The Tick

Moby ID: 6616
SNES Specs
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Get ready to put your blue skin-tight tights on. Ninjas need beating-up, bosses need clobbering! This game is not so much a platform game as it is a fighting game (think Streets of Rage). You run around the levels avoiding sharp flying objects and fighting any enemies that get in your way, including the numerous bosses. If your in a tight spot you can call Arthur to help defeat any enemies that are on-screen. The game is presented in a normal 2D platformer view when you're just jumping from building to building, but changes to a semi-isometric view when you start fighting. You'll probably like it if you like Streets of Rage.

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Credits (SNES version)

39 People (27 developers, 12 thanks) · View all



Average score: 43% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 2.3 out of 5 (based on 17 ratings with 1 reviews)

Not in the face! Not in the face!

The Good
It’s my opinion that The Tick, in all his incarnations, is one of the best super-hero genre parodies in existence. If you’ve ever read the comic or watched the cartoon or live-action sitcom, you’ll probably know what I mean. The Tick is very unique and better characterized than most actual heroes out there. Plus, the characters that surround him are all very colourful and well done. It does a great job of presenting cartoon wackiness while still giving insight to how super-heroes would probably actually behave in real life. Plus, each of the various formats that The Tick has seen have all, for the most part, been great for their own reasons. However, while I have no end of praise for The Tick’s other incarnations, I don’t feel the same way about the video game. In fact, The Tick for the SNES sucks out loud.

To the developer’s credit, I don’t think a better genre of game could have fit The Tick as well as a good ol’ beat-‘em-up. Forget the fact that beat-‘em-ups are notoriously easy to design, in this case it fits. Brute force is all the character really knows so an RPG, puzzle game, action side-scroller, or kart racer wouldn’t really be the same. As a beat-‘em-up, The Tick delivers on a lot of what you’d expect from the genre. You bash wave after wave of generic baddies until eventually reaching a significantly stronger one. The only thing that’s really missing is health items found under garbage cans, or even weapons, for that matter

If you’re a fan of the comics or cartoon, you’ll probably recognize a lot of in-jokes. Along the way you fight the District Manager from the comics, Chairface Chippendale and Thrakkorzog from the cartoon, and a giant cake from god-knows-where. Characters like Oedipus and American Maid also make appearances as assistants. However, if you’re not a fan of the Tick, a lot of the references will be completely lost on you. For example, Die Fledermaus appears as an assist character that doesn’t do anything and leaves after taking one hit. Anyone who has seen the cartoon will recognize Die Fledermaus as a cowardly character, but those who haven’t will only see a broken and useless power-up. A few of the references I don’t even recognize. For example, I don’t recall The Tick ever fighting clowns, nor do I remember him fighting phallic aliens.

The Bad
One of the first things I noticed about The Tick is that it looks very plain. It doesn’t look bad. It at least matches the cartoon to some extent, but there’s very little colour for a SNES game. That usually indicates that it’s a straight port of a game developed primarily for the Genesis, and in this case, it’s true. Usually when a game is on both systems, the SNES version gets a slight upgrade in graphics to take advantage of its extra hardware abilities, but here that just didn’t happen. That shows either cheapness or all out laziness, but either way, it’s inexcusable. However, the amount of colour isn’t always important, so long as it’s used correctly, but The Tick doesn’t succeed in that. Characters with few colours clash against busy backgrounds which eliminates the feel of playing a cartoon. Plus, certain characters look really ugly, especially American Maid.

Yet, the graphics are hardly the problem with this game. Do you know what The Tick’s problem is? It overstays its welcome several times over. It’s like a house guest that won’t take “Welp, I think it’s time for bed,” as its cue to leave. This game is six hours long! Six! This wouldn’t be a problem if it provided enough variety to keep the player interested, but The Tick only has enough content to pad out maybe one hour. It’s like if Final Fight was four times as long and not nearly as fun. So what you wind up doing is fighting endless hordes of palette swaps in levels that are way, way too long, praying for it all to end. It’s excruciating. It isn’t even all that challenging, it’s just a test of endurance to see if you can complete it.

I’m dead serious, this is a good contender for the most repetitive game I have ever encountered in all my years as a gamer. The game begins with you fighting ninjas. There are four colours of ninjas, each wielding a different weapon and with different amounts of health. An hour later, you’re still fighting the same ninjas and the only variation you’ve had thus far is a piss-easy tightrope level and a couple of really annoying side-scrolling obstacle courses. Then you finally fight a generic looking boss who can’t be combo’d. Afterwards, you’re back to fighting ninjas until the next tedious boss. Finally, after defeating the district manager, you find yourself fighting a different group of enemy palette swaps, the Idea Men. Now, complete the first cycle, but with a different enemy group until you beat Chairface. Then, do it again against clowns until you beat a giant cake. Then, again against aliens that look like walking penises until you defeat Thrakkorzog. You win! Happy? If you are, it’s probably because you’re finally done with this game.

The Tick doesn’t even provide interesting ways to kill enemies. There are only two attack buttons, punch and kick, and they can’t be linked together in any interesting ways. There’s no grab, no special attack, no nothing. Your only option is to just mash those two buttons until all the enemies are dead, but you won’t even do that. Punches are way weaker than kicks, so there’s no point in ever using them. You just keep tapping kick until everyone is dead, maybe throwing a jump kick in there every once and a while. It’s entirely mindless, and that’s quite a feat, considering it already belongs to the generally mindless beat-‘em-up genre. There’s no strategy to anything in the game, so I found my mind starting to wander as I played. I would completely zone out for long periods of play, I probably could have fallen asleep and still made progress, and believe me, I nearly did.

Just to ensure that you can derive absolutely no fun from this over-long journey, The Tick is single-player only. Not that I’d really want to force anyone to play this with me, but at least it would have broken some of the tedium. It’s bizarre, I generally associate the Beat-‘em-up genre with coop, but it’s completely lacking here. It’s quite contradictory to the character himself, since the Tick rarely ever fought evil-doers by himself. He has a sidekick, for goodness sake, yet Arthur is restricted to a special attack, and many of the other character merely make cameos as assists.

Then, just to underline the repetitiveness of it all, there are only about three level songs in the entire soundtrack. They’re not bad little tunes, but they’re not good enough to be repeated throughout a six hour game. Actually, I’m not sure I can say that with certainty, since I ended up hitting mute halfway through the game, and replaced the soundtrack with Modest Mouse. For all I know, half the levels have really kick-awesome music, but I’ll never know. It’s not like I’ll ever play that far again to find out.

The Bottom Line
To be fair, The Tick isn’t exactly a broken or horrible game. It’s perfectly playable from start to finish, and in small doses is enjoyable enough. However, I want you to understand my pain. After two hours of this crap, I really wanted to stop playing but couldn’t because there is no way to continue from where I left off. Spending another four hours with a game that I was already bored with breeds a lot of bad feelings. It got to the point where I began audibly groaning every time a new level would start. It was painful, depressing, and very trying. In the six agonizing hours it would take you to complete this game, you could instead watch an entire season of the cartoon, which would be a much better use of your time and I actually recommend it. If you really must play this game, stop after you get bored, otherwise you’ll just be torturing yourself. At the very least, The Tick proves that too much of a mediocre thing, is a very BAD thing.

SNES · by Adzuken (836) · 2010


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ozymandias.

SNES added by Shoddyan.

Game added June 7, 2002. Last modified February 22, 2023.