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Edward Randy (Arcade) artwork

Edward Randy (Arcade) review


"It is Jackson Pollock, wildly throwing colors against canvas and seeing what sticks. “He should fight a bulldozer.” “He should fight TWO tanks.” “These mutants need more body armor!” No outlandish idea was held back; creative expression trumped programming limitations and established good-gaming practices. “Let’s make him swing from the underside of ledges.” “Let’s make the plane he’s fighting atop do barrel rolls.” “Is there any way we can add more fire?" The flood of absurd ideas springing from Data East’s designers – yes, the folks behind Bad Dudes, of all people, are behind this inspired brainstorming – had nothing to do with what they technically could achieve, but simply what they wished they could do. "



Edward Randy, the game, is an utter mess, an exciting and exhilarating puddle of spilt milk no one can clean up due to the shock of how it happened. A supercharged dynamo crashed through the kitchen, and everyone saw it, but the shallow pool left on the floor is the only remaining evidence.

It is Jackson Pollock, wildly throwing colors against canvas and seeing what sticks. “He should fight a bulldozer.” “He should fight TWO tanks.” “These mutants need more body armor!” No outlandish idea was held back; creative expression trumped programming limitations and established good-gaming practices. “Let’s make him swing from the underside of ledges.” “Let’s make the plane he’s fighting atop do barrel rolls.” “Is there any way we can add more fire?" The flood of absurd ideas springing from Data East’s designers – yes, the folks behind Bad Dudes, of all people, are behind this inspired brainstorming – had nothing to do with what they technically could achieve, but simply what they wished they could do.

Such is how the adventures of Edward Randy – the titular whip cracking, crime-fighting one-man gang – took form.

A kidnapped little girl and stolen prism set the stage for the opening level, Edward Randy standing tall atop a speeding motorboat before an Italian countryside dotted with red roofed churches and loomed over by snowcapped peaks. His signature moment of determination and composure fleets in an instant; blue uniformed bandits unleash fire from behind via SeaDoo mounted machineguns as camouflaged soldiers drop from the air and attack by the half dozen. Wave running down the slender channels of Southern Europe, hang gliders bombard from the skies as rival jet skis jostle for position; enemy commandos cracked with a hard lash from Edward’s whip come flailing forward as if they’ll burst through the screen. This scene alone is too reckless for Contra, too breakneck for Metal Slug, and those games have protagonists with guns! Yet more needs to be said; Edward Randy’s work is not over yet.

Still coasting through the waterways of the Apennine Peninsula, an aqueduct soon becomes a prominent and ominous backdrop figure. Chugging along the structure soon comes – of all things holy – a MASSIVE FREIGHT TRAIN, blowing dark puffs of smoke, breathing fire out flamethrowers riveted to its sides, and unveiling more and more faceless henchmen to be disposed. Screen panning up, Edward Randy has but one choice: latch onto the railings of the speeding locomotive and climb aboard, eventually leading to a face-to-face meeting with a man who will prove to be the final villain. He’ll give you back the girl – she’s of no use – but makes off with the prism (which, although its significance is never explained, must be of dire importance since level two awaits!).

Now speeding through the desert in a World War II era convertible – because Edward Randy is the kind of man who will fight a tank in a Model-T – enormous carrier jets drop motorcycle-riding menaces armed with throwing knives and grenades upon the rocky dunes. Giant soldier sprites unanticipatedly appear in the foreground toward the bottom of the screen, snapping their fingers as if to summon the forthcoming onslaughts, a ridiculously unnecessary, extravagant, but above all damn cool special effect. Speed through rugged, narrow gorges as the fight for survival now includes eliminating both helicopters and panzers, longing for the waters of the just-visited Italian villa still recognizable in the background. It will only continue to get more ridiculous.

Aside: The congratulatory message for completing this, or any, level? “NICE GUTS!”

Just how much more ridiculous can it get? The gauntlet of mechanical monstrosities and absurd circumstances champion Edward Randy is placed under by his nameless archenemy grows so disturbingly surreal only the actual examples can illustrate:

  • An acrobatic duo of magic-wielding, Amazonian babes go toe to toe with Edward atop the wings of an in-flight aircraft caught amidst a raging thunderstorm, essentially the climax of three different James Bond movies rolled into one unabashedly ludicrous scenario.


