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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure - NES - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 112

The Nerd: What happens when you take an 80's comedy film like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and turn it into an NES game? Two guys are struggling to pass their history course, so they go back in time in a phone booth to get the aid of famous historical figures. It's dumb, but it's great entertainment, and a video game adaptation seemed like a good idea. It had fun characters, time travel, and adventure. So how could you fuck it up? You wanna know?

("Avenger" by Joel Steudler plays as the Nerd reveals the LJN logo, and he points to it.)

The Nerd: That's how.

(The Nerd inserts the game in the Nintoaster and turns it on.)

The Nerd: Yep, like almost every movie adaptation on the NES, it was made by LJN, the masters of shit; the unholy rainbow stamp of death. The plot of the game is that rebels have gone back in time, taken famous historical figures, and put them in different time periods. The goal is to find them all and put them back in their correct time periods. Who are these time rebels, and why do they wanna do this? Well guess what? They're never referred to again. Yeah, they're just for your imagination.

(A thought bubble of the time rebels appears above the Nerd)

Blue-Haired Rebel: Man, wouldn't it be funny if we put Thomas Edison in Ancient Egypt? (chuckles)

Green-Haired Rebel: How 'bout Galileo in the Jurassic period?! (they both chuckle) Oh... we're assholes!

The Nerd: (grins) Well, the reason you're tryin' to return these "historical dudes" to their proper times is to prevent history from being altered. Specifically, to keep their rock band together, the Wyld Stallyns. Really? That's... the whole big deal? Not to prevent some major catastrophe but instead, a fucking concert?

The Nerd: The first thing that happens when ya start the game, you're given a phone book with numbers for the historical dudes. If you try calling any of these people, nothing happens. Not that any of these people would have phone numbers anyway. There's no in-game instructions! No, you're left on your own to figure this out. Like, "good luck, asshole!" Oh look, there's a blinking red number under the number. I guess I'm supposed to call that, huh? (sarcastically) Thanks for makin' me flip through all those fuckin' pages!

The Nerd: Next thing, you're in what they call a "time circuit", where ya have to shoot the phone booth across all the digits of the phone number you're tryin' to call. Ya think they over-thought this a little? How about just a cutscene showin' the phone booth spiraling into a time warp?

The Nerd: Again, there's no instructions. I assume I'm supposed to go hit all the digits in order, and that pink ring is to help... guide the phone booth? I'm just guessing here. What's the point of this?! Why can't ya just start the game?! Couldn't you just dial the number and go straight to the stage? And speakin' of that, what's the point of dialing the number? How 'bout just "select the page with the person you're tryin' to get to"? But that doesn't matter either, because Rembrandt's always the first one it lets you call! Why couldn't it be like the Mega Man games, where you can play whatever stage ya want? Here, everything has to be done in the order the game wants you to! So all this page turning, dialing, and time circuit bullshit has NO PURPOSE whatsoever!

(The phone booth starts moving through the circuits on its own)

The Nerd: Wait... it's automatic? You just... do nothing? Yeah. If ya wait long enough, the phone booth will go through the circuits on its own. The drawback: if ya let it do that, it costs coins. If you run outta coins, you're far past fucked; the game is over. So ya obviously wanna save as many as possible. That's the only advantage to blasting yourself outside the circuits: free time travel.

The Nerd: In the later stages, the time circuits get harder. You have to avoid the skulls because they take your coins. And... where's the rest of the circuits, by the way? Isn't there supposed to be one more digit? Where is it?!

(The Nerd blasts the phone booth to the far right and off the circuits where the rest of the circuits are. He stares in amazement)

The Nerd: You GOTTA be KIDDING me! It's all the way out there?! Who would know to DO THAT?! And if that's not cryptic enough, you have to hit one of the pink skulls. One of them takes your coins, the other one makes the last digit appear! So it's a 50% chance you'll get the right one! THAT... is some SUPREME BULLSHIT!

