Review: Angry Video Game Nerd I and II Deluxe
At a Glance
|ESRB Rating:||NR - Not Rated|
|My Rating:||Ages 13 and up|
|Review Published On:||July 14th, 2021|
There are multiple save slots to choose between, and your progress is automatically recorded whenever you return to the level select menu or leave the game.
LOTS of swearing, curtesy of the Angry Video Game Nerd and others, is a big issue with this title. Other issues include a large amount of unnecessary gore, and a level based around erotic games.
His popularity eventually led to people making fan games, and in time, two official AVGN video games were released. 2020 saw them get a remastered rerelease, Angry Video Game Nerd I and II Deluxe. This product contains remastered versions of both games, plus an additional final chapter for fans to enjoy. You can still purchase the original versions of the AVGN games on Steam if you want, though since this review is primarily for the new edition, there will be a number of differences. In particular, references to certain properties, like the AVGN Movie and the Nostalgia Critic, have been replaced. This is due to a combination of licensing issues and the developers wanting to tie the games together in a semi-coherent fashion.
Anyway, the two AVGN games follow roughly the same plot: the titular Nerd becomes trapped in a crappy game, and so he must fight through the various stages in hopes of freeing himself and his friends from this horrible fate. The main differences between these games can be found in the stage selection screen and the level design. The first game uses a very simple level select screen, allowing you to play through almost any level you want in any order. The one exception is the final level, which only becomes selectable once the others have been completed. By contrast, the second game uses a map screen similar to the style seen in Super Mario Bros 3 or Shovel Knight. This results in strict, linear level progression, as you must play the levels in a set order. Likewise, while each level of the first game is themed after specific episodes of the AVGN's show, the second game themes sets of levels after something they have in common. For example, there are four levels based around board games.
Another difference between the games is the new upgrade system introduced in AVGN II. In the first game, upgrades are just powerups that can be found lying around the levels. These last until you get injured, much like powerups in other old games. AVGN II however takes a more Mega Man X style approach, where the Nerd can find and collect different pieces of retro gaming equipment to permanently improve his abilities. Mega Man X style wall jumping is also introduced as a new mechanic at the beginning of AVGN II.
Both games are loaded with humor and references to the famous old school games 80s kids grew up playing as well as plenty of things for AVGN fans to enjoy. But while all three games in this collection are fun, there are some serious issues here. The obvious issue is that the AVGN show has a very specific brand of humor: it's largely based around swearing, poop jokes, and spewing insults at developers who made questionable (and often pretty infuriating) design choices. These games continue that tradition, making the absurd amount of swearing the Nerd does an omnipresent issue throughtout his games.
Another thing that probably isn't going to go over well with parents is that the first AVGN game features a level based around a particular episode of the show. This was the episode where the Nerd reviewed some infamous "erotic" games for the Atari 2600. As pretty much everyone knows, the Atari 2600 could barely depict a human, much less anything lewd, but a few companies tried anyway, and the level based around that episode references 'em all, sometimes using sprites directly. It definitely comes across as gross, even compared to the poop jokes.
This leads to the real question for prospective players. If you're familiar enough with old games and the AVGN's show to ge thte jokes and are willing to let the porn level slide, you'll probably have a great time with this remastered edition of his games. I'll admit, I had a good time going down memory lane with this collection, though the lewd level is definitely the low point.
Points of Interest
The first game also features eight hidden Sh*t Pickles - one per level. For those wondering, Sh*t Pickle was a weird little cartoon character who sometimes co-stared in the AVGN's show. So while this may appear random, it's more of a collectable easter egg for AVGN fans.
Another form of cameo can be found in the first game: it's the Nerd from AVGN II. Thanks to this being a remake, the Nerd sometimes time-travels back to the earlier game to help himself out with a special powerup. Finding every location where past and future meet will be tricky, but there's an achievement waiting for those who manage it.
There are also a handful of options to make the game more accessible, such as an option to prevent the screen from shaking or the option to disable flashing colors.
Concerns and Issues
More blood can also be found in the stage elements themselves, as spikes and some enemies are drawn with blood already splattered on them. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, the stages set in Hell also feature tormented souls in the background.
Along those same lines, poop appears fairly often. Many enemies attempt to poop on the Nerd, and there are even a few characters made from the stuff, like the Angry Video Game Turd.
Jesus, appearing as Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 BC version Beta, can be found as a carriable powerup. Using the item summons him, defeating all on-screen enemies and dealing massive amounts of damage to any nearby boss.
If I had to pick the worst example from this level, it would be the boss. Based on Custer's Revenge, he's a naked cowboy who jumps around dribbling white dots from between his legs.