Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

Darkman (NES) - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)

The Nerd: I'm depressed. Haven't gone anywhere. Been stuck in my basement for so long. Haven't had any Natural Light in a long time. But that's gonna change. I'm gonna have some Natural Light. (holds up a box of Natural Light beer and takes a can out) Yeah, that's what I need. You didn't think I meant sunlight, did ya? Nah - I don't need that shit. In fact, let's turn out all the lights in here. Here we go. Let's turn that off and, this one right here. Yeah, there we go! That's the way I like it! I like it dark, man! (holds up a boxed copy of the NES game Darkman) Darkman. Yeah, okay. (puts down the box) I'm sorry. No more lame jokes. (holds up a fake NES game titled Lame Jokes)

(Angry Video Game Nerd theme song plays, followed by the title card of the episode.)

The Nerd: Darkman's one of those games based on a movie. A movie that tried to be Batman. Came out the year after. You know, you heard of Batman? Well, this is Darkman. Even had Danny Elfman as the composer. They just switched out Tim Burton for Sam Raimi, and then switched out Batman for a scientist who creates lifelike masks out of synthetic faces, gets his own face burned by mobsters, and then starts wearing the masks as disguises to impersonate and hunt down the bad guys, meanwhile going mentally unstable - Okay, it's nothing like Batman.

The Nerd: Darkman is like a combination of all the classic horror villains. With his disfigured face, dark hat and trench coat, he looks just like Vincent Price's character in House of Wax. When he wears bandages, he looks like The Invisible Man, and he also has aspects of Phantom of the Opera. And when he's in his lair surrounded by lab equipment, he could be any mad scientist of the '30s. So basically, it's like if you combined a classic monster with a superhero, but in the style of Evil Dead 2. It's the transition between Raimi going from horror to Spider-Man. This is the missing link. Add in some bizarre humor, amazing practical effects, and Liam Neeson screaming at a carnival employee over a pink elephant!

Dr. Peyton Westlake: Now, the pink elephant, if you please.

Carnival Employee: No way. (pokes Liam's chest) Scram.

(Peyton grows enraged and breaks the employee's finger as he, Peyton and his girlfriend Julie all scream in unison. Peyton then throws the employee aside and grabs the pink elephant and shoves it against his girlfriend.)

Dr. Peyton Westlake: Take it now! Take it!

Julie Hastings: No! Please!

Dr. Peyton Westlake: Take the fucking elephant!

The Nerd: Okay, this is one weird movie, but it's awesome. The movie came out in 1990, but the game came out in '91, which was, 30 years ago. Wow. Do I feel old? Well - check this out. My Simon's Quest review... is now as old as the actual game was when I originally reviewed it. So, 17 years on one side, and 17 years on the other. Look, some dorks online even did the math. There's other dates listed too, because Simon's Quest had a Japanese and US release, and the original Nerd episodes were on VHS tape, not YouTube. But all this is way too nerdy, even for me. Regardless, I'm old as shit, and so is this shitty game!

The Nerd: So how does Darkman stack up on the NES? Well, let's pop this fucker in, and find out.

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

'The Nerd: Well, the first thing I wanna say about this game... is actually a positive. It's got a kickin soundtrack. It thumps that bass so hard! It sounds awesome!

(Cut to an excerpt of the title music from the game.)

The Nerd: Also, Darkman looks great on the main screen, and the selection pointer is his burned and bandaged hand. Nice touch. And it's one of the few movie-based games on the NES to do a good job following the story! So far, this game's not too ba- and now, we're fucked.

(The Nerd dies numerous times whilst playing Darkman.)

The Nerd: Fuck?! Um... fuck? Fuck. FUCK! FUUUUCK! Ooooh, FUCK! MMGH! (gives middle finger)

(The Nerd is then crushed by a quick-moving metallic pillar, losing a life once again and resulting in a Game Over.)

