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. He can be heard on the comedy podcast FistShark Marketing (fistshark.com) and streams video games often on Hitbox (hitbox.tv/ConradZimmerman)
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: The N Team are challenged by Mother Brain to compete against her minions in the Videolympics on Mt. Icarus, but it's all a ploy to steal the Three Sacred Treasures and their unstoppable power.
As we begin this horrible half-hour of pain, Mother Brain is screaming about not yet having the necessary power to defeat the N team and conquer Videoland. Consulting her magic mirror...
Yeah, you read that right. Mother Brain has an enchanted mirror, just like the evil witch in Snow White. Gee, I wonder if they're desperate enough for ideas to recreate the entire fairy tale? (Answer: Not yet. Not yet.) More importantly, if she's had this amazing piece of equipment at her disposal, why hasn't she used it in this way before? Why, only now, seven fucking years later, is she finally asking the goddamn mirror what to do? You know what? Nevermind. I'm not going to give myself an aneurysm less than two minutes into the episode.
The magic mirror gives her the answer she needs (in a rhyme probably written by the producer's kid): The Three Sacred Treasures on Mt. Icarus. I'm a bit torn on this revelation. On the one hand, it completely obliterates any sort of subterfuge on the part of the writers, there's no chance of a twist. On the other, if they didn't tell us her plot, we'd probably be confused as to what was going on. Either way, she has Dr. Wily make a call to the Palace of Power.
Looking in on what the N Team are up to, Kevin is running on the girders which comprise the standard Donkey Kong board. Kong has Lana locked up in the cage and The Cap'N is shooting barrels, climbing ladders and leaping over fireballs to get to her. When he reaches the top, DK tumbles off but then so does he. Somehow he failed, but it's really not clear at all how. The whole thing is a simulation anyway, which dissolves away.
Just then, Mother Brain appears on a giant video screen behind them. Uncharacteristically polite and apologetic, she suggests that they make the peace. Instead of this constant fighting, thy should settle their war with a competition, holding a Videolympics on Mt. Icarus. If Mother Brain loses, she and her cronies stay on Metroid permanently. If they win, she becomes the new princess of Videoland.
Lana's not buying it and suspects there's some deception at play here. Kevin points out that they only way they'll find out is if they go along with it (which is goddamn retarded, if you ask me). The whole team seems rearing to go and pretty much just steamroll her into agreeing. The games are on and begin tomorrow. "With a little workout," Kevin says, "we'll be unbeatable." Right. Everyone trains for the Olympics in an afternoon.
In the courtyard, they begin their training. Kevin has everyone jumping rope. Lana's showing some stomach and wearing some very short shorts but there's a noticeable lack of jiggle when she jumps, which removes any pleasure I'm going to get from watching this episode. Simon seems more than capable at this task. Using his whip, he begins an intricate series which results in the whip (which, I may remind you, is alive; *sigh*) going pretty much out of control and tying him up. Next, Megaman and Kevin have this touching heart to heart:
I couldn't resist. Obviously, the pint-sized robot is talking about the shot put, which Kevin demonstrates for him. On Megaman's try, the iron ball flies far off into the distance, tearing through the target Kid Icarus is practicing archery on.
And then everything pretty much falls apart. Kid Icarus shoots Belmont in the ass, Belmont shoots Icarus into the target, Icarus flies towards Belmont and misses, hitting Megaman instead. It's complicated for something that only takes about fifteen seconds.
Meanwhile, the bad guys are training in the most awesome place ever: Punch-Out. From the outside, it looks like a second-rate boxing club. Inside, however, it looks like a third-rate one. Eggplant Wizard is jumping rope using a french fry (I'm gonna have to start counting vegetable gags too), Dracula is working the punching bag and Hippo's lifting weights.
Actually, I really like the image of Dr. Wily in a sweat suit acting as a trainer. There's something oddly appropriate about it all. Hippo, all set up to lift, is actually lifting the entire room up instead of standard weights.
Right about then, Mother Brain appears to them and chides them for training. She expected them to figure out ways to cheat at the games, figuring that a victory in the Videolympics would help her image once she's conquered Videoland with the Sacred Treasures. After all, who doesn't have a soft spot for a tyrannical despot who has overthrown the rightful ruler of your once peaceful kingdom when they demonstrate good team management skills?
Now knowing the true purpose of their workout, Hippo and Eggplant get into the swing of things. This lasts all of ten seconds before they wind up fighting with each other, eventually winding up in a ring. Eggplant turns King Hippo into an assortment of vegetables (Squash, Beet, Artichoke; I'm sure you can figure out the jokes from there) before being squished into pulp.
In the courtyard of the Palace of Power, The N Team aren't faring much better. The three morons, Belmont, Icarus and Megaman, are fighting over who gets to be on the cereal box when they win. Lana puts her foot down (I just love a dominant female) and Kevin gets them all working out, MONTAGE STYLE! The sequence ends with an homage (rip-off) of the legendary city hall scene from Rocky. I wish I were watching Rocky. Hell, I'd watch Rocky V right now, and like it by comparison.
The next day, on Mt. Icarus, the two teams engage in a little pep talk. Kevin encourages The N Team to watch for suspicious behavior. Meanwhile, Mother Brain is telling her team that she's arranged for the various events to take place near the locations of the Three Sacred Treasures.
