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Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (Gamecube) Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 132

(Day 11 of "The 12 Days of Shitsmas." The Nerd opens the 11th present and reveals "Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure" on GameCube.)

Universal Theme Park Adventure on GameCube. A game based on a theme park, that was based on movies by Universal Studios, the giant movie making machine that made some of the greatest films of all time. From the classic monster movies of the 30's and 40's to the Spielberg masterpieces like Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park. Over the years, Universal Studios has celebrated its movie legacy by slowly converting its Hollywood studio location into a big amusement park for the public and destroying film history. You know the opera house set from the classic Phantom of the Opera that stood on Stage 28 for 90 years? Destroyed. The oldest surviving movie set in history, gone overnight... to make way for a Harry Potter ride.

(NB. The Paris Opera House set actually survived, having undergone a preservation effort and placed into storage.)

But hey, Universal Theme Park was still a lot of fun. You know, in the Back to the Future DeLorean and then there's volcanoes and shit and then you're ridin' the bike with E.T. and then the... the truck comes and almost hit you and then you're on the waterfall and... then the T-Rex comes out and then... and then fuckin' Jaws is jumpin' out of the water and King Kong shakin' the tram and then there's earthquakes and then there's those other movies that you don't even know what the fuck they are, nobody cares! It was awesome!

By the 90's, this whole theme park idea was so huge, they opened up a new one in Florida. This is when Nintendo helped advertised it in the movie The Wizard and then in 2001, Nintendo started promoting it again with this game (the Nerd inserts the disk into the GameCube and turns the GameCube on) which I think sounds awesome. What a great idea to take all these movies and put them into one using the theme park as a way to tie them altogether and on a new advanced console. How could you go wrong?

(The Nerd plays for a while until he stares in disbelief) The fuck is this shit?!

You're a kid running around the park. While the graphics are fine and definitely seem to represent the basic idea of what a Universal Theme Park looks like, the camera angles are a problem. First of all, it never moves. You know how in most other three dimensional games like Super Mario 64 which came out years before, the camera follows the character around? Here, the camera is in a fixed position and only switches to another angle when you reach a certain point on the screen, so you might have to run far into the distant background or all the way up to the foreground without even knowing what's ahead of you. So finding your way around is a total nightmare. Sometimes when you come to a new screen, you start out in the background. You're just a tiny dot somewhere on the screen obscured by a crowd of people. (The Nerd tries to figure out where he is) Where am I?? (Spots himself) Oh, there I am. It's like a game of Where's Waldo?

Now let's get on some rides. (The Nerd tries to get on the E.T. ride only to find he can't because of a huge line) What's this? There's a LINE? Yes, at theme parks you have to wait in line, but why did they include that in the game? Could they have left that out? But this is worse than in real life because Woody Woodpecker won't even let you get in the line, even though there's less than ten people. Could you imagine going to Universal and the lines are that short? That would be your lucky day, that would be like a two-minute wait. But no, Woody's gotta send you away like, "Uh... go away, asshole! (imitates Woody Woodpecker's laugh)" Fuck you, you Woody Bunny-fuckin'-pecker piece of shit!

You know what you have to do to get in the line? You would never believe this: You have to pick up trash and put them in trash cans. Has anyone ever had to pick up trash at Universal to get on the rides? What kind of idiotic idea is this?!

First of all, finding the trash is a hassle because of the fixed camera positions. The trash might be small as a tiny speck on the ground. Then finding the trash cans you think would be easy but they're rare to come by. If a real Universal Theme Park had as few trash cans like in this game, then they actually would have this much garbage lying around. The worst thing of all, whenever you pick up a piece of trash, it's only 10 points. But to get on a single ride, you might need more than 2000 points. So you're gonna have to pick up a lot of trash.

I wanna see Jaws, Jurassic Park, you have access to all these major franchises, but instead they just send the gamer around collecting trash? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?! They should've called the game Universal Theme Park Janitor. Yeah, great idea, right up there with Super Plumber Mario Toilet Cleaner. This kid isn't even an employee of the park, why would he have to pick up all this trash? Poor kid, imagine all the stuff he has to handle: fries that have been stepped in, wrappers that are covered in ants, paper bags that are filled with vomited cotton candy. UGH! Maybe he didn't buy a ticket or something. Maybe that park has a special deal with him, like: "OK kid, we'll let you on the rides for free, but you gotta help us clean up all this trash."

You can also get points from shaking hands with costumed characters like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and E.T. (shakes hands with E.T. and gets 1000 points) Dude, I fuckin' shook hands with E.T. I mean, come on.

So you get all this trash, throw 'em in the trash can, get enough points, and then guess what? You STILL can't get on the rides, because you have to cash the points in at the store and buy a fuckin' hat. Remember that time you went to Universal, they wouldn't let you on the rides unless you wear a stupid fucking hat... (The Nerd laughs at how ridiculous the idea is.) And each ride has its own special hat. How do all those other people get in the line? I don't see them wearing hats.

At last, let's talk about the rides. They're just little mini-games that end quicker than an actual Universal ride.

