Ah, the Chipmunks. Squeaky-voiced little rascals that sang covers of classic songs, though I'm pretty sure they were just the originals played at double speed. They also had a cartoon, where they got into all kinds of mischief, frequently driving their surrogate dad Dave
totally mad. As the theme song told:
Watch out, cause here we come|
It's been a while but we're back with style
So get set to have some fun
We'll bring you action, and satisfaction
And damned if it wasn't true! Alvin, Simon and Theodore were a regular hoot. They... actually, now that I think of it, the cartoon wasn't all that great and their songs were so goddamn sweet they'd make your teeth hurt just to listen to them. Hey, you. Yeah, you! You tell anyone I watched that show and I'll make you swallow your teeth, dig that pappy? Now, if there was one cartoon I never missed, it was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Except for me and all the other kids in Europe, they were the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. We weren't allowed to hear the word "ninja", apparently. Regardless, it was an awesome cartoon and spawned a number of games that were actually, for a change, good games. When I got this rom hack title, I felt conflicted - would the Chipmunks, in their pink fairy fluffy pretty pony cuteness, ruin one of my old favorites, or would the hack-and-slash action of TMNT2 make me appreciate the Chipmunks more? Let's see.
As the opening credits screen told me, this hack was devised by one Kevin TSA. Apparently, he works for the Ninja Chipmunk Corporation. They're probably a neglected branch organization of the military. The "Nice" part of the game title made me raise an eyebrow, though. I wouldn't much enjoy battling Foot Soldiers by hurling compliments at them. Kevin managed to resist the temptation to include his name into small tilesets so it would be plastered all over each level. Now that, I respect. A hacker in moderation.
Well, the start screen looked chipmunky enough. It's too bad I didn't have another Ninja Chipmunk to join me in my game, because the two-player function was my favorite part about TMNT2. So, I moved the little Chipmunk punk face to "1 CHPMNK" and started my game.
If I had any doubts about the violence level in this game, they were gone once I reached the select screen. Look at those fancy character pic edits! Simon swinging the katana, Theodore wielding a nunch... pick your own spelling of that one, and Alvin twirling a pair of
sai. And... Donatello... holding his...
Yes, it would seem that Donatello is virtually unchanged. I say virtually, because when he jumps or gets bitten or grabbed by enemies, parts of him transmogrify into a kind of ungodly Turtle/Chipmunk hybrid. My only conclusion can be that Kevin, or TSA, as some small signs in the game refer to him, was working on a Chipmunk version of Donatello and then decided to give up. I know he'd run out of Chipmunks, but why not turn him into Dave? If you've read ahead (you jerk) you already know that the hack's story is about saving Dave, but... well, you'll find out. Unless you read ahead even further (you double-jerk).
The story begins: the city is aflame and Dave is in one of the buildings. Accompanied by Donatello, the Chipmunks rush to Dave's aid.
First taking on the role of the somewhat effeminate Theodore, I smacked my way through wave after wave of Foot Soldiers, in a search for Dave. Despite their Chipmunkification, the characters were still ass-kickers.
Incidentally, the enemies had seen little to no change. The only thing that looked new to me was the sunglasses each Foot Soldier wore. What it means, I don't know. Perhaps Dave had been abducted by Ray-ban.
Another thing that struck me as odd was that all references to pizza had been changed to references to "toast". I can't say I remember the Chipmunks regularly declaring their love for toast, but hey. The concept of a Toast Hut seemed quite interesting. As long as they deliver.
Logically enough, while slices of pizza restored your hitpoints in the original game, slices of toast do it in this rom hack. I love toast as much as the next guy, but the significance is beyond me. I'd sooner have expected nuts, or something.
Anyway, hacking and slashing my way through the burning building, I came upon a room where April stood screaming. Dave was nowhere in sight, and soon Rocksteady appeared to gun me down. I figured maybe he'd hidden Dave somewhere, so I smacked him silly. Then Shredder appeared, and took off with April.
Me and the boys took after Shredder, seemingly leaving Dave to die in the burning building, if he was there at all. The story had stopped making sense all together. This was ANARCHY!
The fight raged on in the streets, I took out more villains in sunglasses, ate toast, and took out Bebop. I didn't even know why I was fighting anymore. Was Dave dead? Kidnapped? Surgically altered to be given the appearance of April O'Neil? What?
After a trip through the sewers, I reached "some city". The place had frozen over, so I bested Footies, snowbots and snowdozers to destroy the freeze machine. But the peace did not last long, and Shredder called me up again.
The jerk informed me that April was being held at a damn factory. At this point I just decided to give up my search for Dave and settle for April. She looks better anyway. Kicking baddy ass all over a junkyard, I came upon Shredder's fly-faced friend, and dealt him with swift justice. April was free, and we hit the highway.
Then, Kevin once again struck me dumb with questions, as I noticed Dave's name scribbled on the van. Were the references to Dave early on in this game actually about the car? Was it a message from Dave, telling me he still needed saving from that burning and collapsing building? Mystery, mystery, mystery. Meanwhile, April kissed my vaguely Chipmunkish head...
Yeah, that's what you get. The van derailed and went over the bridge. Pretty soon, I'm hunting after Splinter's kidnappers. I "busted" the "beeyatch" that had him tied up, completely forgot about Dave again, and headed deeper into enemy territory.
So, I stumbled upon the heart of evil: the Technodrome. A lengthy trip past traps and robots of all sorts further, it was time for the ultimate face-off with the ultimate enemies of Ninja Chipmunks everywhere, Krang and Shredder.
After pummeling the disembodied brain in his robot harness, he took off in his little chair shouting the mysterious words "I have 2:05"! Am I missing something here? Is this a time of special meaning, like 4:20? Does Krang defy Daylight Savings? Is he trying to show his fancy new Rolex? Damn you Kevin TSA, damn you and your David Lynch-like mysteries!
No time to contemplate that, because Shredder came out and cloned himself. With his mutation beam he turned me into something that looked more like a puppy than a chipmunk. That was about all the crazy shit I could take in this hack.
I kicked him and his clone there and back again, effectively spelling victory for the Chipmunks. I got out before the Technodrome exploded, but the end screen left me with a disturbing afterthought...
Don't chipmunks sleep in holes in the ground? Anyway, I never did find out where Dave was - I'm pretty sure that he burned to death while I was off saving April. Well, I suppose it's for the best. That concludes yet another uninspired rom hack with a good idea executed badly. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a sudden hankering for toast.
And now, ladies and gentlemen...
Alvin and the Chipmunks!
Click "Play" to start!
You too can play Teenage Mammal Nice Chipmunks!
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TEENAGE MAMMAL NICE
CHIPMUNKS ROM FOR THE NES!]
[CLICK HERE TO
DOWNLOAD THE NES EMULATOR]
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