By Frank (TheRedEye)
When 18th Century author Charles Perrault converted an old French folk tale into what has become known as the story of Little Red Riding Hood, he left out a lot of its original horror elements. Gone from his consumer-friendly, candy-coated version, for example, is the title character's unknowing consumption of her own grandmother's flesh, along with the odd sexual connotations between herself and who she believed to be her grandmother ("Where shall I put my skirt?" "Throw it in the fire; you won't need it anymore.").
We can't blame Perrault for his censorship. Nor, indeed, can we blame society for forgetting the story's origins. The plain and simple truth is that folk tales such as this simply were not committed to paper, and therefore have a much shorter lifespan than, say, a publication by Mr. Perrault. Sadly, we will never know some of the horrific earlier versions of the tale, as they've all died with their accompanying storytellers.
Or have they?
Sachen, who I'm still convinced is just some guy in his apartment, seems to have uncovered a lost version of the tale, one far worse than any previously unearthed. Determined to return Little Red Riding Hood "to her roots," Sachen devoted an entire weekend during a cold, dusty 1989 holiday season translating the tale into the most popular art medium of the time, the Famicom cartridge.
And thus, the horror known as The Little Red Hood was born.
The Digital Press Collector's Guide lists The Little Red Hood as the "worst NES game ever made," and with good reason. Depending on your patience and ingenuity, playing The Little Red Hood will either result in lots of derogatory yelling and cursing, or in lots of derogatory yelling and cursing with added property damage. Either way, somebody's getting hurt, and it's probably going to be whoever's holding the controller*.
* A rare exception being when I accidentally hurt my mom's feelings by yelling "The Little Red BITCH" as she was organizing her secret communist meeting/Tupperware party in the next room. I'm sorry, Mom. When Sachen's involved, we're all victims.
Playing the part of the title character, your goal is to trudge your way through eight levels, using only your abilities to kick trees and screech very loudly in defense against the self-replicating child rapists and forest creatures who stand in the way of your holy quest to find Grandma. Granted, the premise isn't much worse than most Atari games, and could, in theory, make for a joyful experience.
But it failed. Oh, did it fail.
As if the eyesore graphics, numbing
"soundtrack" (one entire track!), and terrible concept weren't enough,
the gameplay is one of the most fucked up, awkward premises I've experienced in
my brief stint as a Red Eye. Most players, experienced or not, won't make it out
of the first level. The steps you must figure out are so mind-numbingly insane
that, seriously, on three (THREE!) occasions in the past, I spent at LEAST a
half hour traversing the expansive two-screen width of level one over and over,
trying to find the way out of the vision of
hell it was presenting to me. The aforementioned child rapists crawl out of the shadows, walking in awkward, programmed patterns, hoping to bump into you. Scorpions and porcupines hide under rocks, striking whenever possible. Demon goat dogs waddle along and eat humans, only to find that exact replicas are spawning from far beyond, in the realm of mystery. And what's worst is that there's NO APPARENT ESCAPE. Occasionally you'll float up to the sky to grab money from the clouds (thank you, Nintendo Logic), but this is brief. Sometimes you'll find a path underground. Maybe you'll even find a key down there which, according to the instruction manual, should be enough to advance you to the next level.
But it's not. Oh, is it not.
I'd estimate that about two hours of total gameplay was put into level one before a friend pointed out to me that kicking the trees produces fruit. Sweet, bountiful fruit.
I consider myself to be of reasonable intelligence. I really do. But forcing you to collect an unspecified amount of fruit, using a method only people named Adam would ever dare to experiment with, and NOT MENTIONING THIS REQUIREMENT IN THE MANUAL is really screwed up. Thanks a lot, Sachen.
I hate this game. I hate it with all the fibers of my being. I hate it so much that it's not on my Christmas card list anymore, because it reeeeally pissed me off.