3/2 See also Barbie Dolls, Mafia, Satan, Japan

The Lost Wor(l)d of JeNnY

     If you thought it was scary when programmers force you to act out their dragon-riding, block-shifting, platform-jumping fantasies, wait until you see the crap programmers turn out when they're in love. To give you an idea, imagine that one creepy kid from high school who always had circles under his eyes from staying up drawing violent comic strips on lined paper. Everyone remembers THAT kid. Now, imagine him, trying to work a poorly-rendered version of a girl he has a hopeless crush on into his twisted little world of dueling robot dragons. Or in this case, speeding cars and Mafia dons.

     In the fine tradition of the Barbie games, JeNnY is actually loosely based around a Barbie-esque Japanese doll line. This is going to be a short paragraph because I really don't know much about dolls. Moving on.

     There's a brief intro movie I keep forgetting about in which a pumpkin-shaped carriage rolls into a black screen, pauses a second, then takes off, leaving Jewel behind. And she just kind of sits there with a guitar or a big green key or something. She doesn't say or do anything. Apparently, this is Jenny, who has lost her word. I guess. My story is probably more deep than theirs.

     Jenny (or JeNnY as the game insists) lives in a decidedly femmey house with an enormous 'J's' nailed to her second floor window. She also happens to be too stupid to get inside. So, as she stands on her doorstep one day, Boris Badinov skitters behind her, stops for a second either to grope her or drop off that briefcase. This triggers the adorable neighborhood puppies to chase after you and gnaw your life bar, as well as two or three Gremlin-driving midgets and some Mafia guys. Not quite as chaotic as Bart vs. the Space Mutants, but it does have better control. You must now run all over the god damned overworld map, pressing A at random doorbells until one actually opens. The starting level seems to be picked at random.

     Did I mention that Jenny lives across from NASA? I always wanted to go there, but it's just so damn expensive. Course, if you try to go to NASA this time of year it's too packed anyway. There's a three-hour line for the damn centrifuge. I suppose if you're one of the locals, it's no big deal to go there on the weekends, but I still wish I could have my picture taken with Mickey outside the Rocket Building. Actually, the NASA level is kind of interesting in that you get a jetpack and vacuum suit, and fight UFO's, aliens and uh... dragons. Space dragons.

     The main problem comes from the fact there's a stumpy Mafia don walking back and forth along a stretch of sidewalk, firing randomly in either direction. If you thought Goths Sitting on Benches Day and Gay Day were bad, wait until Geriatric Mafia Day. Maybe I'm dwelling on this a bit too much, but when the overworld enemies consist of cute puppies, AMC Gremlins, and Mafia start showing up, it's a sign that this city has fallen into freaking anarchy.

     If this is the overworld, I'm afraid I can't afford to show you the underworld. It's simply too awful to contemplate. Side-scrolling levels are sometimes available at the houses with bells on them, depending on whether or not Jenny remembered how to open doors this time you turned the game on. These usually involve you making the prom-dress-wearing little tramp jump on flowers or tombstones to get items, although nine times out of ten, it's got a hideous frog demon or KKK member hidden inside. (see: right.) It's not every game where Keroppi tries to harpoon you.

      Even though you have to rely on her primitive flight-or-flight instinct when roaming the mean streets of JeNnY, in the side-croller levels, you gain the novel ability to deliver punishing groin-level blows with your stilletto heels. And, with the right random item, you can shoot pepper spray off into the eyes of the mummy or ghost chasing you.

     The recurring boss is a skeletal bovine beast known as COW'S HEAD. Just say it. "COW'S HEAD." It's funny, isn't it? Following the battle with said head of cow, you play a crappy slots game against a gigantic ghost named WHOMANCHUN.

     Lost Word of JeNnY features clunky action, is a transparent merchandising tool, and achieves unthought of heights in the field of Improvisational Enemies. Play it alone and crying, or inflict it on a friend, because sharing pain is a real bonding experience.



The evil slot car of doom attempts to keep Jenny away from NASA!

..I mean, holy CRAP! This guy can't be up to any good. Jesus! I mean... shit!

Oh yeah, and the Mafia is after her, too. JeNnY is like Barbie with a seamier backstory.