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—The end of each stage
A 1990 arcade game, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... is, essentially, madness given video game form. And not merely in the conventional way, no. It is the scrawling on the walls, babbling incoherently while trying desperately to remember where you placed your arms form of insanity. Created by Data East of Bad Dudes fame, this game is also a Beat'Em Up... or something similar, at least.
In fact, the gameplay is not that incomprehensible. Upon starting, you're presented with a choice of three characters: a ninja, a tough guy, and a swordsman. You then have a simple objective: Upon defeating enemies, they will sometimes drop hearts. You must collect a certain amount of these hearts to face the boss, defeat it, and clear the stage. Sounds ordinary enough, right?
Except it turns out that the gameplay is merely an afterthought to everything else, and the stages are usually trivial. Instead, the game focuses entirely on attempting to reduce its player to tears of confusion and anguish. Describing the entirety of what makes this game so utterly mindbreaking would be a several paragraph endeavor, but suffice it to say that with the armies of Karnov, the (almost) inexplicable "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" stage, copious amounts of Engrish, never-interrupted stage music, battles with pink sheep that curse you, a surprise appearance from Colonel Sanders, and a Gainax Ending that gives Neon Genesis Evangelion itself a run for its money, Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... succeeds in its title's plea.
In Japan, the game is considered to be one of the progenitors of "kuso-ge", or "crappy games", games known for their astoundingly horrible nature. In fact, the game was deliberately designed to be bad (and insane)
A video series showing the highlights of the game can be found here.
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Baleful Polymorph: In the level "Curse of Sheeps", whether you win or lose, you'll be cursed to turn into a sheep for the next stage.
- Big Damn Heroes: Karnov's attacking some defenseless turtle! It's your character to the rescue. And- oh wait, now it's your turn to beat up the turtle. But it's okay, it was actually your mentor hiding under a hollowed out turtle shell for no apparent reason. And now you have to fight him.
- Blatant Lies: "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" No, you'll be just as confused as when you started.
- Cameo: Colonel Sanders and what appears to be the Queen of England riding a large fish appear as enemies. The former may be a reference to the Curse of the Colonel. The latter? ...
- Cursed with Awesome: The sheep might actually be more powerful than the normal player characters, depending on how much you've upgraded their weapons. Regardless of upgrades, as a sheep, you're invincible when you duck. (But you die if you try to move while ducking.)
- "CRUETY" is the Only Option: The final level has you beating up a bunch of harmless animals in a park.
- Engrish: Just about every line of text in the game. According to Wikipedia, the Japanese version, while being in, uh, Japanese, also had unusual grammar, making it a fitting choice for the translation.
- Gainax Ending: After fighting your way through hordes of zombies, robotic tanks, slime monsters, a lot of ninja, Karnov enemies, Chelnov, and strange bosses, the final level takes place in a peaceful park. Oh no, is some horrible monster threatening the peace? You make your way forward, and... nope. Your character encounters a few nearly harmless animals and, for no other reason than that you must to beat the game, kills them all. So then does the final boss appear? Again, nope. Upon killing the last animal, you get the good old "WIN WIN" message. The game then has the audacity to tell you "YOU FIGURED IT OUT" before scrolling down under the sidewalk, where a pair of giant orange bloodshot eyes stares into the screen. The pair of eyes then lifts the sidewalk under your character's feet into the air before dropping it back down. You then exchange a few words with your mentor, and the game ends.
ROSE SUB: That was great!
KAMAKURA: Thanks for cheering me up
SANTOS: I'm faint from hunger
- Game Breaking Bug: There are a few. Including, according to at least one source, the ability to freeze the arcade machine if you get unlucky while performing your special move in midair.
- Giant Foot of Stomping: One of the bosses. The way to defeat it is to wait for it to break through the floor.
- It is possible to defeat it normally, though it'll take a little longer.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: If you leave the bomb-setting Karnovs alone, they will check up on their own bombs after a few moments, only to be killed in the ensuing blast.
- Interface Screw: Not in the game itself, but during the "Enter your initials" high score screen, the game randomly skips letters, going in no set order. By the way, you're timed. Good luck!
- Improbable Weapon User: The weapons used by the player characters range from a punching bag to what appears to be a giant grill lighter.
- Lost in Translation: Certain aspects of the game make slightly more sense with knowledge of Japanese culture. Slightly.
- Ludicrous Gibs: One of the ninja's special attacks involves getting hit by lightning and exploding into bits.
- Maneki Neko: One of the bosses.
- Mind Screw: The entire game.
- Ninja Log: The ninja character briefly turns into a log when he gets hit.
- Old Master: Mr. Chin, who upgrades your weapons with a "LUCKY! CHA CHA CHA" during a roulette section after each level, and battles you twice throughout the game.
- Patchwork Map: While there isn't any definite transition between stages, you go from a desert to a jungle in the span of a few stages, and end up in a pleasant park by the end.
- Shout-Out: The three playable characters appear to be parodies of other videogame heroes. Rose Sub the barbarian is clearly based on Rastan, Kamakura the ninja reminds of The Legend of Kage's protagonist, and Santos could be based upon the Bad Dudes.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The giant foot boss is labelled "TAROSUNOASHI"; clearly this is supposed to mean "foot of Talos".
- Standard Status Effects: Poison. There doesn't seem to be any way to cure it, either...
- Performing your magic attack "cures" you somehow...
- Time Stands Still: In the level "THAT WAS GREAT" the phrase "WEEBLES FALL DOWN!" appears bit by bit on the screen. When the exclamation mark appears, all action freezes. Yes, all action, enemies and player alike. Why? It's a reference to the Japanese children's game "Daruma-san ga koronda" (lit. "The Daruma doll fell down"), which bears similarities to Red Light Green Light. Not that it would be out of place if it was completely meaningless.
- Victory Pose: Along with a heroic cry of... something.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Upon killing a dog, the game displays the word "CRUETY" (sic). Is it condemning your action? Hard to say, especially since you need to in order to complete the game...
- Widget Series: Not that that goes far enough to explain this.
- Possibly this is supposed to refer to the folktale of Urashima Taro.
- in Latin characters written directly on its sprite
- the boss in this level is a giant Daruma doll