Wally Bear and the NO! Gang (NES)

There are a whole host of things you can say "No" to. Drugs. Alcohol. Your mom. Jamming a butter knife square into your genital hole. You can also say "no" to Wally Bear and the No! Gang. Yes, that's

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  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1
  • US Release: c. 1992
  • Developer: American Game Cartridges
  • Publisher: American Video Entertainment

There are a whole host of things you can say “No” to. Drugs. Alcohol. Your mom. Jamming a butter knife square into your genital hole. You can also say “no” to Wally Bear and the No! Gang. Yes, that’s right. Saying “no” to a game that’s anti-drugs! How blasphemous is this? Does this mean I’m going to be the pariah of everybody’s drug-free efforts?

No, actually, that is going directly to Wally Bear himself and the developers of this ridiculously lecture-driven, goody-two-shoes half-assed bullshit that plagues a lot of games with serious informational messages. (I’m looking at you, Captain Novolin, you fucking retard.) See, my great theory about this game is that the developers decided to take a hit of something trippy before they made this game, or someone let something like that slip into their coffee, because I can’t see any other way that an idea pulled off as unequivocally idiotic as this could have been released to the public of the early nineties.


The basic plot of this game is that you’re Wally Bear. He tries to look cool with his skateboard, his sunglasses, and his never-say-yes to drugs attitude, but instead he makes himself look like a stereotypical cool-guy douchebag to the point where he should feel ashamed of himself for showing his face in public.

At Wally’s house, which is so plastered in apple-covered wallpaper that it blinds people to the equivalent of staring directly into the sun, Wally’s parents tell him that his uncle, Gary Grizzly, is throwing him and his pals a drug-free party. Next thing they tell him is to “Stay smart! Don’t start!” No, they can’t wish him good bye, or to have a safe trip. No, Wally’s parents don’t love him that much. Instead, they grill him like he’s experimented with drugs before without them knowing. “Don’t worry Mom, I will remember,” responds Wally, like a lobotomy patient or a zombie, and then you’re thrown out on the street.

If you ask me, with the way Wally’s dad wasn’t actually wearing pants at the time, I think they were shooing Wally off because the getting was good at the time and they didn’t want little ears to hear what was going on in the bedroom.

So now we get to the first level. Already I’m feeling uncool as the music plays because, seriously, it sounds completely like nursery school naptime music. I thought Wally Bear was a little older. Like ten, or something? Maybe it’s a cue to tell me just how retarded he is.


So, anyway, you get to go down the street through what feels like an endless loop of one area. I figure Wally’s just running around in circles until he finds the place he was supposed to go to the first time around. Along the way, you have to dodge things like bulldogs and birds. The bulldogs are simple to avoid, but the birds…man, those things are like biologically-engineered heat-seeking missiles. They’ll whiz by and collide with your head with the accuracy of a highly trained and experienced sniper’s rifle shot until you find out that they can’t reach you if you duck. Unless you have power-ups, one hit and Wally is sitting on the ground with his mouth hanging out like he just got raped by whatever hit him. (And, for all we know, with the questionable characters we run into in this game, he probably did.) If you have a power-up, they’ll pluck it away from you like a pickpocket. Once you pass by the same store about three fucking times, Wally Bear ends the level at the train station.

And immediately, we are greeted by Ephram the Retarded Rabbit. Toby Turtle has apparently gone with Ricky Rat to attempt to start spiraling into a world of pretty colors, imagined flight, and LSD. Because he’s such a good friend, Ephram ends up being a pussy and shoving Wally up to the task. Gee, what a pal! I sure hope that if I’m forced to go down some pills, my friend runs off and leaves me by myself! Shitbag.

So then lucky Wally gets to go into the subway train and go fetch Toby. And look! There’s Ricky Rat! Over. And over. And over. And over again. Every time you see him, he either jumps or throws a ball of cocaine at you. One hit and you too spiral into the impure world of drug addiction, where the world ain’t pretty and neither are the hookers. In fact, Wally could be on them now with the way Ricky Rat appears over and over. I don’t know about you, but when the same bully appears about in nine different places on the same train, it’s probably high time to get yourself checked into a mental institution.


When you finally find Toby at the end, Wally tells Toby off like he kicked him square in the balls, and Toby admits he didn’t know what to do. All right, so this kid is easily suckered into just about anything. “Hey Toby, want some pills?” “OK!” “Hey Toby, wanna go kill somebody?” “OK!” “Hey Toby, wanna go run naked through the streets?” “OK!” Something tells me Toby the Turtle doesn’t need drugs—the kid’s already painfully stupid as it is. He’d be better off as a fucking lemming instead of a turtle.

