NPG Retro Play – Amagon (NES)

Alright, so lets preface this article with a standard introduction to what this is all about. When I was a lad, my NES was the greatest thing I had. It was given to me by my grandparents for Christmas in 1990, and what a year that was. You don’t care about how I got my NES, do you? The point was that I had one. We had the games that everyone had by that time, including Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt, The Legend of Zelda and eventually Super Mario Bros 2. Unfortunately, these were the few games we actually owned. The rest of the games I played were rented from video rental shops that happened to be along the way to my grandparent’s house, where the NES was kept (See, my mother thought it would interfere with my schoolwork to have it in the house all-week-round). I just realized how boring this opening sequence is. Instead of erasing it and starting over, I am going to dive into it and ruin your childhood by destroying the games that I so “enjoyed” as a kid.
First item up for the slaughterhouse is…

In the 90’s, a little game known as Amagon wound up in my hands. The box art intrigued me, which now in my late 20s seems way more ominous than it did then. I mean, look at this guy with the gun. Who’s that behind him? Why is he behind him? What is he doing behind him? Why was I so intrigued by this cover when I was 8? Never mind all of that. Seriously, stop asking. STOP IT!

I also had no comprehension as to what an Amagon was. I had assumed maybe it was a copyright-friendly variation on the Amazon (Wait, can a forest have a copyright? Are they selling Amazon merchandise? Stuffed giant mosquito plushies? Resin statues of women who are somehow taller than I?). My curious mind took to the internet in search of the answer. My top lead was that Amagon was not in South America, or wherever the hell it is. The truth was much more shocking.

Amagon, AR (town, FIPS 1270)

Location: 35.56244 N, 91.11057 W

Population (1990): 108 (55 housing units)

Area: 0.1 sq km (land), 0.0 sq km (water)

Zip code(s): 72005

Really, though. That can’t be right.

For everyone in the world who didn’t play this game, it was a sidescroller, much alike, oh, I don’t know, 98% of Nintendo’s 65,000,000,000 games. In it, you play a scrawny dude with what appears to be a shotgun, but the guy on the bottom in the box-art pairing appears to have an Assault rifle of some kind. That doesn’t matter, really, because as I recall, none of Nintendo’s box art was worth a damn anyways.

Scrawny Dude has been tasked with surviving his journey through Arkansas with only his trusty shotgun as he disintegrates birds, bees and wildlife preserve enthusiasts who protect the birds and bees, who apparently have a very strict mating regimen. That’s what “The birds and the bees” mean, right? Recently, I had the joy of dusting off my NES (emulator) and popping in this game cartridge (ROM. See what I did there?) so I can show you first hand what the hell was going on in this God-forsaken mishmash.

Our first screenshot shows us in 8-bit detail our superbly snazzy main character with his trusty Not-gun (See what I did there too? Get used to it. I do that sort of thing all the time.) facing off against the horrifying creatures that are indigenous to the Arkansas outback. It is vitally important that you understand the dangers of the horrifying jumping mushroom.

snap010What do you do when even the drugs are behaving more erratically than you?

Along the way, you will find a copy of Quake for the PC in a tree. Interestingly enough, that was exactly how I found my copy of Quake. In a tree. Seriously. Okay, I lied about that one.

When your character grabs Quake, he is imbued with the powers that only a late-90s first person shooter can provide you. You are immediately transformed into a muscly man in tight shorts,inexplicable upper-body curves and a contradictory manly jaw to boot. Why is he so pink? I don’t understand.

snap017Ahnuld, eat your heart out.

 Eventually he realizes that Quake isn’t as deep of a shooter to warrant full-on roid rage, so he reverts into his once-smiley self and continues on his incredible journey.  Continuing with the format of an every-day Nintendo Platformer, every second level is capped off with a boss encounter that distorts a new animal every level, with the exception of the tree. That one made less sense. Each boss reminds us of the beauty in pattern recognition. I still have problems with patterns.

One level warned me to watch out for the “Skelton Monster”. I assumed they meant Red Skelton, so like a good boy, I did what the game told me and avoided him like the plague. Before long, you learn that this peaceful Arkansas island is inhabited by dinosaurs, very much like the island in that “Lost” show. No, I never watched it. I’m just guessing.


Ladies and gentlemen, Red Skelton! BEWARE!

In one of the later levels, you discover that the whole thing was masterminded by the Predators from,well, Predator. I really wish that was the case, because then I could wrap this up and call it a day. Unfortunately, Amagon doesn’t work that way and the battle wages on.

I will tell you that I never actually beat this game until writing this article. Imagine my shock when I discovered that the final boss is not a giant mosquito or jumping mushroom, but a 8-bit representation of the Flatwoods Monster, sighted in West Virginia in 1952. I was wrong all along, the game doesn’t take place in Arkansas, it’s West Virginia! No, wait, that makes even less sense.Well, what the hell then? Ah, hell with it.

When all is said and done, you character makes it to the boat he sought after for so long, and as a thanks, he flips you off to make sure he’s loud and clear that he never wants you to play this game again. I may have MS Paint edited that picture, though. Let’s pretend its real so that we can feel insulted and never play this game again. You got it, stranded man. Never again.
amaflipoffScrew you too, Amagon.

32 years old, patriot, Canadian, patriot. Voice actor for hire, writer for fun.