Well, at least the effort was there. Instead of just slapping a license onto a premade crappy game (à la Back to the Future (NES), Toy Story (SG, SNES), Jaws (NES), and countless others), BlueSky Software actually put in the effort to make a decent game. And they succeeded in that—to a point, anyway. The Ren & Stimpy Show Presents: Stimpy’s Invention (henceforth to be known simply as Stimpy’s Invention) was well on its way to becoming an innovator of side-scrollers and a high point in the pathetic history of licensed games; but unfortunately, the game’s over in less then a half-hour, assaulting its awesomeness factor with a tidal wave of dumb.
Much to anyone’s surprise, this game actually has a plot. Stimpy, it seems, has created this invention dubbed the “Mutate-o-Matic.” Unfortunately, before Stimpy is able to share with us the purpose of this invention, it overloads, and its pieces are scattered all over the place. Unfortunately, though having a premise comparable to ToeJam & Earl, Stimpy’s Invention has little in common with the game of Sega’s funkadelic duo. Ren and Stimpy have to travel to five different locations and collect the pieces; then they must put the machine back together, so that they can shut it off. Don’t worry; it’s not supposed to make sense.
This adventure takes our cartoony companions through a freezer, a zoo, a town, a dog pound, a forest, and finally, through the invention itself. Each of these stages (except for the final) is divided into two parts: one is a regular ol’ side-scroller that we all know and love, and the other is…well…slightly different. Sometimes you’ll find yourself hurtling downhill on a bicycle built for two at break-neck speeds, other times you’ll be traveling through the air via rectal gas. These parts are vastly different from what we’re accustomed to in side-scrollers, and they’re a great way to end the monotony before it even begins.
Another factor that stops Stimpy’s Invention from becoming boring is that it’s two-player—at the same time, no less. You’ll find it necessary to have a friend along at some points, like when Ren has to squeeze a fart out of Stimpy in order to fly high and reach a ledge, or when Stimpy has to use Ren as a shovel to reach underground parts of the stage. Of course, you can also have the second character be controlled by the computer, but somehow that’s not as enjoyable as turning your best friend into a bowling ball so that you can use him to knock down a string of enemies.
Thankfully, the controls with which to produce all these fancy moves are simple to both learn and master. You won’t need an instruction manual to figure out how to ride Stimpy like a donkey. The only problem here is that the jump button is much too far from the acceleration button, making it difficult to run and jump. But that’s probably because the developers never intended for you to do that.
Visually, Stimpy’s Invention does justice to the cartoon. There may be a minor mismatched color here and there, but this title’s graphics are a smidge above the standard set by most Genesis titles. However, the audio is a smidge below that standard. More than a smidge really; the music is boring and not particularly inspired by the show, the sound effects don’t always play when they’re supposed to, and while Stimpy’s Invention features a smattering of voice samples from the cartoon, they’re nothing over which to giggle. In fact, one would be accurate in saying that this game’s audio is mere shades from pathetic.
If you like The Ren & Stimpy Show, and you like side-scrolling games, and you own a Sega Genesis, there’s no reason to not purchase Stimpy’s Invention. It’s fun, innovative, and can be beaten in under a half-hour. That last point, though, can be seen as the game’s downfall, as some may feel cheated out of their money by playing such a sub-lengthy game. But if you have a friend with whom to play, the experience is nonetheless fun. The game’s cheap, anyway. Just buy it already. Well, after reading the rest of GameCola. 😀