Game 30: Badlands (Konami, 1984)

Playing rules:

Difficulty: Factory default.

Current Record holders

1st: 146,080 - Gary A.Hatt- 1987
2nd: 92,920 - Chris Smith - 2005
3rd: 18,250 - Jason W.Spindler - 2005

Welcome to the wonderful world of the “B”s ladies and gents! It’s been a long (yeah I know, TOO long) journey but we are finally on a new letter. Personally I’m delighted, if not just so I can stop playing poxy “astro” games – I trust you are too.

Right then, what’s first? Badlands.

Ok, I know this game; in the arcades a while back and indeed remember playing it many an evening on my trusty Atari ST. For those that remember it, it was a waste-land, Mad Max style version of Super Sprint with guns and stuff. Good fun it was, and as Super Sprint is one of the games I am looking forward to playing (in about a thousand years time I reckon seeing as it’s an “S”) I quite fancied a stab. Well, alarm bells started ringing when I read “Konami” instead of the expected “Atari”. Further alarm bells rang when I saw the year was a bit early and then the alarm bell fell off the wall when I realised it was an entirely different poxy game. What makes matters worse, for some reason the Badlands that I remember isn’t even in the book! My little reminiscence up there moisten the old tastebuds for some funky Super Sprint style action? Tough tits cowboy, it’s not gunna happen. Sorry, I don’t makes da rules.

Right. So exactly *what* is this game that has so rudely misled us? No bloody idea I’m afraid – so off to the trusty klov.com we go. After ignoring the second reference to the game Badlands (damn you 1989!) I find the game in question.

Well well, they are some impressive graphics you have there mr Konami san. Hang on. 1984? Just after the revolutionary laserdisc game “Dragon’s Lair”? That’s right, we have on our hands a laserdisc game, which means three things:

1. The graphics are going to be amazing, like watching a cartoon on the telly – well, because you *are* watching a cartoon on a telly essentially. It may not be that impressive these days, but I remember seeing Dragon’s Lair for the first time in the lovely Clacton pier arcade and was completely blown away. Sitting next to it was Space Invaders and Frogger I believe and they looked decidedly sheepish, as should they as the laserdisc glory was making them all look a bit soppy.

2. The gameplay is going to be pretty pump. Although by the looks of the screenshots we could be up for some light gun style action which should be fun.

3. We are well and truly fucked as far as MAME is concerned as this is a laserdisc game, which MAME doesn’t support*.

* Fuck it, usually these asterisk comments are at the bottom, but I know emulation people very well (as I am one) and I need to get in before there are fisty-cuffs. MAME has actually just recently added laserdisc support, in 0.128 I believe, but apart from making us MAME burners burn through hundreds more DVDs as the games are rather rather large, support is still in it’s infancy and not many games are available. Naturally this one isn’t in yet.

So, we can’t use MAME. May as well give up then.

HANG ON! (don’t think I left enough space to build up the suspense there to be fair, I’d have never got the job of writing the cliff hanger endings for Danger Mouse) we have the wonderful world of Daphne. Named after the lady in distress from Dragon’s Lair, this emulator has been going for ages and specialises in Laserdisc games, exactly the ticket for what we need.

So, if you want to play along, pop off to http://www.daphne-emu.com and get downloading (and give a donation if you enjoy their work as it’s a cracking project). Even better, if you don’t fancy trying to find the game image, the client has a built in torrent jobby so you can try and grab it that way, Don’t worry – I’ll wait.

Will I balls, the Laserdisc games are bloody massive.

Right, enough of the history lesson, it’s getting it bit too much and besides I’ve barely had a chance to get some sailor language in, which frankly won’t do.

So what the shitting fuck is this game about then?

Well, before we go on, forget about my misplaced optimism in point 2 above. Looking at the cabinet pictures on klov.com we find that the game’s controls consists of a single button. That’s right, no fancy plastic gun, no joystick, just a big stupid button. I’m pretty sure you could play this game with your cock, if you so wished (or indeed if you have one), so by all means feel free – to be honest the arcade designers deserve such contempt, that’ll learn ‘em.

Ok, I’m over that – to be honest I’ve played enough Laserdisc games to know that the gameplay is never that complicated so a single button probably suits it just fine. In fact it’ll probably make the game better as in games such as Dragon’s Lair the joystick works just like a bloody button anyway. As a kid I used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming with the Dragon’s Lair “wrong move” BEEP in my ears, so keeping it simple is a good thing.

Before we have a go let’s look at the records. Quite a chunky looking score at the top there from a few years after the game’s release followed by a few pretenders where clearly some bugger found one of these machines tucked away somewhere and fancied a go. As with these games though, the score really is quite arbitrary so whether the score reflects getting shot in the face straight at the start or a complete run-through, nobody knows without playing so let’s do just that.

See how I mentioned being shot in the face right at the start? Funny that as I got shot in the face right at the start.

