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 writes news and produces video content for Destructoid (including Sup, Holmes?, Office Chat and Saturday Morning Hangover) and is 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: The N Team finds a magic lamp, complete with wish-granting genie and Kid Icarus wishes himself to tremendous size. Things take a turn when King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard get their hands on its awesome power.
In the Palace of Power, the N Team is engaged in a rousing game of basketball. Captain N, Princess Lana and Duke are playing against Simon Belmont, Kid Icarus and Megaman, which really isn't fair. Megaman probably has a decent vertical leap, but Icarus couldn't possibly be of much use on defense and, as I'm sure we're all aware, Belmonts can't jump for shit.
Sure enough, Kevin's team wins the match after Lana shoots the prize winning basket with an assist from the bumbling Kid Icarus. Pouting over his ineptitude and blaming his small stature instead of just accepting that B-ball is probably never going to be his game, Icarus kicks the basketball into a nearby warp and flies off crying like a bitch.
While Lana attempts to find out why Kid Icarus is being so emo, Duke jumps into the warp to track down the ball. He emerges in a disused hallway. When Duke finally catches up, the ball has rolled into a hidden chamber where a glowing lamp floats above a pedestal.
Back on the court, the rest of the N Team stares at Kid Icarus and talks about him as if he wasn't in the room. Wondering at how they can make the little guy feel better about being a horribly short freak of nature, Duke wanders back with the lamp in his mouth. The pup attempts repeatedly to get their attention, while they ignore him. Giving up, he takes the lamp to a corner and accidentally rubs it while scratching himself.
A gap-toothed genie appears in a flood of billowing smoke. Oh, yeah, that got the N Team's attention. The genie declares that whomever holds the lamp shall have any wish granted. Barking twice, a steak appears in Duke's mouth and suddenly everybody's interested in him. The ungrateful, selfish pricks begin thinking of all the things they could wish for: peace in videoland, super strength, better looks. Not one of them thinks about how nice it would be to have a second brain cell for them to share.
After chasing Duke down and stealing his toy from him, Captain N rubs the lamp and wishes to be unbeatable with his Zapper. He exhibits a series of lightning fast maneuvers but, like every other gamer with Attention Deficit Disorder, he quickly becomes bored. Belmont snatches the lamp from the Cap'N and wishes that Lana would "fall head over heels" for him.
I'm not inhuman. I like a good pun as much as the next guy and bad puns probably more. I bet the writers thought they were really clever, as Lana makes pratfall after stumble. Incorrect again. It's an agonizing ten seconds.
Next, Mega Man takes his turn and asks to given the strength of ten Mega Men. When he fails to notice an immediate difference (and we wonder why gamers are so fucking impatient today), he stomps his feet in a childish display of frustration. As he jumps up and down, the floor and walls start to crack. But does he notice how much stronger he is and, you know, stop? Fuck no. The force of his petulant rage causes the Palace of Power to crumble to the ground and everyone dies.
Sorry. Slipped off into fantasy land again.
Scooping up the lamp (instead of being pinned under rubble and dying), Lana wishes that no wishes had been made in the first place, a suggestion the genie remarks as being surprisingly sensible. The palace restored and everyone back to normal, Lana orders the genie to return to the lamp. With an exasperated sigh and the phrase, "I thought you'd never ask," he goes back into his little home.
Finally, Captain N: The Game Master has a character that I can identify with. It's obvious that he fucking hates all of these people too!
Lana determines that the lamp is far too dangerous to have lying around (you think?). She decides to have it sealed in the palace vault until they can figure out what to do with it.
Meanwhile, on Metroid, Mother Brain is watching these events unfold nd, the fortress was powerful enough to repel an enemy army for seven years, but the security is so poor that Mother Brain can just look in on what's happening any time she wants? And you'd think she'd have a better use for that ability, like keeping it tuned on Princess Lana's royal shower.
Mother Brain wants that lamp, but Eggplant Wizard doesn't understand why. "We have plenty of light here on Metroid," he says in his typically dim-witted voice. After Mother Brain gives him an electric shock and some verbal abuse in the form of light-related puns, she sends him and King Hippo off to retrieve the lamp.
Late that night, Kid Icarus is sneaking around the Palace. What that little scamp could possibly be up to? Oh, would you look at that? He's at the vault. Pulling an arrow from his quiver and firing in the general direction of the vault results in the arrow cutting a square out of the door. Proclaiming that he no longer needs to be a wuss, he wishes himself large and in charge. Well, okay, just large.
Kid Icarus is thrilled, for about two seconds, until he grows so massive that his head bursts through the floor of Lana's bedroom. Under other circumstances, lil' Icarus would start growing as well, but he has some performance anxiety. Lana's dressed and out of bed in a flash, much to the chagrin of the rest of the N Team who had been waiting years for an excuse to break down her door in the middle of the night.
Lana suggests he wish himself small again, but Icarus has dropped the lamp. Yup, even as a giant, he's completely useless. Looks like everyone has to run to the vault and save the littlest Olympian again.
