bad enough to go all five years with Nixon

I hope you are going to read some of these this time!

Warning: Spirou may not be as beautiful or useful as Spiro Foil.

I almost didn't write them at all!

In the maybe two years since I found Edge Emulation and realized I could show as many roms per page as I wanted by editing the URL up to early 2005, I had passed by Spirou many times while in search of other games I'd inevitably hate. I always assumed it was one of those unplayable giant robot games based on a randomly titled Japanese anime of the same name, or possibly some retarded Korean pirate hack of Twinbee Rainbow Bell Adventure to look like it has Spiro the Salamander in it, with an appropriately pirate-hacky misspelling. Now, of course, I know, it is both about a randomly named character and as bad as a braindamaged bootleg (It has long been my opinion that legs, booted or otherwise, should not have brains at all, just to prevent that sort of thing from happening).

It is made by the same Infogrames dream-team as the Tintin video games, as well as those for several other French-language comic books in the early 1990s. They share many common themes. In good grames, the player character does extraordinary things. However, in Infogrames, the character does ordinary things, and struggles at it. The biggest difference is that I no longer insist on 128x128 pixel images when I construct these pages.

Like any good Infograme, Spirou begins with a language-select. At least, if we're willing to imagine that there is a good Infograme somewhere, we might also assume that it too has a language-selecting screen. It is interesting to note that, while Spirou comics are decent sellers in Italian, Danish and Dutch, the video game is not available to them. One language the comics don't sell well in, for they are not even translated and sold in the countries of? English. English, as in: Option two in the image above here. And I really want to read them. I'm not even making a bad attempt at sarcasm: I sincerely wish to know what is going on here:

Alas, I fear learning to read French and ordering this tome online (or learning Spanish and siding with the immigrants) is the only way I'll ever find out why Spirou pulls his pants up so high. However, the forty-ish greater american dollars of purchase plus oversea-shipping is a negligible price to pay to bring such knowledge to the throbbing masses. Or something. The best I could do for free was this video game, which probably cost whoever owned the actual cartridge around ten dollars more than I wasn't willing to pay for the better thing.

Truly, it fascinates me, that these books, which have been around longer than Asterix, have never been in English. Consider that the film Un Indien Dans la Ville was not only released with English subtitles, it was remade a few years later as Jungle 2 Jungle with an all Amelican cast, despite being one of the worst ideas for a movie to ever not be thought of here (though the utterly pointless and incorrect 2 numeral was all 'us'), and movies cost a lot more money to make than rewording a few dialogue baubles does. Two months from now I'm going to be completely over Spirou and ashamed I wrote this.

It almost seems as if there is a mystic curse in place that will strip the strips of their continued likability if ever they are available in English. All other languages are welcome, though, like German, Italian and Danish. Babelfish isn't even available in Danish. This might explain why the game, which, as I've said, is in English, is notably un-likable.

A company called Fantasy Flight attempted to release translated editions of several Europe comics in North Amelica a bit over 10 years ago, but it (or rather he) kept getting jerked around by American companies making up rules and demanding money. None of the series' were finished and what was done was visible to very few people. Now Fantasy Flight makes trading card and x-sided dice games. A shock that comes as an alternative to comic books.

While not the inventor of the character, the person largely responsible for any fame Spirou might be said to have is Reginald Frapwutch Franquin, who was assigned to write and illustrate the series relatively early on, in 1947. Unlike Hergé (Tintin's author, you dipe), who had the luxury of dying before seeing the worst possible thing that could happen to what he'd spent most of his life on (I refer to the video game, but there's always the chance for some sudden deviantart phenomenomenom taking its place) Franquin somehow held out until 1997, meaning he probably knew about this. Maybe it killed him. Or maybe he was executed for murdering Orville Redenbacher in 1995.


This is the picture for the first scroll of introductory text. It's mostly non-idiotic.

Ah, now definitely we are getting somewhere.

I guess April O'Neil isn't the worst dressed in New York City anymore.

Really? Would they do it for a Scooby Snack? Count Champignac being a great man I will not dispute until later.

Why does SPIP need to be mentioned? Why is SPIP even there, in front of the bodiless onlookers? And SPIP, you couldn't have put out your cigarette before appearing? Do you think I enjoy typing SPIP? Spip spip spip?

Are they sitting on the floor or standing in an invisible mosh pit?

You couldn't just say "Cyanida's here?" "About" as a standalone adjective suggests an object's vague presence in the general vicinity, not right in front of you and laughing. Huh? No? You couldn't? All right, then.
Notice that the audience doesn't look any more surprised than before. I guess after seeing the buildings visible from the water reposition themselves to also be visible from the windows inside this other building, they went into shock and haven't been concious of a single other thing that's happened since then.

