♪ [“The Twelve Days of Christmas” playing] ♪ *splat!* ♪ ♪ ♪ [unwrapping sounds] “Universal Theme Park Adventure” on GameCube. A game based on a theme park that was based on movies by Universal Studios: The giant movie-making machine that made some of the greatest films of all time. From the classic monster movies of the ’30s and ’40s, to the Spielberg masterpieces like “Jaws”, “E.T.”, and “Jurassic Park”. Over the years, Universal has celebrated its movie legacy by slowly converting its Hollywood studio location into a big amusement park for the public, and destroying film history. You know the opera house set from the classic “Phantom of the Opera” that stood on Stage 28 for 90 years? Destroyed! The oldest surviving movie set in history… gone overnight, to make way for a “Harry Potter” ride. But… hey… Universal Theme Park was still a lot of fun. You go in the “Back to the Future” DeLorean, and then there’s volcanoes and shit, and then you’re riding the bike with E.T. and then the– the truck comes along and almost hits you, and then you’re on the waterfall, and then the T-Rex comes out and then– and then fucking… Jaws is jumping out of the water, and King Kong shaking the tram and then, there’s the earthquakes, and then those other movies that you don’t even know what the fuck they are, nobody cares! It was awesome! By the ’90s, this whole theme park idea was so huge, they opened up a new one in Florida. This is when Nintendo helped advertise it in the movie “The Wizard”, and then in 2001, Nintendo started promoting it again with this game. Which I think… sounds AWESOME! What a great idea, to take all these movies and put them into one, using the theme park as a way to tie them all together, and on a new, advanced console, how could you go wrong? The fuck is this shit? You’re a kid running around the park. While the graphics are fine and definitely seem to represent the basic idea of what a Universal Theme Park looks like, the camera angles are a problem. First of all, it never moves. You know how in most other three-dimensional games like “Super Mario 64”, which came out years before, the camera FOLLOWS the character around? Here, the camera is in a fixed position and only switches to another angle when you reach a certain point on the screen. So you might have to run far into the distant background or all the way up into the foreground without even knowing what’s ahead of you. So, finding your way around is a total nightmare. Sometimes when you come to a new screen, you start out in the background! You’re just a tiny dot somewhere on the screen obscured by a crowd of people! Where am I?? Oh, there I am. It’s like a game of “Where’s Waldo”. Now let’s get on some rides. What’s this? There’s a LINE?? Yes, at theme parks you have to wait in lines, but WHY’D they include that in the game?! Couldn’t they have left that OUT?! But this is even WORSE than real life, because Woody Woodpecker won’t even let you get IN the line! Even though there’s less than ten people! Could you imagine going to Universal, and the lines are THAT short? That would be your lucky day! That would be like a two-minute wait! But no! Woody’s gotta send you away like, uh, “Go away, asshole!” [imitates Woody’s laugh] Fuck you! You Woody-bunny-fucking-pecker piece of shit!! You know what you have to do to get in the line? You would never believe this… You have to pick up trash, and put them in trash cans! Has anyone ever had to pick up trash at Universal to get on the rides? What kind of idiotic idea is this? First of all, finding the trash is a hassle because of the fixed camera positions. The trash might be as small as a tiny speck on the ground. Then FINDING the trash cans, you think would be easy, but they’re rare to come by! If a REAL Universal theme park had as few trash cans as in this game, then they actually WOULD have this much garbage lying around! The worst thing of all: whenever you pick up a piece of trash… it’s only ten points! But to get on a single ride, you might need more than TWO THOUSAND points, so you’re gonna have to pick up a LOT of trash! I want to see “Jaws”! “Jurassic Park”! You have access to ALL these major franchises, but instead, they just send the gamer around collecting TRASH? What were they THINKING?!?! They should have called the game “Universal Theme Park Janitor”. Yeah, great idea. Right up there with “Super Plumber Mario Toilet Cleaner”. This kid isn’t even an employee of the park! Why would he have to pick up all this trash? Poor kid. Imagine all the stuff he has to handle! Fries that have been stepped in, wrappers that are covered in ants, paper bags that are filled with… vomited cotton candy! Ugh! Maybe he didn’t buy a ticket or something. Maybe the park has a special deal with him, like, “Okay, kid, we’ll let you on the rides for free, but you got to help us clean up all this trash.” You can also get points from shaking hands with costumed characters like Creature from the Black Lagoon and E.T. Dude! I fucking shook hands with E.T.! I mean, come on! So you get all this trash, throw them in the trash can, get enough points, and then guess what? You STILL can’t get on the rides! Because you have to cash the points in at the store, and buy a fucking hat! Remember that time you went to Universal? They wouldn’t let you on the rides… unless you