(A long while back - as in, say, three or more years ago - Zartan sent me something for this site that I never got around to doing anything with. So I figure by this late point, it deserves to be covered in a full shit-on Zeroes ripoff style, as a simultaneous attempt at homage and apology. Grab your whiskey and let's get this over with.)
|Christmas of 1989 saw many parents faced with a dilemma. The kids are
saying they're tired of Nintendo. They want a new video game system, citing
that the new ones have twice as many bits, or something, and that the games
looked sharper and played better and such. So to the stores parents went,
to choose between giving their child a normal upbringing with the Sega
Genesis, or to render them permanently warped and broken with a TurboGrafx-16.
My dad - dear old awesome dad, who was able to talk mom into just about
any major video game purchase since the Duck Hunt department store parking
lot temper tantrum of '85 - was lucky enough to see the systems compared
side-by-side in a store display right around Christmastime that year. Available
for play were each system's pack-in titles - Altered Beast and Keith Courage
in Alpha Zones. After watching each game's attract mode for a short while
and playtesting both for a bit, my dad had a pretty well-formed opinion
of each console and knew exactly what he would want his kid playing. Now,
other, less-savvy parents may have had trouble making the decision, and
may have in fact purchased the wrong console for their soon-to-be disappointed
and spiteful kids.
Dad, however, wasn't retarded, so the decision was an easy one for him. We went with Genesis all the way, and were entirely happy with everything Sega fed us...well, until the SegaCD came along, anyway. But that's a story for another day. Maybe one that I'll actually fucking finish soon. Really, I'm still thinking about it.
Now, while the poor children who were forced into an alliance with the TurboGrafx may have unwillingly given up the chance to grow up and lead normal and well-adjusted lives, they were at least given some consolation in a mini-comic that was included with Keith Courage. Zartan was nice enough to send me his copy of the thing a long while back, and while it isn't quite as cool as the thirty-minute unreplayable thrillride that was Altered Beast, it's still fairly interesting for its own merits.
SO LET'S HAVE A LOOK SHALL WE
|Well, considering what era this comes from, I guess this isn't too
bad as far as cover art goes. Remember now that the world was still reeling
from the whole Mega Man debacle, but things had drastically improved since
then. Europe, though, would continue to suffer for years to come.
Anyway, depicted there on the cover is our hero, Keith Courage, in a somewhat constipated-looking pose. Note the INNER CONFLICT on display; shadowy images depicting the sides of good and evil loom behind Keith, causing him enough inner turmoil to raise his fist in the air and cut loose with - one assumes - a hearty BUHHHH
Curiously representing good and evil in this case are some Gundam-looking thing and...Satan? Eh, works for me, I guess.
|I enjoy the look of dull anguish on everyone's faces here. It doesn't
indicate sheer terror as much as it does a reaction of "OH...no?"
One thing that I'm starting to hate is how these made-up dates for future apocalypses in video games are rolling around more and more often as the years go by. Not because it inspires me with fear that THE END DAY is nigh, but more for the reason that it makes me feel really fucking old. Seriously, consider at one point that the year 2004 was an impossibly far away date for whoever made this comic some, what, fifteen years ago? Good CHRIST, we are old as shit.
As depressed as this makes me now, I just know I'm going to find myself looking at this comic again some years from now as I sit alone in my leaky one-bedroom apartment - bemoaning the consumption of the last of my canned tamales - and be like "yeah...2004. I sure wish I had been killed by a meteor right about then."
|Yeah, ha ha, dig that late '80s lingo there! Teehee, he said DUDES.
Can you BELIEVE that shit? It's funny because people actually used to talk
(no they fucking didn't. stop thinking that, stupid.)
Believe it or not, almost every creature on this page is represented in the game somewhere, which is kinda cool if only for the comic's uncharacteristic accuracy. To its credit, the game at least has some acceptable character graphics in places, stupid freaked-out blobs and spinning kittycats nonwithstanding.
That mewling purple head is just about the saddest thing I've ever seen, though; his sputtering lends somewhat of a plaintive touch to this otherwise very menacing portrait of bad alien dudism. Poor guy. I can't see how that thing would be at all a threat to Keith Courage either, unless Keith's armor is vulnerable to phlegm and vomited blood.
|Today, the members of N.I.C.E. meet to hopefully decide on a significantly
less faggy name for their organization. I'd make up another clever acronym
to replace theirs with if I didn't already use up that kind of creativity
in high school; an assignment in this one class I took once required a
made-up company name of the student's own creation, and mine was D.I.C.K.H.E.A.D.S.
