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Kickman (Commodore)

DoctorSpuds

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We’ve all heard of the famous Commodore 64, so I won’t be going into any extraneous detail about it. But if there’s one thing many people don’t know about the C64… and that’s just how many games were released for it, my best guess puts the count near 17000 games, with more being discovered all the time, this thing is a serious gaming powerhouse. Instead of delving into the weird and the strange, I’m instead going to delve into the downright freaky with Kickman. Produced by Commodore under license from Bally/Midway Kickman is an arcade style game featuring everybody’s favorite thing to fear… Clowns! (The boxart is absolute nightmare fuel). So, without further ado, let us delve deep into this strange arcade conversion.

 

The graphics are overall fairly disappointing. Since it’s an arcade conversion, the graphics are fairly simple; it’s a single screen arcade game so there isn’t much to look at. The game looks very faithful to its arcade counterpart, a simple one-point perspective of a road in a city, with the skyline being the background. A quick note, I’m playing and reviewing the cartridge version of the game, not the cassette version, I feel the need to mention this because they do differ in several places including the graphics to a certain extent. You have a row of four to six by three balloons floating around the top of the screen, the balloons are several different colors, which will be pertinent later, which is nice. Pac-Man and the Ghosts make many guest appearances in the game, they look good, but you know what doesn’t? The CLOWN! Devo called, they want their outfits back. The clown is the worst looking part of the game, especially when it kicks, the whole unicycle stretches and it looks unfinished, also the damn thing is a CLOWN! And I don’t like it. The graphics get an instant fail because of the CLOWN! But besides that, there simply isn’t any substance to the graphics, it’s simple to the point of boring.

 

I would advise you mute the sound when playing this game, the 10 second loop of ‘music’ is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard from a game, it’s just a bunch of random notes with absolutely no flow, there might as well be silence. The cassette version has notably better music, thank goodness, but that still isn’t saying much. Honestly you won’t be hearing much of anything over the dreadful music so I’ll just go onto the gameplay.

 

Thankfully the gameplay salvages this game. I don’t really know what to categorize this game as, I guess the blanket statement of ‘arcade’ is the best I can do. You control a CLOWN!, unicycling around the bottom of the screen as balloons fall to earth. You cannot let the balloons touch the ground otherwise you lose a life, thankfully you can boot the balloons back into the air by using your massive clown shoes, hence the name Kickman. The first level simply has you popping balloons on your head, but from level two onwards you have to use Pac-Man to eat the balloons that collect on your head, later on the ghosts appear. You will notice that some balloons fall faster than others, the green ones which fall the fastest are worth more points, hence the difference in speed, in order of fastest to slowest is green, blue, red, yellow (Seriously later on there are screens that are made up exclusively of green and blue balloons and Pac-Men, it gets crazy). Overall the gameplay is challenging and fun, this is a fun game to get good at, unfortunately that game you’re getting good at is Kickman on C64.

 

This isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the word, but I wouldn’t say it’s a great game either; it’s sort of in the weird middle area. Then you remember that this game has CLOWNS and you realize it must BURN!!! BURN FOR THE SIN OF CONTAINING CLOWNS, F*CK YOU RONALD McDONALD YOU’LL NEVER TAKE MY CHILDHOOD!! COLLECTOR’S ZONE FOR CONTAINING CLOWNS!!

 

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Welcome to the dark side, we've got cookies! :) I think Kickman sorts under the same category as Circus or Clowns (!), a sort of a Breakout game but instead of a pad you have this clown on a unicycle.

 

You'll find better games eventually, even on original cartridge releases though due to technical limitations and production costs, the cartridge releases dried up in 1984, right when the computer games started to become more advanced and larger.

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I liked the original arcade game, it used a roller to control it (like a trackball, but only spun left/right), so was disappointed that Commodore's port didn't use paddles. I have their ambidextrous controllers, they also made ones that looked just like Atari's but with a white top-shell (paddle , joystick)

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