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Written by  :  Joakim Kihlman (275)
Written on  :  Apr 26, 2008
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Cruel and unusual punishment

The Good

Rick Dangerous was, at the time of its release, top of the line. It was hailed as an excellent arcade adventure game. The style of the game was an homage to old adventure movies in general, and to the, at the time fairly recent, Indiana Jones-movies (The Last Crusade came out the same year as Rick Dangerous).

The game starts out in the South American jungle, but every level has its own style. To put it shortly, you job is to travel the world and raid tombs. Sounds easy? Well, it's not. This game will last a while. No matter how good you are at these type of games, you will not get through this in an instant. I promise you that.

The game has excellent graphics and the charm-factor is through the roof. Rick himself looks like a little cherub, and all the enemies are just as cute. Not to mention the sounds. Everything from the gunshots to the scream you let out when you die sounds, well, cute. This could have been a bad thing but in this game it works, since it's so stylishly done. This is a parody rather than an imitation.

Since this is an old Amiga-gem I should point out that the game doesn't take that long to load. You may not realise this, but back in those days some games where virtually unplayable because of the horrendous loading times (if you think that "The Witcher" from last year had too many and too long load screens you haven't played the worst Amiga and C64 had to offer). Since you die more than often in this game, things like loading times really matters.

The Bad

For starters, the difficulty. It might be a good thing that the game lasts long, but in this case that's more of a problem than a benefit.

This game consistently punishes players for simply playing the game. There are traps everywhere, and there is no way of discovering them other than the infamous "trial and error"-style. Die, memorise the trap and try again. This is a really outdated way of creating games, and what seemed like tough but fun challenge back in the days is just frustrating nowadays.

Today players just won't stand for these kinds of cruel and unusual punishments. After having fought their way through the first, very though levels, they are being unfairly punished by even more arbitrarily placed traps you have to die in to discover, and soon all your lives are lost and you will have to start over. If you really want to beat this game, you will have to play the first levels so many times you will eventually start dreaming nightmares about them.

I liked Rick Dangerous when it was first released, although I really didn't have the patience to finish it even back then. When I try and play it today I give up quite fast. It's just not worth it. This is not gameplay, this is beautifully pixelated sadism. Nothing more, nothing less. The fact that the controls are far from precise makes the experience even more infuriating. It's quite annoying the 58th time Rick waves his little stick around instead of shooting his gun like you wanted to. Come to think of it, it's annoying even the first time.

As a sidenote I should mention also that the music is terrible. In fact it's borderline offensive. Luckily it stops after about 30 seconds or so. So in this case, the lack of music is actually a good thing.

The Bottom Line

If you are a masochist, you'll love this. But if you want a tough but fair gaming experience, look elsewhere. This game should be banned in the U.S. This game dishes out cruel and unusual punishments left and right. It wants to crush you. It wants to eat your soul.