So now, we actually get down to the nitty-gritty of the game itself rather than just mocking the painfully ridiculous plot. Wally controls OK. Not bad, not good. Just OK. The two main points of frustration are in slowing down and platform hopping. When you slow down, you might as well just grow about three sizes bigger, because everything seems to hit you like you did. All the homing missile birds and Ricky the Rat will have a field day doing horrible things to Wally as you’re trying to maneuver him away from the dangerous obstacles.

Platform hopping boils down to if you’re lucky enough to actually not steer Wally off into something you didn’t want him to fall on or into. Luckily for you, if you get a power-up, you can take an extra hit. Not luckily for you, the game will take away whatever power-up is the most useful, leaving you eventually akin to a quadruple amputee in the Triple Jump event at the Olympics. Out of the two power-ups you can get, the frisbee is the better because you can actually kill enemies with it! The skateboard just lets you crash head-first into Ricky the Rat easier so he can have his mentally-amped way with you.

So what can you do? The first, and most obvious, thing is probably to do drugs just to spite the game. Congratulations, AVE: You’ve completely done the opposite of what you wanted. The other thing you can do is turn the game off and pretend it never existed. The second option is much more advisable.

And now for the breakdown!

Fun: 1

Take toaster. Insert hand. Tell me, how does this feel? The answer is: more fun than playing this retarded excuse for a game. Hell, I’d even supply Home Alone as a more fun alternative to this shit.


Novelty: 3

Lawl, it’s an anti-drug game. Except for it being kind-of distinct like that, yeah…it’s full of cheese. And not the happy mozzarella kind you put on a pizza. No, this is the crappy limburger cheese that makes cartoon characters vomit and go in a coma. I’m surprised Wally Bear and his NO! Gang haven’t yet.

…Speaking of which, why is it called the NO! Gang? No, I’m not talking about the “NO!” part. I mean the “Gang” part. Are we trying to tell our kids to join gangs, but not to do drugs? Ridiculous.

Audio: 2

Right fucking annoying, from child’s naptime to city blues. The most exhilarating sound is the gunshot that’s heard when you fire the actual gun into your brain to stop the monotony.

Visuals: 3

Looks like they spent a little time on it. Otherwise, it repeats itself like a checkerboard, and, in a specific place or two, it looks like Wally Bear and the Egyptian Tomb, especially that part where there’s faces spitting loogies at you in the sewer. What is the point of that shit?

Controls: 5

Seriously, I’m gonna give this one an average score. For a cheesy piece of shit game like this, while it has its problems, I didn’t feel the play control was really worth knocking that much. The only real trouble is platform hopping, and that’s only for a good part of the game. It’s still pretty infuriating just to land on the ledge and watch Wally drop in for a raw sewage-filled swim. I guess he just likes getting liquefied shit in his mouth.

Replay Value: 1

Dear God. The only reason I actually played this again was to actually beat it. The ending was just as stupid as the rest of the game, and the next time I think of playing Wally Bear and the NO! Gang, I’m just gonna go grab a pine cone outside, glue some tacks on it, and swallow it whole. Maybe I’ll actually try drugs for once, too, just to give the game the proverbial middle finger. Either way, I’m not letting Wally Bear present himself on my NES again for a long, long time to come.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 2 - Very Bad
  • Score Breakdown

  • Fun Score: 1
  • Novelty Score: 3
  • Audio Score: 2
  • Visuals Score: 3
  • Controls Score: 5
  • Replay Value: 1
3 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 103 votes, average: 8.66 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

From 2008 to 2009

Rick L is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.


  1. Glad he is a “former” member. I am one of the co-developers with the late Walter Marsh, III of the Wally Bear and The “Know Gang” series
    At the time we began developing the concept in 1990 (Walter’s concept) which was launched in 1992 using 16, then 32 bit technology it was considered innovative, unique, and in fact the first..”non-violent Nintendo compatible game with drug use prevention messages in the field of play”.

    It was featured in TV Guide, Parade Magazine, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
    We partnered with USDHHS, AT&T, The Plastic Manufacturers Association, Polar Plastics, the National School Food Services Association, among others. We averaged over 20,000 hits per month on social media, and via a toll free number.

    John Milton Wesly

  2. lol, such a petulant and far too late response like that feels very fitting for someone who had a hand in creating this slop.

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