Ehhh, all right. I'll read the manifesto later.

Not anymore, certainly.

...and SPIP being, I'm told, a [mongoose sized] squirrel, gives human slavery a "thumbs up."
To my knowledge, SPIP has no relation to fellow attitudinal Belgian squirrel, Skunny, which is good, but for all I know they could be great friends.

Ehhh. Why do I get the impression that Fantasio's idea of fishing for information involves an actual fishing rod? You are correct, because of the bow tie.

Like Spip, Fantasio is 100% unrelated to

but rather is. You can change your name and wear a mask all you want. I'll still know it's you!

As for Spirou, I'd make some comment about him seeing to the task as soon as he's sure no one else needs to ride the elevator, but he's actually supposed to look like a hotel attendant.

But eh. To this ruddy regalia'd rapscallion, pursuing a villain means

spending thirty seconds trying to jump on a garbage can

so he can climb up a fire-escape ladder

and then flingik along an operational power cable (with a bird on it)

so that he won't have to walk around parked cars. Not at all efficient, but think of all the frames of animation it took!
Behind that, by the way, is New York City's famous Café de Symmetry.

Along the way, he also has to collect hats similar to his own because... well, when's the last time you saw a store which sold those? (August 19, 1947)
50 grants an extra opportunity at failure. Of course, all levels after this one are so filled with random, idiotic hazards that you'd have to bring along 500 hats for each to even have a chance at overcoming, and for that sort of money you could probably rent a helicopter and skip most of it.

The most fun thing to do, perhaps in the entire game, is to disable the first graphic layer and pretend Spirou is a giant monster attacking the city.

If you were a dog with perpetual anger-slants over your eyes, just awoken from your sleep, would you go after the rodent really close to you who probably caused it

or the human a way off who's actually larger than you are?

I think we both knew where this was going.

Strangely, this sinister individual does not throw knives or ninja stars at Spirou. Strange, because not only would that have made the level that much more Infogramey, it would have been more authentically new yorkian.
But worry not, there are still plenty of unlikely to occur and unlikelier to hurt traps ahead:

Someone's really enjoying his personal crusade against doughnuts. Anyone else would just put the doughnuts in their own garbage can and take it all outside later. Or, in the event that they are chefs, not bake the doughnuts at all. Not only does this guy bake the doughnuts (and put sprinkle frosting on them!), he goes out of his way to make sure their trip to trash is as frightening for the poor 'nuts as possible.

It's not like the game simply lacked good source material; although I've never seen the contents,

just this cover picture alone tells me something a great deal more interesting / amusingly offensive could be happening.

I don't understand how this crimson coated cornball might possibly have "almost captured" an evil android when he can't even scare a

bird off a power cable which, additionally, he's puny enough to be fully supported by.

You might think it totally irrelevant what this object resembles, but the fact that this object seems to be invisible makes us yearn for information which the anonymous scriptwriter gleefully provides. However, my thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. Why isn't part of the road also shrunk? If this object targets individuals, why did Cyanida bother with the rodent? I fear this page is going to be very long.

I think it would have been neat if in the next level Spirou had to ride around on Spip, or even better, fight to the death. Naturally, Infogrames wasn't about to let something I think would have been "neat" happen.

Once shrunken, Spirou wisely heads for Toyshop 1. I've never been enshrinked, so I have to trust for the moment that if there is any wise method of dealing with that, Spirou has chosen it. Beside that, he's just a fun loving kind of guy. Just look at those bouncy letters. What the vermillion vestmented vagrant doesn't realize is that this is The Worst Toy Shop in the World. Marketer of blocks with the first four letters of the alphabet on them and miles and miles of tacky sailboat wallpaper. Nothing else. What it lacks in variety, it tries to compensate for in quantity. It fails.

Also, Toyshop 1 should not be confused with

TOY'S package store, the business outside which the previous level ended.

The journey through Toyshop 1 is much like what we've seen so far: Questionable, aimless, repetitive and with horrible collision detection. It is also much like what we will continue to see.

In the event I didn't make this clear before, Spip is a scoundrel. You might think "but that is an interesting gameplay element, having Spirou manipulate objects so that the fiend rodent can gain safe passage!" and you are free to continue thinking that, because whether or not Spirou pushes this block has no impact on anything and Spip at no point here or ever has any interactive qualities.

