Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Doug's Big Game' on the Game Boy Color!

It's not surprising somebody made a Doug video game. What is surprising, however, is that it was released on the Game Boy in the year 2000 - a full year after the show went off the air. Also; it's basically just a walking simulator. 

By: Jimbo X

Let it be stated that I fucking love me some Doug. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid and I always wondered why the Nicktoon didn't get the same video game treatment that Ren & Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life and even Aahh! Real Monsters received. Much to my surprise, I learned a couple of months ago that there actually was a Doug video game released on the Game Boy Color  ... and it came out in Dec. 2000.

Yeah, that's a pretty surprising little revelation, seeing as how the television program was cancelled in 1999 (which I'm guessing probably had something to do with the financial failure of Doug's 1st Movie at the box office) and the game came out at least half a decade past the series' pop cultural apex. People have all but forgotten Disney actually purchased Doug from Viacom and sought to remold the cartoon into its own graven image - the end result being an extraordinarily watered down version of the strangely introspective early '90s toon we all knew and loved that, for all intents and purposes, was total and complete fucking garbage. 

While Disney's Doug was about as hard to watch as Vince McMahon's version of ECW, at least the video game could take advantage of all of the proprietary elements that made the original Nickelodeon show so awesome. I mean, how hard would it be to make just a halfway decent Doug game? You do some light platforming - trying to find pages of a journal or some other bullshit - and every level ends with some sort of wacky "fantasy" boss battle, with Doug turning into Quailman, Smash Adams or Race Canyon Altered Beast style. It's so simple, nobody - nobody - should have been able to fuck it up. 

Well, I hate to break it to you kids, but Doug's Big Game sucks. It's not the worst game I've ever played, but it's nonetheless ultra-disappointing because it would have been so damn easy to make it entertaining. For reasons that no one will ever rationalize ever, the guys that made the game decided to make Doug's Big Game this sort of  lite-R.P.G. game, except without any battles, dungeon crawling or even any grinding. Basically, all you do is walk around the game map trying to find the right people to talk to so they can send you to the next right person to talk to so they can send you to the next right person to, et al. The entire game is one enormous fetch quest, albeit one without anything being "fetched."

The game does incorporate some fantasy segments, thankfully, but the controls are sluggish and the boss battles are fairly uneventful. In fact, if it wasn't for the game's really unintentional humor (more on that later), it would be absolutely snooze-inducing. A shitty yet entertaining game is one thing, but one that's just plain boring? Sorry, folks, but that's just inexcusable.

Oh, and here's the biggie. You see, Doug's Big Game doesn't have a regular, linear gameplay system. In fact, every time you flip on the game, you find yourself in one of about a dozen or so randomly generated fetch quests, which probably makes it the only Roguelike children's television program simulator released on the GBC or any other platform, for that matter. 

So here's the thing. To the best of my knowledge, there are about two dozen different "missions" in the game. To "win," you have to complete two or three in a row, and the ending you get seemingly depends on how quickly you get through your quests. But to be honest, I'm not entirely sure there is any rhyme or reason to the game - sometimes, a mission concludes with a fantasy boss fight, and sometimes it doesn't - and frustratingly, the game glitches out pretty regularly, with crucial events like bumping into specific characters so you can continue along on your mission never transpiring. 

But let's let the game speak for itself, why don't we? Here's a sample platter of the "missions" you'll embark upon in Doug's Big Game...


Thank you, Doug, for convincing an entire generation that psychotic hallucinations are a totally natural part of adolescent development.

No matter which random-ass adventure you begin with, the endgame is always the same. All Doug wants to do is find Patti Mayonnaise, presumably so he can give her - ahem - some Funnie business. You know, because Doug's last name is Funnie, and it's all a euphemism for sexual acts! Even better, at any point in the game you can "talk" to Porkchop and Doug will drone on and on about how worried is Patti's getting plowed by some other dude (of course, that's not the precise language they use, but you know that's what they mean.) 

So in one episode, you begin with Doug just hanging out in the park, kvetching about Patti not showing up yet (holy shit, that must mean she's getting her muff pounded hard.) So Doug runs into this blue bitch (I've no idea who she is supposed to be) and she tells him she loves this picture of Mr. Bone he drew and she asks you to find Roger Klotz (the school bully, for those not in the loop) to retrieve it. But sweet fuck, Roger is in detention, so how's Doug going to obtain his doodle? Well, that means you've got to find foreign exchange student Fentruck, but to find out where he is you've got to creep around town collecting coins so you can call random people to give you clues on his whereabouts.