wear a stupid fucking ha– [cracking up] And each ride has its own special hat! How did all those OTHER people get in the line?? I don’t see THEM wearing hats! At last, let’s talk about the rides. They’re just little mini-games that end quicker than an actual Universal ride. “Back to the Future”: You’re just flying around in a DeLorean through prehistoric times trying to stop Biff, who’s also in a DeLorean. “Jaws”: You’re on a boat, trying to throw things at the shark. Surprisingly, the camera ACTUALLY moves, but you still have no control over it. It takes forever to aim, and the shark moves WAY faster than you, so chances of hitting it are slim. You have as much luck trying to time jerking off onto a passing car! Believe it or not, this game actually makes the NES version of “Jaws” seem EXCELLENT! “Jurassic Park”: This is just a simple rail shooter. Move the crosshairs, and shoot the dinosaurs. This may have worked as an arcade game that you drop a few quarters in, not something you’d sit and play at home! Like an arcade game, it’s over just as fast, although much more expensive than 75 cents. “E.T.”: Yes, the dreaded “E.T.”, made almost 20 years after the so-called “Worst Game of All Time” on the Atari 2600. But would you believe, I shit you not, this version is FAR WORSE!! The control is SO bad, all you do is fall, fall, and fall. I CAN’T figure out these controls! It makes me look like an idiot, but I SWEAR I-I’m really trying!! Uuuugggghhhhh!! Imagine playing “Excitebike” blindfolded, with the controller upside-down coated in rubber cement while seated on a wild bull! And just when you START to get the hang of it… the game ends. “Waterworld”: Gotta include “Waterworld” whenever you’re talking about great Universal classics! This one isn’t even a game at all! It’s just a virtual recreation of the Waterworld Stunt Show attraction at Universal Hollywood, which is a GREAT stunt show! Far better than the actual movie. So for those of you who didn’t get to see it live, here, you can witness the finale, when they crash the plane into the water, splashing the front rows to an ecstatic screaming crowd of… nobody. Must be a slow day at Universal. Then there’s “Backdraft”, which is surprisingly the longest of all the games, and probably the best, or, should I say, the least worst. I feel BAD for this young kid who has to put out fires without even wearing any protective gear! As always, you have no control over the camera, and may not even see a fire until you run smack into it. The fatal flaw that destroys this almost-playable game is the confusing controls. Every time you step into another room or the camera angle changes, the joystick becomes reversed, so you have to reorient yourself and figure out the controls again. It’s a mess! And if it seems like I breezed through these really quickly, that’s because… they’re over real quickly! There’s nothing more to say! That’s all folks! They’re mini-games! Sub-games! An afterthought to the main game, which is just going around collecting garbage! A metaphor of my life!! You’d think they would have made the
RIDES the main part of the game, but instead, they focused on the whole mission of trying to get ON the rides! Which is very accurate to how the park is in real life! You ever been to Universal? All you do is stand in lines all day, and every once in a while, you get on the ride. So this captures that experience perfectly! A virtual simulation of a day at Universal, with long hours of tedium, with short bursts of excitement! Except if you were collecting TRASH the whole time!! I should also mention that the main goal of the entire game is to collect stamps. Yeah, apparently, there’s a big stamp-collecting contest going on at Universal, so every time you finish one of the rides, they give you a stamp. So shooting at dinosaurs, flying around a DeLorean, throwing barrels at sharks, ALL THAT is just about winning a stamp-collecting contest. If I went on a ride at Universal and they gave me a stamp, I’d be like, “What the hell is this?” I’ll tell you that’s ONE time at Universal when you’d see ME throw something in the trash can! Or better yet, I use the stamp on an envelope, then I’d send a letter to the game developers, asking them “How the fuck did you take SO MANY popular franchises and FUCK them up so BAD?!?!” Even LJN, when they fucked up “Jaws” and “Back to the Future”, it was one at a time! Not all at once! And that was NES! This is GameCube! I thought by now, games this horrible would be extinct! I didn’t even know it was POSSIBLE to make something so rancid! I guess we’ll just leave it at: it was a poor excuse of a game. Just a shitty exploitation to promote the theme park. But it even fails at THAT! It’s the worst promotion of all time! Have you ever seen the Universal Theme Park TV commercials? They were never like… Visit Universal Studios Theme Park! Experience the Thrill! Ride the Movies! Pick Up Fucking Trash! The only theme park on Earth where you get to clean up after everybody else! Nothing gets you closer to the movies than wearing funny hats and collecting stamps! Book your trip now! But seriously, the park’s dirty. We need someone to clean it. Well, only one more present left. You want to take a peek? Yeah, let’s take a peek. [scare chord] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!