I wonder if there's a lot of demand for stuffed dolls in the 10 centimeter tall and under range.

How about ones that -oh, that is unfortunate.

Levels 2 and 3 both have the same graphics and same music, sort of like levels 3 and 4 in Earthworm Jim. Right; the very worst levels.

In this vicinity Spirou must elude the bowling ball which seems to decide quite on its own to roll after our Spip-spited shrinkard. At least, I assume it's a bowling ball. No one says it's a bowling ball, and it doesn't show any finger grasp points, so given the scale inconsistencies we've already seen, it could just as well be a marble or the Death Star.

While doing this comes the first time Spirou has to slide for any reason:

Get used to this. It happens a lot.

Spirou can also jump over the bowling ball...

And get quite stuck.

Really lucky, considering that Count Champignac's bedroom is all the way over in France or Belgium, you were supposed to be gathering clues about the thing that happened in New York, and you didn't even know Spirou had been shrunken or where to look for a 3.94 inch tall hotel attendant. And how'd you get back so fast? That's simply Fantasiostic. So much so that I won't even ask why you were in the count's bedroom. No, Spip, you did not win.

I assume from the empty hand you're holding out that this object also looks like a hair dryer. But I wonder what a micropulser take it is.

I guess we're lucky the factory is disused, then. Otherwise its facilities would be assisting in the task.

Howdy. I bid you the warmest welcome to level 4. Even though they have free access to the personal belongings of someone with enough disposable income to spend his time developing an anti-shrink formula, they still can't afford a forping subway ticket. I guess this month's ticket budget went into Fantasio's round trip to France. Oh, and his subway fare too, I suppose, since once again he's nowhere to be found.

Yes, THAT'S the sort of graffiti you see on a new york subway train. In 1995.

In this level, Spirou suddenly has a gun. I don't know where our Champignac chasing cheesedoodle got it from, but that doesn't matter since it doesn't do anything.

Welcome to N.Y.C. Where were we before?

I'm surprised there's enough water pressure to work any of the machines in here, what with all the punctured pipes. That's probably why the place was disused!

Next is The Roof Level, AKA The Kite Level, in which Spirou spends a lot of time jumping on identical, steel reinforced, self-propelled kites, and also falling off them because of the mediocre programming.

"yep, it's rainin' alright."

it hurts just as much to get lightly nudged by these robots as it does to get violently electrocuted by their guns. I'm just letting you know.

Of course! The well known New York landmark, the famous Z WiiiZ building!
I think you'd best proceed no further, Spirou. I have it on good authority that nobody beats the wiiiz.

One more familiar sight, the Chrysler™ building.

And here, another Chrysler Building!

Perhaps most amazing of all, a modern miracle of nature, a baby Chrysler building next to the big Chrysler building.

where am I going, anyway? there was no transition from the "factory" level into this one.

A single mistake at any point in this level requires you to restart it. From its start point, obviously. The games in this series were a result of a long time dream of Infogrames. Back in the 1980s, Infogrames president Gaston LaGaffe came across Dragon's Lair in an arcade and thought "if only there was a way to get this horrible, unforgiving, tedious gameplay without the elaborate cinema quality visuals!" The home systems of the time allowed for some wretched graphics and fairly atrocious playability, but not on a grand enough scale. If you made the tiniest mistake, the furthest back you could be sent was to the beginning of the screen. Here, though, you'll go back many screens, possibly six entire levels if you dedicate yourself enough to it.

Ah ha, a "boss" battle. Our kite-climbing kook fires his gun about 30 times, jumps occasionally, and the static, unanimated orange machine slowly descends behind that foreground layer...

and then this nunneleyed creature appears incapacitated on a completely different roof.
Also note: frozen lightning bolt scrolling with the background.

Oh. All right then. Clearly, Krusty the Klown's uncle over heeyah should be writing livejournal poetry instead of inventing robots he can't control. A run-on sentence like that comes from the heart.

Midget Dracula?

No, YOU should have known that and said something earlier instead of reciting bad prose and trying to scare Spip.

This is possibly the worst looking and worst written interlude I've ever seen in a video game. I think my decision to start this page was based 80% on this right here. I can't even think of anything to say about it. Everytime I try I start laughing at how absurd it is. It's possibly meant to be absurd, but it fits with the rest of the game much better any otherwise. However, I must acknowledge the great achievement of anyone who can speak in parentheses.

If he's so smart, why doesn't Fantasio do it, then? Or maybe both of you should go, since I wouldn't want you to get lonely in your bedroom at night.

Alas, there is more. Dare you proceed?

Sometime in 2006