could find copies of them to watch now. They are all amazing pieces of nostalgia that I could write at length about, but right now we’re only going to focus on Ren and Stimpy.

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I love Ren and Stimpy, but it has always held some mixed emotions and mixed signals in my life. For some reason I never understood, my parents didn’t liked me watching it. They would still let me, but they weren’t happy about it. Sure it was a bit more violent than the other shows, but it was silly and crazy and I loved every second of it. Now that I’m older, I can see the jokes that went over my head as a kid, and I fully understand why my parents weren’t happy with it. It really is a rather disgusting show. That’s not even including the later seasons when it moved from Nickelodeon over to Spike TV and became “Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoons”. I’m an adult now with a child of my own, and I still don’t feel like I’m old enough to be watching that smut.


Before we jump into the game, I think we need a little back story. The game gets some inspiration or at least its kick off point, from one of the show’s short segments featuring Yak Shaving Day and The Great Shaven Yak. Yak Shaving Day is a holiday vaguely similar to Christmas where you hang dirty diapers from the walls, fill your dad’s boots with coleslaw, and leave a pot of shaving cream next to the bathroom sink in hopes The Great Shaven Yak will visit you in the night and leave shaving scum in your sink. Not the kind of holiday I would want to celebrate, but to each his own.

Gameplay



Stimpy enters the living room excitedly one day to find a new pair of shoes waiting on the floor. But they aren’t any normal shoes, in fact, they aren’t shoes at all, they’re hooves. These hooves belong to The Shaven Yak who must have left them by accident last Yak Shaving Day. They must return them or Yak Shaving Day will be ruined forever.

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You can choose to play as either Ren or Stimpy, and you are free to switch at the beginning of each level, so it’s not a major decision you’ll be stuck with. They play nearly identically, but they do each have a special move which makes some levels easier with one rather than the other. Ren is capable of jumping high into the air, allowing him access to higher areas that would be inaccessible to Stimpy. Stimpy on the other hand has a ground stomp ability that lets him break small branches and open secret areas that Ren can’t get to. In general I like to play as Stimpy since I like him more and also the branches are a little more obvious than the random higher ledges.

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death count: 1

 

Their journey north begins in The Blacker Than Black Forest, a rather bright and cheerful wooded area despite its name. Here you’ll encounter all sorts of woodland critters like squirrels, birds, and skunks. None of them present a serious threat, but they do show up in a rather high frequency.

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The only enemies that present any real challenge are the porcupines and the bears. Both are immobile, but they are also immortal, making them more of an obstacle than an enemy. The porcupines will throw out projectiles, and you have to time it just right to jump over them. The bears on the other hand will completely block your path, you need to attack until they start crying, then you can walk right past them.

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The levels themselves are rather easy and straight forward, but there are a large number of hidden objects and secret areas. As mentioned before, Stimpy’s ground stomp ability opens up several areas, but there are also hidden enchanted canoes that will carry you to high ledges that even Ren’s high jump wouldn’t be able to reach. With all these areas and items you’re rarely short on health, which you might have noticed in the top left corner is measured in rubber nipples. Who could possible dislike a game where your health is measured in nipples?

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death count: 3

 

The real challenge comes from the boss fights. I’m not sure exactly what it is we’re fighting, a bear? Or maybe it’s a wolverine? Either way, it moves fast, hits hard, and has a lot of health. Luckily, it has a predictable attack pattern. It might take a few tries before you recognize it, but once you do he becomes a push over.

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Survive the boss, and you’re treated to a short cut scene where Ren gets stung by a scorpion. I feel really stupid now, but when I was younger, it never clicked that Ren’s outburst of pain was anything other than just that. It’s actually the password so you can continue your game from the start of this stage. It’s a really clever way to mix the password into the game without it slowing down the pace any. It was just a little too clever for 8 year old me.

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The Stinking Dry Desert ramped up the difficulty pretty quickly compared to the forest. There are a lot more indestructible obstacles compared to the last stage. For the desert stages, many of the cacti have replaced the porcupines, launching projectiles that must be avoided. Apparently this desert is so hot the cacti are actually exploding. Or maybe you’d rather be killed by the undead cows throwing their bones at you.