Eventually, you find his green ass hanging out at the arcade and Doug convinces him to come with him to the schoolhouse and yodel outside the window. Now this is proof the designers did their homework on the series, because it was firmly established that Principal Bone's one weakness was yodeling ... it may not make for a compelling interactive adventure, but at least they took great care to keep all this shit canonical.

When you make it to the schoolhouse, of course, the entire thing is a labyrinthine maze and - you guessed it - you've got to talk to a million billion people to find out where the principal is. Once you locate his whereabouts, Doug convinces him to join Fentruck for a yodel-off, which in turn, allows you to sneak into the detention room ... which, as fate would have it, looks like some kind of third world factory circa 1950.

When you finally encounter Roger (who, strangely, went from being broccoli colored trailer trash in the Nickelodeon cartoon to being a rich motherfucker once Disney got hold of the license), he tells you to fuck off, which segues into our first "boss battle" - a daydream sequence in which Doug becomes Quailman and battles Roger in stereotypical Godzilla form. This is actually a retardedly easy little sequence - all you have to do is avoid some super-easy-to-avoid heatseeking fireballs, blast the building Klotzilla is standing on a couple of times and that's it. No joke - I beat the entire segment in about 20 seconds. On my first go-at-it.

After that, Roger says to hell with it and gives you your doodle back. You head back to the park, and golly be, that blue bitch doesn't even thank you for getting the picture for her. Instead, she informs you that Chalky (the star athlete) direly wants your company. Apparently, it has something to do with Patti's dog ... and of course, anything that even remotely jeopardizes your chances of tapping that sweet, sweet Mayonnaise is something that has to be addressed immediately.


Come on kid. We already know the answer is "their own balls."

Alright, so you return to your neighborhood, where - in true R.P.G. style - you just fucking barge into people's houses and ask them about the most random shit and nobody ever tells you to leave. Eventually, you'll find Chalky, who tells you he desperately needs your help retrieving a discus he borrowed from Patti (probably, because they are secretly fucking, aren't they Doug?) from a backyard with a ferocious dog in it.

Which means you've got to find some sort of "distraction" to help you get into the backyard and safely retrieve the toy. This entails going down to the ice cream shop and retrieving a bone-flavored ice cream, because which small business wouldn't want to waste its precious resources on something so fucking ludicrous. So you throw the ice cream in the kennel, and this allows you to retrieve the frisbee thing and Chalky rewards you by telling you he has no idea where in the fuck Patti is. Awesome. So you go home, and Doug's dad tells him to speak with his sister ASAP. Which is weird, because you are already in your own fucking house and he keeps telling you to "GO HOME NOW."

So your sister recruits you to find her beret (not that it matters, since she's already wearing one atop her head) and eventually you find out Beebe has it but she won't give it back to you unless you get her something more awesome in exchange. You travel to Mr. Dink's house and he gives you a pair of his wife's old jodhpurs she can't wear anymore because, presumably, her ass has gotten too large to wear them. You trade with Beebe and then you give them to your sister and then you have to go back to the mall and talk to this one green bitch to find out where Patti's been hiding (what do you know, she's been hanging out in your own neighborhood the whole damn time.) So you finally find her and she says "guess what, fuck boy, I've got two tickets to go see that Indiana Jones parody we talked about earlier, how's about we go watch it later tonight and you fill my Mayonnaise holes afterwards?" Actually, she doesn't say any of that stuff and I would be shocked and appalled if she did. Either way, that's game over, man. Game over.


Robo-Roger, seen here shocked to high heavens by Doug's exposed taint. 

Now here's one of the game's more shameless fetch quests. After talking to super-rich-bitch Beebe, she convinces you to run around town handing out invites to all her friend. The last person you run into is Roger, and of course, he's acting like a total sonofabitch so Doug has another psychotic episode where he pretends to fight Roger - this time, in the form of a giant shogun robot - which is just as easy as the last boss fight. And since you can switch to "Quail-Dog" at any time during these things, you pretty much have an unlimited number of projectile attacks, so don't even fucking worry about wasting all the Quail-juice in your power meter. After that, you find Beebe, and she's being a royal bitch because you didn't deliver all her invites fast enough and that's when you say "eat me, you purple ho," go talk to Fentruck and find out Patti's been hanging out in your own neighborhood the whole fucking time. And when you finally find Patti, she lets you know she was trying to "surprise" you with two tickets to the new Race Canyon movie. And ... cue the "game over " screen. But thankfully for us, there's still a whole bunch of random ass adventures we haven't seen yet, so how about we flick the power button off and start the whole ordeal all over again?


