Note: This game was reviewed on actual Turbografx 16 hardware with no emulation.
This is Keith Courage in Alpha Zones. This game is infamous because it was the pack-in game for the Turbografx 16. Many people have nostalgia for this title. My retro game collector keeps trying to sell me this game because he has so many “It’s really very good! Yuk yuk!”. Is this game on the level of Mario and Sonic? Does this game get the ever elusive Malstrom Award?
Keith Courage, which is named Keith because Keith was some bigshot at NEC and someone wanted to impress him, is based off an anime game from Japan. In the game, you walk around, dodging flying cats, getting money to buy upgrades (the flying cats and other enemies respawn), only to reach the end of the level. There, a rainbow appears, and you turn into a GIANT ROBOT. With the giant robot, you are in a darker level, a more type of underworld, the enemies are nastier buy you are nastier too. Once you beat the boss, then stage one is complete. You return to being ordinary you, dodge more flying cats, which is stage two until you reach the end. You ride the rainbow. Then you become GIANT ROBOT where you go through a dark level and kill a boss. Then it is the end of stage 2. Repeat.
Folks, I am not going to sugarcoat my reactions. I do not care about your stupid nostalgia. It is not that I merely dislike this game, I DESPISE it. This is one the most shittiest games I have ever seen. Do you remember Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the NES? That was a really shitty game when you flipped back and forth between Jekyll and Hyde levels. Keith Courage is the 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The game is THAT bad.
I hate anime. This game is based on anime. You feel retarded hopping around as a boy dodging flying cats (WTF is going on with the cats?). The ‘friends’ you talk to in your houses rip you off. You can sit around and keep killing enemies that respawn to get money, but this is a waste of my own precious life. But when you get to the end, you RIDE A FUCKING RAINBOW to turn into GIANT ROBOT. OMG, please shoot me. The GIANT ROBOT parts, the only decent part of this game, still suck. The enemies are stupid like giant pistols with legs (seriously!). There are tons of spikes which are one hit kills. The gameplay is clunky as hell.
You have unlimited continues. But do you want to continue?
This game was the reason why I didn’t buy the Turbografx 16 when it launched. It is WAY too Japanese and offends Western senses of decency. The game feels alien. It is not cool. I hear the reason for the pack-in was to target girls. But girls are smart and don’t want this piece of shit game anyway. There is nothing fun about this game. Any platformer, on any other system, on even this system, is way more fun.
Even PC-Engine fanboys cannot defend this trash called Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.
Above: This reviewer was excoriated for even saying Keith Courage is an ‘average game’. The mindlessness of the Turbo fans have no bounds.
Does this game get a Malstrom Award? No! I would rather play anything else. Even BAD games are interesting because being a shitty game is interesting. This game isn’t even interesting. This game is a Japanese Pride Parade. Fuck it. You Turbografx 16 fanboys hailing this game show you have no taste, are terrible gamers, and cannot admit you spent your childhood playing a shitty ass game.
Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.
-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-
Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)
Devil’s Crush (Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)
Galaga ’90 (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)
Gradius (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)
R-type (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)
Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)
(7) Alien Crush (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)
(6) Bonk’s Adventure (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)
Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)
(5) Neutopia (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)
(4) Bomberman (dull and boring, totally surpassed by its sequels on this system)
(4) Ninja Gaiden (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)
(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)
(1) Keith Courage in Alpha Zones (The 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)