Kevin Keene was living a normal existence playing Nintendo with his trusty dog Duke by his side. Then one day, during a heated game of Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Keene and Duke find themselves sucked into the TV set and magically transported to another universe known as Videoland. Once there Kevin is quickly informed by the N Team that he has been brought to there universe to help defeat Mother Brain (the main bad guy from the game Metroid). According to an old Videoland prophecy, this is something that is already preordained. This is where The N Team comes into effect, made up of Princess Lana (the benevolent ruler of Videoland), Simon Belmont (of Castlevania fame), Mega Man, Kid Icarus and Gameboy.
The N team is constantly waging war with Mother Brain and her Forces of Chaos which include King Hippo (from Punch-Out), the Eggplant Wizard and Dr. Wily. The eternal struggle to keep Videoland kept our heroes constantly busy, and gamers consistently enticed.
From the opening episode "Kevin In Videoland," in which the premise of this show is established, we get all 26 episodes of Captain N: The Game Master in this Complete Series set. Whether we are seeing Megaman try and become human ("Happy Birthday, Megaman"), or Gameboy in the subject of one of Mother Brain's plots ("Gameboy"), or the N Team is trying to rid the the world of Tetris of the evil Puzzle Wizard ("Totally Tetrisized'), this show worked because it kept itself in line with what NES players and fans wanted. Also, the fact that Kevin's weapon of choice was a zapper gun again played on people's fantasies of bringing their video games into the real world.
Spread out throughout all four discs these bios give us brief but detailed looks at the main characters who make up this game. For example, we find out about Kid Icarus, what kind of a character he was, what his skills were, and it runs down that same theme for characters like Mother Brain, Gameboy, etc.. While these are all highly similar in terms of how they are put together, going through these is going to help any newcomers get oriented with the show. I was amazed at just how how many character sketches they offered up, and my only complaint was I would like to have seen more about the process of creating these characters. It would have been really nice to see how they were not only drawn, but how they were brought to life by the voice actors who imbued them with words.
This was a bit of a let down. Sure it was great to get a glimpse at this concept art, but it really felt like something that was thrown together. All we see are images from places like Megaland or Mount Icarus, the cameras moves across them for a little bit and then the segment is over. I suppose this is okay, but I really wanted to go deeper inside Videoland. At the very least, it would have been nice to have heard from the artists so that I could have gotten a personal take on their designs. I guess I just wanted more!
Full Screen...what else? The show itself is almost two decades old, and it definitely feels like it, but that is what is going to really sell this thing to the cult followers. When Kevin gets sucked in to Videoland, live action and animation are merged, and you can definitely tell that this show has been ripped from the 1980s. This sort of thing was very new, and they weren't using to computers to complete the task either, which some credit has to go out to the original amkers of the show. The animation itself looks like it has held up well, but live action sequences are very washed out as were much of the mid-level video equipment these types of show were shot on back then.
From the menu music to the actual music in the Captain N show, I got excited just hearing the noises from Super Mario Bros.. Over the course of watching these shows, I didn't hear any noticeable audio glitches, but don't go into this thinking everything has ben cleaned up. We're definitely being served copies of the show straight from the 80s...which in reality, I actually prefer with this type of nostalgic throwback. I wanna see it and hear it the way I did when I was a kid! Who wouldn't?
The wrap cover shot has all the cool, old school Nintendo lettering and colors, and taking up the whole left-hand side is an image of Kevin Keene in animated form. Truthfully, I think this looks really great as the artwork isn't overstated or too in your face. Inside the casing are 2 double-disc slimpack plastic cases. Each disc features characters from the show on the faces.
Truthfully, they could probably release these DVDs in a plastic bag and the fans would be happy, but having cool packaging for this retro programming makes it something people will want in their collections all the more.
Within the heart of the big 80's Nintendo era were a few shining gems that existed in the offshoot realm. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Captain N and my personal favorite, The Legend of Zelda cartoon. With Captain N though, I can see why this is such an anticipated release. It captures the magic of all your favorite NES superstars and throws you into the the world's they traveled in. What could be better than that? Well, besides actually playing their games.
Simply put, if you played Nintendo at all when you were younger than you have to own this. This is a timeless piece of video game lore. It takes a point in the history of this medium and examines it before things became so sophisticated. This isn't to say that the artwork and production values are not good in this set, I just think that, as one of the first efforts at merging the mediums of TV and video games, one could see in hindsight that when technology advanced so would everything else about these sorts of endeavors.