This is a very mysterious game, presenting many questions to those who would discover it, not the least of which being how this part ended up above the advertisement. No, it's not here anymore. If I bring it back, it will be below this. Just you wait.

What is this game, exactly? As I was looking around for information and such, I was surprised to find abandonware sites giving the PC versions of these games ratings in excess of 80%. I'll give them Karateka,* because of that whole "good for its time" thing, but there's no excuse for praising this one. Certainly, I should be doubting their standards already, just because they have the game there at all (or at least they did, until the ISDA told them to get rid of it. Because full versions of Infogrames and Lucasarts games are so much more illegal than the ones from Brøderbund and Sierra that they still have).

*Meeplesworth.

First off, the Characters:

Tintin, the redundantly named world famous reporter. It should be noted that Tintin is not world famous for reporting. In fact, it might be in everyone's best interest if the title "world famous reporter" was elaborated to say "world famous and also a reporter."

Captain Haddock, whom Infogrames claims on their awkwardly-worded website that you can "also control." Since we've already established this game as awful, you know the claim to be false. And they didn't really make Final Fantasy IX, in case you were wondering.

Proffessor Calculus, the person who you're supposed to be saving, but you will come to recognize the absentminded inventor more as the bespectacled villain continually taunting you from the “time out” screen.

It's a fairly well documented fact that Herge, the author of the comics upon which this game is based insisted that the series not be continued after his death. However, that was back in 1983, and the necessary "no video games either, you soulless whores" clause couldn't possibly have seemed necessary. While it's a good thing there's no way Hergé can be associated with this game, it's only through an inversely equal amount of not-goodness that I can be glad he can't be associated with it.

While the 'Grames deliver on their claim of the graphics capturing the "spirit of the comic," that doesn't really mean much. It seems that just about every wretched licensed game on the Super NES has excessively smooth, flatly-colored, spirit-capturing animation. Smurfs, Aladdin, Power Piggs of the Dark Age (with a name like that it had better be based on a cartoon) and what-have-you. That's ceased to be a factor in whether anyone enjoys the game or not. Anyway, the actual comic captures anything and everything even better, and those are a lot easier to hide from the judging gaze of others than even the most minimized of zsnes windows. There's really no reason to play this game other than to make a page about it, or checking to see if the page someone else made is telling the truth.
You sicken me...

As the story opens, dedicated journalists attempt to interview Proffessor Cantonneau, who as you may have deduced, has just been attacked.

The fact that he's unconsious and obviously not going to answer any questions only goes to prove just how dedicated they are.

Realising they're not getting anywhere, they just start stealing stuff, I guess. Keep in mind this was written in the 1940s, before journalistic integrity was invented and subsequently abolished, moments later.


This game is refreshingly innovative. Normally, you'd expect to spend a lot of time wandering around talking to people and gathering clues in a game based on a comic in which that seems to be what happens most of the time. Not so here. You don't even get to fall down a hill and steal the car and/or tank of the Euro-generic soldiers that foolishly abandoned it to look for you. However, there are still plenty of people to stay away from. Just about everyone and everything that disappears when you disable the sprite layer is out to get Tintin for some reason. If I am to abide by standard video game laws, that means this stupid kid with a ball on a string is trying to murder Tintin.
bwop
And that old man just stands there, looking like the proudest parent in the world.

This is not all that different from Infogrames' similarly terrible Asterix games, except for one major difference: Asterix can fight back. Tintin, however, just has to avoid avoid avoid, as the slightest touch from everyone and everything, brings the alleged reporter 25% closer to his doom, as he exclaims a surprisingly Japanese sounding "Aye!" (Surprising because Tintin is not Japanese, and neither is Infogrames, for that matter). Defying all laws of probability, I managed to expect this licensed game to be better than the others I'd played. I mean, most of them are released to coincide with or directly after a movie, and the last Tintin book was completed in 1976. If Infogrames was looking merely to cash in, why'd they wait until 1996 to unleash this? They've owned the video game rights since at least 1989, and I can tell you, this is not an example of "seven years in the making."

The trip from one office to the other is so bafflingly lengthy in this game that Tintin must stop to ask for directions. Not surprising, when you consider that they're supposed to be in different buildings. Say Thomson (without a P, as in "this game is fun to Play"), what are you so frightened of?

Dear gob no! Old timey train conductors and men in green laboratory coats! Unfortunately, attempts at seduction will not deter them from their quest to destroy.


Level 2 begins here,

and ends here?

