TOTAL RECALL / Acclaim / NES
Total Recall is yet another in the proud legacy of taking a popular movie license and churning out some complete bullshit game with it for quick profits.
Total Recall began life as a Phillip K. Dick short story, which was then watered down to a Hollywood action movie replete with gunplay and Ahhhhnold, and then further watered down to this craptastic platformer. The game loosely follows the events of the movie in typical hastily-cobbled-together-platformer style, but a whole lot of characters and scenes are missing, and there's all this bizarre contrived stuff thrown in. For example, the first level sees you making your way to Quaid's house by dodging fists randomly swiping at you through holes in a fence, and midget karate hobos who pull you into every alley you pass for a quick sparring session.
Admittedly, there's a couple of kinda-neat sequences. When you reach Quaid's house, as you battle his wife, you see agents flooding into the building on the monitors in the background. You've got a narrow time window to beat her down and flee before they get upstairs, or Richter pops in the doorway and fires an endless stream of lethal machine gun bullets. The x-ray scanner battle scene is also included. These tiny little moments of visual coolness and creativity do absolutely nothing to compensate for how bad everything else about the game is, however. The first thing you'll notice is the awful play control - Quaid's stiff jumps and incredibly short-range punch that enemies often don't even respond to when it lands. Eventually you get a gun, but once you do, all the enemies start taking multiple hits, firing homing bullets and jumping around obnoxiously all the time to up the ante. The level design is utter ass with tons of cheap hits that come out of nowhere and a reliance on shoddy platform jumping sequences. And there's no password/continue - once you reach the first Mars level there's a hidden code that lets you continue from there, but no way to turn the system off and return to a later level, you have to endure the shit design of every single level every time.
Given that the movie is so lulzy I feel like they also missed a lot of opportunities by excising so much of the original material. Of course the triple breasted hooker wasn't going to slip past the Nintendo Seal of Quality but the romantic interest chick is completely gone, there's no Johnny Cab, no Quatto, Richter disappears completely after you get to Mars and we never get to see him at the party. At least they got Benny in there, but he comes at you out of nowhere and he's kind of a joke battle.
* Gameplay Video
* Watch the movie