Captain Novolin (SNES)

What's the first thing you think of when I say "superhero"? Superman? Spider-Man? Flying? Capes? X-ray vision? Secret identities? Well, you quite possibly have a good idea of what a superhero is. Raya

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  • System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1
  • US Release: November 1992
  • Developer: Sculptured Software
  • Publisher: Raya Systems

What’s the first thing you think of when I say “superhero”? Superman? Spider-Man? Flying? Capes? X-ray vision? Secret identities? Well, you quite possibly have a good idea of what a superhero is. Raya Systems, on the other hand, first thought of the word “diabetes!”, and then we got the convoluted abortion of a game known as Captain Novolin.

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I’ll admit it: They do give a good effort in trying to teach people about how to manage their diabetes. However, when they developed the rest of the game, they were probably using their insulin needles for recreational drugs. This is shown even in the title screen, as Captain Novolin walks toward some sentient food with a huge-ass grin on his face. Either he’s about to battle the evil-doers, or he’s going to become more obese than Marlon Brando. You decide.

The game’s story is as follows. The mayor of Pineville has been kidnapped by aliens! You, Captain Novolin, are watching this on your TV in the Novolin Hideaway while wearing some ugly-ass bodysuit. As it turns out, the mayor unsurprisingly is stricken with diabetes and only has enough supplies for 48 hours! He’s trapped on Mt. Wayupthar (har har) by the aliens. As it turns out, the aliens are in disguise! No, they’re not humanoid, nor do they really try to blend in effectively. Instead, the aliens are disguised as sugary junk food, which makes just as much sense as dressing up like a cowboy for a hip-hop music video. Captain Novolin blurts out, “This sounds like a job for yours truly, CAPTAIN NOVOLIN!”, effectively showing us his alter ego, Captain Obvious.

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After hopping into his elevator, he could be prepping himself for the mission, but no. All he’s thinking about is his diabetes. Yes, that’s right—Captain Novolin also has diabetes, and you have to help him manage it as you heroically go out and save the mayor. It’s good to remember your doctor’s advice on diabetes, but I’d rather make sure I’m ready for the mission in other aspects. Actually, there’s two of them. Dr. Ditz looks creepy with a smile that happily implies “Kid, you’re completely fucked now, but don’t worry, this can be a happy time! See the little dancing insulin syringe puppet?! Isn’t he funny?!” and Dr. Fecalsmear, who looks like what his name describes. He seriously looks like a talented artist took some drugs to make themselves mentally challenged and did finger painting with their own brown “finger paint.” Oh yes, he has a nice tie, and he tells you what to eat. Splendid.

And NOW, finally, we get to the real action. And you’d expect Captain Novolin to have some kind of freakin’ awesome super power. Flying, throwing insulin syringes like shuriken, heat vision, bashing someone through a wall with one flick. No, Captain Novolin has none of these things. In fact, the only thing you can do is jump, and if you hold down when you jump, that is your only attack! So congratulations, you’re effectively playing as a superhero with the power of being diabetic! I bet Superman and Spider-Man are laughing at him and calling him a retard.

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So you just walk through the city from point A to point B in level one. Oh yes, if you grab too much food, you die from having too much insulin, but if you eat too little, the same thing happens. You also can only take a few hits from the enemy before you keel over in a diabetic coma. Along the way, you also have questions you can answer about diabetes. They’re sickeningly obvious, and you could have gone through a full lobotomy and still gotten the answers right with common sense, except for maybe a couple. To break up the idiocy, there’s a few scenes involving Captain Novolin riding a boat. And as he climbs up Mt. Wayupthar, he, of course, has to tell everyone and their fucking grandmother that he has diabetes. Standard dialogue looks like:

  • “Hi there, Ranger Betty! I have diabetes!”

  • “Hi there, Ranger Ralph! I have diabetes!”

  • “Hi there, Mr. Evil Donut! I have diabetes!”

  • “Hi there, Walking Peanut Butter Toast! I have diabetes!”

Captain Novolin can also ask:

  • “Can you tell me what to do in case of an emergency?”

  • “Where is the nearest clothing store, because even Captain Underpants thinks I look like a tool.”

  • “Can I call someone who is better equipped for this? Like the police? Because chances are, Pineville has to have SOMEONE on the force who has a fucking gun or something.”

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If you even get anywhere, good luck. Hit detection is a pisser and you’ll find yourself getting hit more than the enemies hit you. And then there’s no-win situations where you’ll either have to choose, if you’ve eaten too much, between getting hit by a donut and dying, or having one more piece of peanut butter toast and dying.

And now, let’s break it down!

Fun: 2/10

Even Wilford Brimley would probably want to break this game over his knee, and he hates that dia-beet-us. This game is about as fun as casual sex…with an insulin needle. Why is this not fun? Because more attention is placed on the diabeetus than the gameplay, and when that happens, you’re not gonna wanna stick around to learn all about the wonders of diabetes.

Novelty: 10/10

This is about the only thing I can give the game credit for. It’s the only game about diabetes that I know of. Of course, knowing how suck-tastic this thing is, it’s probably the reason why I don’t know of know others, or there are no others.

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Audio: 2/10

Ear-splittingly horrible. It’s like they want you to be diabetic and deaf. The title screen music sounds like a cat being sodomized, and the rest of the tracks are forgettable, and you’ll thank your ears and brain for it, because they suck almost as bad. The music also likes to change from part to part in volume, from whisper-like soft to YELL LIKE A IRRITATING SOCCER MOM LOUD. Don’t try to have your cake and eat it too with the music. One, or the other. Oh wait, these people probably can’t eat cake….

Visuals: 5/10

Nothing really that bad, but nothing that really good, either. I still say Dr. Fecalsmear looks really horribly done, and most of the other stuff isn’t really all that awe-inspiring. Captain Novolin looks and acts like the reject he is, and the other people follow suit, standing there and probably getting ready to drool from their brain deficiencies.

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Controls: 1/10

You jump. You press “down” to stomp on enemies. There is no real indication of how to do this without the instruction manual. You’re probably going to die more often than get taught about diabetes, meaning that you’ll probably learn better by random trial and error with an occasional bit of doctor’s advice. Not a great message to send the gamers. Of course, this happens out of pure frustration for the gamer, or they’ll just go “I don’t wanna play this game, this is stupid!” and then huck it out a window.

Replay Value: No/10

That’s right, that’s a “No/10.” That means “Don’t bother.” I know I won’t be, even if I contract any type of diabeetus.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 3 - Bad
  • Score Breakdown

  • Fun Score: 2
  • Novelty Score: 10
  • Audio Score: 2
  • Visuals Score: 5
  • Controls Score: 1
2 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 102 votes, average: 8.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
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About the Contributor


From 2008 to 2009

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

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