The Incredible Crash Dummies – Sega Genesis
Platform: Sega Genesis
Developer: Gray Matter
Publisher: LJN, Flying Edge
Release Date (NA): October, 1993
Nerd Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Ahhh, The Incredible Crash Dummies. These were my absolute favorite toys as a kid, and to this day remain in my mind as the most superb line of action figures ever produced.
Like many licensed properties, The Dummies had a series of video games adapted to chronicle their forgotten adventures. And of course, like many games based on previously established properties, this one was handled by LJN. Now before I go on any further and slowly nudge this game review into the uncharted territory of a toy review, let’s jump in headfirst.
The Incredible Crash Dummies opens with a standard introduction to the characters and plot. These cut scenes are cheesy but fun, presented through a neat comic book motif. While the opening outlines the simple plot, the rest of the cut scenes are non sequitur gags aimed at educating kids on safety. The ending, however, brings us back to the forgettable story arc. Of course, you have the excessive dummy puns, which became a staple for The Incredible Crash Dummies. Excessive to the point of being humorous, I will admit.
To be honest, though this is a childhood classic of mine and a game I enjoy to this day, it’s a fairly standard platformer. You’ve got your basic projectile weapon, which in this case is a wrench. Seems oddly apropos, no? This method of attack is limited, of course, and by default you are perfectly capable of going the way of Mario by stomping on your enemies. Not quite as relevant, but what can you do?
Another move you sport is a little rolling maneuver. It’s good.
Of course, you have the obligatory crash testing sequence in the form of a bonus stage after each main boss. It’s straightforward, but does break up the monotony a bit.
Boss battles are simple: you shoot as many wrenches as you can and then jump atop the junk vessel until it explodes. While this does seem elementary, some finesse is involved in avoiding projectiles while you’re bouncing off the enemy junker. It may be simple, but it’s not easy. I’ve definitely seen worse and I’m sure you have as well. The third time around you face an airplane instead of a ground vehicle – a decent change of pace. The final battle against Junkman is back to formula and is no harder than the first boss. It’s a let down. A huge let down.
Every time you’re hit you lose a limb. Get hit five times and “You’re rash!” or “You’re crash!” or “You’re ass!” I really can’t tell what the horribly synthesized voice is saying when you die, but the bottom line is…well, you die.
Losing limbs is a little too easy. Jumping on an enemy will usually result in damage unless it is done in just the right spot. This game is generous with screwdrivers, however, so you’re not up against any unreasonable hardships.
No, I’m not talking about the drink.
The Incredible Crash Dummies for SNES/Genesis is very short and pretty easy. I mean, sure, it took me until just now to beat it for the first time ever, but I’m not a very skilled gamer. This playthrough made me realize the relative ease of completing The Incredible Crash Dummies, and the fact that it’s so short is kind of a problem. But you know, it’s one of those titles you’ll want to take for a quick whirl every now and then when you’ve got about a half hour or so to kill. And for what it is, it’s a fun little game to play. Now let’s move on to some of the finer points of this overall presentation.
The graphics for The Incredible Crash Dummies are of a fairly high caliber. Those comic interjections as mentioned above are solid, and the characters are all finely detailed. The animation is smooth as butter, which is always a plus. The only minus I’d give here is in the backgrounds. Some of them are fairly crumby-looking and do not measure up to the dummies themselves.
So, the controls.
Well, this is a little tricky, because at first you think it handles well. But as you play, something doesn’t feel quite right. And I think I figured out the problem. The controls themselves feel pretty tight, but the dummy you control is slippery. Makes sense, right? Your dummy has a tendency to slide off of narrow platforms, making precision platforming somewhat frustrating. And to top it off, after you jump you drop like a lead weight.
This is a tough call. I don’t know if I can really say the controls are bad because it doesn’t handle terribly, and the physics are pretty solid. There’s a slight build up when you run, and when you roll, the speed will vary depending on how fast you were going before you pressed down on the D-pad. Not to mention the way you move changes whenever you lose a limb. Well, okay, it doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s fun to watch!
I feel like I ought to mention some of the odd enemies in The Incredible Crash Dummies, such as a popcorn machine, tanks with dummy heads sticking out, and oil slicks with floating hands. Also, the first boss commands some eggbeater machine that hurls breakfast foods at you.
Sound effects can be annoying if you pay attention to them, but I don’t find this to detract from the experience. In fact, some of them, if I may say, are kinda cute.
In an annoying way, of course.
The music is…okay, but not great. It’s kind of a let down, really. And I usually love LJN music. I guess my enthusiasm extends mostly to the NES LJN library. Speaking of which, The Incredible Crash Dummies for NES sports some great music! But we’ll save that one for another day.
So, yeah, The Incredible Crash Dummies. Love the toys. Really like the games. This one…it’s kind of a so-so game if I’m being completely honest and objective. It’s too easy, not really innovative – has some decent qualities to it, but nothing to garner any special praise.
Bottom line is if you’re a fan of the toys, you should get a kick out of this. If you enjoy games where characters take damage or die in cool ways, then you may also find it fun. If neither aspect matches your interests, then this game probably won’t do much for you. But whatever you do, just remember…
Don’t you be a dummy! Buckle your safety belt!
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