Review: Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree (Nintendo Wii)

calvin-boxCalvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree
Developer: Humagade
Publisher: Zoo Games
Genre: Party
Release Date: 11/17/08

When confronted with a video game titled Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree, the first question to cross one’s mind might be, “Who the heck is Calvin Tucker?” Is he some sort of Larry the Cable Guy protégé? Maybe he is the store brand version of Jeff Foxworthy? Perhaps this is some sort of show on Country Music Television after My Big Fat Redneck Dental Appointment and before Pimp my El Camino?

The manual doesn’t mention who this guy is. Near as I can tell he must be the red-haired guy on the game box. Ooh. . . UNLESS, Calvin Tucker is the guy that designed the game. Let’s see, game designers, game designers. . .

(Searches manual.)

Hmm. . .

Production Director – Francois Gravel
Producer – Simon Gagnon
Design Director – Daniel Marcoux
Lead Designer – Eric Latouche
Lead Programmer – Serge Latouch.

Wait a minute. . . Why are a bunch of Frenchmen making a game about rednecks? Was this originally a game to make fun of Belgians given an American facelift?

What is going on here?

Hmm. . .

No, these are the people from Humagade. They are Quebecois, not proper French.

Maybe Google can help. . .

Hmm. . . Calvin Tucker. . .

Probably not this guy, eh?

1. Story/ Modes
Representatives of various families from Redneck County compete in various hillbilly events in order to win bottle caps. The family that wins the most bottle caps gets to live in the biggest mobile home for the subsequent year. The story is never fleshed out any more than that, nor does it get any cleverer. There aren’t any cut scenes or dialogue or plot or character development or anything occurring in the game that can be said to be found residing in the land of story or a neighborhood adjacent to story or even in the same damned country as story.

The nearest thing we get to back-story are these odd little paragraphs that accompany all too frequent load screens. They read things like (and I”Ëœm paraphrasing): A good pick-up line in Redneck Conty is “Nice Teeth.” Or they say something like: When something is difficult to do in Redneck county the phrase is “like herding cats.”

There are a bunch of these little statements, most of which read like somebody took bits of Jeff Foxworthy’s act from 1993, translated it into Esperanto, a 3 year old child memorized the Esperanto, told the jokes to a slow-witted German, who in turn translated them back into English with the help of babelfish and lazy interns.

It is a sea of poorly told jokes, half-jokes, non-jokes, anti-jokes confusing statements. It reminds me of the character Glen from Raising Arizona

Glen: How many Polacks it take to screw up a lightbulb?
H.I.: I don’t know, Glen. One?
Glen: Nope, it takes three. Wait a minute, I told it wrong. Here, I’m startin’ over: How come it takes three Polacks to screw up a lightbulb?
H.I.: I don’t know, Glen.
Glen: ‘Cause they’re so darn stupid!

In terms of Modes, there is Jamboree mode where you play 4 or all the mini-games. There is a quick play mode (which actually takes quite a bit to set up) where you play a single mini-game.

2. Graphics
This game is ugly. The designs are ugly, the rendering is ugly, the frame-rate is ugly.

Ugly.

Any given moment of gameplay would look more at home on a PS1 or an N64, or maybe one of those bright orange V-Smile games for the toddling set.

calvin-backyard-shooting
Ugly.

So ugly.

This game is so ugly that it makes onions cry.

This game is so ugly I had to rub it in bacon to get the dog to play with it.

This game is so ugly that. . .

Well, you know. . .

3. Sound/ Music
There is generic, interminable, banjo music. There is an occasional countdown that ends in “rawdy” (for some reason), and little else in terms of sound.

Muting the game wouldn’t change things much here. The game is pretty sparse aurally and what is there is. . . What is the word I’m looking for? . . . bad.

4. Control / Gameplay
There are twelve different mini-games, and thus twelve different ways with which the game can insult you. Each mini-game is always 4 player, regardless of how many human players there are. Gameplay is never simultaneous; first player gets a turn, then second then third, etc. Thankfully you don’t have to sit through watching the computer play, but if you play this game with three friends be prepared to spend most of your time watching others play and waiting for loading screens.

Also, these people will stop being your friend for making them play such a miserable excuse for a game.

Let’s look at some these experiences which might loosely be referred to as “games”.

