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Cover Critic
The Colossal Failure of the Cover Critic
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 05, 2007   |   Episode 62 (Show Archive)  

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But since I've never heard that expression used against video games I figure that it's open season on the box art you see every day. This is The Cover Critic, your guide to what's good and bad in the world of video game boxes. In this episode of The Cover Critic we learn why C + C Music Factory spells instant doom, why you shouldn't fight while on fire, that maybe you are a little too paranoid if you build a Fortified Zone, and why you shouldn't allow kids on your construction site. Man I hate nosey little kids! You don't see me bothering you about all of my adult problems, yet you expect me to hear you babble on about stupid toys, kids' movies and your idiot friends at school? Screw that. I have an episode of The Cover Critic to deal with; I don't have time for your childish problems. Go play on large construction site equipment, that sounds safe to me. Everybody else should check out what we have in store for you in this 62nd episode of The Cover Critic!
Power Factory Featuring C + C Music Factory (Sega CD)
Power Factory Featuring C + C Music Factory (Sega CD)

Forget for a second that this game is probably just as bad as this cover; Power Factory has the honor of being one of the few games that is made even worse with its subtitle. Featuring C + C Music Factory? If you didn't want to play this game from the stupid artwork or crappy Power Factory name, then Featuring C + C Music Factory was clearly the straw the broke the camel's back. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this subtitle has the potential to ruin any game, no matter how amazing it is. Don't believe me? Would you play The Legend of Zelda Featuring C + C Music Factory? What about Gears of War Featuring C + C Music Factory? And don't even get me started on Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis Featuring C + C Music Factory. You might as well just say Power Factory Featuring the Single Most Exasperating "Band" To Ever Make it Popular On MTV When they Used to Play Music Videos. Actually, I might buy it if the game was that honest, but instead we get a horrible game featuring the musical stylings of the world's most annoying Arsenio Hall-loving band.

But I can get over the name; it's this obnoxious cover that gives me the creeps. It features a kid who looks like a prepubescent Buster Poindexter "spinning" using his Genesis control. I can't tell if it's the Ray Harryhausen Cyclops, the car breaking out of the screen, or the fact that this kid is finally directing something other than Taco Bell commercials. That brings up an interesting point, why is there not a Sega CD game where you direct Taco Bell commercials? It has to be less annoying than C + C Music Factory. I guess that really is one of the things that make you go hmmm.
Burning Fight (Neo Geo)
Burning Fight (Neo Geo)

Thanks to my extensive research, I can tell you that a real life burning fight lasts only a few seconds. It all really ends when one guy is too afraid to get closed to somebody on fire and the other guy stops, drops and rolls. But I guess this Neo Geo isn't supposed to be taken literally, instead Burning Fight is just a snappy name that SNK can use to sell people on yet another Street Fighter clone. But this fighter offers something different; it's more than just another brawler. This fighting game features a man with a fairly obvious camel toe. I bet you didn't even think a man could have a camel toe, but this cover art clearly proves you wrong. Perhaps that's why this long-haired loser with the muscle tee is beating him up. Then again, there has to be a more compelling reason to fight a guy than a camel toe, that one seems like it might be a little tough to explain to the police, friends and family.

But I can get over the tight pants thing, I'm more concerned about everything in the background. Like, what the hell is that clown-looking freak with the dunce hat doing up next to the "F" in Burning Fight? And why does this box art advertise Coke? I would also like to know why it looks like there's an explosion, yet it's in the distance and obstructed by somebody's head. This is supposed to be "Burning" Fight, right? And then there's the traditional Ryu-esque shirtless dude punching the camera. It looks more like he's going for a friendly fist bump than some testosterone fueled fight. Actually, now that I look this over I realize that I really don't care. I just want these guys to put their shirts back on and go help put out that fire. I mean, if the fire spreads too far it might take out that Coke sign, and then who's going to sponsor your stupid little Burning Fight?
Kids On Site (Sega CD)
I can't think of a worse idea than letting a bunch of kids loose on a construction site. Sure, kids love playing on big pieces of machinery, but nobody wants a bunch of snot-nosed kids hanging around getting in the way when all you want to do is dig holes, lay down foundation and get this stupid building built! It's bad enough that they won't shut up about the idiotic things that interest them, now we have to put up with them annoying us as we do our manual labor? You don't see me going to your school and talking to you about foreign movies, politics and alcoholism do you? Those are the things that interest me, but I have a hunch you would ask me to leave after I explain the convoluted mating habits of the average American male. Now that I think of it, that would probably make for a more enjoyable video game, we could call it: Adults At School!

