Beyond Co-op Reviews: December 2022 - Page 4

Beyond Co-op Review: Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum

Review by: Paul Acevedo

Garbage Pail Kids Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum Xbox

In the late 1980s, a line of dolls called the Cabbage Patch Kids took the United States by storm. Art Spiegelman, celebrated cartoonist and author of Maus, conceived a parody called Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) for the Topps Company. The GPK trading cards featured characters that looked like Cabbage Patch Kids but were all gross and disgusting in some way. For three years, GPK was a huge domestic hit – it even got an infamously bad live-action movie! One thing GPK didn’t receive during its heyday, however, is a video game adaptation.

In 2022, thanks to writer Adam F. Goldberg (creator of The Goldbergs TV series) and Retrotainment, an indie developer that specializes in creating modern NES games such as Haunted Halloween ‘86, the world has its first real GPK game. Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for Stale Gum has been created as a lost NES game, the one kids should’ve been able to enjoy back in the ‘80s. A genuine NES version is due out in 2023, but the game itself has already been released on modern consoles and PC.

Garbage Pail Kids Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum Xbox

The premise of the game comes from “Fury Load,” a 10-minute animated short that depicts Mad Mike (a Mad Max/Conan the Barbarian parody) as he fights to survive during an apocalypse caused by the iconic GPK, Adam Bomb. In the game, Mad Mike must use a scientist’s time machine to recover the ingredients needed to produce stale gum. The story comes to life via text-heavy cinematics that feature plenty of gross jokes and puns.

Quest for the Stale Gum is loaded with genuine Garbage Pail Kids, starting with the four playable characters. Mad Mike delivers melee attacks with an axe; Luke Puke vomits in a downward trajectory; Patty Putty can jump the farthest; and Leaky Lindsay shoots snot horizontally. Characters can be swapped on the fly to meet the needs of the situation. Leaky Lindsay is by far the most useful because of her ranged attacks, and Mad Mike, ironically, has the least utility because of his short range. The kids all have their own health bars. As with the original TMNT for NES, losing a character doesn’t end the game.

Garbage Pail Kids Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum Tokyo Xbox

The game is an action platformer in which characters progress through large levels on their way to find each level’s boss. Along the way, they’ll collect actual GPK cards from garbage pails strewn throughout the level. These cards can be traded with NPCs, a smart nod to GPK’s origins as trading cards. Some cards are just for show, but others can be used as power-ups. Destroying garbage pails also fills the player’s TRASH meter. Once full, the player can activate a brief period of invincibility. I mostly ignored the trading card aspect during my playthrough, but the invincibility certainly helps with bosses.

Mad Mike and friends will travel to six different levels over the course of the game, visiting such locations as the prehistoric era, ancient Egypt, Mars, and even Hell. After beating the first level, the rest can be played in any order. Every NPC, enemy, and boss is an actual GPK character, making for an extremely authentic experience. The bosses themselves are absolutely enormous and fun to battle. Environments feature lots of details, gross jokes, and occasional parallax scrolling. While Quest for the Stale Gum is an NES game made in 2022, it’s an impressive one.

Garbage Pail Kids Adam Bomb

The console and PC ports of Quest for the Stale Gum were handled by developer Digital Eclipse, so the game features many of the same emulation conveniences and bonuses seen in TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection. During gameplay, players can rewind, use save states, or change controls (the default button layout puts jump to the left of attack, which is terrible). Gamers can also watch a full video playthrough of the game and jump in at any time! Other features include a sound test, level maps, concept art, a character viewer, and even GPK card scans. Last, but not least, the “Fury Load” short and a 3-minute making-of documentary round out the package.

The Garbage Pail Kids trading card line was revived in 2003 and continues to this day, so it’s no surprise that GPK still has fans. Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum was clearly made by fans who love and understand the property. This is a very crude and icky game, just as you’d expect from the GPK. It’s also a well-made game that would have truly impressed if released in the 1980s. If you like retro games and trashy humor, don’t miss out on Mad Mike’s quest!

Garbage Pail Kids Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum Xbox

Garbage Pail Kids: Mad Mike and the Quest for the Stale Gum sells for $9.99 on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and Steam. The limited-edition NES version is currently available to preorder for $79.99 at iam8bit.

Our Rating: 4 out of 5