The Nerd: Once ya finally get to the real game, you'll notice how much grade-A ass-suckage you're in for. Get ready for this shit. But first, the basics. As you notice, they attempted a three-dimensional world. I have to give it to them - it was kind of ambitious to do on the NES. But you're still stuck to moving at 90° angles.

The Nerd: You play as either Bill or Ted. They don't interact on-screen together, which is pretty shitty for a game with such a recognizable duo. So we're lookin' for Rembrandt. And you know what? I dare to say... they missed the opportunity to make this an educational game. It didn't have to go overboard - it coulda still been an action adventure game, with some informative elements. It's all about finding the historical dude, but there's no aspect of the game where you return them to where they belong. Wouldn't it be nice if they at least had a little description there to tell ya who Rembrandt is? Instead of just his fuckin' phone number!

The Nerd: And all these time periods are so vague. They're mostly just graphical redesigns of the same stage over and over again. They don't tell us where or when any of this is supposed to be. There's games that are educational, but suck as a game... but this game... just SUCKS both ways.

(In-game music stops)

The Nerd: Where'd the music go? I shit you not, every time ya start the game, the music lasts for 30 seconds, then stops. I'm not complainin' too much, because the music is ass, but why? They didn't know how to program it to loop? The rest of the sound effects are no more advanced than what you'd hear on the Atari 2600. There's mainly two sounds: jumping, and falling on your ass. Get used to those two sound effects; that's most of what you'll ever hear.

The Nerd: Back to the controls: check out this crap. You can never see where you're goin', because you're always waitin' for the screen to catch up. Classic two-gear diarrhea. Instead of giving you freedom to walk around, ya have to follow the path. Apparently, Ted can't walk on grass. You can't even get near the side of the path. If you cut the corner too sharp, you get stuck. And it takes you on the most indirect route possible.

The Nerd: (sighs) Aww... fuck! If you jump into the green, you're as stuck as a dog turd on a hot summer sidewalk. Ya have to keep hopping until you get out. It's like tryin' to get out of a sand trap on a golf course! And with those jump sound effects, it really reminds me of NES Golf. (Shows footage of "NES Golf")

The Nerd: C'mon! C'mon! Ugh! FUCK! This is among the most annoying things in video gaming history. This is like the fucking bombs in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the narrow jumps in Ninja Turtles, the snipers in Dick Tracy, the stairs in Ghostbusters, the pits in E... (shudders at the thought of "E.T.")

The Nerd: (Groans) Oh, but sometimes it lets ya walk on the green. Yeah, sometimes! It's one of those games that keeps changing the fuckin' rules.

(Ted jumps outside of the screen, falls and disappears)

The Nerd: What happened here? Where'd I go? I found some kinda glitch. The enemies are just random guys; some of them take your coins, and some of them take ya to the dungeon.

(Ted is trying to outrun an enemy)

The Nerd: Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck...

(Ted falls on the grass)

The Nerd: Fuck, no! (Enemy catches Ted as the Nerd grunts angrily) The people who stand still help ya out. They give ya coins, or better yet, weapons.

(Ted throws a weapon, and it flies far over him)

The Nerd: (sarcastically) That really "helped." (normally) All the weapons have the same range: they just fly about ten miles away. There's no straight attack. How about give me a crossbow or something? No. You know what you're using? Ya know what this weapon is? It's a textbook. A fucking TEXTBOOK that EXPLODES! By the way, this won't change history at all. Let's go around blowing people up. Let's kill some ancestors. That's real great. As long as it doesn't affect the Wyld Stallyns' concert. When they come back to the present, it's gonna be some kinda Planet of the Apes shit. They're gonna be playin' to an audience full of intelligent sloths.

The Nerd: Another item you can get is an audio cassette. I love how the knight casually says, "Bill asked me to give you this audio cassette", as if the knight would have any idea what that is. What does it do? It plays music and makes everybody dance. It's real helpful, especially since you don't even need a cassette player; just throw the cassette on the ground.

(The Nerd holds up a cassette.)

The Nerd: Hey! Wanna listen to some tunes?

