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AVGN I-II Deluxe Review

It’s no secret that many of us, myself included, grew up watching The Angry Video Game Nerd on YouTube. Created by James Rolfe and Mike Matei, the series is still going strong and still has fans excited for the future, even though I will personally admit that his recent episodes weren’t the best. So, like all long-running franchises, you know there’ll be merchandise and, today, I want to focus on the video games, in particular ‘The Angry Video Game Nerd I-II Deluxe’, which combines both ‘The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures’ and ‘The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures 2: ASSimilation’ into one package, along with a third game ‘The Angry Video Game Nerd in Tower Of Torment: The Final Chapter’. Is this package worth your money or should you spend your money elsewhere (Couldn’t think of a good AVGN quote, sorry!)

The games are part throwback to the NES era and part making fun of bad gaming tropes, like pits you have to take a leap of faith into or an entire level made to look like the Virtual Boy (more on that later) and I feel the games succeed in this area. The story’s themselves are equally as ridiculous, with the first one being a straight up parody of the infamous Cheetahman game from the equally infamous game collection Action 52 and the sequel involving the world turning into a “s****y” video game. I do feel that the stories for the games would be labeled as ‘cringy’ and ‘edgy’ by non-AVGN fans and that I feel is the biggest issue with the game on a whole: This game was made for fans of both the AVGN and his brand  humor and, if you aren’t aware of that or you’re not a fan of the style of humor on display, than the stories will be seen as very childish. Same time, I can see some AVGN fans being turned off by some of the humor on display here.

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The gameplay is basic and is very easy to get a handle on, even though there are elements that annoy me, but more on those later, and that was something I actually enjoyed. A lot of the time with these NES throwbacks, they try to make the game more complex and more akin to modern gaming conventions, so having a throwback come along and remember that those games were simple to play is a nice change.. One thing I thought was cool was, instead of power-ups, the first game lets you switch between the AVGN and, once unlocked, his three friends, each one offering a unique ability, like Mike who can jump the highest and The Bullsh*t Man who can deal the most damage. The first AVGN game also includes two special rare power-ups, those being the Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin which can freeze everything, save the Nerd, on screen and Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. Version 4.0 Beta (wow, that’s a mouthful), the game’s BFG-9000 who also makes a return in the sequel. The second game forgoes different characters and introduces permanent upgrades you can collect and these are very reminiscent of the Mega Man X franchise, enabling new powers such as wall jumping (which I will admit did trip me up a few times) and a charge shot. Both games' power-ups are fun and do help in a pinch, though I will admit I didn’t find the hidden characters in the first game as, admittedly, I actually didn’t know they were in the game until writing this review. Whoops.

One other thing I’ll praise are the levels and music. The levels are, for the most part, fun to playthrough, outside of the above issues I mentioned, and I liked how each one was themed to whatever game or topic it was parodying. Like ‘Assholevania’ in AVGN 1 being a reference to Castlevania and how ‘Browntown’ in AVGN 2 was inspired by the NES TMNT game. The music, as well, is honestly some of the best chiptune I’ve heard in any NES-style game in a long while. While most of them were remixes of the AVGN theme, they all had this kick-ass melody to them and I found myself bobbing my head along to the rhythm. There was even one track, I swear, would be right at home in the N64 title ‘Mischief Makers’ and any game that makes me think of that under-rated classic gets a +2 in my book.

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My biggest issues with the games are twofold: Some questionable design choices and the humor. While I did grow up playing NES games and understand that many of them were hard, I never got the impression that they were hard for the sole sake of being hard and that’s where I think the AVGN games kinda fall flat. While most of the hits and deaths can be avoidable, many of them won’t be, especially from the indestructible enemies and the notorious instant-death blocks. Those blocks I honestly have no idea why they were included and they really hurt my enjoyment of the game. On their own, they’re OK and easy to avoid, but there were some levels where trying to avoid these blocks was a game on its own, especially in AVGN II when one level had a spinning fire pillar that, I swear, caused most of my deaths in that level. Some of the levels also had gimmicks to them that, on paper, sounded pretty cool but, in execution, were a royal pain in the ass. There’s one level in the first AVGN that had blocks that were illuminated only by your character standing on them and one level in the sequel that was a full-on recreation of Virtual Boy graphics.

As for the humor, as mentioned earlier, this is something that I can see being a problem. If you didn’t know who the AVGN was and wasn’t familiar with his brand of adult humor, then you may find many of the jokes in the game annoying or, at worst, juvenile; Some reason, this game loves its toilet and fecal humor as every stage in the games have some reference to said bodily function. Now, I did grow up watching AVGN and I did have a good understanding of his brand of comedy, but honestly, it did grow tiresome after a few minutes. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like all the humor as there was some that got a laugh out of me, like I liked how the AVGN character reacted to various events in the game. But there is one level in the first game that I doubt even the biggest AVGN fan will like. The best I can say about it, without breaking any ratings, is that it involves the notorious “Adult” games that were present on the Atari 2600 and I actually got grossed out by the level, which is something that rarely if ever happens to me in any game I play.

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I do have one other issue and this, I will admit, is more of a nitpick than anything: The inclusion of Fred Fuchs. I just don’t get the fascination with this guy. For those not in the know, WAY back in 2008, AVGN did a review of some Dracula games for Halloween and one of the games showcased was ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ on the Sega CD. In it, he was watching the credits and saw one of the names was Frederic S. Fuchs or Fred Fuchs and, nerd being nerd, pronounced it as ‘F**ks’. At first, this was just a simple mispronouncing name gag and nothing really came of it. Except, in later episodes, he kept referring to Fred Fuchs in some way, culminating in the episode spotlighting ‘Life Of Black Tiger’ where he was played by the late Gilbert Gottfried. Well, anyway, he’s the main villain in both games, replacing the Nostalgia Critic in AVGN II, and I just gotta ask again: What is with the fascination with Fred Fuchs? Maybe I’m just thinking too hard about this or maybe this summer heat is making me think funny, but I really just don’t get the fascination with this guy’s name, outside of saying it wrong.

Still, I gotta admit, as someone who’s, admittedly, a bit tired of the NES throwback-style games, this game was pretty fun! Yes, there were parts that frustrated me but, overall, I had a good time playing this game and I do see myself returning to it a few more times.


DJ MetalWolf
Author: DJ MetalWolf
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