One floor down, Hippo and Eggplant Wizard arrive in a tomato. Kid Icarus, unable to get his head through the hole in the ceiling, mistakes the villains for the Princess and says that he thinks the lamp is under his foot. Once Eggplant has a hold of it, he wishes the N Team into the "E Team" (for eggplants). The disdain with which the genie grants the wish is deliciously palpable. Captain Eggplant knocks the lamp out of their hands with a barrage of vegetables from his zapper and Belmont grabs it, wishing them back to normal.
Then the dumbass wishes his nose were straighter and gets the Pinocchio treatment as his rapidly extending nose knocks the lamp into Hippo's waiting hands. Hippo wishes the N Team "six feet under". A second after they disappear, Kid Icarus' head breaks through the floor, as they've been warped to the palace basement. Christ. They really need a montage for this crap.
Icarus takes the lamp and wishes the villains back to Metroid but, just as they're disappearing, he sneezes and the lamp flies out of his hands, over his head and to the vanishing form of Eggplant Wizard. This is some seriously contrived shit. Honestly, if it weren't for the cynical genie making snide remarks every other wish, bad things would happen (and no jury on Earth would convict me).
So, now Kid Icarus is huge and emo about what a failure he is. That whiny motherfucker is never satisfied. Moping his way to a warp, Megaman wants to go after him, but Lana realizes the danger the lamp would hold in Mother Brain's tentacles and declares that they're headed to Metroid.
In Mother Brain's chamber, the bumbling morons (no, not the N Team; the other bumbling morons) have returned with the lamp. The would-be queen hurls insults at them while demanding her prize. It takes them, literally, a full minute of conversation to realize that they're the ones who have the power now. Even a retard would have been planning to take over Metroid on the way to get the lamp. When it does finally dawn on them, they wish Mother Brain into a French maid's outfit. I didn't include an image of that because I want you to imagine it. Go ahead. Fantasize.
With the lamp under their control, the pair decide to conquer Videoland themselves and we're blessed with a far too brief montage. First they take over Castlevania with Eggplant zombies. Konga Land gets blitzkreiged with Nazi Kongs while everyone in Yankee Stadium (previously seen in Episode 105: Mega Trouble In Megaland) is turned into, yup, Eggplants.
Meanwhile, Kid Icarus has returned home to Mt. Icarus, where he proceeds to terrorize the local wildlife and citizens with his gigantic size and clumsiness. Stopping to cry some more in an ampitheater, he's greeted by the philosopher Thaeticus (who shares Kid's annoying vocal tic).
Thaeticus delivers unto Kid Icarus the age-old myth about how size doesn't matter, just like a lying woman. Of course, he's a Greek(ish) philosopher, so you know he's chugged some cock in his day. I'd probably trust his opinion on it over a woman's. Filled with new confidence, Kid Icarus marches off to meet his destiny.
The N Team arrives on Metroid and they have a plan. It does not bear repeating.
In Mother Maid's lair, the big brain is shining shoes and making sandwiches. Irritated about the coup de'tat, she declares that Metroid is her world. This only prompts King Hippo to wish it into Hippozoid, a bright yellow ... midway? I'm not sure what it is, but the exterior is now shaped like a boxing glove. It's filled with boxing-glove-on-a-spring traps, which the N Team run into, one after another, to fill time.
Then they aren warped to a boxing ring, where Eggplant Wizard is announcing the fighters in an upcoming bout. He lists the N Team's weight as being 535 lbs. Now, Duke is supposed to be a Golden Retriever, which is ideally around 70 lbs. Simon's tall, broad shouldered and muscular. Even without his backpack, I'd put him at around 210. If we say that Kevin weighs roughly 50 lbs less than Simon, we have 440 lbs. You mean to fucking tell me that Lana and Megaman combined weigh less than 100 lbs? And why do I care? Fuck you, DiC. Fuck you.
In the other corner is Mother Brain in boxing gloves. The bell is rung and the match begins. Simon's actually a pretty good boxer. He shucks and jives and breaks his hand on Mother Brain's jar. Megaman steps up next and ... screw it. This is a joke. A horrible, horrible joke. Suffice to say, they win the boxing match and Eggplant Wizard wishes they become trophies.
Just then, Kid Icarus shows up. Claiming to be too big for the villains to stop, he's immediately wished to micro size and hides inside the lamp. As he's now, technically (how, exactly, I'm not sure) the master of the lamp, the genie grants his wish that "Mother Brain and her stooges would go away."
Yeah. They went there.
Kid Icarus wishes himself back to normal size and then restores Videoland back the way it was. With one final wish, he frees the genie from his responsibility to the lamp. Ready for a vacation, the genie follows the Kid to Mt. Icarus for some rest and relaxation. I wish I could be so lucky.
This episode is really something special. Between the hack writing, the ripped-off plot, the obvious running gags which go on entirely too long and the emphasis on Kid Icarus as a character, this one could easily score an eight or a nine. There's one thing that saves it, however: The genie.
It's almost as if there were some writer at DiC who knew what utter shit all of this was and could find no other outlet for his hatred of his work than to write this gloriously cynical character. They could have written him as goofy or malevolent. No. He's exasperated the whole episode through and it makes me feel a little less alone in this world. Before we end this mine cart ride into hell, enjoy a reel of the Genie's finest moments: