From American developer Tengen we have this strangely titled video game. Awesome Possum… Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt launched on the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1993.
Its reception was pretty mediocre and, up against Sonic on Sega’s console, it didn’t have much chance to steal the limelight. Ho hum.
Awesome Possum the Failed Platformer
Straight off, the thing you’ll notice about the game is its absurd title. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
Awesome Possum… Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt doubles up as a fun 2D platformer for kids, which also comes packing with moral lessons. Namely about the environment.
Now, we’re big on environmentalism and pretty anti-capitalist (boo, hiss!) at this point. And we think it’s a noble endeavour to make kids aware about the environment.
But sticking that message ham-fistedly into a video game is a great way to go about boring the crap out of young minds.
When not being lectured, players take control of Awesome Possum in a bit of a vomit-inducing carnage fest of a title.
Watching it go reminds us a great deal of Mohawk & Headphone Jack on the SNES. That’s from 1996 and was another failed “cool” 2D platformer.
Awesome Possum… Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt is also notable for its use of digitised speech, which was novel at the time.
You can hear that above, Awesome Possum just doesn’t shut up. We get the feeling this was a Bart Simpson sort of inspiration to make the possum character cool.
One of the few times we can think it was okay was in Earthworm Jim 2, but it worked there due to the limited use of Jim’s catchphrases. And the game is knowingly absurd and funny.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, the plot involves Dr. Machino. This evil bastard has sent robots to Earth to pollute the planet. It’s up to Awesome Possum to save the day!
And you can do all that whilst listening to bangin’ tunes from the game’s godawful soundtrack!
So, Tengen shoehorned an environmental message in (for some reason) and kind of hampered their chances of making this thing a success.
The game represents the desperation some developers had in the early 1990s. Invent some random 2D platform character and hope it strikes a cord like Mario and Sonic.
You can kind of understand Tengen’s reasoning. If a hedgehog and a fat Italian plumber can hit the big time, why not a possum?
The big difference being Sega and Nintendo’s games are fantastic.
Can you guess what happened here? Awesome Possum… Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt collapsed into obscurity after 1993.
Not helped by its mediocre response from the gaming press at the time.
Sega-16 magazine gave the title 2/10. Others were a bit happier with it, Electronic Games providing a whopping 93% and awarding it the best use of voice acting in a video game.
But these days it’s generally viewed as one of the worst games on the Mega Drive.
From our research, we did still see some YouTube comments celebrating the “so bad it’s good” nature of the game.
So at least some folks have enjoyed it. Hurray!