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Video game developer Acclaim who put out games like Mortal Kombat, Smash TV and Spiderman Return of the Sinister Six released this licensed game in 1990. The movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid and Sharon Stone as his violent wife Lori. If you haven’t seen the movie it’s a sci-fi movie that involves a lot of crazy things like traveling to Mars, having new memories implanted into the brain and Douglas’ loving wife who starts trying to kill him. Problem is with the new implanted memories, he doesn’t know which ones are real and which ones are the fake memories so he’s on a quest to find out what is real and what isn’t. Sounds like a crazy movie that should have a cool game right?? In theory yes, but what Acclaim delivered was just a frustrating piece of junk that adds in a bunch of stupid things that weren’t in the movie.
You start the game playing as Schwarzenegger’s character Douglas. The sprite is slightly accurate and it is a big guy who could be based on Arnie, but overall it’s a pretty bad looking game with some serious problems with its animation. It’s a 2D action platforming game, where you have to get Doug to a certain part in the level while you kill people along the way. Normally I love games like this but Total Recall has poor controls, tons of enemies and is just frustrating making it very difficult. There is a variety of different stages like city streets, the sewer, subway, concrete factory and sometimes you will have battles in little apartment rooms. Unfortunately most of my time was spent in the sewer, since every time you walk past an alley you get hit by someone and dragged down there. Then you need to work your way out and start by the alley again, the one nice thing is the alley seems to have a lot of energy drinks for you to replenish your health a bit.
You can jump and punch (then shoot when you get a gun). One of the most annoying things is when your enemies are constantly jumping over you making it incredibly hard to hit them while other baddies are attacking at the same time. Oh and since when were there pink mutant midgets attacking Arnold in the movie? Maybe I just have a bad memory, but it seems very odd to me. It’s hard to kill these guys too since they are short and you have to duck to have a chance of hitting them. It reminds me of playing Goldeneye on the N64 when someone would take Oddjob and it was much harder to kill them when they are shorter than you. Plus you have to fight rats. Ya, I don’t remember Arnie punching rats in the movie…
While you are playing and trying to figure out what exactly is going on you will have a happy bubbly soundtrack to listen to. This game is supposed to be a gritty, and dark at moments but the music definitely doesn’t represent that. It’s very off putting, it seems like they pulled a music track from some other happy game and just dumped it in here. The sound effects are also bad with a lot of thud sounds and a weird buzzing type sound.
There are just too many things wrong with this game. The game feels unfinished with hit detection problems and flickering sprites just to name a few problems. Ultimately the choices made by the game designers are confusing at best. Why have a theatre where you can earn a life by watching the Total Recall movie credits then follow it up with a death scene of Arnold saying “I’ll be back!” Did they not do any research and realize this was from a different movie? I love cheesy Schwarzenegger movies but seriously this is a huge disappointment, and there is nothing about it I can recommend. Why couldn’t it have been a good movie adaptation like Batman? It’s not even worth playing to see how bad it is, that is why I consider it one of the worst games on the NES!