Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interlude: Decap Attack!

We're going to get random here today.  And I mean RANDOM, because I am going to talk about one of my favorite video games of all time, the Sega Genesis classic Decap Attack.

I know what you folks are saying: Huh?

Yeah, I know.  There's a lot more well-known games for the Genesis, which for my money is the best (along with my favorite) video game system of all time.  But Decap Attack always stuck with me as being just the right mix of fun platforming, bizarre visuals, a "weird" story, and goofy humor.  When I think of the 16-bit era, this is one of the games I think of.  

Some background.  The game which became Decap Attack started out as a Japanese title based on the anime Magical Hat.  (That game, I should point out, was based on the engine of the well-regarded-but-tough-as-heck Sega Master System game Psycho Fox, which itself was adapted to the NES as Kid Kool.  You still with me?)  Sega of America did not have the license to bring this game over to the States (and the anime itself was unheard of in the West), so they took the underlying engine and transformed it into Decap Attack, adding a horror-comedy element and a pile of incredibly bad puns.

Our hero is Chuck D. Head, a mummy created by Mad Scientist Frank N. Stein.  Chuck has a head in the middle of his stomach, along with a skulllike one which sits on his shoulders.  His mission: to defeat the evil Max D. Cap and restore his home of Eyeland to original configuration, since Max has split each section up (including such locales as Abdomainland and my favorite El Beau Island).  Chuck can either toss his boomerang skull at his foes, or "punch" (headbutt?) them using the head in his stomach.  

If this sounds goofy and silly, don't worry, it is.  But it's a heck of a lot of fun too.  The action is fairly straightforward platforming, but the levels have great variety and mix things up nicely.  There's a wide range of enemies, and the bosses are well designed.  Visually, the game is very bright and detailed, which you expect from a 16-bit game.  And the soundtrack is a standout, especially considering it came from Sega of America and not Japan (who produced some of the most beloved soundtracks of the time).  

I recently got my Genesis and the library of games back from storage at my parents house, and now it is hooked up right next to my Playstation 2, Dreamcast, PS1, and Saturn.  (I do have my Master System, but I use the Genesis Power Base Converter instead.)  And right there on the top of the pile of Genesis games, along with Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and Sonic The Hedgehog is Decap Attack.  It's like being 11 all over again.

Don't lose you head!  Check out these links!

Decap Attack print ad from Fors Yard -- Seeing this image is what inspired this post.  This site is a great read for anyone who owned (or owns, as is my case) a Genesis, as it is a mostly chronological history of the system and its library.

Play Decap Attack at Retro Uprising -- Sites like this are the greatest timewasters in the history of man, but if you want to give the game a whirl this is a good choice.

Decap Attack Speed Run from Archive.org -- If you don't want to play the game, this tool-assisted speed run will let you get a feel for the goofiness.

A review of the game at I-Mockery.

And finally, a custom Chuck D. Head action figure!

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