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: When Simon Belmont accidentally shoots himself with a love arrow intended for Lana, The N Team must stop their friend from making the greatest mistake of his life: Marrying Mother Brain.
The Palace of Power is aflutter with good news on this day. Mother Brain is on her way in order to broker a peace treaty. Everything is in readiness and the N Team eagerly await her arrival to end the long and destructive war. What could possibly go wrong?
As if we needed confirmation of my suspicions (we don't), the scene shifts to Mother Brain being carried by her cronies toward the palace gates. From inside her shrouded (what do you call that thing?!) she laughs about how foolish it is for the Princess to invite her. Admiral Ackbar should really join the N Team. He'd be a valuable asset. Certainly more useful than Kid Icarus.
Speaking of the elfish runt, he's in the palace archery range, practicing. Megaman naively asks why he's going to the effort since the war is ended and, for once, the Kid is on the ball. He wants to be prepared in case this is another trap from the big brain. He's going to need a lot more preparation, though. His aim is terrible. He hits Simon right in the freshly primped hair as the vampire hunter enters the room.
Belmont takes the tiny bow from Icarus, offering to demonstrate his superior marksmanship. Iccy stops him from firing, however, pointing out that the ammunition Simon has selected from the quiver is a "Love-At-First-Sight" arrow. Kid Exposition goes on to explain that whoever is shot with the arrow will fall in love with the first person they see. Realizing that this is just the thing he needs, Belmont heads to the conference room. After all, what better time to ignite the princess' passions than at a crucial peace summit?
Trumpets sound in the hall, the doors open and the Metroid delegation steps inside the Palace. As the N Team moves forward to greet their former enemies, Simon readies his bow. Eggplant Wizard pulls open the drape covering Mother Brain as Simon fires. The arrow, missing the mark, bounces off the villainess' glass enclosure, ricochets around the room for a bit and plants itself into Simon's kiester. After wincing in pain and dancing about for a moment, Simon looks up and sees, you guessed it, Mother Brain.
Screaming to her minions, Mother Brain's tank-like lower body exposes a pair of massive cannons which begin firing at the N Team. Megaman expreses the exact inverse of my feelings at this turn of events: shock and amazement. Simon, undeterred by the show of force, approaches his newfound beloved and begins to demonstrate what hentai might be like if roles were reversed and everything was a bit more romantic.
Everybody is pretty confused by what's going on, particularly Mother Brain. She suspects it's a trick of some kind, despite Belmont's protests to the contrary. Unwilling to be seperated from the girl of his dreams, Simon allows himself to be captured by Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo and the bad guys return with him to Metroid. Desperate to fill time in the episode, we're treated to a drawn out sequence with Duke trying to stop Eggplant Wizard's escape that feels, well, about as unnecessary as the entire series. *shrug*
With the enemies gone, Kid Icarus explains Simon's unusual behavior to Lana. The love-at-first-sight arrow's effects can be counteracted by an antidote arrow, but there's a limited timeframe before they become permanent. Oh, and he doesn't have an antidote arrow.
I'm neither a pharmacist nor a magician, but I'm pretty sure that if I were dealing in potent magics or poisons or anything that could have a negative effect on myself or the people I surround myself with, I'd keep counteracting agents pretty close at hand. Especially if I were using, oh, I don't know, something with a sharp edge that could administer said negative effects by accident. Perhaps I just don't know enough about being a mystical flying kid with a quiver full of magic arrows.
At any rate, the arrow they need can only be acquired from an arrow maker at the peak of Mt. Icarus. Lana sends the Kid and Megaman to fetch the arrow while she goes off to stall Simon before he makes a grave error in judgement (because I know I'd want to save the guy who was essentially trying to give me a roofie). On her way out, she tells Kevin that he's under no obligation to accompany her but, in an effort to connect with the kiddies watching at home, he confirms that he'd rather help out fictional characters than clean his room.
