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Title card for episode.


Dick Tracy - NES - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 56

(The Angry Video Game Nerd theme plays)

The Nerd: Remember when everybody was talkin' about Dick Tracy? 1990, the Warren Beatty film comes out. Everybody went from "Who's Dick Tracy?" to "WHOA! Dick Tracy's the SHIT!" It was like a contemporary film noir; stylish with colorful comic book-style visuals and an all-star cast: Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, fuckin' Madonna... But, it was kinda over the top, and silly.

Big Boy: You dumb dick!

The Nerd: It was all right, but its popularity was short-lived. I think it was just an excuse for the kids to say "Dick".

Itchy: Well, I guess that's the end of Dick! (snickers) Thirty seconds, no more Dick! Thirty seconds, no more Dick!

Big Boy: Dumb dick.

The Nerd: You know, Dick Van Dyke is in this movie. (Turns to the camera) You think that's enough Dicks? (holds up the "Dick Tracy" VHS to the camera) Like, seriously, when this movie came out, I never said "Dick" so much before in my life. Every kid on the block was runnin' around sayin' "Dick Tracy", "Dick Tracy", "Dick this" and "Dick that"! My dad said, "Can't you just call him Richard Tracy?" And I was like, "You know... how is 'Dick' short for 'Richard'?" That doesn't even make any sense. It's like Bill and William, or Jim and James. But at least Bill and Will rhyme, and Jim and James both start with a J. But Richard and Dick? Like, nobody ever says "Dickard"!

The Nerd: But anyway, I'm gonna tell you all about the NES game (shows cartridge to the camera), and boy, is it an experience. Now, I'm just gonna give you my impression of it, and I'm not really gonna go all out and, like, dress up like Dickard or anythin' like that. I already did that for Halloween when I was 10.

10-Year-Old Nerd (dressed as Dick Tracy): I got a rock! (laughs at the irony)

The Nerd: Yeah, I got a rock, just like Charlie Brown. That sums the whole thing up. I was laughing back then, but I'm not fuckin' laughing now. I was so obsessed with Dickard that when the game came out I was like, "Oh boy, I gotta play that! Dick Tracy on Nintendo?! That's gotta be a treat! There's no way I could let that pass!" But it was just a big disappointment, like a rock landing in my trick-or-treat bag.

The Nerd: It starts in the police department where you can either hit the streets, look at your notepad, or look at your mugshots. If you look at your notepad, it gives you your first clue right off the bat. There's a fake $20 bill found near Steve the Tramp's flophouse. So in order to solve the case, you have to find the other four clues.

The Nerd: If you go to your mugshots, it'll tell you where you can find all your suspects. Since our only lead is Steve the Tramp, we're gonna go to him. 5th & B is what it tells us. So we hit the streets and we start drivin' to 5th & B.

The Nerd: Our first problem is tryin' to steer the car. It automatically puts you in the right lane with no freedom to move around. When you come to an intersection, you're never sure which direction to push on your D-Pad. The car sorta, like, snaps onto the other roads. It's the absolute worst overhead driving control I've ever seen in a game. Yeah, worse than Roger Rabbit.

The Nerd: Even worse, you take damage when you crash into other cars, and there's snipers on all the roofs. Just little tiny vague shapes that shoot at you constantly, and by "constantly", I mean all the fuckin' time. There's nothing you can do to avoid them. You can shoot straight ahead, but you can't shoot at an angle. There's no way to point the car at the snipers.

The Nerd: There's no enemies on the road, so your firepower has no purpose whatsoever. The navigation is also dreadful. You'd assume that you count the street numbers, then travel down to 5th Street 'til you hit B, but that only gives you the vague whereabouts. Every building looks the same and it's hard to tell where you're supposed to go. And you'd think there'd be a map screen? Of course not. Anyway, what's this all about? A fake $20 bill? Couldn't they have come up with anything better than that?

The Nerd: So you get to 5th & B, you go inside, and then the game goes to a side-scroller mode. (zooms in on Dick Tracy) What the hell's wrong with Dickard?! He looks like he's got a bad suntan. You can use your gun, but it's more amusing to punch the living shit out of people. (Punches a few bad guys, and they bounce off the walls) Bam! Bam! BAAAM! Oh, look at him go, down the steps. He's still goin'. What the hell? Were they really trying to be serious with this?

The Nerd: So you get to Steve the Tramp, whose on-screen character looks nothing like his mugshot. You have the option to interrogate him or arrest him. If you choose to arrest him, you just get scolded by your superior officer and get sent back to the station. But if you interrogate him, he'll give you some information, which basically tells you to go to the 9th & F Pier. But once you leave that screen, you'd better remember 9th & F because you're not gonna be told again, and Dickard doesn't write it in the notepad. What kind of detective is that?! Stupid banana raincoat-wearin' Dick.

