Title : Aquatic Games : Starring James Pond and the Aquabats
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Genre : Platform Track N Field
Players : 1 - 4 Players
Release Date : 1992
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $10-$12
Are you serious? Is someone really just trying to annoy me this week with the absolute crap I've been subjected to? What is this? I'm not even joking, what is this supposed to be? I don't even know what I'm looking at it. I see the box, and I think "okay a kids game with some sort of anthropomorphic fish". Then I look closer, and I see its starring the James Pond character, which is to this day still one of the worst game mascots ever.
Why is Sega torturing me? I can't blame them though, SNES did the same thing.
But this isn't even a James Pond game. The James Pond game were action platformers that were semi-decent. And saying that they are even SEMI-DECENT is a real stretch. This is one of those mascot friendly party games that companies pumped out to make more money off the crap they invented in the first place.
Listen folks, the only company able to viably pull this off is Nintendo. They can do Mario Kart, and Mario Golf, and Mario Tennis and all their other games. But do you know why they can do it? It's because they're good.
Take one look at this. Is this going to be good? A track and field with anthropomorphic fish? No, I can rightly say it's not. Who knows, maybe it'll prove me wrong. I highly doubt it though. Let's just get this over with.
Take Track N Field by Konami, and add fish. There you go. You have the Aquatic Games. You'll participate in a series of events, much like you would do in any other Olympic styled game, and compete for best time or results. Your goal? To reign supreme over the foolish fish folk and conquer the depths of Poseidon's vast deep!
Nope, not really. You're just running around all smiles trying to perform your very best. YAY! *sarcastic applause*
You have a slew of events to choose from, and while named differently, they're pretty much exactly like their Olympic counterparts. Except for some that are just totally bonkers and make no sense. The hop skip jump event where you do a long jump, then you do some jump rope, then you jump again. Others you feed fish....I have no idea. This game is upsetting me.
There's a bit of a learning curve with some of the events, so before you even take on the Aquatic Games, I suggest going through the practice. Sometimes it doesn't tell you what you have to do, until you're actually doing the event so you'll need to get used to it before the main game.
Do you know what this game really tries to do, that just doesn't work? It tries to make a cross between platforming and track n field games. Mario games are able to do this, but they focus more on the track n field portion with adding a touch of platforming elements. This is trying to make it 50/50 and it just doesn't work out. It's like a whole bunch of mini games...oh my God, I just figured it out.
This is a bootleg copy of MARIO PARTY! NOW I GET IT!!! Oh man, but now my respect for this game has bumped up a tad. They were one of the first who tried to do something like this, but downright failed. Just for that, I'm giving them a bump up. Not by much, but you know, just for the effort.
Visually this game is actually bit of an eye-pleaser. Character designs are entertaining, and the backgrounds are pretty vibrant. Animations aren't half bad either, and for a 16-bit game you'd expect nothing less. So while it's not bad to look at it, controlling these pretty images are another issue.
The game can be downright frustrating at points, and figuring out controls for each event takes a bit of trial and error. The platforming portions are a bit simpler, but still, it wreaks havoc on your patience.
The best thing about this game? The clockwork orange styled Beethovens "Ode to Joy" that plays in the background. I can leave that playing all day long. In a way, this game is getting points just for it's first attempt at being a Mario Party styled game, and Ode to Joy. That's about it.