An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. Conrad formerly wrote news and produced video content for Destructoid (including Sup, Holmes?, Office Chat and Saturday Morning Hangover) and was a regular host on Podtoid.
The mere inclusion of Rodney Dangerfield can vastly improve anything. Films, music, toasters, anything. In particular, the force of Rodney Dangerfield could elevate video games to the level in which they are accepted by the mainstream as a true art form, bringing together people of all races, creeds and tax brackets in peace and harmony.
Death By Cartoon follows my exploits as I attempt to watch and provide analysis on every episode of Captain N. It's a dangerous road, with thoughts of the sweet escape of suicide around every corner. Check back every Thursday for a new episode or check out the archive to see previous editions.
Uber-Short Synopsis: Mother Brain, with the help of Dr. Wily creates her own Game Master to challenge Kevin and the N Team on the world of Castlevania. And there's some very strange moments of eroticism that I can't explain.
On Metroid (which the narrator refers to as "brain-shaped"), Dr. Wily is hard at work, a sheet-covered body on his operating table. This is Mother Brain's latest scheme to defeat Captain N. Wily raises the bottom of the sheet, revealing sneakers, jeans, the bottom of a red jacket, and affixes a power pad to the belt. Whatever could it be?
Declaring that the body is complete, Mother Brain gets all a-twitter that this new creation is ready for battle. Not so fast! Wily informs us that the brain still needs to be programmed with Captain N's memories of the past using a device that looks a lot like a Walkman. And, of course, she turns to King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard to get the job done.
The narrator then tells us we're going to the Palace of Power but are instead greeted with a title which reads "Donkey Kong Jones and the Last Banana". What follows is pretty much what you'd expect. Kong, dressed in khaki, finds a giant banana in a subterrainean cavern, which begins to roll after him. Upon reaching a cliff, he's left no option but to jump, only to land in a humongous ice cream sundae. Yeah.
The N team is sitting on a couch, watching television. I'm sure there's some deep, philisophical statement that could be made about this but this is Captain N we're talking about and I hardly think it's my responsibility to make the show seem intelligent. Simon switches the channel and we get this:
If the people at DiC had any taste or decency whatsoever, they would have immediately ceased production on Captain N and made Wombatman instead. That sixteen seconds alone is far more entertaining than anything I've ever seen elsewhere in the series. Sadly, we return to our regularly scheduled programming.
After that glorious snippet of Wombatman, the N Team's television goes on the fritz. Lana says she's going to go call the repairman. Kevin steps up with her, saying, "Here, let me help you with those dishes," which we all know translates to, "Here, let me help you with your vagina."
The doorbell rings and Simon stands up to answer it, with a pause before opening to preen. It's two completely innocent telvision repairmen. Nope, nothing suspicious about them whatsoever. Why, most of the repair technicians I know have one eye and purple skin, but that's usually due to hunting accidents and malnourishment.
The "repairmen" look at the screen and very obviously make shit up before heading behind to make their repairs. Once there, Hippo asks Eggplant for the Walkman so they can complete their mission. While The Wiz takes his sweet time pulling vegetable after vegetable from the toolbox, Duke wanders behind the TV and begins growling. Eggplant pulls a remote control out of the toolbox, points it at Duke and starts pressing buttons, changing him into a cat a rooster and a pig before turning him back. Duke runs away in terror and then this horribly creepy thing happens:
So, if King Hippo turns Eggplant Wizard into a hot chick and bangs her, he's still fucking Eggplant Wizard, isn't he? Does that make him gay for Eggplant? They're the same gender, right? How would interspecies relationships work in Videoland? The mind reels.
Finding the device, Hippo sets up and points it into the room beyond the televsion. He misses Kevin (who has returned to the room with Lana) and hits Belmont instead, displaying his greatest fear upon the screen: His fear of Dracula. Simon Belmont, the vampire hunter, his worst fear is Dracula. The way they'd written the character, you'd think it would be running out of hair product, but this is just absurd.
Adjusting the recording device results in hitting Duke next, who has a much more reasonable fear, that of being chased by a stampede of cats. Honestly, that frightens me a little bit too. Finally getting it right, they hit Kevin and a shadowy figure dressed in the same outfit he wears appears, though broader with shaggier hair. Kevin collapses to the ground.
Their work finished, Eggplant and Hippo pack up the device and start making for the door, but Hippo trips on a wire and they fall through the screen (it must be a projector). Their hats having fallen off in the process, suddenly everyone realizes who they are. Eggplant pulls a mushroom from his coat, which expands to enormous size and grows a door. After the villains run inside, it sprouts a helicopter blade and they escape through the ceiling.
Back on Metroid, Wily downloads the data from the recording into his creature and brings it to life in typical, Frankenstein-ian fashion. Actually, this sequence illicited an honest chuckle from me, as Wily, Hippo and Eggplant all laugh maniacally while Mother Brain looks back and forth between them with a "WTF?" look on her face.
Wily's creation sits up, slides to the edge of the slab, and stands. OMG! It looks exactly like Captain N's worst fear! Except... waitaminute. If the body was finished before Wily had access to Kevin's worst fears, how would he know to make it look like that? Did I find a plot hole? In Captain N? Say it ain't so!
