Monday, June 21, 2010

Canon Video Game Review: Incredible Crash Test Dummies (Sega Genesis)

Today's classic video game under review is The Incredible Crash Test Dummies game for the Sega Genesis. The game also was released for the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo Entertainment System, and a different game with the same title was made for the Sega Master System. Crash Test Dummies was a line of action figures based off of some public service announcements featuring actual crash test dummies that was designed to illustrate the dangers of not buckling up. For some reason, the folks at Tyco saw the next big craze for kids, and designed some action figures of crash test dummies with removable body parts. They also came with their own vehicles, so if you so desire, you could your dummy in the vehicle, crash into various things and see body parts fly everywhere. The figures must have sold well, because soon after that there was a cartoon movie made of the Crash Test Dummies, and that cartoon serves as the basis for this game. I must say that I remember hearing about it being on Fox and seeing commercials for it, but I have no idea what names the characters had or anything really about it. I do remember the figures, since one of my friends had a couple of them, and, well, they were fun for a while, but crashing into walls kind and seeing body parts fly does actually get old after a while. At least they did for me. I was curious about what a game about the Crash Test Dummies would entail, so I decided to give it a shot and see what happens. To start, here is a picture of the game cover (courtesy of

That one dummy seems awfully happy considering he's losing his leg due to a powerful stream of water coming out of the ground. The game was developed by Gray Matter (which also developed games based off of the movies Crow:City of Angels, The Terminator, and Wayne's World) and distributed by Acclaim, a source of quality games such as BMX:XXX throughout the years. The game starts and these two particular dummies, named Slick and Spin, are conversing with a doctor dummy known as Dr. Zub, who is worried that a guy named Junkman is going to build a T9000. A T9000, What is this, Terminator? Anyway, Junkman comes and abducts the good doctor, leaving one of the dummies (I can't tell the difference between the two) to go out and save Dr. Zub while the other looks after the place. That's a bit odd, considering that there main enemy has just come in and kidnapped the doctor, and now there's somebody watching the place? That's like watching over the barn after the cows have escaped, but whatever.

The game is a platform game, mainly a horizontal game but later levels get more vertical. Your dummy must avoid enemies such as cars, tires, parking meters, and evil crash test dummies designed to stop your goal of rescuing Dr. Zub. You get five lives to start, and with each hit you lose a limb, starting with the legs and moving on to the arms. Once you take a hit without any arms or legs, you lose a life. You can stop your enemies either by jumping on top of them Mario Bros. style, or by throwing wrenches at them. You can pick up wrenches throughout the game, as well as hazard stickers and screwdrivers. If you pick up a screwdriver, you recover a body part, which comes quite in handy, I would say. Not too hard to figure out, huh?

The graphics for this game aren't too bad for their era. Everything at least looks sharp and clear. However, there is a problem with the graphics once an object makes impact with your character and you lose a limb, as it kind of skips a frame or two. It's kind of hard to describe, but there is something not quite right about it, and you can probably tell if you happen to play this game. Other than that, the rest of the game's graphics aren't too shabby. The background music is rather bland and unremarkable, but at least it wasn't too annoying. Something I found odd was the fact that even without arms and legs, the dummy still can jump and throw as if he had all of his appendages. How does one throw a wrench at full speed without any arms? Then again, the game is about a crash test dummy who has come to life and can jump over moving cars, so I guess I shouldn't ask too many questions and just let it go.

I didn't beat the game, didn't come close in fact. I got to the third level a couple of times and I nearly beat that level once, but died just before the end. Or at least I think it was just before the end. The controls are easy to master, but a constant source of frustration was the hit detection problems on the game. On more than one occasion, a tire or something else would come nowhere close to me, and I would lose a limb anyways. What the hell? Is the force of an object coming within a 20 foot radius of the dummy enough for him to lose a limb? If so, that's just poor craftsmanship, and that dummy needs to be taken back to the shop.

Overall, this game is not a classic, but for a simple platform game based off of a line of action figures, it's not all that bad. You may get a little frustrated by a couple of elements of the game, and the game probably wouldn't take a skilled player too long to beat, but it's not bad if you are in the mood to play a simple, non-complicated platform game. Plus, there's not many games where can control a character without legs, so that's an added bonus. I'll give the game a 4.4 out of 10, as it's not remarkable in any way, but it doesn't flat out suck either.

Well, thanks for reading, and remember that if you have any ideas for future posts to The Canon Review, than send them to me either by e-mail at or by leaving a comment, and I'll see what I can do to fulfill your requests.

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