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The Immortal (NES) - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)

(The episode opens on magazine pages about The Immortal, along with the box and manual pages. Pan up, Nerd's hand slides the cartridge out of the shelf. He walks over to the floor, lifts the carpet to reveal a secret door, and opens it.)

(Title card, accompanied by blood splatter and malicious laughter.)

(A dark dungeon, decorated with skulls and dangling chains. The Nerd appears, wrapped in a cloak and holding the cartridge.)

The Nerd: Anguish. Lament. Oh, how hath ye been cursed if thou hath playeth a game as archaically, diarrhetically shit-holic as The Immortal on thy NES. Whence I came my basement chamber above, where I desprayed such demeaning, failed electronic attempts at merriment, but when they're as loathly as thee, it is but I who has thus sworn to suffer as I descend deeper into the catacombs, a place where true shit goes to lie face-first down in smoldering decay; a place where sorrows exceed the souls, and vanquished beings meet their fate. Medieval torture, man! The headcrusher, the rack, the pendulum, the Iron Maiden - but none as dreadful as this. Behold.

(The game's demo is already playing on a small monitor. The Nerd walks over to it.)

The Nerd: Reset, and here we go, the plight begins. Feast your eyes on this accursed nonsense. So as soon as the game begins, it gives you a warning: "It might be a good idea to move." Hmm-- and it kills you! Right away, they pull something like that! At least they warned you, but it might as well warn you the moment you put this game in, you're doomed. With life. So let's try it again. Into the next room...a-and look at that! They put that right there?! Right outside the door?! Awww, one-hit death traps. That's real classy. Let's reset. Okay, here we go. Ugh, so this isometric angle definitely makes things a little difficult. When you're just moving the D-pad all over the place, it kind of just-- you know, it's just a guessing game of which direction to push.

And here we go, you fight the goblin, and it goes into this battle mode, and to tell you the truth, in the dark ages of 8-bit entertainment, these graphics are a marvellous sight to laud, but if thine playeth oneself, you shall hear upon cry the tears of despair and agony as thou realize thou caught in an eternal button-masher. Yeah, that's all you do is just mash buttons, and the thing is, you have a fire attack. I mean, look at this, you can shoot fireballs, but that doesn't work against the goblins.

So you talk to this guy here, and, um...yada-yada, forgive my haste. The important thing to know: he gave me a key, and then I move on to the treasure chest, I use the key to open the treasure, and I get...20 gold pieces...a bag of bait...and a sack of bad-smelling spores. Hmm. Well, we all know what this game is a bad-smelling sack of. So into the next you can see, going diagonal is kinda tough. I'm gonna use the bait on this goblin. Let's just see what happens here. Do it? Yes, of course.

(the bait summons a worm that eats the character)

The Nerd: *gasp* It kills you! Look, even the items kill you! Woooww! Now that is a cheap shot. Alright, let's try again. Into the next the fireballs...uuuhhh, I mean, not-- the arrows...and-- whatever it throws your way-- this game throws everything but the kitchen sink-- a-a-and look! Invisible pits?! Confound it all! Ooohhhh, I beg of you, have pity! Ooohhhh, wow, that's a good one. That's classic. Oohhh boy - and the thing about this game is the familiar premise of controlling a wizard navigating through a labyrinth of dungeon cells brings to mind similar games like Gauntlet, or the obvious Zelda...but those examples only conjure up thy false jolly hopes. As thou seen in my lair above, the artwork in the Nintendo Power magazine and in the instruction manual look divine...but nay, it is but filth. The game is naught of all that is goodly, plauged with visuals cursing the eyes of ye of ill mortals to witness. The shades and hues hereupon are like the bile of a dying bear who consumed only skunks, smeared with the milk of a witch's tits, fused with garlic...and drew a dump.

Yeah, a-and th-- there's another goblin! Ugh, so repititive, you just mash those buttons. Like a disorderly arfarfanarf. I'd rather be bescumbered with dysentery. That's worse than diarrhea because it includes blood and mucus. I'm sorry, that's disgusting, but so is this!

(A goblin appears behind the Nerd and roars. The Nerd cries out in shock, runs to grab a cane from the floor and begins fighting the goblin - the fight looks like the ones in the game. The swings are reptitive and don't even connect.)

The Nerd: Curse you, foul, abhorrent beast!

(The Nerd defeats the goblin, who drops to the floor.)

The Nerd: Eureka! A key!

(He grabs the key from behind the goblin and discovers a door.)

The Nerd: Yonder I shall go, as I proceed in my journey to further experience the tragedy of The Immortal. Why must it be I, cursed by the gaming gods, to endure this vomitorium?

(He begins unlocking the door.)

The Nerd: Yeah, "vomitorium". Yeah, that-- that's an interesting word. It means-- or it was thought to have meant a place where the ancient Romans would all vomit during feasts to make room for more food, but that's just a misconception. It actually means a large colosseum passage that large crowds can exit through rapidly...such as large crowds of vomit particles rapidly exiting a mouth, gaping in misery over a foul, wretched video game! Anyway, The Immortal. Let's go.

(He walks through the door and discovers a group of skeletons.)

The Nerd: Death. It is all death here. It began as a gamer's revelry. Those making merry, to open the game on birthdays and holidays with the flames of excitement and adventure in their eyes, but as the agonizing torment set in, as the game mercilessly chastised and dominated them, the instinct to survive faded as the flames in their eyes diminished, and one by one, the revellers all dropped to their knees.

