You 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.

     The 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.

     In 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.

     The 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 son.

     Proving 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 was.
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 it.
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.

Popeye the Sailor Man. Bluto gets his head in a can. He likes to eat spinach and Olive has no cleavage. He's Popeye the Sailor Man. Toot toot.

Does anyone else remember Popeye being so... gay?

Donkey Kong meets Elevator Action. Is what I might say about a better game.

What vultures have to do with the high seas, is anybody's guess.