You know, you kids today don't know how good you've got it. I'm constantly reading reviews of various "horrible" games for the next gen systems but when I eventually get around to playing them, it turns out they aren't so bad in the first place. What I mean is that today, when even a low budget console game has a budget of several million dollars and teams of people working on it 24-7, even when the result is a total heap it's still (usually) not a complete travesty. You want a bad game? Check out Ka Ge Ki on the Genesis - now this is what a real bad game looks like.
It's a one-on-one boxing, head-punchy type game, but instead of starring normal boxers it stars these freakishly deformed little big head people. They're not Super Deformed in the traditional, cutesy sense that any student of Japanese geekdom would recognize. The characters here look more like they got the $5 caricature guy from your local carnival to do it for them. Each face is just a tad bit too realistic looking and thus come off slightly disturbing, like your Genesis has sucked you into some alternate reality populated by deformed big-headed little homunculi. Thus beating them senseless does not invoke guilt - I feel like it's more of my natural duty as God's creation to destroy these perversions against the natural order. Plus they're ugly. Look how ugly they are.
Oh yeah, you're also on some kind of mission to save your girlfriend from these big headed mutants. Apparently we just didn't have enough permutations of this particular storyline through every single game released in the second half of the 1980s. Pile on another bonehead point for unoriginality.
Anyway, we must press onwards, for this is why we exist... The graphics are somewhat detailed, and don't immediately suck too bad. When they start moving though you realize that each character has maybe two frames of animation. The way this game moves is just so utterly, horribly ghetto, it's not just bad, it's embarrassing. Unlike the usual side view, one-on-one fighter, here you have the ability to move around the entire ring (akin to Ring King on the NES, which is a much better game than this one.) Attempting to hit your opponent from above or below is a waste of time as the hit detection is an utter travesty. The damn computer has no problem belting your pathetic big-headed ass from these positions however. You get one little quick jab, and one powerful power punch that we know is full of power because it causes the action to freeze for a moment when it connects (like that's supposed to impress me or something.) However chances are you'll never get one of these off because it takes too long to wind it up, making it utterly useless unless the bad guy straight walks into it. You can also jump around, which serves no purpose except to escape from enemies. Lame.
There is pretty good use of voice samples and the like, the problem is they're the same three voice samples over and over:
"Hey, Let's fight!"
"Hmm.... he's not so bad."
Over, and over, and over again, when you knock someone down, when you get knocked down, during cut scenes, or seemingly for no reason at all. This wouldn't be so bad actually as they're are slightly better than the usual scratchy crap one has come to expect from Genesis voice samples (as in you can understand them, for the most part.) Problem is that the background music has to completely stop whenever a sample is played, which gives this jarring, fish out of water effect to the sound, like you're in some alternate reality where all background noises have to stop whenever someone speaks... I just don't know.
Which brings us to our final assessment, gameplay. Therein lies the problem with Ka Ge Ki. Weird graphics? No problem. Freakish character design? I could get used to that. Crappy animation? Bad, but not too bad. Horrible, disjointed sound? Just turn it down. But all of this plus bad gameplay is what unleashes the true, chthonian horror of this game. The A. I. is so stupid that you can beat the first seven levels by merely punching and walking backwards. The opponent walks into your fist, every time, over and over again. On level seven (of which there are only nine,) finally some challenge ensues and you have to like actually dodge around and stuff. If you're still playing this game by this time you're either a truly pathetic shut-in with no friends and should kill yourself, or like me you run a gaming website. In both cases you should probably still kill yourself.
Good stuff: The game is not infected with any strains of virulent diseases. You do not have to wear a condom when the game bootie-ranks you with it's suckatude. There is no danger of spontaneous human explosion while playing, although spontaneous head explosion is still a possibility.
The Bad stuff: You haven't been paying attention, have you?
Graphics: Freakishly deformed people are too frighteningly realistic to be cute as was probably intended. Really crappy animation makes everyone look like they're made out of paper cut outs.
Sound: Record the same three snippets onto a tape recorder, then walk around town blasting them out of a boom box over and over and over again at top volume so everyone else shuts up when they hear it.
Gameplay: Walk backwards and punch. That's some fun shit.
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