Hey there, video game buffs! As you may or may not know, my good e-buddy over at VGJunk
has once again dedicated the whole friggin' month of October to reviewing the ghostliest, vampire-est and spookiest HALLOWEENiest games! So if you haven't read his October 2012 reviews yet, get on that!
All caught up? Great! You may have noticed that, in addition to his normal screenpicture-ful and Red-Arremer-y reviews, he's also ranked each game's Halloween-y-ness on a scale of 1 to 10. And if memory serves, each game came up short in one important October category: they all left out a vital Halloween staple...yes, your friend and mine:
The humble Pumpkin!
Indeed, nothing says "Halloween" like a freshly-carved jack-o-lantern, its front gouged full of facial-feature-like holes, twinkling merrily away with the light of a teensy votive candle (while you dig ineffectually at stringy pumpkin guts which cling tenaciously to your pants and rug).
So for this week's
cop-out picture article festivities, I've decided to document some games which DO contain the humble Harvest-Season Gourd!
(Keep in mind, this isn't an exhaustive list of all the NES and Super Nintendo games which feature our orange buddy, they're just the ones I could remember and easily get screenprints of :) If there's more that YOU can think of, add a comment about it below!)
Monster Party: First Level Mini-Boss...a Pumpkin-Headed Ghost!
Monster Party is a weird little game: aside from the fact that it has the most bizarre menagerie of enemies and bosses in any video game, you spend most of the game as a pudgy kid with a baseball bat. While you can and will just bludgeoned a lot of opponents to death, many enemies (and most bosses) can be more easily beaten by swatting their projectiles back at them with a well-timed swing-for-the-bleachers swat from your Louisville Slugger.
With that as the backdrop, we meet our initial Pumpkin Fiend: he's one of the first mini-bosses you run in to, and appears to be a ghost whose body is a sheet, and whose head is a pumpkin.
Taking a page from Charlie Brown's book, he greats you with the polite request, "Please don't pick on me." Like presidential hopeful and repeated Etch-a-Sketch-of-political-position shaker Mitt Romney, his seeming reasonableness ends as soon as he's entrusted with a position of power: he begins leaping around the room and firing a steady stream of even smaller pumpkins at you.
(Remember, kids -- vote on November 6th, or else be prepared to be pelted by tiny pumpkins for the next four years!)
Super Mario Brothers 2: Pluckable Pumpkin Projectile!
It's difficult to tell whether the Princess is hefting a real jack-o-lantern, because basically all "normal" vegetables in Sub-Con world have eyes and faces anyway.
However, this sizable piece of vegetation is doubly-confusing: unlike its normal pumpkin kin, these apparently:
- Grow UNDERGROUND, instead of in a patch
- Flourish in sand, or even SOLID STONE!
Have I mentioned that Mario's Subconscious is a pretty messed up place? (I say this because Sub-Con, the world of Super Mario Bros 2, exists entirely in Mario's dreaming mind). Oh, and I guess I should have said "Spoilers". Damn.
Level Timer monster (who happens to be a Pumpkin-Headed Ghost)
Snow Bros is a pretty pale imitation of Bubble Bobble in most regards: you can't bounce off your projectiles to climb/float through the level, you don't get exciting gatherable items for killing one enemy (you have to kill two at once), there's only 3 different power-ups (instead of the dozens and dozens available to Bub and Bob), and you're not guaranteed one power-up per level (again, like in the Bubbly game): you have to kill a bunch of enemies all at the same time for a chance at a power-up.
Perhaps this inferiority complex is the reason why Snow Bros "timer monster" has a really short fuse. In Bubble Bobble, if you linger a really long time in a level, Baron Von Bubbla shows up...and it's your ass.
However, Snow Bros's "timer monster" (the goofy ghost pictured above with a jack-o-lantern on top of a blue sheet/bath towel/whatever) drops in at the drop of a hat. I managed to see him in the first level and I wasn't even dawdling as I dished out snowy doom.
But here's the mediocre news: The Ghost of Pumpkin Bath-Towels Past is sort of a wuss. Because of the limitations of Snow Bros's "jumping and running" mechanics, he couldn't be a hard-nosed homing missile like Baron Von Bubbla, but he's a push-over: just throw some snow at Towely and he disappears to the bottom of the screen to try another approach. He's not an enforcer as much as a minor nuisance.
Ice Climber: 7th Level Bonus Vegetable
Ice Climber, the arcade classic of my youth. These days it's mostly noteworthy because its generic blue- and pink-parka-wearing Eskimos resurfacing in Super Smash Brothers Melee Combat Utilizing Glaive Guisarme or some damn thing that the kids today seem to like. Back in MY day it was famous for suffering from really weird jumping controls!
But did you know that it also contains the mighty October Vegetable?
After you clear each level, you ascend to a produce-packed bonus stage! Here you're rewarded for collecting as many consumable bonus items as you can, on your way to grab the feet of a magenta pterodactyl which circles the peak of this arctic mountain (yeah, I don't know what the hell that's about either).
As pictured above, when you've reached the apex of the 7 consecutive mountain, the bonus item in question is a dour-faced pumpkin. As with Super Mario Bros. 2, it's difficult to tell if it's intended to be a jack-o-lantern, because EVERY fruit or vegetable in the weird world of Ice Climber has eyes and/or a mouth (except the stoic, featureless CORN, who seems to satisfy itself with its ears alone).
Nevertheless, I postulate that it IS supposed to be our carved, candle-possessed friend: most of the "eyes" on the other vegetables have white outsides and a black pupil, whereas this frozen fellow has the hollow eyes of a carven gourd!
Clay Fighter: Ickybod Clay the Fighting Game Combatant and Pumpkin-Headed Ghost
Ickybod Clay from Clay Fighter: pumpkin-headed ghost with a sheet for a body.
On the surface, it may seem like poor Ickybod is just another "headless horseman ghost with a pumpkin head" like all the rest...but I like to think he's the definitive article, the real McCoy, the epitome of orange-and-sheet spookiness.
Not only does he transcend the "mere enemy or bonus item" category to achieve the level of "actual playable character", but look at his profile above! He's got his Likes, Hates, Motto, everything down to one-word answers: He's no shrinking violet who requests that you "don't pick on him", he'll tell you right to your face who he is and what he wants!*
Then look at the second picture -- we see him in his friggin' haunted house home preparing for hand-to-hand combat: that son-of-a-bitch even scares HIMSELF!**
**: Again, unlike Mitt Romney, who doesn't terrify everyone for some reason...mainly he just terrifies people who have been paying attention and listening to his political positions since the Republican primaries: either he lied to the Republicans to try to get nominated, or he's lying to the moderates to try to get elected, or both. Truly a "mystery grab-bag" candidate, which is kind of horrifying.
Well, that's allllmost it!
I hope you've enjoyed this little stroll through Nintendo's Pumpkin Patch of Life...but before I sign off, I'll leave you with one more near-hit:
Video Game Pumpkins Honorable Mention:
Abobo from Double Dragon
Seriously, look at the head on that guy...his skull is the width of his entire torso, and its decorated by what is either the world's biggest scowl or a brutal handlebar mustache! Furthermore, Abobo's eyes appear to be dark pools of nothingness lit only by bright pinpoints of light.
The cumulative effect of all this? I think Billy Lee could be forgiven for thinking he's battling a weight-lifter with a Jack-o-Lantern on his shoulders!
See you next week, kids!
...for more video game nonsense, as well as probably not as much "Fair and Balanced™" political news! And remember...
That Ickybod Clay is a dancing Fool!
— carlmarksguy, 2012-11-02