Try to avoid Highway to Hell—take the Lincoln Tunnel instead
Based on Comedy Central’s hit TV show, Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is an original adventure featuring all your favorite characters from the cartoon. You choose to play as series protagonist Mark Lilly, his girlfriend Callie Maggotbone, bumbling wizard Leonard Powers, or the D.O.I.’s top cop, Frank Grimes. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, but the game features an RPG-style leveling-up system that can help balance them all out or really stress those advantages depending on your playstyle. After making your character decision, you’ll grab yourself a BSU 2000—Blow S*** Up 2000, Frank’s newest toy that allows you to stick whatever isn’t bolted down into the chamber and fire it as a projectile—and start getting down to the bottom of all the trouble in New York City.
The first thing you’ll immediately notice is a less-traditional side-scrolling view instead of the ceiling-down view seen in most other dual-joystick arcade-style shooters. This is intended to give the gamer more of a sense of watching an episode of the TV show, but it’s a little difficult to get used to at first—especially in terms of aiming your BSU 2000 at the various manbirds, zombies, and demons. Some items have a spray effect where the aiming difficulty doesn’t seem as obvious, but with a lot of other projectiles—like the boomeranging hammer or arcing crystal ball—misjudging the aim gets tedious fast.
Ugly Americans does do a lot of things right, though, especially when it comes to the presentation. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love the fact that all the voice actors reprise their roles in the game, and there’s more than 20 minutes of original animation and dialogue in cutscenes, meaning that the game’s just dripping with the humor that makes the show itself great—and it’s got enough animation for a standalone episode. The best part probably comes from being able to play the game with friends locally or online, as that helps break up the redundancy typical of most arcade shooters.
All in all, here’s the question you have to ask yourself: Am I a fan of the show? If so, the writing and animation will outshine the minor gameplay annoyances, you’ll definitely feel like it’s worth your $10. But if you don’t know the Comedy Central cartoon—or flat-out don’t like it—you can probably skip this one, as knowledge of the show seems critical to your overall enjoyment of the game.
SUMMARY: Those familiar with the Comedy Central show will instantly fall in love with most aspects of this downloadable title—but non-fans need not apply.
- THE GOOD: Fans of the show will be laughing from the opening cutscene to the end credits
- THE BAD: Camera angle makes aiming difficult, gameplay can be repetitive
- THE UGLY: Huge steaming piles of manbird droppings