In case you can't tell, perhaps because of the chair that's moved in the foreground, that's the exact same room. Tintin is running around hallway after identical hallway getting attacked by suicidal-yet-spiteful wall decorations for no reason whatsoever. This is either a really deep metaphor for life or a sign that this game isn't worth playing. However, I've completed two levels already, so if it isn't the metaphor, then this is surely the point I'd have turned the game off at.

Oh lorg, I haven't.

One of this game's many failing points is that it leaves out crucial story development that might possibly explain some of the pointless and silly things that happen, ironically, things that probably shouldn't have been in the game to begin with.


Calculus picks up a bracelet and wanders off.

Tintin appears shouting this, to no avail. Frantic-sounding music starts playing as he...

...climbs a tree?

Yeah, remember why you came out here?

Look at that. The captain gets a gun. Why do I get the feeling that this game would be more fun and enjoyable if I could control him instead?

What? Now Tintin has a gun?!

Calm down... let's just go for a nice relaxing drive...

NO NO NO!

THIS SHOULD NOT BE A LEVEL!

Not content with making just a lousy platform game, Infogrames rebelliously defies the quality over quantity rule and sets out to make this a lousy game in as many genres as possible. Now see here, I've never been to Belgium, so I can't claim even the most basic understanding of their driving laws, but Little Snake tells me that they probably don't go about driving in reverse down the center of the road, randomly swerving to the left or right approximately whenever they feel like it. But I admit such a practice wouldn't surprise me among people who adorn their cars with BACKWARDS LICENSE PLATES!


This game never ceases to amaze me. Oh, how I wish it would.

This level adds a whole new dimension to the game. In a marked departure from previous levels, instead of avoiding people who you really shouldn't have to avoid by running between two horizontal planes, you now run between three horizontal planes. Woohoy! It also features frightening new dangers like none ever seen before, such as:

The guy who can't decide which arm he wants to carry the board with!

The guy who looks to see where he's unloading boxes, but doesn't care if someone's there or not!

The guy who's rolling barrels for no reason!

The edge of the screen!

Somehow, in the very scene after they decide to go to Peru they're in Peru. Good. That there's no crazy "dodge oncoming aircraft" flight level is a welcome surprise. Also surprising is that I didn't have to dodge that suspicious looking individual on the far right during the previous level.


These people definitely belong in the Lazy Enemy Hall of Fame. Roused from their sleep by the "aye!" screams of Tintin tripping over the cat following him around, they open the door to their room partway...

they're not opening the door to come out and catch the infidel snooping about on their ship, they're opening the door in the hopes he might run into it.

This man, who was so obviously originally supposed to be the captain, but they couldn't get the beard to look right, wants Tintin to be his prisoner, but not enough to go faster, stray from his simple left and right pacing pattern, or even fire his invisible gun.

That would require extra animation, and as you can plainly see, even what's there now isn't finished.


That's a nasty limp you got there.

So with even the once superb animation failing us, perhaps the only good thing left about this game is the background music (some of it), but since you'll probably spend most of your time "dying," reloading save states or running out of time, as I have by this point, you'll soon get sick of hearing the same part repeated over and over again. Fortunately, there's a "music test" on the options screen. Be glad they at least tested something. In fact, it's in the Zo-far's Domain SPC archive, so another reason to download the game, and not even a good one, is thus negated.


Yes, that is what it kind of looks like. Tintin's adversary in this level is his own luggage. Pog only knows why he needs any. He's on a rescue mission, not vacation.


As if the lethal luggage wasn't bad enough, an unknown adversary has deployed flying stopwatches. If Tintin doesn't lean out the sides of the train to grab them, they transform into Calculus who menacingly waves a pendulum at you. Infogrames: Bringing nonsensical recurring dreams to life.

I spend that whole level grabbing gold stopwatches and jumping over a suitcase only to find that Tintin, whom I am left to assume opened it and took the jacket out, jumps off the train anyway at the end. This is sort of like those Final Fantasy enemies that blow up on the battle screen but are still standing there after it fades out and then kill you or run away despite what you just did to them. Humm. Next time I play, I'm using a fenix down on this level.


He certainly looks that way. It's kind of hard to not look proud when you have a circus impresario mustache. I like that the only openly hostile person in the whole game can't hurt you unless he actually attacks. And apparently his aim is really bad, because he hits the wall if he misses. You win if he punches the wall four times, making this only slightly harder than Chef Boy-ar-dee theme pastas. You'd think after the second time, it might occur to this guy to use the other hand, but you might also think he'd do something more climactic than walking calmly in the other direction after losing. What were you thinking?


