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Total Recall Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Rating: 1%
  1. 1987
  2. 1988
  3. 1989
  4. 1990
  5. 1991
Total Recall
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  • Review Score:

  • F
This weekend, moviegoers around the country asked themselves the same question: Do we really need a remake of Total Recall? Judging by the early box office returns, the answer is a resounding "NO!" But when it comes to the Total Recall video game, I say remake
away. No matter what they do or how little effort they put in, there's no way it could be worse than this Nintendo Entertainment System game.

Much like the movie it's based on, Total Recall is about how a man's life gets turned upside down after going on an experimental "vacation". Quaid was promised his trip to the Recall facility would be safe, but instead he finds himself being chased by thugs and suffering from a bad case of amnesia. And to make matters worse, he has this powerful urge to visit Mars.

Total Recall (NES)

Some people might be overwhelmed by the obstacles standing in their way, but not Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead of sitting around and letting the world crumble around him, he fights back and looks for answers. Why can't he remember what happened? Why are all these men after him? What made his wife become a cold-blooded killer? What exactly is on Mars and why is it so important?

Unfortunately, it's probably better you don't ponder any of these questions. Simply put, Total Recall the game doesn't care who Quaid is. It's not interested in his memories and whether or not there's a conspiracy out to get him. Even when he get to Mars and completes his task, the game is too preoccupied with what happens to the dying planet to bother with answering any of the questions it asked. The only payoff you'll get to the story comes in the movie, which is one of the many reasons why you can skip this game completely.

Total Recall (NES)

Fans of the film will recognize a lot of the beats the game tries to hit. You'll fight your wife at the apartment, go through an invasive metal detector, wrap a towel on your head and eventually go to Mars. Sadly, that's where the similarities end. Instead of modeling bad guys based on the movie, they simply throw anything and everything your way. You'll run into gangsters hiding in garbage cans, wild hobos, killer pussy cats, shirtless miners and even skeletons. And if that isn't enough, the developers tossed in what looks like an 8-bit glory hole. If that's not a sign that you're playing a terrible game, I don't know what is.

The level layouts are a mess. Some of the stages are short and flat, while others require a lot of navigating for little reward. One of the most egregious stages has Quaid climbing up and down a labyrinth of narrow ladders in order to find a keycard. Once you find the card, you're forced to go back through the winding collection of ladders, backtracking all the way to the start of the stage.

Total Recall (NES)

These stages are only made worse with the addition of some of the worst enemies in any 8-bit game. Every baddie is specifically designed to ruin your day, to the point where it often feels like the computer is cheating. Quaid is only able to punch and use a gun, but neither of these are very effective. Making matters worse, the enemies are fast and persistent. They'll stay on you until you die, which generally doesn't take very long. The game's terrible check point system certainly doesn't help you. Gamers who beat Total Recall are either very dedicated, lucky or stupid. Perhaps it's a combination of all three.

The game's poor visuals and grating music are the final nail in the coffin. Total Recall doesn't care what happens to this character, so why should you? You'll spend much of the game banging your head against terrible level designs, unrelenting A.I. opponents and a control scheme that is unresponsive. Total Recall is why people continue to hate games based on movies. Total reject!
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