The Nerd: FUUUUUUUCK! Oh, you gotta be FUCKIN' KIDDING ME! What am I doing wrong? The controls feel like hell inside an ASS! Seriously! I don't feel like any death I get is justified! If I were playin' like shit, that'd be fine, but when the game just refuses to do what the controller tells it to, that's goddamn dingo dingleberries! That's shit caked in the ass fur of an Australian predator dog!

The Nerd: It's BEYOND frustrating because you never know how to approach a new situation. The game changes the rules on the fly and gives you barely a second to react. So you almost always end up killing yourself in some stupid fuckin' way! I mean - should I run and jump, or should I jump from a standstill? And - how do I keep falling through the platforms?! Punching and kicking enemies is a crapshoot. I try to run up behind 'em and beat them down, but my punches don't always land! It looks like I'm constantly giving the enemies a thumbs-up! "Hey! Good job, dude!" Sometimes I win, sometimes I don't, with no clear rhyme or reason.

The Nerd: So I watched the demo, and it's like the demo from The Wizard of Oz on Super Nintendo, where not even the game can beat one of its own levels. Pathetic. There does seem to be a lot of variety in the gameplay, at least: it has platforming, weird swinging levels, elevator mazes, and you get to play as different characters with different abilities. But sadly, a variety of shit is still just a bunch of different turds hanging out together.

The Nerd: Kinda like taking a dump the morning after you just binged at a truck stop buffet. Yeah, there was variety, but you spent most of day on a toilet and left your ass itchy and raw!

(The Nerd takes a swig of Natural Light.)

The Nerd: You know, I'm getting shitty game flashbacks. I feel like I've played this game before... but I haven't. Oh, I know! RoboCop 2 on the NES! It reminds me of that! I wonder what it could be? Maybe it's the similar sprite designs... or the almost identical level design between the games... or maybe it's the sickening color palette that looks like a festering mass of boogers and barf! Or maybe the real reason is because the same five fuckers developed both games. Yeah, no joke, the same five people made RoboCop 2 and Darkman on NES! I don't know if I should find that impressive or just..

(Suddenly, RoboNerd enters the room.)

RoboNerd: I'm learning to live with a lot of things. Like shitty games.

The Nerd: What the hell is this sh- what th- what is happening right now?!

RoboNerd: I heard you were playing Darkman for the NES, developed by the same people as RoboCop 2, so I am the RoboDarkmanNerd. Get it?

The Nerd: No, this is just a REGULAR REVIEW, there's no SKITS or anything, so, GET BACK IN THAT FUCKING CORNER, AND FUCK THE FUCK OFF! Ya fuck!

(RoboNerd promptly leaves.)

The Nerd: Well, that was unnecessary, yet oddly relevant, because Darkman basically ripped off RoboCop for most of the movie. I said it was based on Batman, but I'm wrong! Darkman is more like RoboCop than anything else. No wonder the same game designers worked both shitty games! When you get a game over, Darkman cries like a baby and then types out the high scores with his one weird finger. Darkman really needs to get a copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

The levels are pretty short but the finicky controls and terrible physics help pad them out with cheap deaths. You can balance on tightropes, which is actually kind of a neat mechanic. You have to tap A and B to keep your balance, but watch out for the big red bubbles, because they'll kill you in one hit. Yeah, just like in the movie, Darkman's one weakness was red sewer bubbles... Nah, that wasn't a thing.

You reach the end, do a cool cape swoop, and then it's on to the next one. Level 2 is this maze of elevators. The first time you play this, I guarantee you will die. Wow, this is exactly what I wanted to play. Isn't this fuckin' fun?! I mean, who fuckin' wants this? This is a beginner's trap. The only way to get through it is to do it over and over again until you learn exactly which direction you need to push. If you did this on your first try, it's blind luck. I mean, this shouldn't be part of the game! They might as well just throw in a shitty slide puzzle!

Basically, the elevator moves and you have to guide it down the right path. And yeah, I know there's big arrows telling you where to go, but it happens too fast. Sadly, this is just a warm up, because the REAL elevators come later in the game and get WAY, WAY faster.