They could have made it a bit more obvious that Zorrino was tied to this creature. Until I went and reread the source material, I had always thought the llama was saying this.


Oh no... tell me they didn't...

WRETCH! I said this game was innovative before, and by gum, I meant it. I now have a whole new reason to hate birds in video games.

After seing the condor level I at last realized that this game must have been created on a bet. One person bets the other if he picks twenty random panels from a Tintin book the other can't make a playable video game with each as a level in a week. He won the bet, but the other guy had the last laugh when Infogrames went and sold it anyway.


Once again the captain gets a gun. I'm not sure why, though. After all those zany Peruvians and that giant bird, it clearly didn't occur to anyone to shoot one of them.

Cripes. Now Tintin's running towards the player away from an avalanche. This has to be the most unoriginal video game series ever to not spawn a "kart" racing spinoff.

Come to think of it, that could just as easily be the captain's sneeze. This level starts immediately after the TCHOUM scene, so it's anyone's guess. Whatever that is, Tintin seems to have no trouble outrunning it. It's the pogspammed rocks that are the problem. I imagine they wouldn't be, if I could see where Tintin was going, rather than from where he was coming. And for some reason, Tintin's doing some ridiculous tribal dance the whole time. However, I know the reason. It's because I keep pressing the jump button.


ENTERTAIN ME! DANCE, DANCE FOR YOUR FREEDOM!


I love this. Intentional bad English in a game that already had bad English. This is sort of like... like...
You know, I've had this page steadily bloating and mutating on my hard drive for too long after I first thought I was finished. I don't need to have some smart-asimov comment about every single picture. Good Gorbechev, leave me alone already.


Oh, is your majesty too good to take a slightly bigger step over to the next rock?

Your humble servant hopes this is to your liking.

Take that, hoe. This isn't worth starting the level over again, but it is worth reloading a save state fifty-nine times.

Great snakes! A great snake! Yes, I realize I deserve to die. After the captain, the snake is the best character in the game. The snake is so great, if the title graphic showed up in Tile Layer and didn't contain so many repeat tiles, I'd edit it so the snake would be in it, just so it could have the biggest picture on this page. So.


This level is significant because, perhaps due to the rainbow energy aura surrounding the submerged portion of the canoe, it's the only one in which Tintin attempts to defend himself. Or maybe that's just his excuse to have his oar out in front of the boat like that instead of in the water, helping with the rowing.

This game is a crock, not entirely unlike the creature Tintin just thwacked.


That's right, you plead your case! The captain, not entirely unlike me, has no idea why Tintin is saying this.

...why?


This level, and in fact all of them, are very much like what I imagine a Nick Arcade home game would be, except you don't play Toki and Battletoads between levels or win anything.


At last, Tintin has escaped the wrath of the rocks-that-fall-as-soon-as-he-gets-close-to-them

With one final greater-than-his-own-height leap Tintin is free to...

...turn around and stand against a pole to be burned alive?!

Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for changing the story if it makes the game better. Remember that scene in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca shoot everyone in the cantina, one after another? Or how about in Return of the Jedi when Princess Leia thwomps Jabba the Hutt to death with the chains she's tied up in? If you've played the SNES versions you might, and you might also agree those deviations made for a better game than jumping over a gundammed suitcase.


Boba Fett, possibly the most overrated character ever, who says nothing and is visible for all of twenty seconds (and still manages to be the fictional idol of nerds everywhere), gets beaten slowly and passionately by Chewbacca in a scene that I assume is not on the DVD.


I like that these people, who spend their lives sequestered away worshiping and sacrificing things in the Temple of the Sun still speak better, albiet olde-er English than the ones on the outside.

Anyway, Tintin commands the sun to "hide it's shining face," and it does, briefly, and then the game ends. I can only assume the sun people charged forward and employed a more conventional execution method in retaliation for the burned retinas they suffered after looking directly at an eclipse.

With that out of the way at last, perhaps you are wondering why I chose this game over the similarly abysmal "Tintin in Tibet." Even in it's abysmalness, the other game's actually almost fun at points. For instance, Tintin occasionally stumbles around after getting hit by something, rather than merely disappearing and reappearing a bunch of times really fast, and from a tortured game player's standpoint, that makes it almost all worthwhile. And now, just because I don't know when to stop, gratuitous imagery of Tintin getting hurt by things.


Some of the levels even seem more sadistic and clever than pointless and retarded. So naturally, I'd choose the less enjoyable one. Hopefully, you'll be wise enough to choose neither.


No, they didn't make Unreal Tournament either.