The Nerd: So, you go to 9th & F, where you encounter more bad guys. But now your life is starting to diminish. (Zooms in on the health meter, which shows a couple of stars.) And to make matters worse, you're not allowed to shoot unarmed men. If you shoot somebody who doesn't have a gun, you lose half a star. You switch between the gun and the fists by pushing Select, and you have to keep doing it constantly. There's times where you're tryin' to shoot someone, when all of a sudden an unarmed man drops down in your line of fire. That's bullshit! So, it's supposed to be realistic, by having a good cop that won't shoot unarmed men. That's fine, but then how about when you punch people, they bounce off the damn walls?! That's pretty realistic.

The Nerd: OK, there's the clue, the first piece of evidence we need. (Dick climbs up a rope) What the hell's he doin'?! Get off the rope! Why the hell would you want to climb on the rope? (Dick picks up the clue) So then he collects the clue by punching at it. It tells you, "Footprints in puddle of spilled green ink". Footprints on top of a crate hanging from a rope? Sure, whatever.

The Nerd: After you leave the pier, you chase a car down. Probably the only time the bullets come in handy. And then you interrogate Shoulders, I think, and he tells you where your next clue is, 4th & D. Again, Dick doesn't write it down. He just writes down the clue, which tells us nothing. Shouldn't the clue be in a Ziploc bag or somethin', and where I'm supposed to go be written on the notepad? Besides, you can't even see the notepad unless you go back to the station. During the gameplay, there's no status screen where you bring up the clues or anything. Why wouldn't a detective bring the notepad with him? Dumb Dick.

The Nerd: When I play a game, all I want is the NES, the TV, and the controller. Also, preferably a couch to sit on. But what I don't want, is a pen and paper to write down fuckin' clues! (gets killed by a sniper) Ugh, the fuckin' snipers got me...

(the Game Over screen appears)

The Nerd: "Game Over"? (zooms in on "GAME OVER") Are you kidding me? Just one life?! That's it?! And no continues, either?! (opens the notepad) No, look at this! Where's my clue?! I have to get it again?! That's insane! At least you don't have to talk to Steve the Tramp again, or Shoulders. As long as you remember where to find the clues, you can skip the interrogation parts.

The Nerd: So, I get the fuckin' clue, again, and then I'm off to get the next one. By the time I get to the second building, my life is already halfway drained from the snipers. Then I go through another barrage of bad guys shooting at me from every conceivable angle.

The Nerd: I get to the damn clue, I try jumping at it, but that doesn't work, so I go back on to the ledge. Can I jump on the ladder? Nope. Well, I'm gonna keep goin' back until I find what I am allowed to jump on. You can never tell what's a platform and what's just part of the background.

The Nerd: Alright, so I'm workin' my way back to the right, jumpin' on the crate and the platforms, here we go-- Oh, what the fuck? (groans) Good Lord, now I've gotta go back again. Here we go, let's try again. OK, how does this work? If you jump, you just end up on the platform. And you can't jump straight down, that's ridiculous. So, my only way is to just slightly-- (grunts angrily) Your mother. Fuck. Fuck! FUCK! FUUUUUUCK! COULD THEY HAVE PUT THIS CLUE IN A MORE UNREACHABLE SPOT?! (Dick manages to collect the clue) What?! I got it? I've been jumping at it for 5 minutes and then finally I get it? Like, what did I do different?

The Nerd: Anyway, this time the clue itself tells us where to go next, 1st & H. So I'm on my way over- (gets killed by a sniper) OH, NO-HO-HO! I GOTTA DO THAT SHIT ALL OVER AGAIN?! (close up on "GAME OVER" from the Game Over screen) Couldn't they give ya any extra lives?! There's no way you can be expected to find four clues without dying; that's impossible! So, I'm gonna assume I don't need to collect all the clues, I just need to figure out which crook I need to arrest.

The Nerd: So, after skipping most of the clues, I was able to find one clue in particular which pretty much says that Numbers is the culprit. So, I look at my mugshots and find that Numbers is hiding out at 8th & J. So I go straight over to 8th & J, and it's swarming with bad guys. Even going into this place with full health, it's hard to survive to the end. It's hard as Dick.

The Nerd: So I get to Numbers, I arrest him and then... I need more evidence? (footage of the game with Dick Tracy's superior officer scolding him by saying, "You need more evidence before you can arrest someone, Tracy! What's wrong with you?" The Nerd is just appalled by this, and this is apparently James' true anger.)

​The Nerd: (voice cracks) You gotta be fuckin' kidding me! That's ridiculous! Like, what?! Like, you have to travel all around and go to five different buildings, four to get the clues, and then the last one to arrest Numbers! ALL WITHOUT DYING ONCE, THAT'S WHORESHIT! ​And I didn't say "horseshit," I said "WHOREshit". LIKE A WHORE TAKIN' A SHIT!