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death count: 5

 

Not all of the obstacles are immobile though. There’s also a variety of tumble weeds and mini tornadoes going around ready to damage you. The tumble weeds are usually easy enough to avoid since they generally just roll straight towards you. Even when they do bounce they aren’t much harder to avoid. The tornados on the other hand can be a bit more troublesome. They are faster than the tumble weeds and seem much more intent on following you. How tiny sentient tornados can form in the first place is anyone’s guess, but there they are for the world to see.

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The regular enemies are trickier too. You’ll be attacked by plenty of vultures intent on laying their eggs right on your head. At least I hope those are eggs. There’s also occasionally refreshing glasses of lemonade that are actually just mirages. Once you get too close they’ll reveal themselves to have been scorpions all along.

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There are also several underground caves to explore, breaking up the pace nicely. These caves are full of immortal spiders lying in wait for someone to walk under them. The many stalactites on the cave roof also seem to be dripping oil. Curiously, many of these oil droplets seem to come to life, sprouting legs and walking after you.

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death count: 8

 

Survive the dangers of the desert, and you will come face to face with a spitting cobra as the stage’s boss. Maybe it’s just me, but the cobra wasn’t nearly as challenging as the previous boss. A rapid fire attack with just the minimal amount of dodging was enough to beat him.

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This brings us to The Stinking Wet Bayou. This time around, Ren tries to attack a giant mosquito about to drink Stimpy’s blood, but instead just manages to punch Stimpy in the nose. Poor Stimpy, he’s always being assaulted by Ren.

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death count: 13

 

I am a little disappointed that the mosquitoes in the levels weren’t the blue ones in the cut scene. Instead they are these giant eyed generic things flying around everywhere. The blue ones fit the style of the cartoon better and I could have sworn I remember seeing them in the show like that before. They make up for it a little by including mudskippers just like I remember from the show.

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They also went ahead and added crocostimpys, which are crocodiles that look surprisingly like Stimpy and have a call that sounds like the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” song. They’ve popped up randomly in the other levels, and I think they might have been bonuses, but I never managed to kill one, so I can’t really confirm what they do. Either way, I was happy with their inclusion since there have been so few direct show references so far.

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death count: 18

 

Avoid losing all your blood to the mosquitoes and you’ll eventually face the, um, leech? I think it’s a leech. Whatever it is, it gave me the hardest time of any of the bosses. It moves really fast and even knowing the attack was coming, I wasn’t always able to avoid it in time. The draw distance of the screen also played a part in making this level harder. It was short enough that if I waited to actually SEE if he was walking or lunging, I wouldn’t be able to react in time. Jump when he was walking, and I’d land on its head, wait till I could see the lunge and I wouldn’t be able to jump out of the way in time. His pattern also seemed the most random of any of the bosses. But a pattern is still a pattern, and once you get the rhythm, he’ll eventually go down just like the others.

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We’re getting close now as we climb The Perilous Mount Hoek. Unfortunately our team wasn’t paying attention and walked off a cliff. Will cartoon characters never learn to not walk off the edge of cliffs? At least gravity seems to ignore them until they notice it, and if I remember correctly, being distracted and forgetting your falling was the secret to flying.

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The laws of physics aren’t the only thing a bit questionable in these mountains. For some reason there seems to be a high number of mountain chickens and mountain crabs. That’s really the best they could think of? Mountain crabs?

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It just gets worse from there with mountain snails and whatever the hell those red things are. Seriously, they’re little red worm things with a single eye, and when you kill them, they don’t die. Instead they crunch up into a ball and start bouncing towards you. What are they even supposed to be?

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death count: 22

 

Eventually they just start throwing the whole arsenal at you by including the birds from the first level, the vultures from the second levels, and the blue mosquitoes from the cut scene. Where were you guys the whole last stage? If you’re going to be enemies now why were those other mosquitoes filling in for you before?

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death count: 30

 

My mosquito complaints aside, eventually you’ll come face to face with a crazy lumberjack. I haven’t quite decided if he’s amazingly good or bad at his job because I don’t think I saw a single tree on this mountain. So either there never were any trees, and he should go to the blacker than black woods, or he is so good that he chopped down every tree on the whole mountain. Regardless, he is psychotic and somehow mastered the aerodynamically impossible ability to throw an ax like a boomerang.

