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Panic! (Sega CD) artwork

Panic! (Sega CD) review


"Panic! Is…a difficult game to explain, or even to understand. I have a feeling that it is a game that is very much like marmite, either you love it or you absolutely hate it. I happen to like it but there are a lot of things in it that I can imagine many people hating."



Panic! Is…a difficult game to explain, or even to understand. I have a feeling that it is a game that is very much like marmite, either you love it or you absolutely hate it. I happen to like it but there are a lot of things in it that I can imagine many people hating.

Here’s the setup, an opening cinematic shows essentially every device in the world malfunctioning, motorcycle wheels turn into squares, a car vomits out it’s engine, a man enters a phone box only for it to take off like a rocket, easter island heads crush people and vending machines vomit everywhere, supposedly due to a central computer getting a virus. This actually perfectly sets up the game and the real craziness is yet to start.

You play slap, a young boy in pink overalls and a pink hat (stylin) who after being trapped in his TV while playing his Sega CD is given a remote control and then the game starts, your objective is to press buttons and to try to get to the MCP and cure what ails it. Really that’s it, the entirety of the gameplay is pressing the buttons on a panel that shows up on the screen and seeing the effect, sometimes you are moved to a new screen with new buttons to press, other times…something happens.

One example would be a scene set in an art gallery with the mona lisa in front of you, a series of about 10 buttons is presented to you, you press one and one of about 4 things will happen,

1. You will be transported to another scenario and you have to choose the series of buttons there.
2. A random building somewhere in the world like the Eiffel tower will explode.
3. A sometimes funny, often mildly disturbing scene involving the Mona lisa will occur, like the background turning into a full moon and Lisa herself turning into a werewolf or the various facial features moving around the picture
4. a kind of cutscene will happen which has absolutely no bearing to the game and will never be referred to again unless triggered again, one of the more disturbing ones being a sumo wrestler terminator in a Hawaiian grass dress dancing across the screen whilst lamenting the cost of that dress…yeah, some are more insane and confusing than that, others make me think that there is some kind of plot development in this game that was lost in translation.

Graphics in this game are actually really good with some surprisingly colourful and detailed setpieces and effects however conversely the colours sometimes look somewhat washed out (look up the opening cinematic) and the graininess of the still photos in the game look like works of pointillism.

The sound and music are a mixed bag, on one side there are some really cool and calm tunes present in the soundtrack, however some tunes use this strange instrument that I'm sure uses the MD's FM synth chip and it sets my teeth on edge because it is so grating and high pitched. The sound effects are mostly made Michael Winslow style, the people making them just used their mouths and microphones...it's...hit and miss at best.

Overall the game is a series of potentially entertaining and almost always completely random experiences, I have been playing the game for a very long time and though the buttons always do the same things and all links between setpieces are fixed there are always so many buttons to choose from in each one that you are unlikely even to make it to the end let alone see all of the gags, setpieces or cutscenes in the game leading to a lot of replay value, however the game does have a very unusual and sometimes very childish sense of humor, randomness is the order of the day and the surreal experience is something to behold really, however there are a lot of boob jokes, vomit gags and just some really immature scenes, however some scenes are actually really brilliant.

One of my favourite Is the scene set at the Japanese mega CD loading screen seen when loading a disk, pressing a button can lead to slap being transported into the scene and replace the scaled and rotated mega CD logo whilst screaming.

I think that if you can handle incredibly surreal humor on par with (though less inspired than) the cartoons from monty python (in fact the famous foot of god featured in the credits appears in the game) and the occasional toilet humor…literally actually. I think you may enjoy or at least appreciate the game as I do and I really do recommend it.

However the game does have glaring problems: there is no semblance of a plot really worth anything, the gameplay is non existent, the jokes can just be terribly unfunny for some people especially with the many boob and vomit jokes and they will be turned off immediately and frankly i can respect those feelings, it is a game that is very subjective, I like it but I have a friend who calls this game a piece of trash.

I give it a 7/10 overall for my personal enjoyment of the game but your mileage will vary.

Rating: 7/10

maboroshi's avatar
Community review by maboroshi (December 30, 2012)

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