Action 52: 52 moments of pure HELL.
I am finally ready to review this game after strenuous research and know enough (more than I have ever cared to know.) to give details for this plastic nightmare of a cartridge. But first before I give a description for each game, I will reveal the background story on how Active Enterprises got started.
Active Enterprises was founded in 1989. The brainchild of Vince Perri a young Burger King manager and College sophomore at Miami University. Perri got the idea for "Cheetahman" from *Cough* The Ninja Turtles of course in which he was a huge fan of. Perri wanted to get rich quickly and dreamed of the Cheetahman becoming the next popluar franchise, envisioning action figures, Saturday morning cartoons e.t.c Throughout 1990, Perri pitched his idea to various game publishers and was pretty much laughed at by everyone. Since no publisher wanted to touch the Cheetahman idea with a 10 foot pole. (I mean seriously, Who the hell wanted another Turtles clone when we already had Battletoads?) Vince asked his roommate Raul Gomila( a young Pilipino man who ran a piracy agency for selling bootlegged NES games in the Philippines, Taiwan and China) if he could get his agency to design a Cheetahman game for him. Gomila happily obliged but soon after, his agency declined because they were afraid of legal action. Around this time, Perri saw one of Gomila's many bootlegged multi-carts and was inspired to sell one with 59 original games with Cheetahman included. The game was originally going to have 60 games, but Gomila discovered that US NTSC NES ROMS were limited in their space, so it had 52 hence the name "Action 52".
Action 52 was designed in just a 3 day weekend in June of 1991(which explained why the game was so bad it was made in three days!) the games were programmed by Raul and a couple of his college friends at his home in Sarasota, Florida inside the young man's gotdamn basement. Because he didn't have access to a normal NES development kit which was normally an Apple IIGS,MSX, or Amiga 3000 16-bit CPU, he used an old dated Atari ST. Gomila wrote each name for each program and couldn't spell very well, so he misspelled quite a lot of words. Also, each idea was made while he and his friends were drinking and pulling out Pictionary and Outburst cards. None of the men knew how to beta test and debug games. Gomila then sent the unfinished product to AE headquarters in Nassau, Bahamas and Vince Perri wasted no time in slapping a $200 price tag on it, designed the box art and Cheetahman book, along with the ad for Cheetahman action figures. Action 52 shipped on September 2, 1991. AE had about 10 employers.(all financed through the young GOP association and Saudi Arabia .) They initially wanted retailers to order 200 units, but most stores only ordered 10 or 15 units knowing damn well a game that expensive wasn't going to sell. Because of this and because AE had no money for advertising, the game received little distribution being only available on the east coast and was ignored by the gaming world and consumers alike. AE had about 200,000 units of Action 52 for the NES but only sold about 3 or 4 copies of them. That's right, it was a commercial failure. In early 1993, Raul Gomila fearing citations for his involvement in game piracy commissioned a small developer named FarSight studios to do the Genesis version of Action 52, this version turned out to fare much better but was still a poor quality product, AE also planned a SNES version of Action 52 and a Sports game called "Sports 25". By 1994, AE was facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They tried to fool game consumers by claiming that they were developing a handheld adaptor called "Action Gamemaster" which would had worked with a NES, Genesis and Super NES. They claimed the adaptor would sell for about $500 and even had a foolish and laughable mockup drawing showing it to be the size of a microwave. Of course people at CES 1994 laughed their asses off at AE knowing they didn't have the time, money, R&D or knowledge for such a thing. And so, AE closed down and disappeared soon after. Vince Perri returned to Burger King and now works as a car salesman in Miami. Raul Gomila fled to Singapore after facing numerous citations for distributing illegal material.( Good, Stay out of this Country!)
So there you have it, AE's sordid history. You probably already know all the reasons why this thing sucks so bad so I won't go into details, about the terrible graphics, poorly designed levels, annoying music awful controls and unplayable gameplay. But I still have to give a description for each game:
1. Fire Breather. Could I play 1977's Combat instead? In their first attempt at a game, AE tried and failed to knockoff Atari's 1977 2600 launch VS title "Combat". They probably would have succeeded had they bothered to program an actual A.I. But because this game can only played with 2 people, you're outta luck. Unless you can find someone crazy enough to play this with you.
2. StarEvil. THIS GAME IS HIDEOUSLY EVIL. It's my most HATED and despised game on the cart and the very first in a colleague of abysmal space shooters. Whenever you start the game, you automatically run into a block that kills you immediately after pressing start! It's on EVERY LEVEL. What the hell were the programmer's thinking? That's just cheap, unfair and lazy. Once you move past the block, you see that the game reeks of being a poorly made piece of garbage, because it's shoddy, broken, and it CRASHES AFTER 4 LEVELS! After that, just give it up.
3. Illuminator. Popeye Arcade for retards. Take the '82 arcade hit Popeye, remove all the fun and good music and replace the levels with dark levels designed where you can't see where you're going and random cheap deaths.
4. G Force FGT. Pink Sucks. Space Shooter #2. Just move your pink ship to the bottom of the screen and you can't lose.
Ooze. Your brains will be oozing out of your ears after playing this rotten excuse of a sweepstakes game. It was the game that AE was proud of. Not only does it have its own title screen, there was also a sweepstakes contest where anyone who could beat all 5 of the game's levels could win $104,000. Like most sweepstakes, there's a catch where you can't win. Because the game crashes after level 2. Anyway, this game is terrible. The controls are just horrendous. Not only is B jump and A shoot, but when you jump, you have to press B and THEN press right on the D pad just to get across. Trust me; the abominable controls ruin the fun. Pity any poor sap who spent $200 on this.
6. Silver Sword. Poor man's Zelda. Basically Zelda with Atari 5200 graphics, poor enemy placement, bad hit detection, sprite glitches that screw up the gameplay mechanics and enemies that have the ability to randomly spawn in front of you no matter what.
7. Critical Bypass. You'll be needing critical bypass surgery after playing this heart attack inducing thing. Another space shooter, a horizontal one with poor collision detection, bizarre level sprites that cause eye strain and random cheap deaths that will make you want to break your controller.
8. Jupiter Scope. BOOORING. Boring dull ass, Space Invaders rip-off. You get the picture.
9. Alfredo. An infamous broken platformer so bad that it DOESN'T EVEN WORK on most ROMs. And on the NES itself, it'll work seldomly. It's a poorly done platformer where you kill pasta. But since it's so damn glitchy, its rare that you complete it. The game will crash after 20 minutes anyway.
10. Operation Moon. No. Just no. Pitiful attempt to rip-off Jackal. With sluggish controls, broken hit detection and bullet sprites so badly programmed, that you can't see them which as a result can kill you randomly.
11. Dam Busters. DAMN what an awful game. Play a beaver shooting tomatoes at other beavers. Could someone please make sense of this crap?
12. Thrusters. WHAT IS UP WITH THESE ANNOYING SPACE SHOOTERS? Take Xevious or Life Force, suck out all the coolness of it, screw up the collision detection and glitch up the 2 level where the game will flicker and glitch up if you die.
13. Haunted Hills or Halls. Jill of The Jungle, She is not .You play a big breasted lady, killing lame Halloween themed enemies, with bad jumping controls, poor enemy placement and corners that can kill you. Y' know, I long to play that '91 MS-DOS game "Jill of The Jungle". Sure it didn't have any music, but Jill of The Jungle is a GREAT game. This is a piece of crap.
14. Chill Out. No, I won't. Donkey Kong –like game with Eskimo's that kill each other with snowballs, with Ooze controls, horrid hit detection and you can die by jumping in mid air. I'll stop now.
15. Sharks. They even made JAWS look good. That's right; it rips off JAWS for this NES. But that's pretty lowbrow if it can even make JAWS look great. It's boring, it has the visuals of an Atari 5200 game and the Sharks themselves rarely show up. Not worth your time.
16. Meglonia. NOT ANOTHER SPACE SHOOTER! They took game #4, copied it and made the boss glitchy enough where it doesn't show up sometimes, making you get stuck.
17. French Baker. Play Burger time instead ,please. Takes the 1982 arcade smash Burger Time, adds a bakery theme to it. Makes it suck with poor enemy placement, glitchy levels, shoddy gameplay and the ability not to be able to jump at all whatsoever.
18. Atmos Quake. WHY DOES THIS CART HAVE SO MANY SHOOTERS? It's the same game as StarEvil, and while they removed those annoying as hell instant kill blocks, that doesn't mean this game doesn't suck ass. Because it still does. You see, the collision detection is still broken and once you reach a certain point. The game will kill you on every spot randomly for no reason at all whatsoever. I'm serious on that one.
19. Meong. Could someone please tell me what the hell is going on? Rips off Minesweeper. Ah, but there's an extra bonus, you die everytime you move to the next square.
20. Space Dreams. When babies have nightmares. Another annoying space shooter and one with a baby theme to it where you play a pacifier. With voodoo dolls, safety pins letter A's and teddy bears as enemies and a nearly invisible circle that will kill you everytime you touch it. Yup.