(The Nerd throws the cassette away, so that it lands on the floor. The cassette starts playing the song "Moonwalk" by Bill Holloman from Fresh Music Library, with the Nerd rocking to it.)

The Nerd: So where is Rembrandt? You can explore this whole land, but you won't find him anywhere. That's because you need to lure him out with bait. What is he, a fuckin' fish? The bait can be any random object. There's four of them hidden on each stage; one of them will make Rembrandt appear in one of the random houses. How do ya find this bait? You wanna know? Guess what? By jumping into things!

(Ted jumps into a tree, and he falls.)

The Nerd: This game treats ya like an idiot. Like "Hey kids, you wanna play a Bill & Ted game? Well here you go! Go jumpin' around into fuckin' bushes and fences! That'll keep ya busy. Have fun!"

The Nerd: There's no shortcut around it; you have to roam the entire stage jumping into everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. There's people who give you clues. Sometimes it's as simple as goin' up and talking to them; other times, ya have to select your own responses. The right answer will lead to another thing ya have to respond to, and then another... and then you just get stuck in this whole dialogue tree! I HATE this shit! All the answers are the same surfer lingo bullshit. How are you supposed to know which is the right answer? Also, ya have to use A to switch through responses, and B to select the response you want. How about just left or right, and then the button to select - because, the first time playing, you'll never know if it's A or B so you'll always end up selecting something that ya don't want! It's trial and error, and it's not intuitive at all.

The Nerd: When you do get a clue, it's always something vague like "Look for something strange in a tree" or "Look near the crossroads". That really helps. Near the crossroads? Which fuckin' crossroads?! This is Castlevania II/Zelda II bullshit! And I love it when they use directions like "north" and "south". The game is slanted at a 45° angle! Which way is south?! How 'bout a compass? How 'bout a map? How about anything?!

(Ted jumps into another tree, and he falls)

The Nerd: Oh, that's nice! I'm stuck! Is this where the scenery runs out?

The Nerd: Then there's all these open doors that ya can't go in. That's another peeve of mine. If ya can't go in the door... don't have a door there! At least make the door closed! It's a psychological tease. I HATE games that do that!

The Nerd: Fuck the townspeople, fuck not knowing where to go! I'm gonna get the power! Nintendo Power!

(The Nerd starts looking for the "Nintendo Power" magazine)

(The Nerd jumps into objects and falls down, like Ted in the game)

The Nerd: (grunts) Wasn't there...

(Jumps again, with fists up)

The Nerd: Ow! (moans)

(The Nerd finds the magazine. He looks towards the viewers, and nods.)

The Nerd: Well, it helps to visualize the layout of the stage, but where's the starting point? I'd like to know where I am. You know what? That's because the game always starts ya somewhere different. You can control where it starts you; when the time circuit finishes, you're supposed to hold up, or down, or some shit - I don't know, I don't fuckin' know!

The Nerd: Then there's certain doors that act as warp zones and transport you somewhere else. The magazine doesn't tell me that either, nor does it tell me where the historical dudes are. I know they appear in random houses, but there's probably a few different designated spots. For the bait, it just gives you a circle showing the vague area where they are, not the exact bush or fence. This is one instance when Nintendo Power just didn't bother, because the game... was too shitty.

The Nerd: At least I have an idea where to look now.

(Finds a "stage prop")

The Nerd: Nice! I found something.

The Nerd: By lookin' at the magazine, you may call that cheating, but the game doesn't even play by its own rules. Bill and Ted were the ultimate cheaters. What have we learned from the movie? If you're failin' your history course but happen to have access to a time machine, bring the history to the classroom! If that happened in real life, would the teacher give them an automatic A, or say, "Yeah, that's pretty amazing ya brought Abe Lincoln here... but you still gotta pass the test."