This isn't just a screenshot from Doug's Big Game; it's also what 90 percent of the fucking game looks like in action.

As established earlier, the core storyline is the same no matter what scenario you begin with. Doug is kvetching like a motherfucker 'cause he can't find Patti, and one conversation with a conveniently nearby NPC gets the fetch quest avalanche a rolling. In this particular episode, a chit-chat with Fentruck has Doug visiting the local high school so he can talk to Guy - the school paper editor and your chief romantic rival (by the way, he was never in the Nickelodeon show, so if you've never heard of him, good.) So you learn that Patti's on assignment doing some random shit and Guy convinces you to go cover a "beetball" game but before you can get there you run into Chalky, who says he needs your help getting a ball off a roof or something. But then, you realize the beetball game isn't until next week, so you have to march back to Guy's office and tell him to go fuck himself and when he won't tell you where he sent Patti that cues another boss battle - one in which Quailman has to save Patti's superhero alter ego Super Sport from, uh, some kind of machine that zaps lightning bolts at you. And after that, Guy just says to hell with it, she's at the mall buying a CD or some other stupid shit women do sometimes. And with that little nugget of information in mind ... to the mall, we must a-go.

And SWERVE! You talk to Chalky and as it turns out, she's not at the mall at all - for some reason, she's hanging out with Mr. Dink, Doug's crazy-ass mad inventor nextdoor neighbor (yeah, typing that gives me really bad vibes, too.) So you get there, and right before he tells you where Patti is hanging out, his latest invention explodes and starts a fire. Which, of course, cues up our next "boss battle," which ... for some indeterminable reason ... is just a section where Quailman is underwater and he has to avoid being hit by giant guppies. Oh, and by the way, that little dream sequence didn't do shit for Mr. Dink; even after you complete the segment, his house is still on fucking fire and he begs you for help while you're just standing there, daydreaming about the minus world from the first Super Mario Bros. game. 

Now, instead of calling the fire department like any non-retard would - or even leaving his raging inferno of a home - Mr. Dink sends you out on yet another fetch quest, this time to retrieve teenage geniuses Al and Moo. So you lead the fat motherfuckers back to Dink's place (thankfully, you can teleport around thanks to a huge overworld map) and oh shit, you need to find a new base clamp for the invention, which is clearly way more important than not being incinerated to death. So you go back to the kids' labs, get the clamp, give it to Dink and when you ask him where he last saw Patti - you know, the whole fuckin' reason you came to his place to begin with - he tells you "woops, I forgot." 

So now you go ask your dad if he's seen Patti around and he says why not visit the pond, where your best pal and unofficial black person Skeeter Valentine is studying? But goddamnit, now you have to find your OWN homework. So after calling a million billion people (remember, you have to collect coins to use the phone to progress certain storylines) you suddenly recall you left your homework in your mom's car, which your beatnik sister Judy borrowed so she could visit the annual Sauerkraut festival. But before she gives you the car keys, she makes you find her lost costume, so you have to go back to her room and get it. So you retrieve it, you take it to her and she still won't give you the car keys. That means it's time for a boss battle, in which Quailman has to do battle with Judy - who, inexplicably, can now spit bats at you - while she is in dragon form. And after you beat her in your sociopathic fantasies, SHE STILL WON'T GIVE YOU THE FUCKING CAR KEYS. At this point, Doug says to hell with it and goes back to pond, where Skeeter informs you no one showed up for his cram session, anyway. Man, this shit is reaching levels of Waiting for Godot cynicism at this point.

So eventually, you find her at the mall, buying CDs, just like Guy told you like three or four sidequests ago. And your reward this time? Two passes to an all you can eat ice cream extravaganza, which may or may not be a euphemism for doing drugs then doing it. Roll them credits, motherfucker!


No, the graphics aren't shoddy. When Disney bought Doug, they really did turn him into an 80-year-old man with only one arm.

Alright, so our next sequence begins at the mall. Patti is supposed to meet Doug there at 11 a.m., but she hasn't shown herself yet. So you ask your sister if she's seen that ho, and she tells you to go to Lucky Duck Lake. There, you run into Skeeter, who is trying to use some sort of pheromone spray to attract neematoad (yeah, you really don't need to know what the fuck he's talking about at this point ... just roll with me.) So the green dipshit sprays you with the stuff so you have to go to Al and Moo's lab and steal the antidote. You show it to Skeeter and he's all like "naw, man, that ain't the proper shit," so your quest continues. You dick around awhile and you end up at the school lab, where you get your greasy little mitts on yet another potential antidote. And cue the exact same "save Super Sport" mini-game from earlier. You find Al and Moo at the arcade and they tell you, basically, there ain't shit they can do for you. Great.