On Metroid, Simon is chained up the way he no doubt likes it and is waxing poetic about Mother Brain's beauty. Based on her reaction, it seems as if she's been interrogating him for several hours (I can relate) but he refuses to acknowledge any subterfuge on his part. King Hippo suggests that he must be lying, as nobody could find Mother Brain beautiful, and she beats the ever-loving crap out of him for the fiftieth time in 8 episodes.
Mother Brain really doesn't know what to do with the wayward hero (I'm using the term loosely) but Wily has a suggestion which he improbably whispers through her jar. Pleased with the scheme, Mother Brain entreats Simon to prove his love for her is genuine by conquering Castlevania.
At The Palace of Power, Kevin and Lana are looking at a map to find a route to Metroid. They've just about figured out a route to a place they've been to before when they are interrupted by a transmission from a frantic man in lederhosen. telling them that Castlevania is under attack. Deciding that Simon can be dealt with later, the duo leap through a warp with Duke in tow.
Once they arrive, Kevin sees arms writhing through the view slots of nearby prison cells. He's just about to use his zapper to set them free, when Dracula appears. Turning into a bat, the vampire lord steals the Zapper from Kevin and tosses it into a well before half-assedly attacking Lana. Just then, Simon Belmont swings in and drives the undead menace away.
The Princess is thrilled to see that Simon is behaving more normally, right up until the point that he insults her and begins carrying her to the well, which we discover is a warp to "The Forest of Forgetfulness". After disposing of her highness, Simon turns his attention to Kevin by opening a door and introducing our hero to a fire breathing skeleton with poor fashion sense.
After dodging an attack from "Mr. Bones", Captain N directs Duke to fetch a bone. The pup pulls a femur out and the skeleton hops around for a moment, obtains its balance and then inexplicably falls apart. Irritated, Simon wraps his whip around Kevin and drags him into the well, pulling Duke through in the process.
A large door opens, revealing Mother Brain who trundles into the room. A cocksure Simon asks how she feels about him now and the response is overwhemingly positive. Crawling atop her tank treads, Belmont proposes to the evil cerebrum on the spot. Heart (or whatever passes for it) aflutter, Mother Brain orders her henchmen to prepare Castlevania for a wedding.
MONTAGE! We see King Hippo checking out the cake, complete with brain case and Belmont figurines on top. Arm in tentacle, the loving couple select rings and Simon's tuxedo.
In the Forest of Forgetfulness, Captain N, Lana and Duke find themselves at the edge of a great precipice. Kevin recalls playing Castlevania before but never being in this area. I played Castlevania the other day and I don't remember it either. Clumsy dialogue follows as Lana forgets where they are and, then, who Cap'N is. Kevin's memory fares a bit better as he remembers an invisible bridge across the crevice, which the group begins to traverse.
Meanwhile, Megaman and Kid Icarus are ascending Mt. Icarus. Bet you thought they'd forgotten them. We can dream, right? Nah, these writers would never pass up an opportunity where the two most annoying characters in the show are alone, together, providing all the dialogue. And yet, the gods do smile upon us on this day, as they remain blissfully silent for their entire climb.
As they jump from one floating platform to the next, they encounter this thing. I don't know what the hell it's supposed to be, but it gets Megaman pretty occupied while something that looks like anthropomorphic ice attempts to throw an icicle at Kid Icarus. Dispatching the ice monster first and collecting a heart, the Kid turns his attention to the worm-thing and kills it also. Since Megaman is so useless, Icarus inflicts yet another indignity upon him and flies him the rest of the way to the peak.
In a small room on top of the mountain, an old main with one of those stupid band things you stick over your head so it looks like you've been shot through is readying a bow. Firing, the bounces around then spins above his head and turns into pizza dough. He's making a pizza arrow? Dude has this mystical ability to imbue arrows with fantastic power and he's using it to make a pizza. For fuck's sake, just make a goddamn pizza! I'll help! Flour, water, toppings, bake. You don't need to create an arrow that makes a fucking pizza!