At the palace in the morning, Mother Brain interrupts breakfast to inform Captain N that he's no longer the best player in Videoland. As her holographic form dissipates, Megaman bursts in through a door and announces that there's an emergency.
At a massive computer, a message is coming in. Kevin immediately recognizes the person on screen as Mike Vincent, a kid who attends the same school he does. Mike tells Kevin that he's been pulled into Videoland through his TV by Mother Brain. He's in Castlevania and says the Brain has sent some "Game Master" to get him.
Lana encourages Captain N to go rescue his friend but Kevin reveals that they aren't friends at all. Mike is the bully who's been kicking the crap out of Kevin every day since he was a little kid. When I grow up, I want to be Mike Vincent.
Nevertheless, the N Team heads to Castlevania to rescue Mike. This is Belmont's home turf, so you think he wouldn't be such a goddamn pussy in it, but he wilts at the first sight of a zombie. Instead of relying on the vampire hunter, Kevin enlists Duke's keen sense of smell to track down Mike's location. And off he goes, without any sort of example of the smell to track, finding the right door in no time! What a dog! What brilliant writing. What a crock!
It turns out that Mike didn't need to be rescued at all! It's really Mother Brain's new game master. Sneering at Kevin, he says, "Let's see if your 'N Team' can handle my 'M Team'. 'M' for 'Monster', that is!" Oh, they're so clever. I never would have made that association when The Mummy, Frankenstein, Wolf-Man and Dracula rose up from the floor! Good thing they explained it.
Now, I didn't mention this earlier because I'd digressed to much as it is, but I can't hold it in any longer. It has long been my impression that Dracula is a dignified gentleman, albeit an immortal one who hungers for blood. I realize that people who dress like vampires are total fashion victims, but none of them can hold a candle to Dracula in Captain N. The yellow suit he's wearing is the tackiest thing I've ever seen in my life.
Our heroes quickly dispatch the monsters and are moving in on Mike Vincent when he taps the pause button on his power pad. Powerless to do anything but stand there and look retarded (which, frankly, is de rigeur for the N Team), they are captured and taken to Mother Brain.
Seated around a long table and bound with ropes, the heroes are informed that this is not, in fact, Mike Vincent but an android duplicate made specifically to defeat Captain N. Vincent brags about his 1000 megabytes of memory while I draw unfavorable comparisons to the AI in most games four times that size.
The android Mike challenges Kevin to see who is the true game master, the terms being the first to make it through Castlevania wins. Mother Brain orders the android to simply destroy Captain N, claiming she's already won, but Mike shows her the back of his hand and threatens to get his pimp cane. The competition is on.
MONTAGE! Praise Jesus. Mike is clearly the more confident of the two, but Kevin makes it to Dracula's chambers first by taking a shortcut. Once there Drac casually pushes Captain N off a balcony and laughs right up until the point Android Mike Vincent comes into the room and shoots him back into his coffin. Zappers kill vampires. Didn't you know?
Towering over a desperate Kevin who's clinging to the balcony ledge, Mike assures the former Game Master that he's about to depart this world. But Kevin has a trick up his sleeve. He appeals to Android Mike, who would have all Kevin's memories of the real Mike Vincent, to remember the good times they had before they became bitter enemies.
Memories such as the time they camped in Kevin's backyard, or the time they dressed up as girls and snuck into a sleepover party, or that other time they dressed up as girls and had that party of their own (I may have made that last one up).
And then, the android Mike Vincent kills Captain N. The End.
In the dining room, Mother Brain contemplates how she'll rename the various worlds of Videoland in her honor. Hearing footsteps in the hall, everyone turns to see... Mike Vincent! Sadly, Captain N soon appears by his side. They do a high-five that's totally not gay and very masculine before turning on Mother Brain. The villainess calls to Wily to activate the secret weapon and... I'm not even sure I can explain this abomination. See for yourself:
Using the newly acquired cannons, Mother Brain lays into Android Mike Vincent, tearing several holes in his body. Kevin retaliates by shooting at a chandelier which falls on to the opposite end of the dining room table and launches Mother Brain through a conveient hole in the ceiling.
Android Mike Vincent, dying, thanks Kevin for showing him that the real version of him was not all bad. He sputters to a stop and Kevin realizes that he'd done more than defeat him: He made him his friend again. And then let him die. Gruesomely.
Were we fucking stupid as kids? Were we as stupid as they apparently thought we were as kids? There's a distinction there, obviously. We might very well have been dumb enough to watch this shit every week. But how many of us were honestly surprised by the so-called "plot twists" episodes like this had?
It's ham-handed and awful, and the title is horribly misleading (I was expecting Kevin to be taken to an island and hunted for sport), but it has some laughs. And a couple of them are seemingly intentional. This is the best episode I've ever seen. Which still means it sucks hard but if terrorists capture you and force you to watch Captain N, I'd pray for this one.
-ICUS SCORE: 4
door-icus, King Hipp-icus, help-icus, highn-icus. This wouldn't be bad, except Kid Icarus only has five lines in the entire episode. I may change this to a percentage in the future.
MEGA- SCORE: 1
mega-emergency. Megaman has but one line.