So from there, you're asked to talk to Skunky at an ice cream shop, and he tells you Patti is with Beebe. But, your mom wants you to babysit your baby sister (oh, that's right, in the Disney version there were three Funnie children), and Doug - being the ignorant asshole he is - loses her immediately. This cues a panic-induced hallucination in which your avatar, in Quailman regalia, has to make his way through an asteroid belt (it's mechanically the same mini-game as the one with the giant fish from earlier.) You soon find a baby, but it's not the right one, so rather than question why there is an infant all alone in the middle of a food court, Doug soldiers forth with his own mission

Your mom is surprisingly calm about her infant daughter disappearing. That's because she found her wading in the mall fountain, which I'm pretty sure is the kind of shit that gets Family and Children Services called on your ass. Anyhoo, instead of scolding you for child abandonment, she lets you go your merry way. You run into Connie at the record shop and she tells you about Mr. Bone's nefarious plan to shut down the local comic shop (how a principal is able to shutter private businesses, though, is never explained.) You speak with the owner and he tells you unless you get four more signatures on this petition right here, he's going to lose his business. Well, take a wild guess what your next course of action is going to be?

You collect the John Hancocks, return them to the comic shop owner and then he says you have to find Mr. Bone and hand deliver them to him by 4 p.m. Of course, he's hanging out at the school, and even after you give him the required documents, he keeps droning on and on about how comic books turn juveniles' brains into mush. Cue another boss battle, one in which Quailman has to shoot out the eyeballs of a giant "Robo-Bone" while heat-seeking boogers fly out of his nostrils. No, really.

After the daydream is over, Mr. Bone finally has a change of heart, but tells Doug to tell the comic store owner that he'll have his eye on him. You talk to Fentruck at the ice cream shop, he tells you Patti's at the mall, and that's it, folks. Interestingly, Patti's reaction depends on how long it took you to find her, so if you took forever, she acts all angry at you for standing her up and lets you know she's going to hang out with Beebe for the rest of the evening instead (where, let's face it, there's probably going to be a lot of lesbian stuff going on.)

Yeah, the lack of a Spacemunks mini-game irks me, too. 

Oh, there's a lot more to the game, including a scenario where you have to find breath spray after eating garlic and egg ice cream and another one where you have to help Fentruck retrieve his pet goats, but by and large, the gameplay mechanics never change. There's only about six or seven boss fight/mini-games that loop over and over, too, so there's really not a whole lot of variety - or challenge - there, either. 

I suppose you can give the game points for staying pretty true to the license. You get cameos by just about every Doug regular, and the dialogue sounds authentic enough. The graphics are mediocre (with some sprites looking downright crappy), and the audio is even worse. The controls aren't bad, but then again, it's not like you really do too much in the game except hit the directional pad ... even in the boss battles. 

The game map is way too small, and some of the areas - like the lake and the high school - are just needlessly convoluted. It would be one thing if there was actually different stuff to look at, but since so many of the backdrops are just recycled with mild, minor graphical tweaks, it just feels like you're plodding through the same landscape over and over again (primarily, because you are.) And did I mention that 95 percent of the game consists of you just walking around, trying to figure out what the hell you are supposed to be doing? Well, it is

So yeah, Doug's Big Game, for all intents and purposes, is actually a big fat pile of dookie that even as a nostalgic cash-grab, won't hold your attention for more than a couple of hours (that is, pending the trial and error ennui doesn't make you shut off your GBC after a couple of minutes.) The sad thing is that's not even worth it for fans of the Doug series, who definitely deserve a much, much better virtualization of Mr. Funnie than this half-hearted crap. Now, according to the Internet - which is never, ever wrong - Doug was also included as an unlockable character in the 1999 GBC (and later, GBA and PS1) offering Nicktoons Racing, but I'm not sure how they would be possible, legally, seeing as how the Doug character was owned outright by Disney at that time. Nor have I seen any photographic proof he's in the game, so if he actually is in the Mario Kart wannabe, well ... let's just say Big Nick had some grande cojones taunting the lawsuit-happy House of Mouse.

All in all, it's hard to see Doug's Big Game as anything other than a big disappointment. The gameplay is boring and repetitive, there are way too many glitches and there really isn't much replay value (even considering the whole "random mission" mechanic.) Indeed, it may very well be the second worst Doug adaptation ever. And trust me - the less you know about the absolute worst, the better...

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