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The Adventures of Powerstick Man vs. Chaos Nyte
The Adventures of Powerstick Man Mother would be proud.
Pepsi Ranger
Download: 2.34 MB
Chaos Nyte
Play Time: 9 hours and 34 minutes
Review # 9 for Chaos Nyte Mother would be proud.
Them's Fightin' Words
    When people talk about the great games of OHR, the name of Pepsi Ranger and his game, ďThe Adventures of Powerstick ManĒ tend to pop up. However, the game has garnered very few reviews, probably because of its impressive length and poor graphics. So is Powerstick Man really that great, or is it just another face in the crowd that got lucky with the players? Letís find out.
    No getting around it, The Adventures of Powerstick Man isnít a very pretty game. The walkabouts are all small-headed, gorilla-armed, bowed-legged deformities, though there is certainly a lot of variety to them. Maptiles go from awful at the beginning of the game to almost decent near the end of demo, and while Pepsi Ranger did some work to include a bit of detail to them, the game really needs some serious graphical overhauls. Battle graphics are grainy, which sounds strange but itís sadly true. All the monsters and hero graphics are blurred around the edges. Battle backgrounds are surprising nice, though just as grainy as the rest of the battle art. Pepsi Ranger does try to liven the game up a bit with plenty of cutscenes, but his talent for art falls short, even if his enthusiasm for creating memorable moments doesnít. In my opinion, the poor graphics of Powerstick Man are what lead so many people to not download it, and I would strongly suggest that Pepsi Ranger devote his time to improving his walkabouts, at the very least.  
    For a game as long as Powerstick Man, I find myself needing to divide the Storyline section into two parts. The main story, which is interesting, and what you spend most the game actually experiencing, and the side stories, which are not. Letís start with the main story.
A mild mannered tennis player falls into a vat of deodorant because heís a clumsy oaf, and climbs out as Powerstick Man the 2nd. The first Powerstick Man was created a year earlier in a similar accident to the 2ndís. After being outfitted with a stick of deodorant for a weapon, Powerstick Man steps bravely forward to fight evil. As the story progresses, he begins to put aside his old ways of vanity, personal gain, and generally foolishness in order to fill his new role as a hero. He fights super villains, uncovers a plot to stink up the world, and even gains some super buddies, who are named after other deodorant brands. At the end of the demo, Powerstick Man learns of an master evil plot, and right before he sets off, is found by Demo Man and told that the game is over. Oh well.
Sounds likes a plot well worth playing for, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is actually quite a lot of fun being a weird super hero saving people/towns/etc. No, because between the major plot points are several hours of boring wandering around, talking to vapid townspeople and performing sidequests.
Most of the game is taking really, really long walks to new towns, performing a few tasks, and talking to a few hundred townspeople. Thatís right. Some might say this is where the game really shines, with hundreds of different people who all say more then one thing. However, when it comes down to it, these people are boring, vapid, and dull. Just like in real life! Sadly, this means that if you want to activate the ďhelp some lady find her catĒ quest you need to talk to a few dozen pointless fools to do so. Donít get me wrong, some of the NPCs are quite funny, but most of them fall short of humor as the demo progresses.
Ah, the sidequests. The idea by itself is rather ingenious. By performing them, Powerstick Man can raise his rating at the end of game, when Demo Man has an award ceremony for him to determine how heroic he acted. Oh, and he also can earn himself some cool new gear and extra cash. Itís a great idea, so itís too bad it was implemented so badly. For example, I was awarded a degree in ďEthics of GigoloĒ for asking two women out on a date. ďChaos Nyte sure is a leach!Ē you say, but no! In both cases of me ďasking outĒ the women, it occurred during scenes I couldnít control. Just by talking to the women sets off the asking out text, so I had no say in the matter. If Pepsi Ranger had included, ďAsk her outĒ things might have been fine, but as it is, I have no choice but to deal with two different women on the same date because I donít want to replay the whole 10 hour game to only ask one of them out.
Worse, the game is full of instances like this. For instance, I was also yelled at for having alcohol in my inventory. However, the alcohol was a drink called, ďPeyoteĒ which I have no idea what kind of drink it is, but when drunk in battle, does cause Powerstick Man to shoot his enemies with various types of elemental bolts. Then there are sidequests that donít actually exist, like a man who has lost his contact, but the contact canít be found. Iím aware that the NPC says he doesnít need help, but after playing several sidequests, I assumed the NPC was just being nice, not truthful. The result of all this is a game that had the potential to be great, with solid dialogue and a funny main plot, but is bogged down by hundreds of whiny idiots. Sigh.
    And now hereís why, after the savvy player looks past PowerStick Manís shoddy graphics, they end up putting down the game. Ever thought a hero, even as one as silly as Powerstick Man would spend most of his time killing fish for exp? How about walking down endless highways on the way to adventure, as he happily slaughters moles and skunks? Well, maybe those things donít bother you, but I can guarantee the bug that ruins your save game an hour into game will.  
    Your first weapon as Powerstick Man is naturally a stick of deodorant. However, within the first half hour of gameplay, youíll stumble upon an item called ďRatClawĒ which hits twice and does decent damage. From that point on for the entire game, itís the only weapon sensible players will use, since who would trade in a weapon that attacked twice in a row for a new one that only did 2 more damage?