Between levels, you have these Hogan's Alley style shooter stages, where you need to take a picture of a certain henchman to make a mask of them. The first mask you have to get is Paulie. All these people are shooting at you which can be pretty intimidating, but all you have to do is not point your camera at them and they can't hit you.

Just like in real life. I don't know if you knew this, but if you ever happen to be in a situation where an entire town of people are trying to shoot at you, just whip out a camera, and point it away from them, and they'll all miss you. And this time I'm kidding!

So after you take the photos, you play the next level as Paulie, who looks like Uncle Fester in a pink sweater swinging around a fuckin' caveman club. And this is one of the parts in the game that's just shits for the birds. First off, you're fighting your way through Central Park. Never mind the fact that it's riddled with bottomless pits, soldiers, buzz saws and murderous pink fish that kill you in one hit - my real question is why the fuck are we in Central Park? dark man takes place in los angeles and was filmed on location there, plus Canada. did dark man get on a fucking plane and fly across the country just for this? this is like the background in violence fight! why are there so many video games that confuse new york for la?! whatever.

this level's more of the same platforming. paulie's slow and his club fuckin' sucks. i get my ass kicked by these central park soldiers all the time. the next part is an infuriating climb to the top of the level. i'm constantly whiffing jumps or just getting my shit kicked in. eventually, you square off with paulie. he just walks toward you while you beat the ever loving shit out of him with a club. that's it! it's possibly one of the most pitiful boss fights i've ever seen in a game.

also in the movie, dark man didn't bludgeon paulie to death in central park. paulie was thrown out the window of his apartment. the game takes certain liberties once in a while, like putting the climactic helicopter chase scene in the middle of the game.

it's the best action scene in the movie: dark man's hanging from the helicopter, the grenade launcher shooting at him, everything's exploding... but in the game, however, dark man swings through traffic avoiding trucks and buses; also there must be a motorcycle rally going on because you pass a bunch of bikers. you can collect coins and stuff, but i find it easier to just stay up at the top. nothing really hits you there except for these stupid fuckin' pigeons. i'm pretty sure that if a bird hit darkman while swinging through the streets at high speeds from a helicopter, it'd get obliterated, but it flies through you like nothing.

i should also mention, after the first photo shoot level, you never play as regular Darkman again. Instead, you just play as different henchmen now. first you're paulie, now you're skip. he's the one with the prosthetic leg machine gun. yeah, seriously, if you haven't seen the movie, watch it. Skip hops around constantly and has his leg gun. wow it's great to have this leg gun, because now you have a long range attack! Oh, but every time you fire it, you get sent back, and usually over a fucking cliff. his levels all take place at a carnival filled with evil clowns throwing bowling balls and pies. also, whatever you do, don't touch the fucking clowns.

let me ask you something. have you ever touched a clown in real life? i m- i mean, seriously, have you ever touched a clown in real life? of course you haven't. because you'd be dead. once at a birthday party, a friend of mine, he ran up to the clown after the magic act, went to hug him... he died, right on the spot. (wheeze)

another thing in this level that makes me want to give myself a tabasco enema are these platforms that reverse your controls. the first time i landed on it, i hopped right off the cliff, and died without knowing what the hell happened. also, this is the level where i realized you have limited continues, because the game booted my ass back to the start and wouldn't let me select continue anymore. so i had to run through the warehouse again, take the pictures, bludgeon paulie in central park, and swing from the helicopter, all over again. just to die in the same exact motherfuckin' way, on my last life, again!

yeah, each time, i restart i die on the very next obstacle so it's always one step forward and like 10 steps back into a pile of dog shit

thankfully if you enter DERMI into the hidden password screen it lets you select your level i'm pretty sure it's supposed to be dermis you know like skin but here it's DERMI. yeah i don't know.

