Bucky O'Hare: A Review by Valdronius
Can you name the greatest pop culture franchise that started as a comic book in the 80s, eventually became a cartoon, and was later turned into a kickass video game by Konami? If you answered anything other than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you're a fucking moron. Irregardless, this article is about Bucky O'Hare, a green anthropomorphic rabbit who followed an identical path to the Turtles, but found significantly less success. The cartoon hit the airwaves in 1991 and only survived for one single season. Despite being just another flash-in-the-pan cartoon, it spawned a lot of merchandise. I distinctly remember owning a Bucky O'Hare sweatshirt in '91, and subsequently contemplating turning the letter "B" into an "F". In 1992, Konami released two completely different video games based on Bucky O'Hare, one for the arcade and one for the NES. The existence of the latter one continues to confuse me. As savvy video gamers are most certainly aware, 1992 was also the year that Konami released one of the best SNES games of all-time: Contra III. To me, it seems rather asinine to push a game onto a system that was all but obsolete. Actually, now that I think about it, why am I reviewing Bucky O'Hare when I could be reviewing Contra III? Or one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games for that matter? Maybe we'll find out along the way.
A long time ago in a parallel universe called the aniverse, some guy got bitchslapped for forgetting the day he and his wife got married. Meanwhile, Bucky O'Hare's crew (Willy DuWitt, Dead-Eye Duck, Blinky, and Jenny) went and got themselves fucking kidnapped by the evil Toad Empire, and it was up to the fearless rabbit to rescue them. As you can see, I've effectively summed up the opening story seen in the two frames above. You really don't need any more than this. Hell, in this, and many other games, you don't even need a fucking story; you just fire up the game and shoot everything that moves. The only games that even remotely need a story lead-in are RPGs, and half the time they don't even bother. Instead, they just give you clues and bits of the backstory as you go along. In Bucky O'Hare, four of your crew have been captured and taken to different planets. It doesn't matter which order you rescue them in, so I'm going to start with the first planet, the Green Planet.
Despite being yellow, orange, and brown on the level select screen, the inappropriately named Green Plant is really only green at the stratospheric level. You see, after you land on the surface and fight past a few toads and turrets, you come to the base of a tree. This is no ordinary tree however, this is the legendary Tree of Babel. Though the tree reaches all the way to Heaven, you are forced to get off sometime before that point. High above the planet's surface, you will find the lush forests that give the Green Planet its name, but are inexplicably invisible from space. From here, you will have to do some platform jumping. Be careful not to fall in the water, because let's face it, unless you're on Venus or something, any water that's that far above the planet's surface is going to be really fucking cold. At the end of this section, you happen upon a waterfall and jump down it. What the fuck is this? I don't think I need to go into detail about the meteorological implications that this makes, but I highly doubt there would be that much precipitation, that high up. At the end of the freefall, Bucky hits the ground running and moves on to the next section. Now I've thrown rabbits over waterfalls before, I can tell you that they don't just get up and go about their lives, but whatever. The next section showcases giant green phallic spaceships which fire what I can only assume are giant gobs of sperm. If you get past the ships without being inseminated, you will reach the boss of the Green Planet.
The boss of the Green Planet is Toadborg, a powerful purple robot who is one of the top leaders of the Toad Empire. For some reason, he has the ability to summon meteors, which he then throws at you. Needless to say, getting hit by a meteor really messes your shit up. Fortunately, this guy is about as accurate as a WMD report, so if you stand right next to him, he'll miss. After that, Toadborg will run into the side of the screen, stunning himself and raining rock shards on you. This is the only time you can hurt him, because the people at Konami thought it was a good idea to teach kids to shoot people in the back. After you pump enough rounds into this idiot, one of them lodges itself in the base of his spine and paralyzes him. Huzzah!
Up next we have the Red Planet, but don't expect to see any little green men here. Instead, you'll fight fire, lava, and spikes, along with more toad soldiers. I suppose the toads are little and green, but they aren't men, they're mindless minions of the Toad Air Marshall. This level is another in a long line of games that have pits of lava spitting fireballs at you. Who's idea was this in the first place, and what were they smoking? Does this ever really happen? Somehow I doubt it. Anyway, after going through some screens that will seem eerily similar to many other other platformers, you will have to balance atop a giant green orb while dodging spikes and low ceilings. If you are successful, you will face the second boss...
