On to Volume 3 of the Angry Video Game Nerd DVD collections! No more backstories about who the character is or my history with the show or anything like that. We’re three DVD’s deep now so I can just skip right to talking about the set. Yay for less work!
I talked a lot in my review of the Volume 2 DVD set about how the episodes there are probably the best crop but I actually had forgotten just how good Volume 3 is as well. I do think that overall I would still rank Volume 2 slightly higher, but still holy crap look at the episodes that you get on the Volume 3 set:
The Wizard of Oz
Doublevision Parts 1 and 2
Super Mario Bros. 3 (this originally contained a review of The Wizard as well but that had to be cut)
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Batman Parts 1 and 2
CD-I Parts 1, 2 and 3
Bible Games 2
That is one hell of a list and you actually get a couple more episodes here than on the Volume 2 set. Not to mention I think these episodes run longer on average so overall that is a ton of content right there. It’s hard to believe that Rolfe used to crank out this many episodes during a calendar year. No wonder he had to take it easy and cut back.
In this batch of episodes I really don’t think there are any weak ones. The Zelda timeline video isn’t my favourite since I don’t have a lot of interest in the chronology of the Zelda storyline, but I respect the insane amount of information and research that is display here. It is also definitely a bummer that the review of The Wizard is no longer included in the Mario 3 episode (though it’s of course understandable why it can’t be here) as what we’re left with is a little slight, as great as that final sequence may be.
I am also not the biggest fan of the Deadly Towers episode. The idea behind this one was that the fans would submit insults and dialogue so that essentially the entire episode would be written with the words of the fans. It’s a cool idea but it does give things a slightly disjointed feel and the non-stop barrage of nerd-brand insults gets a little tiresome. Not one of the best in my eyes. Perhaps I shouldn’t have stated that there aren’t any weak episodes before then picking apart several of them but it’s too late for revisions now!
The rest of what is here though is pretty solid across the board. The Virtual Boy episode is a surprisingly fair look at what has to be Nintendo’s biggest failure to date. It’s ripped apart as you would expect, but the games themselves are revealed to be surprisingly solid, just stuck on a piece of nonsense hardware.
NES Accessories is another highlight for me as it takes a look at many of the things (Rock N’ Roller in particular) I remember seeing in catalogues as a kid and thinking “oooo man I have to get me one of those.” It’s nice years later to get confirmation that it’s actually great my parents chose to ignore all that crap. Plus there’re a handful of devices I’d never even heard of, such as the U-Force that makes this one particularly interesting.
The Superman 64 review was of course a long time coming. It’s an entertaining episode but I think the problem is that there really isn’t anything left to say about this game. Everybody knows its garbage and one of the worst video games ever released. I also think it’s widely known that a large reason for that is because Superman spends the majority of the game (at least the early sections, nobody ever seems to progress much further, and I know I wasn’t able to back in the day either) mindlessly flying through a series of rings. So while there may not be much new ground covered here, I don’t think watching people rage over how much this game missed the mark will ever cease being entertaining. Actually it may cease being entertaining pretty soon, but this is still pretty good.
The Battletoads review would easily find itself amongst my top AVGN episodes of all-time. I used to play this game coop with my brother all the time and completely relate to all of the frustrations that James and Kyle Justin go through here as they try to play the game together. It’s a great game but holy shit the coop experience takes frustration to levels I have rarely experienced since this game. Plus I always thought that pause music was fucking dope so I’m glad to see somebody else acknowledge that fact.
The Dracula and Frankenstein reviews are amongst my favourite of the Halloween centric shows. The Dracula one hurls a bunch of games at you, most of which I had no idea even existed and each one entertaining in its own way. Plus it gave birth to the famous “Fred Fucks” bit so there you go. The Frankenstein episode focuses primarily on one title, Frankenstein The Monster Returns on NES, but it’s such an oddity that it makes for great watching. The ending for this episode does feel a little abrupt but that’s about the only negative thing I have to say about this one.
The last episodes I want to focus on specifically are the ones that make up the three part CDI review. These three shows focus on the legendary third party Mario and Zelda games that were released for the console. I always knew the games were considered just the worst but I never knew the specifics until these episodes. These are like watching a master class in exactly how not to make a video game. These titles almost don’t need mockery, they make fun of themselves really. All four games are such fascinating failures.
Those are the episodes I wanted to highlight but the others I didn’t touch on specifically are all enjoyable in their own way. I realize this show isn’t going to be for everyone. The humour is unquestionably juvenile with shit and piss jokes being flung out at a very steady stream (ha, cuz like a stream of piss) and I will admit that I prefer the jokes that stray away from that formula. However what makes the show consistently enjoyable for me is the information presented and the amount of effort that clearly goes into each episode, not to mention a heavy dose of nostalgia for games I remember playing or reading about. There is a sense of fun around the whole production that is contagious and it’s what keeps me coming back.
Volume 3 has a good amount of bonus features on top of an already impressive amount of episodic content, though it doesn’t match what we were given in the previous volume. There are unfortunately no commentaries here and of course the majority of the outtakes for these episodes were already included in the Volume 2 set. As a result you get outtakes from four episodes – Frankenstein and Battletoads from this set, and Metal Gear and Atari Jaguar which will be part of the Volume 4 set. Aside from Battletoads, these are all very short, usually averaging about a minute or so in length.
The most substantial feature, and easily the most interesting, is the updated tour of the nerd room where all the videos are shot. It was done in 2009 and it’s an exhaustive look (running about 23 minutes) of the insane amount of gaming related stuff James has acquired over the years he’s been doing the show. The amount of stuff on display is pretty incredible and while the majority of it is only touched on briefly, this gives you a very good look at the overall collection.
Rounding out the bonus features there is also a collection of fan art and fan renditions of the theme song, a pretty interesting, though very short, video of Kyle Justin and James coming up with the theme song back in 2006, a 20 second clip showing a Donkey Kong doll, the top 10 moments from 2008, and trailers for each of the episodes featured in this set. It’s a pretty good list of features but can’t quite compare with Volume 2, though the sheer number of episodes in this set makes up for it.
Volume 3 of the AVGN is another really solid set, with some of my favourite episodes from the series’ run and only a couple that are on the weaker side. It’s lighter on extras but even still, if you’re a fan it’s undoubtedly worth the cash.