"You'll have arthritic thumbs by the time you're forty if you keep playing video games all the time" our dad used to say. Right from the get-go we can empathise with the protagonist, named Rad, as his mum nags him to stop playing and go and clean his teeth. "Noooo!! Anything but shiny teeth, mum!!!"
Rad is a child of the '90s playing on his console, who is quite appropriately called Dusty, and he seems more engrossed in the virtual world than life going on around him. (Wait, is this a documentary about us?) Suddenly, while Rad is sleeping, there's a glitch and the young boy is sucked into the TV. Rad and his now sentient and foul-mouthed console companion Dusty make their way through the levels they are stuck inside, blowing up and killing nearly everything and anything they can see. So, is this game rad, or just plain bad?
Kickstarted into life by the crowdfunding site, Slipgate Studios raised the money through fans to bring their game to life. It was initially released on PC, but Rad Rodgers certainly feels at home on console. It's a classic run-and-gun platformer with a lot of cultural references to the '80s and '90s (we particularly liked the Alien Facehugger Mask wearable item). We were blown away initially by the range of vibrant colours and the fun and fast-paced action to be had. Smiles crept across our face as we were reminded of childhood via references to titles such as Sonic and Mario, even at times poking fun at itself and speaking directly to the player. It was like a blast from the past, but with far better graphics. If we could grade a title on audio and visual alone, this would get a much higher score.
The basic premise involves running through the levels, listening to the wisecracks made by Dusty, collecting crystals, killing creatures, finding collectable hats, and entering creature's homes to be given power-ups. This is all while trying to complete the main objective of finding the four pieces of a stone circle to open the end portal to get to the next level, also collecting blue keys to open up new areas (always blue keys, never red or yellow). Each time you find a piece of the stone portal key, Dusty makes a comment such as "three, that's the magic number". It was funny the first time we heard it, but considering he says it during every level, it soon gets a bit tiring. In fact, this leads into our first major complaint about the game: it's too repetitive. After a while, you start to hear the same comments coming out of the characters over and over again. The home invasion gags and sex jokes about butt-plugs soon wear thin.
There is more innuendo in this script than a Carry On movie (in-your-end-os?), and in that vein and as Mrs Woodhouse would say, it was good while it lasted but over way too quickly. They say that size doesn't matter, but there just aren't enough levels in there. Aside from the couple of pogo experiences where you just jump up and collect crystals (it sounds more fun than it is), and a boss battle, all the others were just the same thing. They were well fleshed out, but you couldn't really tell one from another. It says in the top left-hand corner of the map screen that you're in "World One", which made us think that this was just the first of many worlds. When we completed it, after defeating some kind of monster, the last thing we were told was "here's the cartridge to World Two". Great, we thought, on to the next, but we were horrified to hear that "the developers just need to make it first". Oh well, we should have probably known that before we started playing.