Retronomicon: Evercade #7: Interplay #2


It’s Evercade time.

A six game cart? This is going to be an easy review to write but holy cow is this going to be hard to recommend. One or two games gone and it becomes much more difficult to justify $20 on the rest of them, right? But let’s dive in.

1. Clayfighter 2 (1995)

Clayfighter 2 isn’t fun. It has imaginative fighters, a very weird theme and setting, but the game isn’t fun. The fighting doesn’t flow well, the levels don’t look as good as the original, and by this point the aesthetic and nostalgia has long since worn off. Clayfighter was a shoddy parody of Street Fighter that benched heavily on its ‘tude to make up for the fact that it’s a sloppy, poorly built fighting game. Clayfighter 2 is like retelling the same joke everyone got tired of two years ago.

Verdict: Pass

2. Claymates (1994)

In case it wasn’t obvious, Interplay really liked clay as a medium in the 90s. Claymates is a side scrolling platformer where the player takes the role of a ball of clay, traversing through each level and collecting as many gems as possible. Why? To get your score up. You also come across power ups that can transform you into different animals like a cat or a rat each with their own powers.

Claymates has a lot of personality and is definitely a platformer worth playing.

Verdict: Keep

3. Earthworm Jim 2 (1995)

Earthworm Jim 2: 2 Earth 2 Worm is the 1995 sequel to the original goofy worm game. Earthworm Jim 2 lets you know exactly the type of game it is from the opening level that has you throwing pigs, navigating Jim up a stairlift chair while avoiding falling grannies, and just being nonsensical. The next level you are digging through a cave while avoiding termites and maggots, and the following level you’re holding a drum while puppies are thrown out of a window in a mini-game reminiscent of the Fire Game & Watch title.

Rather than take the formula and simply add new levels and power ups, Earthworm Jim 2 feels like a conglomeration of ideas that weren’t big enough for a full game. It’s ridiculous, it’s nonsense, it’s tough as hell in some parts, but it’s hilarious. There’s very few levels reminiscent of the first game’s flow, every new level is something almost completely different.

I don’t know why I’m saving puppies while simultaneously delivering a bomb that then gets tossed at the building the puppies are being thrown from. I don’t know why the puppies make such a satisfying splat when I miss and they hit the ground. I don’t know why the level is played to the background music of Funicul√¨, Funicul√†. There’s a lot of questions here that need to be answered and I’ll be damned if I’m qualified to do so.

Verdict: Keep

4. Prehistorik Man (1996)

Prehistorik Man is a platformer for the SNES where the player takes control of a caveman and must get to the end of each level, collecting bones and smashing enemy faces along the way. Developed by Titus France, Prehistorik Man is another one of those games that has a simplistic premise and sells itself on charm and personality.

It’s fine. Tough. If you’re familiar with the 90’s era platformers, especially those put out by Titus France (as several of the games on Interplay’s collections are) then you’re likely already either on board of put off by this game’s presence. The fact that half of the games in this collection are platformers is either going to be a big win or a big loss.

Verdict: Keep

5. Adventures of Rad Gravity (1990)

Adventures of Rad Gravity comes to us from a time when developers really seemed to hate gamers. It’s one of those platformers from the NES era that decides you need to be punished for the sin of wanting to play a game. Rad Gravity isn’t just tough, the gameplay is effectively masochistic punishment. Time limits, instant death pits, enemies that just respawn over and over and over and over again.

It’s one of those games where enemies swoop in so fast by the time you see them you’re already hit. The other platformers on this cart more than make up for Adventures of Rad Gravity.

Verdict: Pass

6. The Brainies (1996)

Fun game. The Brainies is a puzzle game where the player shuffles Mexican jumping beans through a level to land each one on their color coded spot. The puzzle here is that the game runs on ice-level mechanics, you move your character and they don’t stop until they hit a wall. So you have to circumnavigate the level, put brainies into different positions, and do so under an oppressively time limit.

It’s hard as hell, but also fun as hell. Far more enjoyable thanks to the game’s save/load states.

Verdict: Keep

 

Well that’s the shortest one I’ll be running in a while. Out of six games, the Interplay Cart #2 gets four recommendations. It’s definitely a tougher sell and if you’re not a fan of platformers there’s probably little to nothing on this cart for you.

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