The Nerd: I finally found Rembrandt. And for one dialogue box, ya have to hit B instead of A, again changing the rules around. Ya have to choose which item to give him. There's only one correct choice. Let's say I give him the skull. That's the wrong one, so I have to start over. The correct item is supposed to be something that would belong to this historical figure, and here's where the game could have been somewhat educational... but instead, it's a joke! For example, for Julius Caesar, you're supposed to give him salad dressing, hur hur hur! For Thomas Edison, you're supposed to give him a compact disc. Yeah. Let's not change history, by the way. For Cleopatra, a credit card. For Elvis, a gravestone. Here ya go, Elvis! Here's your fuckin' gravestone! You're gonna die! For King Arthur, the Holy Grail. Yeah. Entire stories have been written about finding the Holy Grail; you're gonna find it by casually slamming into a bush or a fence. Just a little side-quest. For Jesse James, an Uzi. You're gonna give Jesse James a fuckin' Uzi? You're gonna give a notorious outlaw a more contemporary weapon. Yeah, just help him out! Might as well give, I don't know, Vlad Tepes an atom bomb?!

The Nerd: Anyway, I give Rembrandt the Paint Roller, and he says "Let's party." That's exactly what he'd say. He also mentions that he'll pay for the call. "Of course, here's some coins for your phone booth time machine from the future."

(The Nerd steps into the phone booth)

The Nerd: And now we have to go through the damn time circuits again...

(Runs into a pink skull and runs out of coins)

The Nerd: My coins ran out! Didn't that motherfucker say he was gonna pay?

(Stage restarts)

The Nerd: Oh, great! I have to roam around this fuckin' stage AGAIN lookin' for coins?! I've had enough!

(The Nerd, while he drinks his beer, approaches his NES game shelf)

The Nerd: (sighs) I'm losin' my faith in the NES library. Was there any quality control here? You know, that-that-um, Seal of Quality, did that mean anything? Did anyone look at these games before they dumped them in the back of every KB's and Toys "Я" Us?! How many of these games are worthless?! All the LJN ones, I can tell ya that! But there are good games here, there are! Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man, but then, A BIG FUCKIN' SHITSTORM HIT IT! A SHITSTORM OF HORRIBLE GAMES! And at the middle of it all, a rainbow! A rainbow of shit! LJN!

The Nerd: And Bill & Ted... might even be... THE WORST LJN GAME ON THE NES! It doesn't just have some "flaws"; there's no good and bad, this game is all bad. Like, I'm impressed! How did they do it? How did they make it so bad? "Bad" doesn't even describe it! It's disgraceful! It's putrid! In fact, I looked up the word "putrid" in the dictionary. There's no definition. It's just a picture of Bill & Ted on NES!

The Nerd: Curse this fuckin' game! Curse the plastic that encases this dung heap! Literally! It's a plastic shell filled with shit! IT'S FUCKIN' SHIT! It's... it's ass! It's garbage! And that's it, good night.

(Leaves for two seconds and then returns.)

The Nerd: Oh wait, I forgot to mention, as a matter of fact, it also sucks monkey fuck and it's a worthless pitiful pile of snot-dripping, pus-bubbling, wet steaming mountain of buffalo butt dump, and mere descriptions can't even describe the inane lack of common sense that even a child would possess when making a game with chalk on a sidewalk. I can't even come up with a description that's foul and disgusting enough to even come close to this rancid abomination. Can't describe it. I'm done. For real this time.

(Walks out, only to return seven seconds later.)



The Nerd: Did anyone look at these games before they dumped them in the back of every KB's and Toys "Я" Us? Did that Seal of Quality mean anything?! (stutters, then groans and whispers) So cooperating, this game's worthless.

The Nerd: And Bill & Ted... might even be... the worst LJN game on NES. (Inhales, then doesn't do anything)

The Nerd: Mere descriptions can't even sum up how fu-- Ah, I fucked it up.

The Nerd: Oh wait, did I also mention? It sucks monkey fuck and it's a worthless pitiful pile of snot dripping wet pus... (blows raspberry and groans)

The Nerd: Pitiful pile of snot dripping wet pus-bubbling... (blubbers)


(Outtake, from the DVD version)

The Nerd: Hey. (holds up a cassette) Wanna listen to some tunes?

(The Nerd throws a cassette as the song plays "Moonwalk" by Bill Holloman from Fresh Music Library.)