Beavis and Butt-head – Super Nintendo
Platform: Super Nintendo
Developer: Realtime Associates
Publisher: Viacom New Media
Release Date (NA): November 1994
Nerd Rating: 3 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
So, uh, video games are cool. Gaming is like, awesome or something. The ’90s were a wasteland for brain dead halfwits, stoner buffoons, and rockin’ tunes, and I friggin’ loved it! MTV was at the epicenter of this teenage disaster with a brutally successful image that attracted kids of all ages and repelled parents of any kind. Leading the charge of such adolescent laziness was a pair of delinquent teenagers who lived at home with no apparent supervision. These two teens went by the names Beavis and Butt-head (or commonly misspelled Butthead). Sex-obsessed and wanting to “score” with nearly every woman around, Beavis and Butt-head’s adventures generally revolved around the obtainment of said obsession. Watching rock music videos is their other obsession, and the show generally included the two teens watching a music video together with layers of humorous critiquing. What makes the Beavis and Butt-head show so enjoyable is the “that’s so dumb it’s hilarious” dialogue and thought-speech from Beavis and Butt-head.
You might not be familiar with exactly how an episode of Beavis and Butt-head would go down, but there’s a very strong chance that you either recognize the name of the show, the characters’ voices/giggles, or its unique animation style. If you don’t, then you’re either too young, too sheltered, have never had cable, or live under a huge rock. With a rockin’ stoner cartoon revolution on their hands, MTV saw an opportunity to cash in with some serious merchandising and expanding into various mediums. One of the more notable and memorable releases is MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head video game for the Genesis, SNES, Game Gear, and Game Boy. How can any of this be translated onto an 8 or 16 bit cartridge with little-to-no voice capabilities? Maybe it can’t, but is the game still enjoyable?
Sitting on the couch, as usual, channel surfing for something good to watch, Beavis and Butt-head see a commercial announcing a local GWAR concert (R.I.P. Cory Smoot and Dave Brockie). With no thought, Butt-head tells Beavis, “Hey Beavis, if we, like, did a buncha real cool things, we’d be so cool they’d have to let us in for like, free. We’re there dude.” Thus the story to this Beavis and Butt-head game is laid out for us. The goal is to travel from location to location and get pictures of yourselves doing something “cool” for documentation so that you can get into the GWAR concert for free. This means going to Highland locations like the high school, mall, hospital, and the streets. At these locations, surviving the hordes of animals, old ladies, skateboarding punks, the high school principle, and other obvious enemies is the ultimate challenge.
While the premise of the game is seemingly comical, the reality of the game is anything but funny. Littered with Beavis and Butt-head’s signature laughs and giggles, Beavis and Butt-head is a difficult, repetitious, boring, and non-humorous video game. All of the funny and stupid dialogue and humor from the TV series is entirely absent, leaving fans of the series bewildered and weary from the lack of variety throughout any of its four stages (five when you count the GWAR concert). Not only are we dealt a decisive blow by the dull gameplay, but there is absolutely nothing to take from this game.
The Beavis and Butt-head TV series was all about rock ‘n roll, which was evident by the teens’ AC/DC and Metallica T-shirts. One would think that Realtime Associates would have developed a better soundtrack to go with a game that should be about music, sex, watching TV, and fart-jokes. Instead, we are dealt a short loop of everyday below-average chiptune garbage. The title-screen music alone made me want to stab my ears out with an ice pick. Although somewhat simplistic and generic, the sound effects are a slight grade above average as their quirkiness and Looney Toons-inspired blips and bloops fit moderately well with the overall style of the game.
The graphics and animation in MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head are entirely mediocre, but somehow fit perfectly for a 16-bit game based on a TV series known for its poor animation (intentional or not). But technical limitations of the SNES made it impossible to accurately imitate the show’s artistic style. I give them credit for getting it pretty close. The backgrounds are fairly similar to those of the show, but they lack any depth whatsoever. As Beavis and Butt-head stroll through any of the locations, you might feel like you are walking in circles as you think, “hey, didn’t I pass this spot before?” While you are not walking in circles, it sure feels that way because the developers failed to provide a detailed background; instead opting for a short loop to make each stage feel larger than it really is.
The game mechanics are a complete miss in this game, and really leave its players more frustrated than happy. There will be many times in the game where you will have to time things perfectly or you WILL get hurt, but even with seemingly perfect timing, you will often miss the mark due to poor contact detection. For example, in the high school gymnasium, basketballs are being bounced at you, and you can hit them away with a long stick that happens to have a boxing glove on the end. There were times that I would swing ‘til the cows came home, but it would never make contact with that damned basketball. Another game mechanic issue is the poor jumping controls. Jumping in the game is pretty much necessary in order to survive, and you will often have to jump over items to avoid dying. It becomes a real struggle trying to time these right, and these traps are placed arbitrarily, making them tough to recognize sometimes.
Overall, MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head fails miserably because they tried to take a concept based on comedy and turned it into something with no humor whatsoever. The idea wasn’t terrible, and I definitely can’t blame them for wanting to cash in on something so popular, but the execution was exceedingly poor. The game feels like it was thrown together haphazardly with no regard to quality. The sheer lack of variety or depth makes MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head an impossible game to recommend, even to fans of the series.
Capitalizing on the fact that the show’s demographic was teenage boys (who are world famous for loving video games), what better way to saturate than to spread these two dim-wits across all of the most popular gaming platforms in 1994? Despite being wildly popular and selling a respectable number of copies, MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head is an alarming disgrace to the series, but is a prominent piece of Generation X memorabilia and classic ’90s youth culture. And I can only recommend owning a copy of this game if you grew up in that generation. I know I did, and even though this game sucks donkey dong, I still brag about owning it because Beavis and Butt-head is still “cool.”
Nerd Rating: 3 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
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