eventually i got used to each level and got through the fun house and killed skip, which is kind of weird because skip is the only bad guy to have his death scene cut from the final movie. if it was anything like in the game, i can see why it was cut.

it's on to the next henchman, smiley. smiley is probably the best because he actually has a decent jump. you run around fighting ninjas and then you kick the shit out of the real smiley, and then you're on to another helicopter level.

so now we're finally at the end and this is where dark man wears the face of durant who's the main villain. oh wait, durant isn't the main bad guy it's this corporate asshole named strack? it's like robocop where the main henchman is more well-known than the actual final bad guy. in fact, durant dies in a helicopter crash in the movie, but somehow returns for the sequel, dark man 2 the return of durant. that would be like robocop 2 the return of clarence botticker. doesn't make any sense!

construction workers throw hammers, but luckily, you have a gun that shoots. well, yeah, it shoots these! oh, and there's also two elevator mazes. two! and they're definitely the worst ones so far! they have branching paths that move so fast that i can't even begin to get a rhythm down. i replayed each one about 10 times before i was able to figure out the right way. made me want to finger fuck a garbage disposal.

by the time i hit the final level, i shared liam neeson's deep-seated hatred for durant, and needed to end his life to move on with mine. durant then served me my ass on a platter again and a-fuckin'-gain. getting to durant sucks as it is but when you fight him one wrong move and durant gently nudges you to your death.

Fuck you durant - you're gonna die! you took my face! you took my life! yeah! Fuck yeah! durant's dead.

the movie ends with a cameo of Bruce Campbell totally unexpected kind of an in-joke but man it leaves off on a great note. they could have had that in the game just an 8-bit face of Bruce smirking at you, but no. instead you get a shitty text screen. "well played" well played? if you say so. i died only a million times. if you say falling through platforms, dying on elevator mazes, dropping to my doom like i have lead weights up my ass, and having button-mashing thumbs-up battles was all smooth and well played, then, yeah, um, sure. "he must forever walk in the shadow of the dark man" as if his shadow is any darker because he's dark man, or maybe it's a reference to the shadow the detective character from the 30s which Sam Raimi supposedly wanted to make a film of but couldn't get the rights so maybe it'll be more accurate to say dark man walks in the shadow of the shadow or it literally means to walk in his own shadow you ever tried to walk in your own shadow it's not easy. Fucker keeps moving all the time, and to do it forever? you know, chasing the sun around the earth avoiding clouds and never sleeping or eating? I'd rather try that than play anymore this fuckin' piece of shit! Fuck this game, watch it go!

(The Nerd takes the game out of the Nintoaster and puts it back in the box. He throws a blue ball at the box and knocks it over.)

The Nerd: Yeah!


The Nerd: The pink elephant, please.

Darkman: I'm sorry, buddy. It don't count unless you're behind the line.

The Nerd: But I was behind the line.

Darkman: Not hardly.

The Nerd: I was sitting right here on the couch. Now, the pink elephant, if you please.

Darkman: No way.

(The Nerd scowls as lightning strikes. The kid on the LaserScope box and Mario both laugh.)

The Nerd: I want... the pink elephant... for the fans watching.

Darkman: Why don't you just uh... get lost... pal?

(The Nerd gets even angrier. Yoshi makes his iconic sound, and a boxed Freddy Krueger figurine cackles.)

The Nerd: Elephant!

(The pink elephant trumpets.)

The Nerd: Quickly!

Darkman: Didn't you hear me? Weirdo?

(The Darkman box gets up and flies over to the Nerd.)

Darkman: (hits the Nerd's chest) Scram!

(The Nerd grows enraged and breaks the Darkman box as it, the Nerd and Princess Peach all scream in unison. The Nerd then throws the box at the shelf of games and grabs the pink elephant.)

The Nerd: Take the elephant. Take the FUCKIN' elephant! TAKE the FUCKIN' ELEPHANT! (drops the elephant) Forgive me!

(The Nerd runs out of his room and the credits roll.)