Yeah, real subtle, I know. The (even in retrospect, amazing bitch of a)
teacher didn't think that was as clever as I did, though, and ended up
getting me suspended. She didn't count on the passive-aggressiveness of
a wronged honor student shining through when that year's class-signed Christmas
card came back to her with "eAt ShIt aNd DiE" written on it, though.
She gave me a talking-to about it outside class soon after - about how she knew it was me, and how she wanted to let me know that what I did was unacceptably awful. This was one of the more difficult moments of my life, since she - this tiny fat black lady about a foot shorter than me - was wearing a pair of red felt jingly reindeer antlers at that particular moment, and every time she would emphasize how she COULD get me in TROUBLE but she was feeling FORGIVING, her head would jerk forward and the antlers would emit a soft happy jingle. The fact that I was able to stifle my laughter for five full minutes of this proves that I'm a better fucking human being than you will ever be.
Anyway uhhhhh Keith Courage right okay.
|Hey wow, that doesn't look at all awkward. I love how NEC tried to
shoehorn such a lame story into a game based on an anime property in Japan
for its US release in an attempt to assure the player that no, this rad
American game full of tubular alien dudes or whatever has absolutely nothing
to do with those damned Japs, who can't begin to fathom our ideas of what
is and isn't awesome.
oops how did that get in there um well see it's uh OH SHIT NINJA-ENDO SABOTAGE
Also, I like onomatopoeia as much as the next guy (the *SIZZLE* of...whatever that thing is back there is particularly energizing to the senses), but I have to wonder why Keith's father's protruding metal crotch is making a *POP!*ping noise. Should probably get that checked there, dad. You're getting up in years, and that robocock of yours ain't what it used to be.
|Oh, there's that gurgling purple head again, this time looking more
ready for action. Not that he's capable of much action beyond scraping
across the ground and, like, being a creepy disembodied head, but
you know, it's nice that he's just putting on a brave face for all of us
HIS TERRIBLE SWIFT SWORD "CRACKS" WITH THE SOUND OF LIGHTNING. I really like that sentence, it's just so descriptively enthusiastic about the source material, and you have to admire that. You'll notice that his sword is actually cracking with more of a *KZAK!* here, but hey, close enough.
|It's a critical design flaw that's often overlooked - you really should
make it a priority to ensure your supersuit's disposal hatch is well-protected,
if only to avoid being victimized by Beastly Alien Dicks.
(alternate observation: lol he got lazered in the butt)
After the rape happens, dad is not just wounded, he is PAINFULLY wounded. I've always believed, personally, that the more adjectives you have in something, the better off you are. The last caption would read better if it instead said "HE AGONIZINGLY REVEALS THE MYSTERIOUS SECRET OF THE TOTALLY KICKASS NOVA SUIT AND ITS WICKED AWESOME NOVA ROCKIN OUT FORCE TO THE DESPONDENT KEITH AS PAINED TEARS OF SORROW STREAM IN CONCENTRATED RIVULETS DOWN HIS LARGE BEEFY FACE."
|Check it out, it's Rage's
I desperately want I, TOO, WILL HELP! to become the next big catchphrase. It's so fantastically stupid - try saying it with a gruff, sort of Englishey accent, the one you would use if you were saying something like YOU CAN COUNT ON MY STEEL. It'd be great if it caught on, maybe not to the extent that IT'S OKAY TO BE GAY! did (good God the buttery horrors that unleashed), but I'd settle for a subtle, restrained usage, maybe along the lines of GET A LIFE! BEYBLADE RULES!!
Now if you're like me, this thing may have left you wondering what kind of fuckhead was responsible for it. Luckily, unlike what was the case with Johnny Turbo, finding out who did the art was pretty easy - the text in the margin clearly credits one Steve Vance, who after some rudimentary googling, you'll find that - oh no - he's the asshole who draws all that kitschy pulp comic book style bullshit you see everywhere now. I mean, Jesus, he was riding high with Keith Courage and now he's doing that...how low can one man go?
Anyway, enough of this bullshit, me and Monkey Donkey are just about ready to catch the night train out of town, if you get my drift. In closing, Keith Courage fucking sucked, just accept it already.
Sega, I fucking mean it, NO