  • A gigantic, floating mechanical hand slowly swipes at Edward as the makeshift ledges of a collapsing mineshaft plummet thousands of feet below, the crafty hero having to utilize every last one of his Indiana Jones tactics to avoid falling with them.


  • Countless attackers wait in advance, obviously expecting Edward to be leaping from wing to wing as a fleet of planes coast just barely above the tumultuous waters before a rushing waterfall. As if laughing in the face of physics wasn’t enough, a boss battle against a giant half-human/half-robot skull caps this stretch off, torn flesh drooping over the monster’s gouged out eye and loose wires hanging like torn muscle tissue. From a crater in the middle of his forehead, he’ll unleash triads of scorching blue fireballs, hoping to keep you reeling as the giant mechanical hands from before forcefully shake the aircraft.


Six stages of this sort of mayhem precede the finale, a one-on-one dual with the overgrown ninja from level one outfitted with throwing knives, a katana and a beastly rocket launcher. It’s perhaps tame compared to the events leading up – and, yet again, takes place on the wings of a plane, the recurrent theme of the later levels – but ultimately it’d be a nice place to end this review. If I ended it here, however, you would have heard of famed adventurer Edward Randy before; it’s unlikely that’s the case.

Plagued by obvious control issues from start to finish, Edward Randy’s downfall is that it was overly ambitious, and it pays the price. You’ll go to whip adversaries and accidentally latch on to the underside of a ledge, swinging helplessly, trying to right yourself as a ceaseless attack continues. You’ll go to do a sweeping kick to neutralize a swarm of guerrillas occupying your same platform, only to unintentionally drop below to a different level (and often, subsequently to your death). Without these headaches the action is so fast, so frenetic, and the barrage of opponents so swift that dodging is not an option and damage is unavoidable; with them, progress in the later legs of the game can be absolutely torturous.

Seeing this, Data East did try to remedy; foregoing the traditional life bar, a unique system is in place where both health and points are intertwined. Attacking foes results in more points – and thus more health – though taking damage removes both points and subsequently vitality. It’s a rather novel system, and though it largely removes the historic arcade challenge of competing for high scores, it almost works. Almost. Despite its implementation, the action is still too sloppy and out-of-control to ever consider this title on par with its two obvious influences: the whip snapping Castlevania and the militant Contra. Such is the plight of Edward Randy, doomed to become a farce because two buttons and a joystick were inadequate to handle this kind of action.

But hold on! More ambitious than any Castlevania or Contra prior and virtually all of the subsequent attempts at creating Indiana Jones themed heroes (Earnest Evans, etc.), Edward Randy deserves the utmost of respect. It has a hodgepodge of spectacular ideas. It has all the right intentions. There isn’t a cold-blooded pin in this game’s cabinet; as if the adoption of a newfangled health system weren’t enough indication, Data East did everything they possibly could to make this game enjoyable despite its egregious fault. And that’s exactly what makes it enjoyable. It’s shallow to cast this title aside because of a few unnecessary deaths; accept Edward Randy for what, at heart, it is:

Spectacular, beautiful failure of the purest form. You've been there; embrace it.

Rating: 8/10

Leroux's avatar
Staff review by Winston Wolf (September 29, 2010)

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CoarseDragon posted September 29, 2010:

Isn't this the same review you entered in TT Week 4?

Well, it is, and I have not change my mind about this being a good review.
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Leroux posted September 29, 2010:

I'm slowly moving older work over to this account and as staff content. Most of the reviews I have, probably three-fourths, I'd rather rewrite or edit heavily at least, but as build-up to the SUNDAY CABARET opening week, the new HG weekly arcade review, I'm subbing seven arcade ones I'm pretty happy with as is as a preview (and since it's a slow week pre-contest and MOTO submissions should knock them off the front page this weekend with the deadline, it seemed like a decent idea for drumming up interest). Others will blend into the background more.

New arcade content starts this Sunday, and every Sunday after, until HG has the most bad ass section on the web.
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zigfried posted September 29, 2010:

Edward Randy, he's just dandy!
Edward Randy fights where it's sandy!

As additional promotion of the Sunday Cabaret, the Official HonestGamers Twitter has been tweeting each day's arcade review to millions* of followers.

//Zig

* might be an exaggeration
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JoeTheDestroyer posted September 30, 2010:

Oh my god, great review! I must play this game now. MUST. Something that outlandish cannot be missed.

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