21. Stremeerz. Money is the root of all evil. Take Bionic Commando, Spiderman. Give it a party theme, now make the game subpar, half assed, badly designed and programmed with glitchy platformers and pointlessly cause the items to hurt you. Don't touch the money or you'll die.
22. Spread Fire. Time to toast this lousy cart. Space Shooter #10 I guess? You play a Lobster shooting at randomly designed enemies, with a pitiful lazily designed black background, no music and where some of the enemies can't be killed. I literally have NOTHING left to say about this one.
23. Bubblegum Rossie or Rosy. They tried. They really tried and FAILED. A half assed platformer with a girlie theme to it. You play a little girl shooting bubblegum at enemies that seem immune to your weapons, spikes can't hurt you. The Ooze controls are back and there's a jumping platform that's nearly impossible to get past, once you do after 15 months of trying and finally succeeding. You learn the game isn't that much better and then you just give up.
24. Mirco Mike. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? Umm, I can't explain this one. You play a tiny…..thing or something but you move so fast that you'll always crash into a wall and die in which everytime you do, you'll turn into what looks like a man's genitals. This game is so hard to play that you'll quit halfway through the first level.
25. Underground. Programmed by the KKK. A pathetically bad platformer in which AE tried to rip-off Dig Dug and even failed at that. Not only is this game riddled with serious glitches and poor programming, but it has loads of racial undertones. Look I'm not trying to be P.C. but the music scares me and the fact that your character looks black and can be killed randomly mostly by the poor enemy placement, just gives me distributing questions.
26. Rocket Jockey. Space Lasso. The easiest game on the cart. Just 2 levels and that's it. This game can be completed in 2 minutes. That's all I have to say about that.
27. Non-Human. NON GAME. This is the WORST GAME of ALL TIME. You play as a….a... I don't know where you jump from platform to platform trying to avoid falling into a purple abyss with Liberace heads or something, with Ooze controls, and with only one level the game feels like it was only %20 finished. FAIL.
28. Crybaby. Stop taunting me! Play a baby climbing on furniture, shooting enemies with milk, you can't put out fire that can hurt you and if you're an inch off a platform, you die. Were they even trying?
29. Slashers. BAD Double Dragon Rip-off. You play some tough guy walking on a rooftop getting into fistfights with some guy that looks like he's some red dude and a scantily clad woman. And you can just walk past them as it gets monotonous. Stop. Now.
30. Crazy Shuffle. More like Crazy and Stupid. Although it sounds like a card game. It's not. It's another shooter! So what else is new? Except this one is just HORRENDOUS. It's hard to explain. You play a tiny dot shooting at other dots in a maze or something. The collision detection is messy, you sometimes die, the graphics are horrid, the music is nightmarish.(Worst game music EVER. ) and the game itself is just stupid and unexplainable. I'd like to wonder how the hell this could have gotten made.
31. Fuzz Power. This is stupid. What were they smoking when they came up with this? It's a platformer where you play a fuzz old hobo who kills hair products.(No, I'm not making this crap up.) his hair is his lifebar and after 3 hits he dies. Also when you get to a certain point, there's an impassible jump. Probably the stupidest most unplayable game of all time.
32. Shooting Gallery. CRASHING Gallery. It's a shooting gallery where you shoot at farm animals in some mini game that uses Intevillision graphics, with no music, non existant sound, you can't die and then BAM! The game crashes after 30 seconds. What's really pathetic is not that this cart can't even run a simple 8-bit engine from the late 70s, but that AE didn't even bother to hire a game tester and didn't even try to learn how to test games before they released them.
33. Lollipops. There's no Lolli here. Another lousy, poorly designed platformer where you play a guy that kills things with his lollipop, terrible jumping controls, glitchy levels and enemies and if you're a pixel off, you die for no reason.
34. Evil Empire. I guess you play some guy trying to stop Aladdin by climbing up ladders, your sprites are the sizes of ants, and you die by jumping in mid air. At least they were trying.
35. Sombreros. Mexican themed GTA. Let's see. You play a guy in a sombrero shooting down cars with rocks and everytime you kill something it turns into a hat. Plus the game has only two levels so it can be completed in 5 min…Come Action 52, give us a challenge.
36. Storm over The Desert. Not fun, not American. You're a tank that can kill Iraqis and take down pink enemy tanks and giant Saddams. You can't die and it gets repetitive VERY FAST.
37. Mash Man. Hideous Fuzz Power clone. Except that you have clothes, big feet. Ooze controls and if you jump a pixel off, you die. So close yet so far.
