Wayne’s World

Wayne’s World

Overall Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

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Wayne’s World was a 1992 film based on a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch centered around the public-access television program hosted by Wayne Campbell, as played by Mike Myers, and Garth Algar, as performed by Dana Carvey. The two long-haired metalheads would provide humorous commentary on recent events, people they knew, bands, and chicks. The movie was popular enough to not only place new catch phrases into pop culture, but to spawn a video game, as released in 1993 on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. The game is a side-scrolling platformer developed by THQ.

Gameplay

Alternating between laser-gun-wielding Garth and kung-fu-kicking Wayne, this one-player game has the respective protagonists traversing bizarre side-scrolling environments in which they are attacked by such enemies as living musical instruments and nefarious human beings. The A button jumps and the B button attacks. The levels have multiple stages, requiring the player to go through one area to find a door to go through to the final portion, or perhaps defeat a mini-boss.

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In typical THQ fashion, the level design is less than extraordinary. On the first level, for example, Garth literally just has to walk to the right while firing his gun in order to reach the finish, despite the fact that there is an upper level of bounceable drums to travel across if he wished to. Other stages feature precision-jumping parts, annoying fly-over type enemies who bomb the character, and occasional items dropped to replenish the health bar. This is a bare-bones, minimalist, very basic platformer effort, and tellingly behind the times for a 1993 release. There are also amusing screens between the levels where Wayne and Garth engage in witty banter.

Graphics

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This is a THQ product, so the visuals are subpar. Vast expanses of background are cast in a single-color palette, and usually an unappealing one. The enemies flicker, the level elements look like they were drawn by a grade-schooler in Microsoft Paint, and the entire experience feels like a narcotics-induced hallucination. Perhaps that was the intention. The highlight may be the shadowy green hues in which Wayne and Garth are cast for their cutscenes; which are hardly so, even, as they consist of a single static image with on-screen text accompanying.

Sound

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The sound effects are dull, one-note renditions of the simplest degree possible, outdone even by many Atari 2600 titles. The background music seems underdeveloped; not only is it not skillfully composed and repeats far too quickly, but of the few tracks available, they do not even seem to take advantage of the full array of sound channels available on the hardware, instead content to pump out just one or two synth instruments in plainly orchestrated barely-there background “music.”

Originality

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Yes, this is a license game; that is, a video game based on a pre-existing pop-media license, simply designed to be published in an efficient manner in order to capitalize on the fleeting popularity of the franchise at hand. The NES was a console that was particularly notorious for these releases. Although some of them were actually fairly good (Konami’s Ninja Turtle games, Capcom’s Disney titles), many were base-level dross that sought the money of gullible suckers. To its credit, Wayne’s World does present a beginning-to-end challenge, and its faults with hit detection and frequent glitches could perhaps be seen as adding to the difficulty.

Nonetheless, the programming faults resulting in random damage taken and the general lengths required to dispatch of enemies is more annoying than refreshing, and the overall experience deserves absolutely no higher than one and a half stars out of five.

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Eric Bailey

Eric Bailey is a world-record retro gamer whose focus on the Nintendo Entertainment System console birthed the NintendoLegend.com project to write a quality review for every American-released game on the system. He has written on several gaming topics and can be reached at thenintendolegend@gmail.com