Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure
Apologies for my absence this past week. You see, I attended PAX East, as I have for the past three years. Unfortunately, this year, I discovered what ‘PAX Pox’ is. Ugh. As I type this I’m still making diplomatic contact with small life forms that I cough up from my lungs. It just so happened that while I was laid up on the couch, my girlfriend discovered Boogerman for the Super Nintendo. I’m not sure if she was implying something or not.
Boogerman: “A Pick and Flick Adventure” (I swear I didn’t make this up) is a platformer game originally released for the Sega Genesis in 1994, and a year later for the SNES. I am utterly amazed that I had never played this game before, but by the end of 1995 I had drifted away from video games, instead learning about all things automotive in my spare time, but I digress. Twenty years later my sense of humor is just as bad, if not worse, so I can even further appreciate this game than I would has as a teenager.
You are Snotty Ragsdale, millionaire extraordinaire! Ragsdale had visited Professor Stinkbaum’s lab, who claimed to invent a machine that will eliminate all pollution by teleporting it to Dimension X-Crement (sounds like a fun place). During the visit, Stinkbaum sneezed, breaking the machine. An arm reached out of the dimensional portal the machine creates, taking the power source of the machine! Ragsdale, ever the aspiring superhero, ran to a restroom, changing into his alter ego, BOOGERMAN!, hoping to rescue the power source and fix the machine. (This is the weirdest back-story I’ve ever typed.)
Boogerman has several powers at his disposal. Besides the typical running and jumping, he can flick boogers at enemies and burp at them. If he eats a hot pepper, he can also FART at them, or fly with said fart power (there’s so much I could say here, really.) About 20 levels await Boogerman spread out across four worlds, filled with equally disgusting enemies (one guy is what looks like a walking slice of old pizza, another, a crusty pimple, and more). You must dig through trash to find phlegm refills (!) , climb down toilets to be transported around a level, and collect red capes, which act as armor for Boogerman.
Every world has a boss, with such creative names as Revolta, BoogerMeister, and Deoder Ant. They all look like they could be cast as extras in the TICK cartoon. Each of them has a unique attack, usually involving boogers or poop. If during your level adventures you collected enough plungers scattered about, you’ll gain an extra life at the end of each level.
Boogerman has a great look to it. The character and enemies are all really large in comparison to some games, and they are all outlined in black, which gives the game a cartoon-like vibe. My only gripe with this is sometimes the level backgrounds are TOO detailed, making it difficult to figure out exactly what is an enemy (walking pizzas) and what is not (eyeball plants). If you left the game to take a call, Boogerman will start snorting and flicking boogers on his own. It all blends together for a nice looking, if not gross, game experience. Seriously… flames shoot out of your butt as you fly. Must see.
The sound effects are just what you’d expect. Farts, sniffles and phlegm noises. It sounds like a hospital ward or the aftermath of a chili cook-off. The music is decent, with each world having its own catchy tune. The music’s novelty wears off fast, but that might be because my girlfriend was taking her time exploring each level and I was tired of listening. Boogerman and the bosses do speak to each other briefly, which is a welcome relief from screens and screens of text. The controls in the SNES port are tight, except for when hanging from vines. Sometimes it’s a little nerve-wracking trying to get into position to jump from vine to vine, or positioning yourself just low enough to collect a plunger just out of reach. The flight ability is far too short and infrequent in this game, but that’s only because I find a guy shooting flames out of his behind as he rapidly gains altitude to be pretty damn funny, so…
Overall, Boogerman is gross and funny. Beneath that grossness is a fairly decent platform game that will hold your attention for some time. It does (thankfully) have a password system that is easy to write down, as it is made up of three character sprites from the game. Continues will also pick up at a boss, so it’s not like you need to go back to the beginning of a level like in so many games. I’d hate to see this game fall through the cracks like a loogie I spit onto the sidewalk, so please, give it The Fair Shake!