Kid Icarus and Megaman have arrived. Explaining the situation to the arrow maker, the wizened, old fool starts digging around in a barrel to find something which might help. The first arrow he tests makes grass grow. The second produces a cow, which then sets to the task of eating the grass. Finally, firing an arrow which whips around the room, seemingly at random, before striking the cow in the ass. It's an anger arrow and the cow chases the arrow maker until the coot manages to lock it outside.
I would like to note that every one of these other arrows, no matter how rediculous, are more practical than an arrow that makes a pizza.
The anger arrow could solve the problem, but there's a catch. Just like the love-at-first-sight arrow, the intended target will become angry with the first person they see. Oh, and the arrow maker only has three of them. Arrows in hand, the heroes head off to rejoin the rest of the N Team to save Simon.
Back on Castlevania, the preparations for the wedding are continuing along. Using a pulley system, Mother Brain's henchmen are trying to get the veil for her wedding dress in place. Slapstick humor ensues. Elsewhere, Simon is donning his tuxedo with the help of Dracula. The Count can't dress himself, so I wouldn't trust him to dress Belmont, but he's apparently an accomplished tailor. When Simon comments that the sleeves are a bit long, Drac bites them down to size. Somehow.
And then Simon has the most disturbing fantasy ever:
That is some fucked-up shit right there. Ignoring the typically horrible joke at the end, who thought this was a good idea? Seriously, I want names. I swear to God, I'm not the only person who's going to suffer for this.
Captain N and Lana are still outside, crossing the invisible bridge. As Kevin attempts to make a turn, he slips and falls off. The Princess loses her balance immediately afterwards, dragging Duke down with her as he tries to keep her on the bridge.
In mid-flight, Kevin hits the pause button. Lana praises him for saving their lives but he warns that they aren't out of the woods yet. When the pause runs out, they're still going to fall an indeterminate length of time before meeting a messy end unless he can use the Power Pad to dash them through a nearby warp. He does. Big whoop. They emerge in a graveyard outside Castlevania, memory restored, and run back to save their friend.
In the chapel, the guests have assembled and the wedding march is played. Mother Brain rolls her way to the altar, the very definition of a blushing bride. Dracula begins performing the ceremony while an understandably disbelieving Lana and Kevin look on from the rear doors. Without the arrows, they can't stop the wedding but Lana resolves to stall for time. She bursts into the room and declares that Simon's love is not genuine, but a product of the love arrow.
After yet another protest from Belmont, Mother Brain directs King Hippo to throw the troublemakers out. Hippo tells Kevin to "put up his dukes" and I'm sure you can guess where the "joke" comes from as the dog tears the boxer's tuxedo to shreds.
The ceremony continues as Mother Brain confirms her vow. Megaman and Kid Icarus hit the scene by breaking through a wall. Firing one of the anger arrows results in a miss that hits Dr. Wily, who then sees Eggplant Wizard and freezes the vegetable with a ray gun. A second shot hits its mark, but Simon turns and also sees Eggplant Wizard. A crack of a whip later and the ice surrounding the poor dope shatters away.
Finally, just as he's being asked if he'll take her pseudopod (my word) in marriage, the last arrow hits him again and he returns to what passes for sense in his distorted brain. Rejecting the brain, he removes his suit and has it neatly folded in seconds, revealing his standard huntin' garb beneath. Dracula attempts to attack but is spun with Simon's whip into a casket, which closes and then falls over on its face.
After the ill prepared enemies flee the wedding chapel, Lana asks Simon if he really loved Mother Brain. Of course, there's only one person Simon could ever love and we end the episode with him admiring his reflection in a hand mirror.
All said and done, I really feel bad for Mother Brain after this one. I mean, I'd have felt pity for her had the marriage actually occurred too, but she seemed quite smitten with a man who would conquer a game world for her and equally heartbroken when it all falls apart.
This is probably the weirdest segment of the series to date. The plot is as pedestrian as it gets but there are surprises to be found. Some of it is mind-bogglingly stupid and that fantasy of Simon's might be the creepiest thing I've ever seen in a Saturday morning cartoon. As they come, Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain is one of the better episodes I've seen.