(drinks some Rolling Rock)

The Nerd: You know, remember when you were a little kid, it was fuckin' Friday, you did all your homework, and you rented a game from the local video store. And this was it, this was your whole weekend, this one game! You didn't have anything else to do! So you had no choice, but to keep playing THAT FIRST PART OF THE GAME OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! AND IT'S LIKE, "YOU KNOW WHAT?!" IT'S LIKE, "I WANNA SEE THE REST OF THE GAME! YOU CAN'T JUST LET THE GAME FUCKIN' WIN LIKE THAT!" So, THAT'S why you don't give up.

(the Nerd takes a drink of Rolling Rock and goes back to the game angrily)

The Nerd: I also noticed on the startup screen that there's a continue option where you can put in a code. So apparently the whole thing with the fake money is only the first case. If you can somehow make it through, then you might actually get a code. Alright, gettin' the clues, gettin' the clues- (gets killed by a sniper) FUCK! You know, with some practice, I can get through the fighting parts without getting hit once. BUT THE PROBLEM, IS THE FUCKIN' SNIPERS! I CAN'T STOP GETTING HIT! Driving fast doesn't help, so I'm really gonna take my time here...

(Dick gets killed)

The Nerd: FUUUCK! You can't even SNEAK UP ON 'EM, they'll just shoot ya as soon as you come close! I found out that the only way to kill 'em is to get out of the car and shoot 'em, but they're such small targets, and you're never gonna shoot 'em before they shoot you. You have to stop the car, get out, you end up wasting more time and just delaying the inevitable: they're gonna shoot you. And why does Dick Tracy take damage from the police car anyway?! Couldn't it have its own energy meter?

The Nerd (YouTube re-release): Some people have asked: "Why not just abandon the car and go around on foot? That way, you can shoot the snipers faster." Well, guess what? You can't. In order to move to the next screen, you gotta be in the car. 

The Nerd: YOU KNOW WHAT ALSO SUCKS?! If by accident, you go back into one of the same buildings you've already been in, you can't just go back out. You gotta go through the whole building again, just to get to the exit. WHAT A CRUEL PUNISHMENT FOR A SIMPLE MISTAKE! This game offers no forgiveness!

The Nerd: Sometimes you can't even get into the building unless you park the car the right way, like if you block the entrance, you try to go in the building, but you end up just going back into the car. Man, could this game get any shittier?

The Nerd: Well, I tried really hard and I've concluded that it's completely impossible to go to all 5 places without dying. I planned the shortest route from each building, since it doesn't matter what order you do, as long as you arrest Numbers after you've gotten the 4 remaining clues.

The Nerd: So, my main idea was to spend as little time on the road as possible. But even that, you'll NEVER survive the snipers. It begs the question: "Are there any health power-ups?" And to tell you the truth, I've heard that there is. But I haven't found any, not one. I actually found a heart (yeah, a fuckin' heart), but it did absolutely nothing at all. Yeah, a fuckin' heart that did fuckin' nothing.

The Nerd: So, where the power-ups are, I have no idea, but they're definitely not in any of the main buildings. They're probably in some other obscure building that you wouldn't think to go in anyway, and the roof is probably covered with snipers, which defeats the whole purpose of going there.

The Nerd (YouTube re-release): I have another update: I've been informed countless times that the hearts are the power-ups. So, if the hearts are the power-ups, why don't they do anything? Well, here's how it works. You have to select the fuckin' thing. It's called a First Aid Kit. And then you use it by pressing B, right? No, it still doesn't do jack-shit. You have to hold down Select and press B at the same time. But that doesn't work either, because as soon as you press Select, it goes to the next item.

The Nerd (YouTube re-release): The trick is that you have to select the item that comes before the First Aid, and then hold down Select, so now the First Aid should be selected, while you're still holding Select. Then you press B, and there you go. (Dick Tracy's health bar fully fills up) How the fuck was I supposed to know that?! Why couldn't you just push B like all the other items? What kind of stupid fuckin' dick-brained idiot programmed it like that?!

The Nerd: THIS IS THE REASON WHY GAME GENIE WAS INVENTED. I'VE BEEN PLAYIN' THIS GAME FOR ALMOST 20 FUCKIN' YEARS, AND I STILL CAN'T GET PAST THE FIRST STAGE! So, why am I still trying? I don't know, I'm just a sucker for Dick Tracy. ("Sucker for Dick"? That didn't sound good.)

The Nerd: I'm gonna tell you right now, that anybody would have given up on this game had it not been for the name. They made one of the most frustrating games of all time, they took the name "Dick Tracy", and slapped it on the cover just like slappin' their own greedy dick! Well, if this game is dick, then we were the balls.

The Nerd: And you know, I really wanted to give it a chance, because I KINDA LIKED the idea of finding clues, and figuring out where to go, like it made you think like a detective. But, ONE guy?! No continues?! Like, seriously, give me a reason why there's no continues.


(he guzzles down some more Rolling Rock, screams into his pillow, and then goes crazy maniacally.)


(The Nerd finishes his Rolling Rock, grabs a drill and drills through the game which the cartridge spins uncontrollably, then the screen goes black as the Nerd smashes it with a hammer.)