Challenge is one thing, but in this game, every step can be deadly! Arrows, flames, giant worms, and there's bats that blend with the dark background. I mean, how can you avoid something which you cannot see? Trap doors are everywhere, which is a cheap shot, no question about it. I mean, can-- can I walk here, or will the floor swallow me? I mean, you'll never know. There's no strategy; no reward for skill. Thou must play it repeatedly to memorise where the pits are. These invisible pits are nothing but a cheap, mean-spirited beginner's trap meant to elicit false and ill-earned replay value.

And also, if you touch anything, you die. Step on the wrong floor tile, you die. *stammers* You search the same spot more than once, you die. You approach a ladder or try to climb down a hole from the wrong side, you die. You stand still for too long, you die. You see some tiny little pixel that might be something you can pick up - nay! Chances are it is but death! In other words, bullshit of the lowest standard. And as mentioned, even thine inventory kills you. When you can't even trust the items, what can you do? Your character is vulnerable to everything, and for a game called "The Immortal", it begs the question - who is The Immortal, because it's certainly not the main character.

At one point, in the very first level, you get an amulet, which has an incantation on it. You're given the chance to read it, but if you pick yes, you die. However, the amulet is required to beat the level, so don't read that! But I repeat: the item that is required to beat the level can also kill you! How could you make a game in the year of nineteen-hundred-and-ninety following a wealth of other games and ignore all that was done previously right?! What art thou thinking?! This was made by Electronic Arts? More like Electronic FAAAAAAARTS!

(The Nerd drops down to the floor and rests near a stone.)

The Nerd: Ugh, and th-- just-- oh, for...fucking Hell, this forsaken dungeon! And if you thought this torture couldn't get any worse, it does by enlightening you on how the game could have been better. It was originally made for PCs like the Apple IIGS, the Amiga, the Atari ST and Sega Genesis, and it's no surprise the Genesis version is better, but all of them had much cleaner graphics! And they're bright and they look more crisp, and plus, the other versions - especially the Genesis, had gore! Yeah! Fatalities - years before Mortal Kombat! Heads get sliced off, and - look at that - bodies get cut in half vertically, heads explode! I mean, this is-- this game had balls, but it was neutered on the NES! And wouldn't you think the NES - the flagship of all nostalgic video game consoles - would be home to an acceptable version of this? It was a good game! It was a good game, it even-- it even had gore! And...and I was just playing a bad version all along on the NES. Ugh...why...why?! Uuuuggh!

Ooohh, I-- I can't take it anymore! I thought I knew shit, but nothing could prepare me for this repulsive dung heap! It's a repetitive task, going through the same motions only to progress one inch closer to the goal. It taunts you! The game knows. It allows you to get one step slightly further. It's like running a hundred-meter dash, but with a bungee cord attached; as soon as you make it near the finish line, it yanks you back! It's a journey so far travelled, yet barely have you gone forward.

However, if you do make it to the end by some miracle, you have to face a dragon. That's right, it always ends with a dragon. So with this dragon, you're powerless to fight him; you can only use defensive maneuvers. So what you need to do here is dodge six of the fire breaths with six blink spells. Now, you only have six blink spells, so if you miss one, then you're done - you have to start over. And this dragon - sometimes it shoots the fire right away, other times it leans back and, like, fakes you out, so you have to memorise the pattern. And that's not all! There's a seventh breath where you have to use the fire protection spell - and again, it's all at a very specific time! If you miss it, over! And that's what sums up this game: just memorising patterns and knowing which items to use in which order - i-i-it's all cryptic trial of error! Just like Dragon's Lair.

Oohhhh...The Immortal will live on forever as a sadistic, demented electronic mechanism of human suffering. Oohhhh...some masochistic alchemist invented this concoction of death traps, awkward combat, stiff controls, items that kill you, constantly dying and starting over. It only leaves you with frustration, anger, sadness and crippling disappointment - emotions that belong nowhere near video games! And when the manual is more fun to read than playing the actual game, you know you're in trouble. I long for a time when I knew not what this game was. I long for the Big Rigs, the LJNs, the Fred Fucks of yesteryear! I rue the day I ever became trapped in The Immortal! A game where I've stared at the same room so long, the pixelated walls have become my eternal home! I RUE THE DAY I WAS BORN UPON THIS EARTH WHICH HAD SPAWNED SUCH PRIMORDIAL, PUTRID ENGINEERS CAPABLE OF CREATING SOMETHING SO APOCALYPTICALLY HORRID! Ha-- AH! AAAAAHHHH, never shall I touch a game like this again! I'd rather have a warlord shove a morningstar UP MY ASS!

(A light comes on from off screen)

The Nerd: Ah! The light! I must escape! This way.

(The Nerd walks away from the wall...and into a cave, where he comes face to face with a growling dragon. The dragon begins breathing fire on the Nerd, and the Nerd ducks to avoid.)

The Nerd (while being fired at): Oh! Oh, good lord! Ah! Begone, vile fiend-- ahh!

It's futile. I can't win. Smite me, you will. Incinerate me! Banish me to Hell if you wish! If Hell is the way out, then Hell it shall be!

(The Nerd falls to the dragon's fire. The dragon flows off screen.)