They Came. And after they arrived, my game crashed. This is basically a catastrophe of an Asteroids rip-off that crashes either after 35 seconds of gameplay or right after you die.
39. Lazer League. Bad Spelling= Bad Game. This shooting game had so potential but failed due to linear gameplay , bad physics, and a poorly programmed midi note that sound like it got stuck.
40. Billy Bob. Shameless Prince of Persia rip-off. It tries to execute a POP-esce concept, not only does it fail, but because of the terrible controls, poor hit detection, poorly placed levels, lack of music and lack of originality. It's just sad, really.
41. City of Doom. City of FAIL. You play a guy who thinks he's King Kong who must climb a tall skyscraper and avoid enemies who drop bowling balls. Oh and avoid the windows as well they kill you too. Why? Why do windows kill you? As if this collection didn't already have enough stupid ass pet peeves!
42. Bits and Pieces. Not a puzzle game a poor man's Altered Beast. You're a zombie jumping over monsters with no defense mechanism at all. That's it. That's the game. Oh and there's 3 levels of this. How many more left to review? 10 more? Damn.
Bleeps and Blips. WOULD U PLEASE STOP WITH THE GOTDAMN SHOOTERS? Sighs. Thankfully this is the FINAL shooter and it's the most annoying and hardest of the pack. The only thing you have to help you is 1-ups. But even they don't help much. Plus the game glitches on the 8th level.
Manchester. Can't really explain this one, either. You some guy who everytime he jumps makes this annoying note over and over again and you fight a boss with a flaming head. Yeah….
Boss. Ummm……. You play a Lizard man (Not from Soul Calibur) and its well I've….WORDS FAIL.
Dedant. Killer Ants. They just recycled Jupiter Scope. Added an Ant theme to it and made it where if your enemies corner you at the bottom of the screen, they can't go back, so your screwed. Tsk. Tsk. So close AE.
Hambo. Ready for your sanity to be killed? Don't be fooled by the clever title. This is nothing more than an atrocious Donkey Kong rip-off that will kill you all the time not only because of the random spawning of enemies, but because of the fact that you only get one life and then GAME OVER. Yes, this game will drive you mad.
Time Warp Tickers. Time? Time?! This game isn't just bad. It's bizarre. You play somebody's fingers and you kill things with them. Every time you kill something or die it says "Time?" Time? Time for what? Time to smash this cartridge? None of this makes any sense. I think I'm going insane.
Jigsaw. Here's a jigsaw, Why doesn't this game work? The final broken game on the cartridge. That's right folks, IT DOES NOT EVEN WORK. So that it. I can't review it. There's just a blank screen. Maybe the programmer forgot to put something in the empty space or something.
Ninja Assault. Ninja Suck. They took two great ninja classics SEGA's "Shinobi" and Tecmo's "Ninja Gaiden", threw in a paper bag and beat them with the" suck" stick. The game is at least playable, too bad it glitches up on the 4th level.
Robbie and The Robots. One more Left. Play a boy shooting space robots. You can beat the first level just by pressing the fire button while moving forward. But then the game becomes impassible at level 2. (Smacks forehead). I think they just gave up by then.
Cheetahman. The Cream of the crap. Imagine spending $200 on the biggest piece of trash ever. Imagine playing 51 of the most abysmal games of all time. Now imagine after feeling gypped realizing that this is the payoff: A horrid TMNT rip-off. Now imagine reading the awful poorly drawn comic book where they ask you to call your local retailer who in turn looks at you like you done lost your senses. Imagine reading the terrible storyline that you were sucked into this awful game you've been playing. Imagine the first stage playing one of the Cheetahman "Hercules" whose weapon is a lousy club that can hardly kill anything. Imagine duking it out with all the enemies from the first 51 games. Imagine playing as a Cheetahman "Aries" who's so pathetic so lame that he DOESN'T EVEN have a weapon. Imagine all the same glitch play control problems of the earlier platform games virtually absent from the first few levels only then to return with reinforcements. Imagine the irony that once you get to the last Cheetahman "Apollo" his best weapon is a weak ass crossbow. Imagine yourself ready to just give up and quit the whole thing. I'm pretty sure you probably would have already gone completely insane after this experience. To add insult to injury, there was an advertisement for if you wanted to learn how to play the games, you had to send in $4 for each manual for each game excluding shipping having to pay an extra $200 dollars on trying to figure out how to play each game. See why this company went under?
Action 52. System: NES.
Publisher: Active Ent.
Developer: Active Ent.
Best Feature: It was a good idea on paper.
Worst: It was a total failure in execution.
Released: September 2,1991.