The Retro Critic


Happy New Year 1MoreCastleers!

Yes it’s 2013 and what better way to start the year than with a review of a retro game based on one of the best animated series ever made?

Well… an animated series that was… made, anyway.

We all remember Captain Planet: the so-not-subtle environmental messages, the power rings, the bizarre voice actors, that misguided AIDS episode…


But what of the Sega Genesis game?

Strangely enough, it’s not too bad! Or it’s better than that NES Captain Planet game at least.

Ok, I’ll admit it was a tad disappointing to start the game and not hear THAT immortal theme song. I think a part of me died just then. That said, you do get to play as every Planeteer; well, most of ’em anyway, and the whole game builds up to you actually playing as Captain Planet himself so they got some stuff right, at least. Plus it’s a side-scroller which just makes sense in a game where you actually want to see the characters. That NES game could have been about anything else, at least this Genesis effort feels like a Captain Planet game!

Ma-Ti introduces us to what you’re meant to be doing and who you’ll be facing:

Captain Planet Info

“Hoggish Greedly,” can you believe these villains’ names?

Their parents should be ashamed.

Ashamed and rewarded.

Anyway, you start off as Kwame whom, as we all know, has the power of “Earth.” This means that his life bar consists of 4 little Earths and he can collect little mini planets throughout just by shooting at robotic death machines.

Captain Planet Robot

They kinda poop teenie-weenie worlds.

Captain Planet Earth Poop

It’s adorable.

A strange design flaw on the robot-maker’s part, though. Clearly this guy’s in the wrong business!

One thing you’ll find as you start playing this Captain Planet game is that it is unfortunately rather ugly. Something about the look of it is just not appealing. For one thing, the characters tend to bend forward constantly, not sure why. Also, a lot of the time those backgrounds are completely cluttered to the point where you’re not sure what you’re looking at or where you’re meant to be.

Look at this screenshot:

Captain Planet Head

I’m running out of Big Giant Head jokes, you guys. Does every retro game need a Big Giant Head?! Kid Chameleon, The Lawnmower Man, RoboCop vs The Terminator and now this?

I never knew 3rd Rock From The Sun had this much impact on our society…

Basically the layouts for some of these levels are needlessly confusing and visually they’re often so bizarre that it becomes a bit of a mind-melt trying to make your way to those blasted silly-named bosses.

I mean look at this:

Captain Planet Bricks

They went through the trouble of detailing every single red brick yet couldn’t bring themselves to add features to Wheeler’s face? Come on, it’s a pixel! 3 of ’em tops! Priorities people, priorities!

Everyone needs a mouth! Am I wrong?

One level sees you walk around dark caves while jumping over moving platforms and basically doing the same thing over and over. It’s pretty darn tedious and I found that the best way to enjoy that level is to squint really hard and try to imagine you’re playing Another World

Captain Planet Another World

Watch out for that pitfa… never mind.

The controls in this game aren’t exactly pleasant but they’re varied enough: You can shoot in several directions, you can jump, crouch, the usual stuff. But compared to actually good Genesis games, they’re admittedly pretty weak.

I have to say, however, that I’m a big fan of the Footloose  function the game allows.

Captain Planet Copter

Wow! Wheeler IS Kevin Bacon!

Captain Planet Dance2

Yeah! Kick up those Sunday shoes, Linka!

Joking aside, it’s hard to take these guys seriously when they’re dirty dancing their way through every stage. I want to learn about how smoke and trash are the Devil, not rock out!


The bosses you face are pretty good in that there’s a decent variety of them from the show and although some of them are slightly challenging, most of them are a breeze. The last guy, Zarm, basically leaves once you’ve blasted him with enough… whatever Captain Planet attacks with.

Captain Planet Final Fight


Otherwise some of those villains are stupid easy, take this guy:

Captain Planet Fuel

Gee, I wonder what Greedly’s weak spot is, could it be perhaps those giant glowing red rectangles marked “FUEL”?


By the way, for the record: Fuel is Satan.

Without Ted Turner, who would have known?

Poor Kwame, I can’t believe his attack is dirt. Literally: it’s dirt. The kid basically spends his time bombarding dudes in the crotch with poo.

Captain Planet Pre-Boss2

Now that’s just excremently terrible!

(listen to the Podcastle’s 15th Episode for the origin of that sensational expression)

Whatever works, I guess.

I’ll give the game that, some of those boss battles are pretty creative. Check out this one:

Captain Planet Boss

Poor Gi, not only is she facing a guy actually called Duke Nukem (yes, as in… THE Duke Nukem) who is intimidating as hell (despite the red boxers) but she’s having to dodge all kinds of stuff while jumping from one level of the screen to the other and bouncing on those little green thingies.

Meanwhile, Ma-Ti’s just sitting around, comfortably waiting to combine his power, if you can call “Heart” a power.

(you can’t)

But once those stupid powers combine you finally get to play as Captain Planet. And it’s pretty great. For one thing he can fly so as clunky as the controls become when you do get to play as him, it’s still all kinds of cool. Plus you can make him take all sorts of Johnny Bravo-style poses:

Captain Planet Dance

Again, look at the detail on those muscles!

Wheeler STILL has no mouth lol

Then again he always was the most annoying one so I suppose it’s for the best.

For all the flaws this game has, I must admit that once you get to that Captain Planet level it is somewhat rewarding to finally get something a bit different, all these grim indoor locations were starting to get slightly claustrophobic.

Next thing you know: BAM! The game’s over. Zarm scrams, Captain Planet flies off into the sunset…

Captain Planet Ending

And the world is safe again from its most dangerous and despicable of creatures…


Captain Planet The End

I was never a fan of Captain Planet but I always enjoyed its environmentally-approved cheese, the NES game I just couldn’t get into but this Genesis attempt certainly was a step in the right direction. The game used characters from the show rather well and as a side-scroller there’s much, much worse out there. It’s far from perfect: It doesn’t look great, it’s a bit tedious to play at times and a lot of it is quite repetitive but you know what? If you like Captain Planet and retro gaming, it’s worth trying it out. It won’t change your life and it’s likely you’ll get bored of it pretty quickly but there’s some nostalgia value there at least.

Now could someone please explain to me what the hell these are:

Captain Planet Thing

I killed like hundreds of these guys throughout the game and… I’m stumped.

I mean, atoms can’t be the Devil also, surely?

Why that would mean…


*implodes into his own urethra*