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Review: I Wanna Be the Guy Print E-mail
Written by Ryan Stepalavich   
Monday, 07 January 2008 16:00

I Wanna Be the Guy


So I hear that you wanna be the guy.


Well, my friend, you're going to have to pay for it. In spades.


I Wanna Be the Guy is a standard 2D platformer created by Mike "Kayin" O'Reilly. The hapless gamer controls "The Kid", a cape-clad youngster with a meager peashooter of a pistol and the unorthodox (and oft-used) ability to double-jump in mid-air. The Kid makes his way from screen to screen, defeating enemies and dodging traps and obstacles. On his way, he confronts famous enemies such as Mike Tyson, a crazy green Zangief from Street Fighter fame, and Mecha-Birdo, a petrifying amalgamation of metal and Super Mario Brothers 2. Sounds simple enough, right?


It's not. OH is it ever not.


A Difficult PathOne thing the gamer must understand is that they are going to see the Game Over screen so often it'll burn an afterimage into their retinas. I Wanna Be the Guy has got to be the most challenging, nigh impossible, game that has been produced in quite a long time. Hardcore NES gamers will no doubt notice a distinct similarity between I Wanna Be the Guy and the innumerable Super Mario Brothers hacks out there. These exist only to make our patron plumber die in the most horrible ways possible, up until the point that the gamer throws their controller at such a velocity as to turn back time. All this is in a meager effort to undo whatever spiteful thing was done... like birth. While I Wanna Be the Guy easily trumps that level of difficulty, so far as to make a vast majority of NES ROM hacks look like child's play, there's one thing it does that beats out all the others in terms of playability.



It's enjoyable.


Somehow, O'Reilly managed to build a gameplay system where the difficulty is agonizing, but the gamer will still want to trudge through each and every tormenting screen one at a time until they've beaten I Wanna Be the Guy (veritably becoming "The Guy"), or they've reached retirement age and have decided to spend the rest of their days gumming lime Jell-O and lamenting the "good ol' days" where they played I Wanna Be the Guy without arthritis. I Wanna Be the Guy has all the right things in all the right places. Save points are located every two or so screens (except on "Impossible" mode, where there are no save points), so death doesn't necessarily mean a few hours of backtracking. Restarting a particular section is as easy as hitting the "R" key,More Spikes! so a screwup doesn't seem to be that painful (one doesn't have to listen to the Game Over music time and again). What makes it enjoyable is the fact that the player is well aware that they are going to die. A lot. Hell, there's even a death count at the game selection screen. But, it's the achievement of conquering each screen that propels I Wanna Be the Guy through to the end. Frustrations galore, certainly, but nothing to keep anyone from playing.


The controls are decently done, using the arrow keys, left shift, and z for motion, jumping and shooting, respectively. One quirk, however, is the fact that frantic double-jumping will often mistakenly enable StickyKeys in Windows, which interferes with gameplay and usually causes some sort of deathly chaos. Re-mapping is possible, and I Wanna Be the Guy is even compatible with most gamepads and joysticks out there. For many, controller compatibility may be the crux between "aggravatingly impossible" and "Ok... just one more screen... just one more..."


Beyond the difficulty, the style of I Wanna Be the Guy is, summed up in one word, hilarious. Everything in I Wanna Be the Guy is so thrown over the edge of absurdity that even when "The Kid" is destroyed in gruesome and fantastic ways, it's hard to get aggravated as trap doors, falling spikes, and haphazard lightning bolts come out of nowhere. Gamers will be oh-so-familiar with enemies like Snifit, Birdo, the zombies from Ghosts 'n' Goblins and a myriad of other classic baddies and good guys who try to impede progress in strange and humorous ways. Such style serves as yet more incentive to get to the next screen without suffering an aneurysm midway through.


Sword!The only problem that really gets upsetting is that I Wanna Be the Guy isn't exactly the most bug-free title out there. On the one hand, this can add to the aggravation, where if it's not hard enough by itself, there are bugs that will randomly explode The Kid and just make life a living hell. On the other hand, it's just part of the ridiculousness that is I Wanna Be the Guy, and should really just be taken with a grain of salt.


I Wanna Be the Guy is an enjoyable title, difficulty notwithstanding. It's amazing that such an impossible game can draw a gamer to the keyboard time and again. Somehow O'Reilly managed to develop a title that keeps the interest going, even if the player needs extended breaks in between sessions.


I'd recommend anger management counseling as well.


Pros: Cons:
Addicting gameplay. Intensely difficult, to the point of impossiblity.
Hilarious style Some bugs can drive players insane
Great sense of accomplishment when levels are completed.  
Appropriate save point system.  


Let's Play! Magazine - Recommended Game


I Wanna Be the Guy Web Site




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