The first event is a "Greco" tag-team wrestling match. Now, if you're unaware, Greco-Roman ("Greco" for short) wrestling doesn't allow for grabs below the waist, so it's pretty obvious the writers just threw it in there to sound intelligent. The teams are Captain N and Kid Icarus versus Eggplant Wizard (who doesn't seem to have a waist, if you needed proof of my previous theory) and King Hippo. It's hardly a fair match, as Icarus points out, and it's about to get less fair as King Hippo is replaced with Donkey Kong. Needless to say, once DK gets into the ring (after a brief engagement between Eggplant and Icarus) he pretty much just sits down and the match is over. Mother Brain - 1, N Team - 0.
While Hippo's out of the match, Mother Brain dispatches him to acquire the first of the Sacred Treasures.
The second event is a race through "the electric maze", a series of ladders preceded electrical poles discharging in a rhythmic fashion. Participating in the competition are Megaman and Dr. Wily. Megaman is off to a good start, nearly making the finish, when Dr. Wily sends a skull with a propeller off to zap the mechanical munchkin off a ladder to his demise. This is the one thing they managed to get right about Megaman's character, as he explodes in a series of glowing balls:
Searching through a chamber for the first Sacred Treasure, King Hippo is attacked by a group of bats. Well, they're sorta like bats. They have purple hair and long tails and actual legs. Honestly, they look nothing like bats. Over on a wall, a series of bags rests on a series of pedestals and King Hippo ventures forth to get the object of his quest. The first bag he opens has a snake and the second has some kind of purple hand which chokes and throws him to the ground. Then, inexplicably, the Sacred Treasure's chest rises out of the floor.
Back at the competition, the next event is a high dive along a floating waterfall. It's about this time that Kevin first gets an inkling that something suspicious is going on, as he says he finds the locations of the events familiar. Lana, on the other hand, is nervous about performing her dive, a situation exacerbated by the addition of flying sharks swimming through the waterfall. As if to show that it's no big deal, Duke performs a practice dive and earns a very respectable average of 6.9 from the judges.
King Hippo's dive is something that really should be seen to be believed:
This shit has to be rigged. I'm no diving expert and maybe the scoring works differently in Videoland. Still, I'm pretty sure that a splash that size would get you an exceptionally low score from any judge in any universe. Nevertheless, (removing the highest and lowest scores and averaging, for those who care) King Hippo gets a 9.3.
It's a tough score to beat and Lana knows it. Kevin gives some encouragement but his heart just isn't in it, what with her suit being a one-piece and all. Lana executes a perfect forward double somersault tuck and twist with practically no splash. It's no Triple Lindy (and thank you for giving me an excuse to reference Rodney Dangerfield, DiC), but the judges give her tens across the board all the same.
After Lana is lowered down from the floating pool, Eggplant Wizard sneaks over to the lift, dons a snorkel and dives in. Once at the bottom, he snatches the second Sacred Treasure before being chased out of the water by a lurking octopus.
Mercifully, we're treated to another brief montage. Simon gets his ass handed to him by Dracula in a downhill skiing event, Megaman wins a weightlifting competition by lifting King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard pole vaults. There's no indication that he was competing against anyone else, he just pole vaults, loose veggies flying in his wake, and gets a score from the judges. I don't know what this means.
The score now tied somehow (by my count, it should be 3-2, but maybe someone else won the pole vault), it all comes down to a flying chariot race. While waiting to start the race, Kevin is still trying to figure out what Mother Brain is after. He's "certain he's played something like this before". No shit, you dumb pigfucker! It's Kid Icarus! Of course you've played Kid Icarus! You recognized him right away when you first came to Videoland! GOD DAMMIT! WHY IS EVERYONE IN THIS SHOW A FUCKING IDIOT?! Even Lana, for once, is a moron by telling Kevin to drop the issue and focus on the race.
It's a full cast of characters in the race. Captain N, Belmont, Icarus, Hippo, Eggplant and Wily each have their own chariot. Early on, Wily converts his chariot into a shark-shaped submarine and fires a torpedo at Kid Icarus, removing him from the race. Immediately afterwards, Wily crashes into a gong. I should really stop tyring to make sense of this show.
Our attention is then turned to Simon Belmont and Eggplant Wizard, fiercely vying for position. Eggplant offers Belmont some fruit, then turns the vampire hunter's chariot into a banana. Simon crashes to the ground and Eggplant (surprise, surprise) crashes his own chariot on a tree.
With only Kevin and Hippo still in the race, the Cap'N turns to his power pad for a speed boost to catch up. Hippo takes a couple of swings at Kevin's chariot, reducing it to splinters. In mid-fall, however, Kevin somehow manages to grab a board and a rocket, resulting in a makeshift hoverboard. With Hippo slightly in the lead, it doesn't look good for our heroes. Suddenly, Hippo drops through the ground into a warp zone and Kevin crosses the finish line, victorious.
But wait. What's this? Hippo emerges in front of Mother Brain with the third Sacred Treasure. Oh, sure, now Captain N gets it. But it's too late, as Mother Brain opens the chests and takes the power of the Three Sacred Treasures. The ground beneath the N-Team's feet opens up and swallows them while the announcer asks if Mother Brain has finally succeeded. That's right, folks, this is a two-parter.
This whole thing is so incredibly retarded, from Mother Brain's magic mirror to Kevin being unable to recall what game he played that one time which took place IN THE FUCKING WORLD HE'S PRESENTLY IN. And, by "retarded", I mean in special education class, drooling all over yourself and unable to comprehend what a coat is used for (my grandmother taught SPED; this isn't an exaggeration). If these people were real, there would be no measure of punishment appropriate for being this goddamn stupid without the inherent excuse of having lost all higher brain function. They'd vote Bush in 2008, hoping for four more years. You get me?
There will be no other scoring this week because I would have to watch the episode again, which would probably end with me in prison and some dead television executives.