Back to the Future: You're just flyin' around in a DeLorean through prehistoric times, tryin' to stop Biff who's also in a DeLorean.

Jaws: You're on a boat, tryin' to throw things at the shark. Surprisingly, the camera actually moves, but you still have no control over it. It takes forever to aim and the shark moves way faster than you, so chances of hitting it are slim. You have as much luck tryin' to time jerking off onto a passing car. Believe it or not, this game actually makes the NES version of Jaws seem excellent.

Jurassic Park: This is just a simple rail shooter. Move the crosshairs and shoot the dinosaurs. This may have worked as an arcade game that you drop a few quarters in, not something you'd sit and play at home. Like an arcade game, it's over just as fast, although much more expensive than 75 cents.

E.T.: Yes, the dreaded E.T. made almost 20 years after the so called worst game of all time on the Atari 2600. But would you believe, I shit you not, this version is far worse. The control is so bad all you do is fall, fall and fall. I can't figure out these controls, it makes me look like an idiot, but I swear, I'm really trying! Uuuugggghhhhh!! Imagine playing Excitebike blindfolded with the controller upside down coated in rubber cement while seated on a wild bull. And just when you start to get the hang of it, the game ends.

Waterworld: Gotta include Waterworld whenever you're talking about great Universal classics. This one isn't even a game at all, it's just a virtual recreation of the Waterworld stunt show attraction at Universal Hollywood, which is a great stunt show far better than the actual movie. So for those of you who didn't get to see it live, here you can witness the finale where they crash the plane into the water, splashing the front rows to an ecstatic screaming crowd of... (The seats are empty) nobody. Must be a slow day at Universal.

Then there's Backdraft, which is surprisingly the longest of all the games and probably the best, or should I say the least worst. I feel bad for this young kid who has to put out fires without even wearing any protective gear. As always, you have no control over the camera and may not even see a fire until you run smack into it. (touches the fire and dies) The fatal flaw that destroys this almost playable game is the confusing controls. Every time you step into another room or the camera angle changes, the joysticks become reversed so you have to re-orient yourself and figure out the controls again. It's a mess.

And if it seems like I breeze through these really quickly, that's because they're over really quickly. There's nothing more to say. That's all, folks. They're mini-games, sub-games, and an afterthought to the main game, which is just going around collecting garbage. (The Nerd looks around his room) A metaphor of my life. You'd think they would have made the rides the main part of the game, but instead they focus on the whole mission to get ON the rides, which is very accurate to how the park is in real life. You ever been to Universal? All you do is stand in lines all day and every once in a while, you get on the ride. So this captures that experience perfectly, a virtual simulation of a day at Universal with long hours of tedium with short bursts of excitement... except if YOU WERE COLLECTING TRASH THE WHOLE TIME!

I should also mention that the main goal of the entire game is to collect stamps. Yeah, apparently, there's a big stamp collecting contest going on at Universal, so every time you finish one of the rides, they give you a stamp. So shooting at dinosaurs, flyin' around in a DeLorean, throwin' barrels at sharks, all that is just about winning a stamp-collecting contest. If I went on a ride at Universal and they gave me a stamp, I'd be like: "What the hell is this?" I'll tell you, that's one time at Universal when you'd see me throw somethin' in the trash can or better yet, I'd use the stamp on an envelope that I'd send a letter to the game developers asking them, "How the fuck did you take so many popular franchises and fuck them up so BAD?!"

Even LJN, when they fucked up Jaws and Back to the Future, it was one at a time, not all at once, and that was on NES. This is GameCube. I thought by now, games this horrible would be extinct. I didn't even know it was possible to make something so rancid. I guess we'll just leave it at it was a poor excuse of a game, just a shitty exploitation to promote the theme park. But it even fails at that. It's the worst promotion of all time. Have you ever seen the Universal Theme Park TV commercials? They were never like: (The Nerd makes a fake commercial in a mock announcer voice, while using clips and footage from the game) "Visit Universal Studios Theme Park. Experience the thrill, ride the movies, pick up fucking trash. The only theme park on Earth where you get to clean up after everybody else. Nothing gets you closer to the movies than wearing funny hats and collecting stamps. Book your trip now. But seriously, the park's dirty, we need someone to clean it."

Well, only one more present left. (looks at the gift) You wanna take a peek? Yeah, let's take a peek. (The Nerd grabs the Day 12 gift. He tears a part of the wrapping paper off only to reveal the LJN logo. The Nerd looks at it and screams in horror.) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!


  • Rolfe mistakenly said Universal Theme Park Adventure when the title is actually Universal Theme Parks Adventure.
  • Rolfe states that you get a stamp every time you finish a ride. This is not true. One of the stamps can be unlocked for beating a trivia quiz and the other stamp is unlocked if you collect all the letters in UNIVERSAL STUDIOS that are scattered throughout the park.
  • There's no mention of the fact that when you start a new game, you get to select a generic kid in the park.
  • Rolfe missed the Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show mini-game.