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The Incredible Crash Dummies (NES) artwork

The Incredible Crash Dummies (NES) review

"This game was released at the peak of the crash test dummy hype (if you could call it that, perhaps a passing interest would best describe it). It combined some classic platforming gameplay and a dialogue laced with safety heavy remarks and horribly corny jokes. It had its flaws but there was nothing huge stopping it from being a decent play. "

This game was released at the peak of the crash test dummy hype (if you could call it that, perhaps a passing interest would best describe it). It combined some classic platforming gameplay and a dialogue laced with safety heavy remarks and horribly corny jokes. It had its flaws but there was nothing huge stopping it from being a decent play.

The graphics certainly weren’t anything to boast about back then and therefore are looking a bit bottom of the barrel right now. There isn’t a huge amount of detail gone into the surroundings of your dummy lead characters, usually just a background made up of black or a simple pattern. But the objects in the foreground partially rectify this problem, they don’t look crash hot but things could have been a lot worse than they look.
The characters are of a decent size and represent the “real” crash dummies quite well. Their animations are a bit jerky but there’s nothing major to harm the fun that you’ll get out of this game. The bosses that you’ll come up against look a bit ridiculous but only feature for small parts of the game; the last boss, Junkman, is one of the least threatening end bosses you’re ever likely to face and makes for a weak finish to the game.
Overall, the graphics could have stood to be a bit more detailed and a bit more colourful. The visuals still get the job done reasonably well and do nothing to detract from the gameplay and various other aspects.

The sound improves over the graphics, even if it is only by a small amount. The sound effects have been done nicely and never seem out of place, although after long periods of time they can strain the nerves a bit. There’s nothing unusual or new in the way of effects, but what’s there is of a good enough quality.
The background music isn’t too bad at all. For the most part it’s cheerful music and adds to the light-hearted atmosphere that’s obviously being strived for. There’s only three tunes that appear in the game so they may get a little annoying as you progress towards the end of the game, but that was to be expected.
Overall, whilst it wasn’t the most groundbreaking material, the music of Crash Test Dummies was up to the expected standards and didn’t disappoint at all. Most of the audio was rather pleasant on the ears and wouldn’t cause the player too much aggravation at all. A pretty good job all the way through.

The gameplay was surprisingly good; you alternated between two dummies Spin (who moves about on his single wheel) and Slick (the one with the legs). Both characters had their advantages and disadvantages and the player would have to utilise both to progress in the game. Spin was a bit unwieldy to control due to his constant need to roll, but it was never anything major.
The levels were well set out, although most of them had a few frustrating sections, and were pretty good fun to get through. There was a small amount of repetition, but nothing that would stop you from playing through them a good number of times. The levels were well varied, none of them retained the same style of platforming and that made progression a more enjoyable experience.
The enemies could be frustrating at times, and if they hit you the dummy would be sent recoiling backwards until they banged into a wall, practice made dealing with these nasty critters a tad easier though. There were a few good weapons at the dummies disposal (if they’re so into safety then why are they always shooting stuff), they had an oil gun, a spray that freezed the baddies and an ability to spin repeatedly hammering anything in your way. Choosing the right weapon for the situation could mean the difference between life and death.
A more annoying feature of this game was that if you hit a wall particularly hard, or got a little too close to an explosion then the dummies head would fly off. This made controlling the little blighter a lot more difficult and much frustration was caused from this little feature. Another stupid little aspect was the linking between levels, you’d finish off a level and then watch the dummy jump in his car and just “happen” to cash into the side of a warehouse or a circus, more work was certainly needed there.
The learning curve offered was a pretty good one; the difficulty increased slowly until the later levels, and by then the player should have had enough experience to be competitive.
Overall, by retaining some classic aspects of platform games, Crash Test Dummies played pretty darn well and could provide quite a few hours of fun for the gamer. There were a few flaws, but these were only small and got lost in the overall scale of things.

The lifespan was a reasonably good one. The player would want to get through to the end of the game, and that wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Once the game was conquered then time spent on this game could have been noted as considerably smaller, as there isn’t much to be gained from giving the game another go. But overall, there was enough in the game to keep the player interested until their next big purchase of a game.

There was an all right fun factor, it wasn’t too much of a displeasure to play through and provided some pretty interesting moments of gaming. Of course there was always going to be a few frustrating sections in the game, but a bit of good ol’ perseverance could see you past these and headed for sweeter pastures.

The challenge of Crash Test Dummies was a decent one, the levels having a wide range of difficulty in them. The first level was pretty much a cakewalk, whilst towards the end action could heat up very quickly and things could get pretty hard. There wasn’t anything that was truly impossible to achieve but some spots could certainly get quite tricky. Looking back, the challenge set by this game was pretty close to what was expected at the time and provided a challenging game for most players.

Overall, Crash Test Dummies was by no means perfect. It had its flaws; some minor and some large, but they couldn’t quite stop the game from being at least a partially enjoyable play. A bit more work in key areas wouldn’t have gone astray, but there’s still fun to be had here by nearly anyone. Playing it could prove to be a good nostalgia trip.
- Some classic platform action to be found here
- A good range of difficulty tailored to most peoples needs
- Crash Test Dummies are a pretty cool novelty

- It’s more of a single finish game than one you’ll continually battle
- You’ll see some of the worst jokes of your whole life in this game
SOUND – 6/10
OVERALL – 7/10

kingbroccoli's avatar
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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