In our Game Over, Man! series, we explore the history of video games that are based on movies, one game at a time. This week, Shaun Eddleston takes a look at 1993’s Wayne’s World for the Super Nintendo…
1992’s Wayne’s World is a brilliant example of how well sketches from the legendary Saturday Night Live can sometimes translate over onto the big screen. The movie’s constant breaking of the fourth wall, lovable endearing characters and incredibly quotable script have all helped the movie break into a number of “greatest comedy movie” lists over the years.
The film was also a massive box office success, and with that success came the inevitable video game tie-in, which arrived in 1993 in the form of THQ and Grey Matter’s Wayne’s World for the Super Nintendo.
Players take control of the movie’s titular character, as he and his buddy Garth get trapped inside a video game called “Zantar The Gelatinous Cube“, in which Garth gets kidnapped by said cube. Wayne must make his way through a series of warped, twisted levels that are based on areas from the movie, armed with a guitar that fires blasts of sound at enemies.
First thing’s first, let’s take a look at the game’s graphics. Switching between some poorly digitised images from the movie during the cutscenes to a freakishly bobble-headed caricature of Wayne as the game’s character sprite, the game’s certainly a mixed bag in terms of what things look like. Wayne’s inflated, permanently grinning face is completely out-of-place sitting on top of a detail-less cartoon body, and feels as lifeless and uninspiring as what we’re about to play.
The levels in Wayne’s Worlds are huge and sprawling, but difficult to navigate and utterly confusing at times. The settings are based on locations in the game, such as Kramers Music (“Stairway, Denied!”), Stan Mikita’s Donuts (which is severely lacking in Ed O’Neill’s borderline psychotic role as the diner’s manager, Glen), and the Glassworks Bar (along with Wayne’s nutcase ex), but these labyrinth-like structures become teeth-grindingly frustrating to play through in just minutes.
This isn’t made any more pleasant by the actual gameplay either. The atrocious collision detection and platforming physics make reaching different points in each stage an absolute ballache to accomplish, even at its most basic level. I found myself trying to pull off what was supposed to be a simple jump in the Glassworks area for several minutes, as the level of precision needed to land it was so extremely tight that I was close to launching my controller across the room.
Then theres the enemies. Ranging from evil bagpipes and sentient disco balls to ducks and beings comprised entirely of donuts, Wayne’s World‘s selection of baddies is bewildering, and thanks to his weak attack power (and massive head), Wayne will fall victim to these enemies several times throughout any given playthrough, which, by the way, sees Wayne drop to his knees and yell out the “NOT WORTHY!” line over and over again before respawning.
The bosses for each area run with this “what the hell is going on” theme too, with a guitar monster, robotic elvis and flying donut beast waiting for Wayne throughout the game. What do these have to do with the movie? That’s right, absolutely nothing.
Ok, so the graphics and gameplay are a massive downer, but how does Wayne’s World fare in its sound effects and music? Surely some extra attention must have been paid here, considering that the movie is based on two heavy metal loving dudes?
The 16-bit guitar soundtracks for each stage are so repetitive and annoying that it starts to become disorientating. There is one instance of licensed music plonked into the middle of the game, and it’s a MIDI rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” during one of the game’s recreations of the movie’s most iconic scenes. Had I not already seen the movie many times over the years before playing this game, I would have had no idea what this sorry attempt at a cover was supposed to be.
The sound effects here aren’t much better either. When the game does decide to use sounds for its enemies, they’re either obnoxiously loud, or just painfully high pitched. The same goes for Wayne’s guitar attacks, which are varied in style (to a point), but the horrible noise that accompanies each blast completely just makes things so noisy that it limits how much a player will use those attacks before they reach for the mute button.
After defeating the purple jelly cube that holds Garth prisoner, the game returns to the movie’s duo as they slowly repeat the top 10 worst games they’d played in the arcade that week (the exact same one from the first cutscene in the game), then reveal the top ten “babes” that they would have loved to see in the game, then the top ten things that “make you blow chunks”. This lasts for close to ten minutes, and is probably the most infuriating and embarrassing test of patience that players are likely to encounter in any video game.
Overall, Wayne’s World is a frustrating mess of a game. Not only do the visuals and sounds fail to impress, but the game’s piss-poor controls and utterly broken physics make the entire experience almost impossible to recommend to even the biggest fans of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar’s cinematic (and SNL) outings. Everything that was charming and funny about the movie is completely absent here, leaving us with one of the most hollow games ever made.
Avoid this game like the plague.
Have you played Wayne’s World on the SNES? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or send a tweet our way!