Revolution X

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Revolution X

Post by WolfofWords »

When I was a kid, we were not allowed to play first-person shooter games. School shootings were not yet a thing but games like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were already making waves. The idea even back in 1992 was that repeatedly acting out first-person violence would lead to real first-person violence. Also, wisely my mom saw that I was ten years old and my brothers were even younger. I never worried too much about the ban because there were plenty of interesting games out there. Of course, that ban did not extend to arcade games. We were unleashed on arcades with pockets full of tokens. Some of the games we played were shooting gallery games which, like Duck Hunt, included holding and pointing a physical plastic gun.


I also loved Rock and Roll and sticking it to the man so I found the dulcet tones of Revolution X alluring. Hearing the sound of explosions and Steven Tyler during its attract mode was exciting. The big guns reminded me of the Terminator 2: Judgment Day arcade game also made by Midway three years earlier. Except it had digitized guitar riffs and loud Steven Tyler screaming. There were also three guns on the console and I had two brothers (or two best friends). Perfect!

The game begins with a strangely silent series of screens which sets the tone of the setting of the game. It is the dystopian future of 1996 which was only three years after the game came out. Corrupt governments have merged fully with corporate interests to form a ruling body known as the New Order Nation. This group has gone to war with the 13 to 30 demographic by outlawing all youth culture including television, movies, magazines, video games, and most importantly music. The main enforcer of the NON’s militaristic forces is Mistress Helga who is confusingly dressed in black leather with generous cleavage. Your character (or characters) are heading toward an illegal underground venue called Club X to see an Aerosmith concert.

Things start already at a 10 as the player is immediately confronted with fighting a helicopter and tons of thugs as you make your way through town. The guns fire glowing spheres and you can also use CDs as secondary projectiles. The gun also can set off screen-clearing bombs. The NON army is intense and uses a lot of impressive science fictiony technology. The player makes their way through the carnage and into the club instead of rightfully running from this overwhelming show of force. But I guess we have to be heroes.

Once in the club, the player is treated to a massive club that is one-part bar, one-part concert venue, and one-part go-go joint. While the employees of Club X seem to have fled, they left behind dancers in cages who keep dancing to the rocking beats. Still, they are grateful if you free them and will pause and kiss the player before leaving the battlefield.

The player finally arrives at the stage where Aerosmith are singing “Eat the Rich”, an apropos song for an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist storyline. Of course, I have never lived during a time when Aerosmith was not rich. Fighting continues as the band keeps playing defiantly. Eventually, Mistress Helga shows up with more NON soldiers and they abduct the band. It is up to the player to get them back.

The fight continues and the player is forced to flee backstage to try and escape. The player ends up in Aerosmith’s dressing room where they are forced to fight soldiers in the cramped space. In the firefight, the player accidentally destroys the big vanity mirror revealing that there is a secret television screen underneath it. Pressing play on a hidden video system reminiscent of a DVD player or streaming video before either were in wide release. Steven Tyler shows up on screen and laments that the band has been captured. He urges the player to find Aerosmith’s car and somehow tosses the key out of the screen and into the player’s hands.

The player fights their way out of the building and back into the streets by going to the roof and hijacking a helicopter. This leads to air combat as the player is once again confronted by an attack helicopter. The air battle takes the player across the city finally landing near the car. The car is at best a four-seater and kind of cramped for the band to drive themselves around in. It is also a sports car and, wait, why is it on the other side of town? No matter.

The player climbs into the car and is once again treated to a video from Steven Tyler playing on a screen where the radio normally would be. Tyler talks to us over the dulcet tones of “Sweet Emotion” which will be the song that plays after every level from here on. At this point, the player is given choices of the order in which levels are played. They are to stop NON actions in non-specific locations in the Middle East, the Pacific Rim, and near the Amazon River.

Choosing the Pacific Rim gives the player a briefing by Aerosmith member Brad Whitford (not Bradley Whitford). He tells the player that a company called Kemitech is a front for NON.
The player arrives somewhere in the Pacific Rim (probably Japan) and starts to fight through the Kemitech facility. I suppose this company is providing NON with a lot of their high-tech weaponry. The facility is also home to tons of the most brightly colored ninjas in history. The twisting corridors of the building allow for a lot of combat with various bad guys.

While inside Kemitech which has really diversified its portfolio, we find a lab full of Mind Floss Machines (Mental Floss was right there!) used to brainwash more bikini-clad blondes. Freeing them is as easy as destroying the machines.

The stage ends with the player defeating the boss before he climbs into a vehicle that transforms into a mecha. This is why I think it is set in Japan because that is anime af. Fighting this mech is a brutal battle. The player is able to succeed and somehow returns back to the Aerosmith’s car.

The player decides to go off to the Middle East. Before leaving, band member Joey Kramer tells the player that they need to stop the NON bus. Very helpful, Joey.

This bus is taking people to the Mind Floss Machine (Mental Floss was right there!) to turn them into an obedient workforce for NON. The player chases the bus through a lot of the earlier seen bikini-clad girls being used for hard labor. This is the only level with a time limit as the player must stop the bus before it reaches the facility or they are forced to repeat the attempt.

The player returns back to Aerosmith’s car where they are faced with the final choice of the Amazon Jungle. Band member Joe Perry tells us that NON is putting something in the food. Arriving at the jungle facility of Evergreen Chemicals, the player finds that they have coopted the natives who are wearing giant masks more similar to stereotypical depictions of African tribes. They toss spears at the players. In addition to the natives, the temple Evergreen has set up in is home to giant mutant bugs of some sort.

Fighting through the level reveals that Perry was right and that they are putting mind control chemicals in the food. The player sees people managing packaging for Clown Foods. More insidious is the presence of the EverDrone machines. These machines turn the bikini girls into monstrous hazmat suit-wearing gremlins who work at Evergreen. It is actually pretty gross. One presumes that these ladies are already victims of the Mind Floss Machine and are going in “willingly”.

At the midpoint in the level, the player is forced to confront a green jelly monster that kind of reminds me of Terminator. The goofy and bouncy villain is very aggressive. Then the player must confront a centipede monster as the final boss, only managing to knock it into a pit instead of destroying it.

With all three major operations shut down, the player is summoned to Wembley Stadium by band member Tom Hamilton who helpfully tells us to “Tear down the wall!”. What wall? Well, I guess he means the giant wall of television screens on stage. Destroying all of the televisions brings out Mistress Helga herself who once again shows up in all of her boobalicious glory. Fun Fact: Helga is played by Kerri Hoskins who was both a Playboy playmate and also went on to play Sonya Blaze in several Mortal Kombat games. She is strangely resistant to a lot of your attacks but can be knocked back onto a conveniently placed throne.

Once Helga is on her throne, she transforms herself into a giant monster and the throne into a mecha fighting platform. The fight becomes brutal as you must take her apart piece by bloody piece. She is also armed to the teeth.

Once Helga is defeated, she explodes into a literal shower of blood. At this point, the player has beaten the game. They have stopped the New Order Nation and its subsidiaries. Hidden throughout the game are members of Aerosmith which the player must rescue. Failing to rescue them all results in a bittersweet ending where the player is admonished for not rescuing the band. If all of Aerosmith is rescued they will be rewarded with an impromptu concert from Aerosmith. It is basically a GIF of the band with an audio file of “Walk This Way”.