know, I never liked Popeye when I was a kid. I mostly remember it coming
on between good cartoons, forcing us to watch it. The live-action film
didn't help either since I don't particularly love Robin Williams, and
bulging forearms made it look more like he had some weird kind of arm
cancer than add to his comic charm. If you're lucky enough to have never
seen or heard of Popeye, here's the scoop: He's a trash talking sailor
who looks about eighty years old, who is embroiled in a love triangle
with an obese thug and an anorexic woman. A typical cartoon is basically
five minutes of Popeye getting beaten and humiliated by his tubby arch
enemy Bluto, one minute 'Eat your vegetables' public service announcement,
two minutes Popeye extracting brutal physical revenge on Bluto, and
the whole time Olive Oyl whines and screams.
craziness itself actually begins with a close look at the title screen,
offering A and B modes for one and two players. The copyright information
give the game's release date as 1981- PREDATING THE NES ITSELF. So either
the NES came out in Japan way before it did in the US, this was a port
of a crappy game already in arcades that forgot to add new copyright
dates, or, more likely, this game travels through time challenging Earth's
mightiest defenders to a fantastic tournament of flying fisticuffs and
hyper chi blasts. The game's theme music, the Popeye song with 'Dixie'
layered over it, also adds to the maniacal feel of the experience. For
the curious, or maybe just the masochistic, 'B' mode takes the normal
levels and adds a skull-tossing witch.
making the jump from unentertaining cartoon to crappy NES game, Popeye's
contract included the standard forfeiting of all his powers and agreeing
to let it be legal for people to murder him. As such, Popeye spends
his days running around in a Donkey Kong level, catching hearts that
Olive tosses randomly into the air to prove her sluttiness. Bluto is
there, and though he won't interfere with Popeye's 'heart-collecting'
mission, he will interfere with your 'living' mission by hurling beer
bottles at you and chasing you all over the place. You have the ability
to punch, but until you punch the randomly-teleporting spinach can (only
ONE of these per level) you can't punch Bluto without killing yourself.
Apparently, though, your punches can do other things, like knock the
water balloon into the paint can onto Bluto's head, which, while nearly
impossible, can be done. I really don't know what the 'THRU' signs are
supposed to mean. You can't walk off one edge of the screen and come
back on the other. Olive has an easy time walking on the clothesline
between her place and Popeye's curiously-decorated chicken shack because
she's actually thinner than the line. It's like a four-lane highway
compared to her measurements.
second level moves our trio of eating disorder embodiments to the big
city for more hijinks. Olive is now tossing bits of shredded sheet music
down to our hero as Bluto, now with his beard and clothes dyed bright
orange, is apparently on his way home from a rave and spots Popeye running
around a scaffolding. Needless to say, this causes him to mumble and
try to beat you up. The mumbling was always an aspect of the cartoon
that really unnerved me. Popeye couldn't just open a door. The whole
time it takes to turn the knobs and pull the door open, you can hear
the guy who does his voice muttering, "Lessee, uhmgunna turnthisthingy
ear anpullanlookat whasis here..." And his mouth never opens. I don't
know why, but that always made me feel bad. Like laughing at Chris Wylde.
He's obviously got some serious mental problems. Oh yeah, and at the
upper left corner is Sweet Pea, Olive's 'nephew.' Yeah right. Like anyone
couldn't take one glance at the thing and tell it was Popeye's illegitimate
further just how massless she is, level three begins with a vulture
carrying her out to sea and dropping her in the very spacious crow's
nest. They could have possibly made the vulture into something more
commonly associated with pirate ships and the sea, like, I dunno, a
seagull? Pamela Anderson Lee could kidnap Olive and launch her out to
see on one of those goofy little body boards. That would have more of
a 'nautical' theme, and would add enough bosom to make up for Olive
and herself. Heck, and Bluto. This stage has you run up and down the
deck, catching the letters that make up her cries for help, which in
turn build a ladder up to the crow's nest. Of course, now Bluto has
lightning fast Coke bottles flying at your head, Vultures are swooping
from the sky, and the letters are falling faster and faster. If you
miss even one, Popeye's neck snaps and he falls into the water. I don't
even remember if they gave you spinach in this stage.
Graphics: 0 I recognize
the distinctive JENnY art style anywhere!
Sound: 0 As the squinty protaganist himself would say, "I can't
stands no more! Akakakakaka." He would then go on the mumble incoherently
about 'Nam until the nurse brought him some sedative.
Gameplay: 2 This feels almost exactly like the original Donkey
Kong. It was probably cutting edge in its day, whenever the heck that
Overall: 0 I seriously can't reccomend this game to anyone. If
not only for the crummy game itself, for the suspicious nature of its
being a Japanese-exclusive console game that predates its own console
based on a cartoon that isn't even popular in the country that made
Bonus: +1 All copies of the game come with a copy of the book,
"Olive Oyl's Miracle Starvation/Body Constriction Diet" and a coupon
for 200 yen off a can of spinach.