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It’s the final stretch. We’ve made it all the way to The Great Frozen North. All that’s left now is to find out where exactly the Shaven Yak lives. That is, if these icicles don’t kill our heroes first.

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death count: 36

 

This is where the game really cranked it up to 11. The enemies aren’t really anything that bad. But there are giant snowballs rolling around everywhere, making some areas nearly impossible to get through without taking a decent amount of damage. This was the only part of the whole game that made me feel like rage quitting.

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There are also immortal polar bears blocking your path at seemingly every turn. They can’t be killed, and unlike the regular bears, they can’t be stunned either. All you can do is try to jump over them. Even with the high ledges over then, this is sometimes easier said than done.

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death count: 39

 

This brings us to the final boss of the game, the Abominable Snowman. At first, I thought he was the hardest, near indestructible, almost cheatingly impossible boss the game had to throw at me. That’s because there appears to be only a single point in his whole attack pattern when he is even capable of taking damage. Any other time your attacks will just pass right through him. Once you notice and accept this though, he becomes the easiest of all the bosses, you just have to be patient. But I wasn’t disappointed. Yes he was easy, but you still have to watch his pattern and keep it up while you slowly drain his health or you will still die. Because of this, I truly felt like I had beaten him with pure skill rather than largely luck like the other bosses. It let me end the game with a real sense of accomplishment.


 

 

Having finally found The Shaven Yak, returned his hooves, and saved Yak Shaving Day for everyone, there’s only one thing left to do. Dance to the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” song, then fly back home in the Shaven Yak’s enchanted canoe.

Verdict

Gameplay – 8 / 10

The game is just as much fun to play now as I remember it. The controls are simple and well executed. And the level designs are varied enough to keep it entertaining. They’re a little too easy, which causes a noticeable contrast when you finally make it to the boss fights. While the bosses do have fairly rigid attack patterns, they aren’t immediately obvious, and will take several attempts before you figure the pattern out. Followed by several more attempts to find a suitable counter attack. However, because of the rigidness of the pattern, I never felt cheated when they killed me. It was all part of the learning process.

Graphics – 7 / 10

The graphics were great for the system. Ren and Stimpy look fantastic, as do most of the enemies. I can’t really complain about what is presented, but rather the missed opportunity. I remember the show having several nature mockumentary episodes that introduced a variety of random animals what would have fit nicely in the game, so it’s a bit disappointing that nearly all the enemies are generic animals. Also it was kind of odd that the crab enemies seemed to be reused in every stage, even if it made no sense for there to be crabs in those areas.

Audio – 9 / 10

They did a wonderful job with the soundtrack, recreating as best they could several iconic songs from the show like the main theme, the Muddy Mudskipper Song, and Happy Happy Joy Joy. Even with the limited quality of the system, any fan of the show should be able to recognize them without trouble. They also used one of my favorite classical songs “Night on Bald Mountain” as the boss battle music. While these songs were all reused in each stage as opposed to stage specific songs, I can’t really fault it because I enjoyed it all the same. They are catchy songs that draw you into the game and make it more enjoyable.

Story – 7 / 10

The story, weak as it is, is still the perfect level of crazy to match the show. It explained the different locations as simply part of their journey across the globe trying to find the Shaven Yak. Add in the short cut scenes between levels, and it became a fun journey to save Yak Shaving Day.

Total Playtime – 1h 42m

It’s a rather short game, but a very enjoyable one.

Total Deaths – 39 Deaths

The enemies, though numerous, were rarely any frustration. Most of these deaths were from fighting the bosses, and the others were typically from falling down bottomless pits for an instant death.

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I really love this game. The levels are fun, the bosses are challenging, and the music is catchy. Plus the passwords at the start of each new stage saves you from having to constantly replay the early stages, thus avoiding one of the biggest frustrations of retro games. It’s not perfect, and if you’re not already a fan of the show, you admittedly might find it a bit generic. Fans of the show however should find it to be a truly enjoyable experience, even if the true show tie-ins are a bit few and far between.

Ren and Stimpy - The Quest for the Shaven Yak - 50

 

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I hope you enjoyed Ren and Stimpy: The Quest for the Shaven Yak. If you did, Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

 

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