Getting past the obvious stupidity of the product, this Kids on Site cover is simply horrendous. When your game is "100% full motion interactive video" (as the box reads) you have to make sure that your actors are at least compelling. You wouldn't watch America's Next Top Model if everybody was overweight and had a uncontrollable drooling problem. And that's the problem we have here, none of these actors compel me to want to play this game. In fact, the only thing I like about this cover is the girl who looks like she's about to blow something up. Hopefully it's the rest of this box art, because Digital Pictures definitely needs to start over from scratch. And then there's the little problem that this is part of the Sega Club. As they say, you don't want to be involved in a club that will have you as a member ... and in this case, it really looks like they are just pulling people off the street begging them to join. Save your dignity guys, because I would rather not know anybody who is a card carrying member of the Sega Club. If that describes you then do me a favor and don't email, call, write or approach me.
Wonder Boy in Monster World (Genesis)
Wonder Boy in Monster World (Genesis)

Some popular mascot characters remain the same over the course of their life. Oh sure, they are occasionally given new clothes, redrawn or spruced up a little, but you can always tell its them even after a decade or two has gone by. Look at Mario or Sonic, both characters look pretty much exactly the same as they did when they were first introduced, yet both have dealt with going 3D, wearing new clothes and getting a shiny new coat of paint. But then there's Wonder Boy, a character that suffered through a number of character changes before even getting out of the 16-bit era (perhaps that's why he never got out of the 16-bit era). The Wonder Boy you see in front of you doesn't look a thing like the Wonder Boy you saw back in 1986. The original Wonder Boy had yellow hair and a loin cloth. And let's not forget that the Wonder Boy in Wonder Boy III has a crazy anime look and a tiara. And then there's the Tenacious D song Wonder Boy, but that has nothing to do with this game, so we're not even going to talk about it.

The Wonder Boy you see here is probably the stupidest looking Wonder Boy of them all, sure Wonder Boy III had a tiara, but at least he was able to keep his shoelaces tied. This Wonder Boy is sporting untied shoes, knee pads and the stupidest 1980s jean jacket this side of the Karate Kid movies. And if that wasn't enough, the formerly blonde Wonder Boy is now sporting the blue, which was pretty clich? by the time this game came about. But then, how cool can you be when you're fighting giant statues with gumballs in their mouth? If these are the monsters Wonder Boy has to deal with then sign me up, they have no legs and don't look very menacing ... I mean, they have freaking gumballs in their mouth, how difficult can they be? But Wonder Boy apparently hasn't learned anything from his numerous travels, because you just don't fight rock (or gum) with a sword. What you do is stand out of the way and let the statues be, they aren't hurting anybody. And tie your damn shoe, the only way you're going to get injured in this fight is if you trip and fall down because of your stupid fashion sense. Perhaps that's why he's sporting the knee pads. What a rebel.
Fortified Zone (Game Boy)
That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's Fortified Zone, the one place you've never going to get into. It's been built in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and protected by these two fools (some shirtless dude and Steve Irwin's widow). The real tragedy would be if they did all this work for nothing, they would look pretty stupid if nobody was really after them and this was the work of pure paranoia. I get it; the news can have that effect on you. There are people even now that watch Fox News and feel like the world is coming to an end, so what they do is build underground bunkers, stockpile food, and collect enough guns to keep them safe in case of an apocalypse. I hear those are the kinds of people that are members of the Sega Club.

But pretend that there really is a problem, that this married couple really does have something to fear and a reason to trap themselves in a fortified zone. What are they afraid of? Why do they look so on edge? How much protection do you get when you're standing out in the middle of nowhere with your shirt off? I guess your enemy isn't cunning enough to get a sniper rifle or attack from above? And even if there is real danger, do you have to stand so close to the camera that we can't even see what's coming after you? This cover says nothing about their worries, yet you can tell that they are on edge and concerned about something. I mean, c'mon, they are even worried about the title of the game ... why else would they put barbwire around it? This isn't the proper way of ending an episode of The Cover Critic, there shouldn't be this many unanswered questions lingering. Ah screw it, I'm just going to say that they are paranoid and watch too much of the Fox News Channel. At least that way I don't care if somebody attacks them and takes their fortified zone.


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