I have a few goes and I limp away with some rather disturbing news. The main problem I have is that even though there is only the single button, it doesn’t seem to do ANYTHING useful at all. Ok, you *do* get a flash of the screen whenever you press it, but it doesn’t seem to have any bearing at all to what happens on the screen. More importantly, it doesn’t appear to be stopping me getting shot in the face. Also, as with these games, you are presented with almost random scenes, so each game is slightly different. Usually this is done to help avoid people simply memorising the timings and breezing through the game, but for a novice like myself it does nothing but keep me disoriented all the time. Saying that I get to be killed in many wild and wonderful ways different to being shot in the face, but more on that later.

It’s still not good news though, as without knowing the timings I’m doomed to getting fuck all from this game. What makes it worse is the realisation that the timings that the game deems correct are completely stupid. It’s usually a case of waiting until the last minute before death to shoot, I know that, even though it makes absolutely no sense. Picture the scene:

You are riding through the desert minding your own business when a nasty looking giant scorpion pops it’s head from behind a cactus. That’s not on at all. Shoot the nasty looking git!

*BANG!*

game: Nope, wrong timing.

The scorpion has noticed you now, shit – it looks pretty mean. SHOOT IT!

*BANG!*

game: Nope, not yet son.

Now the scorpion has made a bid. It fancies a piece of your face clearly, it prepares to leap! SHOOT IT QUICK!

*BANG*

game: No stupid, why would you want to shoot it then?

Mid leap now, you can see death in it’s very eyes as it leaps to your face, stinger primed. QUICK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHOOT IT! SHOOT IT! SHOOT IT!

*BANG*

game: Nope sorry. I can’t be sure if your timing was off that time Mr games player, to be honest I’m kinda making all this shit up, but it doesn’t matter. Because you were clearly stupid enough to try shooting the deadly looking scorpion before he noticed you and before your life was in danger I’m going to penalise you anyway.

DEAD.

fucks sake.

Final nail in the coffin is the fact that apparently the arcade cabinet itself had a physical lamp/light of some sort that gave you some help regarding when to actually press the button, which while being an absolutely welcome addition is useless without the actual machine, so we’re on to a loser whichever way we turn by the looks of it.

Never one to be discouraged however, I decide to play on a bit; if not just to watch the annoying blonde haired hero get killed in lots of weird and wonderful ways – and my word, this being a Japanese game, weird and wonderful is what you get. In fact, I can’t get my head around exactly what market this game is aimed at. It’s almost as if the game was made by two conflicting groups of people: One group making a lovely Pokemon style cartoon adventure, the other group making a sick psychologically scarring horror experience that would make even a hardened gore fan shit right there and then on their copy of Fangoria magazine. To make it even worse, the tone flicks between the two polar opposites pretty much constantly so you’re never safe.

Allow me to demonstrate using the wonders of film, albeit statically, otherwise known as “pictures”.


Here is our Blonde haired hero. Cunt.

 


What’s this? friendly looking enemies need a good talking to? UP UP and away! Cunt.

 


Fuck me, don’t remember seeing this guy’s poster! Shit!

 


Erm hang on. I was just viciously murdered by that massive toothy Cyclops bugger, the death scene was actually rather clear and graphic. Why on earth am I being carried off the screen in a comedy fashion with little more than my arm in a sling? what are those two cocks smiling about as well? OY!

 


OK, again with the comedy. I have just seen myself killed in a gory fireball, now I’m on a plate with a slightly singed hat? I don’t feel well.

 


Bloody OWWW!

 


I’m still good, I’m still good!

 


ARGHHHH! What the juddering FUCK!

 


Yeah I know. Believe it or not this is a DEATH scene, and not an anally induced one at that.

 


OWWWWW! That is just horrible, right in the chops.

 


GO AWAY! I get it, I get it! EURGGHHH

 


Fuck you buddy.

 

Oh. What? You’re still here? That would have been a lovely way to finish this, one of the best so far no less. I left a few things unanswered? Oh ok, fine. My best score was 7580, and the best time to shoot the scorpion seems to be just after he has jumped at you although I still really have no idea. Just wait for the light I reckon and you’ll be just fine.

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5 Responses to Game 30: Badlands (Konami, 1984)

  1. Nice game.

    Never seen anyway. Actually in the arcade “laserdisc” for me meant Dragon’s Lair (I & II), Space Ace and nothing more. I’ll try it sooner or later….

  2. Steve says:

    Firstly, good to have you back and good article.

    Secondly, Wow does this thing do Time Traveler? I can’t wait to see how that works.

  3. Mah says:

    *crickets*

  4. You teasing bastard says:

    You suck! Update or give the job to me!

    P.S. I hope you aren’t dead cause that would just make me look rude.

  5. ace says:

    first played this game at space world in Auckland nz took awhile to clock this game but i did it,thought this game was long gone but i was wrong,i sucked at dragon lair and space ace, but was a pro at this game funny alright………

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