Monday, August 2, 2010

VGR Greendog


Since I wasn't going to do the Splatterhouse 3 review straight away, specially after beating Splatterhouse 1 and 2 back to back, I needed a little break.
Something else to play in-between.

Here's the unexpected, namely, the Beached Surfer Dude!!

VGR: Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!
From Sega Technical Institute
Played on Megadrive
Also available on Game Gear

Type Sidescroller platformer
Year 1992

Perhaps you might remember it from my Sonic 1 VGR, anyway to show what their brand new 16-bit system was able to do, Sega needed a brand new mascot...
They organised an intern contest...
Sonic came out victorious. Even if the concept was changed (merged with other concept - Sonic was at first a simple platformer starring a cartoony hedgehog with a sidekick, Madonna, tagging along, Eggman came from his very own game concept were he was supposed to be a  "Roosevelt in pajamas" battling mutants and monsters and some other elements came from a game starring a rabbit and most of it was recycled later on in Ristar..).

But what about the other projects?

Some weren't canceled, such as this one and Kid Chameleon for example.
They simply were delayed to make place for Sega's new star, Sonic.
Greendog was yet another attempt at creating the ultimate mascot for the Megadrive.

How did it turn out?
Could Greendog dethrone the azur hedgehog?! Would it at least pack the same classic experience as Alex Kidd? Or should it stay buried in the past?
Let's dig in~

Introducing the Beached Surfer Dude!

Greendog is, like the title helps you understand, a beached surfer dude!
What the heck that is?! I dunno, imagine a young blonde Keanu Reeves with a mop for hair, orange pants and... that's it!
He's a cool surfer/skater dude, with 'tude, like most mascots where back in the day.

One day, while surfing in the Caribbean Sea, around the Grenada islands, a giant wave knocks him out on the beach.
When he wakes up, Greendog finds a strange gold necklace and, well, puts it around his neck.

But what is this?! He...He can't take it out now?!
Thankfully, a sexy mysterious gal appears and tells him the secrets of this pendant. It's a cursed Aztec pendant (what the h... is an Aztec pendant doing there?...who knows... you're asking too much questions, duuuude, chill out~).
All living creatures will attack Greendog now, since he's wearing the pendant!!
How to break the curse and take it out?! Simple!
Greendog only has to find the six legendary sacred Aztec treasurs across the islands!


Stupid animals! Always..huh..hanging around in the jungles!...?...Take that!!

Does this plot makes any sense?! Nope! And does it need to? Neither!
This plot, as simple as it gets, has for only purpose to offer the player some levels across some islands, find some temples and then leave of to the next with a treasure!

The game is a simple sidescroller, across 6 levels of 2 or more long screens.
The first island is mostly a jungle with a river, the second one more beach-ysh, third is populated and offers some city-based backdrops, then some caves-island and finally some more jungle.
All levels end up in the temples located on each island. The temples are where the levels get tricky. Lots of platforming and traps and stuff.
There are some (few) bosses, which are designed as rotating tikis with different set of weapons and projectiles.

To defeat his enemies Greendog is armed with...his loyal frisbee. Yep, that's this game's main way to attack enemies.

The game is as simple as it gets.
To play, you only need to jump and throw the frisbee!
The enemies always EXPLOOOODE when you kill them, so will Greendog if you don't take care of the health..
How does it work?! Instead of having a temporary kind of health-upgrade, like Sonic's rings of Mario's mushrooms, Greendog has a health bar.
Huh, I mean a damage-bar! It will increase until Greendog EXPLOOOODES himself! (kinda weird, the first couple of times).
You find food, after enemies and when you attack some background elements, which will reduce the damage meter.

Greendog is such a cool dude! Where does he find those wonderful toys?!

There's some neat original-elements in this game to be found!
Greendog can find a (his?) dog sometimes, and he will tag along and attack the enemies!

To travel from one level to the next, Greendog will use his very own gyrocopter. That's right, flying levels! They mostly consist on button-mashing the C-button to keep you flying and avoid incoming enemies while keeping your damage-bat clear thanks to the objects here and there.

Across your path, you'll also encounter Greendog's skates and/or skateboard! This will help you move in some places faster and easier over jumps.

Also worth mentioning, one of the islands/levels is an underwater level!

Last, but not least, you can grab some special-weapons/items to use once with the A-button. The effects will vary and it may create a shield-like defense, additional protecting frisbees and more~


Overall, it's not a very long game. Only 6 levels, which I played through in a breeze.
You have the damage-meter/bar, which is pretty original for a platformer in itself (rather than the usual hearths, etc..), lives and continues over it. I had to redo the whole game from the start only once and was able to finish the game after that!

It's pretty simple, as far as 16-bit games go, I played harder!
There's a little shooter/shmup elements, specially when you have to avoid projectils/enemies/and other stuff coming at you all at once, but the rythm is pretty easy. All you need is a little patience and some average reflexes... You gotta take things cooool~
Be smooth~

The game could have used a bit more variety. Specially for a game starring a surfer dude with 'tude. A surfing level could have been a neat addition. (maybe make the temples a little different too and more bosses)

It's not great, but not really bad either.
Anyway, you'll understand why Sega went with Sonic instead :P

It doesn't really show what the Megadrive is able of, graphic-wise it's not super pretty. Some backgrounds came out nice, but Greendog always looks off, like he doesn't belong on top of it. When you look down his sprite looks 3 times bigger than usual!!
The music is decent, ok, but not fantastic. I won't listen to it on my mp3 player if you get what I mean.

The game ends up...a bit weird... Let me spoil it a bit for ya...
Greendog finds all treasure and..wooaah dude!! It makes an ancient surfboard!!
Was it all a dream after he crashed from the wave?! The girl says it's only the beginning~

What? They really wanted to make a sequel?!

I think the game got a bit rushed on, since the guy wasn't supposed to be Sega's mascot anymore...
Finally, it's something you should give a try, maybe, perhaps, if you're a big Sega or 16-bit fan (but it doesn't look very 16-bit-ysh..). But, hey, it's not really that good. Or challenging. Nice to spend some short time on an afternoon, nothing more, nothing less.

It's easy, it's short, it's repetitive and not super pretty...

I give it:

 1.5 / 3 Segata Sanshiros!

5 comments:

  1. Like, dude! A game with a surfer dude without the gnarly surfing? Dude, that's like, totally ungnarly, maaaaan!

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  2. Duuuude, I know!!
    Bummer! That's, like, so bogus!!

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  3. Hi, I really like your page and I like your review of the Greendog game. I was the wife of the creator, Ric Green. Unfortunately Ric passed away 10 yrs ago today. Thank you for your review. I'm sure Ric would have really appreciated it.

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    Replies
    1. WHAT? My name is Lynda. Ana I was Ric's old roommate in Hermosa Beach. He actually moved into my house when he divorced. Please if you get this contact me @ lilmilgirl@aol.com. I cannot believe he passed away. We were such good friends (only friends) and lost touch after he moved up to the Hollywood hills. Please contact me. I know he had a very intelligent son. Hope he and all of you are well. God Bless.

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  4. Woah! Thankies for checkin' this out~
    It's a very well done and fun game that should have been released on more platforms (such as the current video game system).
    Not many people got to play Greendog back in the day...

    ReplyDelete