Total Recall Dud of the Month
KEITH COURAGE in Alpha Zones

(Hudson Soft/Sunrise, August 1989)

Introduction and Story:

Since I named Dragon Ball Z: The Final Bout Game of the Month because of its rarity, I figure I would pick a game that's not worth a dime for the Dud. Even though there are many games out there that most people wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, sometimes a game is just everywhere anyway and what could be more common then a game that was packed in a game system, eh? See why Keith Courage in Alpha Zones was a solid action game with its above average graphics and sounds but at the same time let’s also see why it should have never been a flagship title for the Turbografx-16.

Getting back on the "Pack-in" issue, the main reason you would have a game packaged in with a home console is help sell this often expensive unit in a competitive market. To show you how important this was; in 1991 Sega actually wanted Nintendo to bundle their new Super Nintendo with Super Mario World so they in turn could package their Sonic the Hedgehog game with the Sega Genesis. Sega's management felt that Sonic was the one game that could go head to head with Nintendo's AAA titles and they were right. Sonic became a household name and Sega became now a serious player in the industry. Don't cry for Nintendo though, they were still able to sell millions of units regardless and the many would still argue that Super Mario World was the better title. Where does the game Keith Courage in Alpha Zones fit in all this? Back in 1989, NEC would roll the dice and release their own home console and guess what the bonus game that came free with the Turbografx-16? OK, here was this game and hero that nobody ever hear of before yet he would be in thee game that was suppose to show off the Turbo's power, were they mad? I wouldn't have a problem with this if Keith Courage was an awesome break-out title since the Turbo really needed a killer app to sell itself but sadly, it was nothing more than an average title in almost every possible way.

The game play and bottomline:  
Keith Courage's game play tries to combine two popular game trends; it mixes some Role Playing with some 2D side scrolling action to make for something kinda unique. First you play as a kid in a town to find items and battle weak enemies and all that stuff. The real action begins when you get your cool Nova suit equipped and go into the intense Underworld levels. Keith is now much faster, he has cooler weapons, and the enemies are far more aggressive here as well but this is only half of the game. There are seven stages in the game altogether and sadly each levels feels the same other then a few colour changes.

Moving on to another cool feature about this game, both the graphics and sounds are quite amazing to be perfectly honest for a game in 1989. This colourful title has lots of impressive detail plus both the music and the sound effects are loud and it has a lot of impact. If you compared Keith Courage's presentation to the games found on the NES, you'll be blown away! Where the game falls apart though, other then a few sprite changes and some different themes the levels all feel and look the same and some more variety would helped a lot.

The game also lacks any replay value once it's completed because there is no score system, there are no multiple endings, and the game play just isn't good enough to hold the publics interest. Although this game was decent enough on its own, it failed in its mission to spark up interest for the system like a Sonic or Mario would. In the game's ending it said that you can look forward to Keith Courage's next adventure. Fat chance!
Here is my 9 minute parody video review of Keith Courage too!
Warning: there is some swearing and I ripoff a bunch of other reviewers too:



overall rating: 54/100

Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 6/10
sound: 6/10
gameplay: 5/10
replay: 3/10

(Ryan Genno) 2004

See other Total Recall duds of the month