Monday, November 12, 2012

Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama (Genesis)

Buy it NOW! If you're man enough...

Anyone who's been following my game reviews up until this point would notice that I really dig the obscure, oddball, under-the-radar, so-bad-they're-awesome types of games. After all, I even recommended Power Piggs of The Dark Age, which by all accounts is a less than perfect platformer with a ridiculously oddball premise. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have rented and owned some very goofy games in my time and the Sega Genesis kept me busy with plenty of strange games with off-the-wall plots. So if I tell you that there's actually a Sega Genesis game called "Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama"; it should not only come as little surprise, but that I've certainly played it before.

Back in 1994, Electronic Arts released Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama. The premise is this: you play as Normy the beach bum who has to travel through space and time (with the help of your trusty magic suntan lotion - don't ask...) to save all of the hot beach babes from space aliens. Oh, and your beach is going to get turned into a Toxic Waste Dump. In the immortal words of Duke Nukem: "Nobody steals our chicks...and lives!" The game is a standard platformer (that plays much like Bubsy) where you can run, jump, and attack with wacky weapons like a boxing glove mallet, a chicken (I kid you not,) a beaver,  and other crazy items. You travel to different time periods/locales such as BC-era Jersey, Medieval London, and even travel through Hell (with the cutsier, less offensive title of "Heck.")
Get Away From Her, You...err...Mean ol' Aliens.
For a relatively unknown game by small-ish developer Realtime Associates, the graphics are surprisingly good. They fall somewhere between the aforementioned Power Piggs of the Dark Ages (mostly in style,) Awesome Possum, and the Beavis and Butthead games (of which Realtime Associates made the Super NES version!) Funny and fluid animations, colorful characters and great use of shading - this game does a good job of representing the cartoonier graphics the Sega Genesis was known for. The music and sound effects, however, is just a little more lackluster. The intro music is actually well done, but the level songs are a little less developed - just chirpy synth music that kind of gets grating after a while along with the distorted sound effects. Sonic the Hedgehog this ain't. That being said, I've heard a lot worse sound from games with bigger budgets so I'll give it a C+ for effort.
We are the Knights that go - meh?
One of the only main complaints I have with the game outside of the sound is the controls. Sadly, they are a little stiff. The game is far from unplayable, but the controls feel a little slippery/imprecise (ie: Taito's Flintstones/Jetsons games for the NES, the aforementioned Bubsy, etc.) Sometimes you'll swear that you cleared a jump but find yourself just shy of it. The run mechanic sometimes got me into more trouble than it helped, but overall the game is very playable. I actually want to hand it to the developers for their clever weapon choices and the effectiveness of the attack. I often didn't expect my hit to connect against an enemy and it did: which is more than I can say for a lot of other obscure, lower-budget platformers.
Power Pigg? Wrong game, buddy!
This game is basically one part Leisure Suit Larry, two parts Bubsy and a sprinkling of Power Piggs and Green Dog for good measure. The graphics and humor are the high points of this game and I recommend it to anyone who likes slightly obscure and totally bonkers games for the Genesis. The controls and sound are passable but wont wow you - but if you're looking for a fun platformer that doesn't require a lot of upper-level thinking, this is the game for you.
"Come Sail Away! Come Sail Away! Come Sail Away With Me!"