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The Incredible Crash Dummies (NES) artwork

The Incredible Crash Dummies (NES) review


"It’s the crash you need to consider. Slamming into a far wall, a frequent occurrence when enemies ram you, or smashing into the ceiling, will often result in the loss of your head. Literally. It’s a serious inconvenience that confounds your mobility, inverting your directions. When left suddenly becomes right, disorientation is expected and much damage is sustained."



Back when I was still a child, I remember being completely enthralled with Incredible Crash Dummies. Its incredibly fast pace and silly antics amused me greatly despite never being able to advance very far. Now, however, I see things a bit differently.

No longer is it the wacky adventure of old. No longer do the lame puns, random goofiness, and silly premise humor me. No longer does the speed of travel entertain me. Put simply, it’s just not as fun anymore.

Incredible Crash Dummies seems a game specifically designed to promote safe driving. The message is everywhere – from scrolling text in each opening shot warning you to always wear your seatbelt to in-game clues such as collectible traffic cones and high-speed crashes.

It’s even in your mission! Apparently, the infamous Junkman abducts two dummies from the dangerous Crash Test Center and takes them back to his hideout, seeking to use them for his own dastardly testing purposes. And all without any safety equipment! Naturally, it’s up to you, a dummy yourself, to rescue them. But doing so won’t be easy.

The first stage of a level has you rocketing through the terrain aboard your trusty unicycle. You zip through dangerous obstructions like bouncing tires and patrolling train things. You hop pathetically on flat surfaces, yet soar off inclines or springy objects. But poor control response will ensure you attempt any acrobatic feats numerous times. Jumping at any sort of speed seems to render the function useless; you'll helplessly mash away at the jump key only to be greeted with a fast sprint or tiny leap, regardless of speed.

Thankfully, the second stage of a level slows things down a bit. On foot, you can take more time, better plan your course. But not everything changes. You'll still stun enemies using your handy smoke can or destroy them with oil. You'll still gather vehicle-related power-ups such as tires which grant temporary invulnerability and balloons which elevate and slow your jump.

Not all power-ups are helpful, however. Rockets increase your speed twofold, and some even cause you to lose control of your character. He’ll just dash in whatever direction you point him – not even braking will help. He’ll only stop when he falls into water or the ability wears off.

You’ll need to beware of excessive speeds. They can lead to disaster. So much so that drowning may become the least of your worries.

It’s the crash you need to consider. Slamming into a far wall, a frequent occurrence when enemies ram you, or smashing into the ceiling, will often result in the loss of your head. Literally. It’s a serious inconvenience that confounds your mobility, inverting your directions. When left suddenly becomes right, disorientation is expected and much damage is sustained.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to acquire a new head. Spares are everywhere, but every one of them is necessary. With the sheer amount of enemies and obstacles, you’ll get injured a lot. Six hits per life may seem excessive, but in this realm of rapid momentum and crazy passages, it really isn’t.

You’ll die a lot, too. And with no saving or convenient level codes, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat the game in just four lives. A task impossible, really, considering the innumerable frustrating prospects that lay ahead. Bosses take forever to defeat, because they just kill you too quickly. And by the time you figure out a decent counterstrategy, you’ll have to start all over again. Getting through each stage is a challenge of it’s own, especially later ones. When confronted with omnipresent birds or parachutes that drop strange-looking bubble-bombs, running becomes your only option. Never mind picking up the traffic cones which will grant an extra life after collecting fifty of them. Ignore the oil cans which provide extra firepower. Disregard the floating heads which restore damage. They mean nothing when you’re attacked every second, losing your head every minute.

But at least you can rejoice knowing that the game itself is short. Only five levels and your frustration is over, the agony ended. It just requires a lot of patience.

Rating: 5/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Community review by wolfqueen001 (August 18, 2008)

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