There arenít a whole lot of random enemies in the game. Iíd say perhaps a little more then a dozen. This would be fine if the game wasnít 10 hours long, but as it is, youíre going to be fighting A LOT of birds, skunks, and red fish. Yeah, thatís right. A good deal of your leveling will involve slashing at fish. Argh. Powerstick Man spends much of the game using only his power to fling deodorant/slash with a severed rat claw with no special abilities. Oh, he does eventually get a remote that allows him to call backup to rain destruction down on his enemies, but even then, it takes serious leveling to unlock any new remote abilities, and youíre going to be spending most of your time with weight on your spacebar and a good book. I really wish Pepsi Ranger had given Powerstick Man some funny deodorant related powers, but no dice.
  Map Design
    Okay, breath deep...Pepsi Ranger, if you do not fix this in the next update, I will find you, and hurt you as you hurt me. You do NOT use pointless mazes to extend the length of an area, like in the Deodorant Plant. YOU DO NOT FORCES THE PLAYER TO WALK DOWN ENDLESS HIGHWAYS FOR HALF THE GAME. YOU DO NOT F-ARGH!INEEDTOHURTSOMETHING!
...okay, look. Forcing the player to spend hours doing the lonely work of slaughtering animals on the side of the road sucks. Forcing them to explore giant cities for hours is also cruel. You know why most RPGs have little villages? Because the player can stand it. Nobody likes having to wander endlessly through fields, and then spend hours talking to vapid townspeople in order to activate a plot point. The beach walk down to Sandy Smack Island was pure torture, Pepsi Ranger. I wish I could say you had the right idea by making the game more realistic with huge towns and long highway walks, but itís not. Itís wrong, very, very wrong. Itís like drowning a man whose dying for water. I donít know why you felt the need to separate the main story with huge, pointless gaps of wandering aimlessly and performing the occasional side quest, but it sucks, Pepsi. Iím begging you, find a happy medium. Oh, and having a bunch of dogs chase after Powerstick Man in ever town and hinder his ability to walk is painfully stupid. What were you thinking, PR?
    Thereís two big jump points for leveling in the game, and neither is very pleasant to go through. Both occur after entering towns, and they usually require some serious leveling to continue. However, once youíve actually leveled enough, the enemies prove to be too easy, doing only one damage to Powerstick Man. Worse, there arenít a whole lot of enemies in this almost 10 hour game, so youíll fighting the same dozen or so random enemies again and again. Add that onto the insanely long walks in between towns and...urgh.
There are also two very big, fun-destroying, bugs in the game. In the Deodorant Factory, thereís a potted plant, that when searched, says ďYou found crap.Ē In reality, youíve just gained an that item that revives Powerstick Man, and sells for $100. And itís limitless, which means a player without scruples could very easily give himself several million dollars 15 minutes into the game. The second really big error occurs an hour into the game, when attempting to save your progress inside a garbage heap. The game freezes, and you canít use that save ever again, because it will continue to freeze. When this happened to me, I had to take a week break from Powerstick Man and go kick a puppy.
    When PowerStick Man first emerges from the vat of deodorant goo, the song, Everybody Dance NowĒ starts to play. If this doesnít tell you everything you need to know about this gameís music, then I donít know what does. The music of PowerStick Man is all ripped, fairly popular songs from the 80's up until 2000 when the game was released. They fit fairly well, and Pepsi Ranger uses them to good effect, like when you meet a man who has artificial lungs that play ďPretty Fly for a White GuyĒ when he talks. However, because of the complicated nature of the songs, most of them did not survive the conversion from MP3 to midi, and then BAM as well as might have been hoped. Still, a very refreshing change.  
    So the real question, is Powerstick Man fun? Yes, but only when Pepsi Ranger gets his act together and everything flows smoothly. For most of the game, you do nothing but wander though desolate maps fighting the same few enemies, or trapped in massive cities being forced to listen to hundreds of NPCís inane chatter. If Pepsi Ranger could learn to sharpen up his gameplay skills and avoid the pitfalls of a world where the majority of what you can do is pointless, then yes, Power Stick Man could be fun. For now though...Adventure of Powerstick man simply isnít enjoyable.  
Final Blows
    So does PowerStick Man live up to all the hype that everyone but its author has given it? No. Is it a bad game? Well, no, but it is very unpolished. Pepsi Ranger tried to do a lot of things with his game, but sadly failed with most of them. And what makes it so frustrating is that he knew what not to do and did them anyway. In the intro, Elwood Walker comments right before he plays PowerStick Man , ďIíll bet itís one of those dopey games that stars some ridiculous character who canít speak English and fights monsters just because.Ē Itís too bad that PowerStick Man really does fight monster just because, and is mindless when he speaks with the majority of the gameís NPCs. Iíll be hoping that the next release of PowerStick Man lives up the hype the OHR Community has set before it.
You'll be spending most of the game in places like this.

You'll be spending most of the game in places like this.
Final Scores
Graphics: 4/10.0
Powerstick Man looks better the longer you play, but itís still ugly.
Storyline: 5/10.0
The five isnít because the game is average, itís because Powerstick Man canít decide whether itís plot sucks or rocks.
Gameplay: 2/10.0
I understand PowerStick Man was originally a comic. Perhaps it should have stayed that way.
Music: 7/10.0
Refreshing different, but ďPretty Fly For a White GuyĒ and ďRide into the Danger ZoneĒ donít quite survive the BAM conversions.
Enjoyment: 4/10.0
Youíll enjoy parts of it, but most of the game is blag.
Overall Grade: C
Final Thoughts
    Pepsi ranger set out to make a great game, but only really got the outline finished. There's still much to be done.  

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