The boss of the Red Planet turns out to be the green ball you rolled in on, which reveals itself to be the Toad Sentinel. One might wonder at this point why the pilot of this contraption went out of his way to help you, when he could have just left you to cross the spikes alone. I could give you an answer, but I do not feel like taking the time to explain toad psychology, at least not today. This boss, like the last, has very limited offensive prowess. He tosses bouncy warts at you, and shoots easily-dodged lasers. The only thing you really have to be wary of is when he converts back into a ball and tries to steamroll you. Even though you have to jump to shoot the pilot, it doesn't take that much to kill this guy. Onward we go, to the Blue Planet!
Remember when I said that it didn't matter what order you do the levels in? Well, it turns out I lied. If you try and do the Blue Planet before you do the Green Planet, you're going to find yourself shit out of luck. You need Blinky's weapon to break the omnipresent ice blocks and progress through this level. Therefore I would like to apologize for any inconvenience this false statement may have caused. Though frankly, I can't see what inconvenience it could have caused. I mean, if you read the first two paragraphs of this article, then stopped and suddenly rushed off to play this game, attempted the Blue Planet, then got stuck and pissed off, well, then fuck you for not finishing reading my article. My apology is rescinded. As you may or may not have guessed, the Blue Planet is an ice planet, and ergo it is covered in ice. You know, that stuff in every platformer that causes you to skid instead of stopping and lands your ass in a pit. Anyway, to make a long story short, after a schizophrenic journey through Battletoads and Mega Man 3, you come upon the third boss.
The third boss is the nefarious Al Negator, a merciless mercenary under the employment of the Toad Empire. Like those before him, he doesn't have a very diverse attack set. He jumps, lands, and fires a missile. At least I think it's a missile. It had better be, or else we're getting into the realm of furry porn and that's not a place I ever want to go. The purple alligator does have one other form of offense though. As time goes on, the room fills up with sewage, and after four missiles or so, he'll fire an ice beam, that freezes the water with you in it, and pushes you further toward the ceiling of spikes that, coincidentally, he isn't standing under. This is actually pretty bad news, because this guy takes a fair bit of mustard to kill. But never fear, kill him you will, and then you're off to the Yellow Planet to save your last crew member.
FUN FACT: My boss, Syd Lexia, still has an Al Negator action figure that he got in 1991. It is the only Bucky O'Hare action figure he has ever owned.
The Yellow Planet is like a really bad acid trip. First off, the level scrolls from right to left. Whoa. Secondly, you fly through space riding on the back of an asteroid. Lastly, while riding the carts, the world goes by so quickly it can cause headaches, nausea, and seizures; I'm not talking about the kind where the cops come and take all your drugs here, I'm talking about the even worse kind. Out of the first four levels, this one is easily the most fun and so far as I can tell, it doesn't blatantly rip off any other games. Some parts are pretty annoying, like having to ascend moving toad ships, where a misplaced jump can mean falling back to the beginning. Other than that, if all goes well, you'll come face to face with the boss.
The final enemy of the Yellow Planet is some sort of toad tank type thing. Like most tanks, this thing is pretty impressive. Its main attack fires a wave of six bullets and a homing missile at you, and good fucking luck dodging them all. On top of that, before you can do any damage to the tank, you have to destroy the satellite dish on its head. You can achieve this same effect by placing your home satellite dish on your head. It makes you invincible, try it for yourself. Once the dish is gone, you basically stand there and shoot at the blue turret on bottom, ducking into the hole when he charges at you or projectile vomits lasers at you. Once you bust up the turrets, all he can fire is the missile. Just drop into the hole, switch to Jenny, and use her psycho-kinetic ball to fry its eyes. Then rejoice! You've saved your crew! Or have you?
These and many more exciting answers are waiting for you on the next page!