Backyard Shooting
A simple target shooting game a la Link’s Crossbow Training. Basically you shoot anything that moves. You get a multiplier for not missing. You got the Wii-mote and a cursor on the screen. How much can you screw this up?

As it turns out, plenty.

First off, there is only one stage. The background never moves and a bunch of random stuff flies on the screen all at once. Also, the targeting I spotty. Even if I have the bullseye right over an object, it might not count as a hit. Heaven forbid you hit the neck of a bottle and not its center of mass. It’ll be logged as a miss, you’ll lose your multiplier and finish in last place.

calvin-dynamite-fishing
Dynamite Fishing
The manual makes this sound so easy. “Throw dynamite at schools of fish and kill as many as you can in the process.” You are supposed to press A, do a throwing motion with the Wii-mote and let go of A to throw the dynamite.

And every once in a while, the dynamite will actually leave your character’s hand. If that happens you might be lucky enough to kill a couple of fish. Usually, I end up swinging my arm over and over again until the dynamite explodes in my character’s boat.

Unfortunately it does not kill him.

Mower Racing
According to the game, “Some mowers in Redneck County can go faster than a car!” Unfortunately playing this mini-game is more difficult than “herding cats.” You are supposed to use the control stick to control the mower speed and turn the Wii-mote like a key to move the mower left and right. It rarely works well. The game often confuses its left and right.

It isn’t an actual race, either, more of a time trial. You earn extra time by running over “critters”. The game advises you to do this thing in order to get extra time and increase your odds of winning. For some reason the manual tells you “to beware armadillos and raccoons” as running them over will deduct time from you and decrease your chances of winning.

The manual is wrong here, very wrong. I don’t think that the people who made the manual played the game. I envy them.

Outhouse Hunt
Your character wanders around the dark looking for an outhouse. The screen is dark, and you have a flashlight that constantly runs out of batteries. You have to shake the wii-mote in order to recharge it.

A game like this might work in Raving Rabbids, but here it is just terrible. This is mostly due to atrocious collision detection. Trees that appear to be several feet apart will prevent your character from traveling in that direction.

Toilet Seat Throwing
This is a standard game of Horseshoes, except that it is played with potty tops. The toilet seats fly wherever they want with little rhyme or reason. It isn’t any fun.

Bottle Opening Contest
In this game you open bottles with your teeth. Well, not really your teeth, but your character’s teeth. Well, not really your character’s teeth, but some other unnamed character. It’s not particularly fun, but remarkably the controls actually kinda sorta work for this game. It can actually be played in a manner resembling a game. It’s like finding an aspirin in a bottle of poison.

The manual says that this game is locked: it isn’t.

Get Off My Lawn
This is another shooting game. This time you get a shotgun, and shoot cardboard cutouts. Sometimes shooting things give you negative points, but the game never tells you why.

Cow Roulette
You put a bottle cap on a square of lawn. A cow is released. The cow wanders around, lays down and farts. If the cow does this thing on the square you picked, you double the amount of bottle caps you won in the last game. If the cow lands on some other square, which is likely, nothing happens.

There are four other min-games, but, well, haven’t I suffered enough?

5. Replayability
There are many things to be unlocked in Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree. There are new characters, new mini-games, and new-jokes. These things can be bought with bottle caps won by playing Jamboree mode. Even losing every event in a jamboree will garner bottle caps.

When it comes to unlocking new characters, I don’t really see the point. You start the game with four characters, but in actuality there is only one female with a couple of different skins and one male character with a couple of different skins. The different characters don’t seem to play any differently. In most games you don’t even see your selected character.

When it comes to unlocking Mini-games, you have to ask yourself a question: would you rather play seven crappy games or up to 12 crappy games?

When it comes to unlocking more jokes. . . Do you remember those examples from earlier?

A crappy game cannot increase its replay ability by locking half of its crappy features.

calvin-mower-racing
6. Balance
There are three difficulty settings: Wuss, Fair, and Crazy. Zoo’s official website for the game says that the difficulty settings are Weak, Fair and Strongman.

Maybe they haven’t played the game either.

Lucky ducks.

At any rate, be prepared to get killed. The computer has the advantage of being able to play this unplayable game. For humans, the games controls are so ineffective as to all but guarantee constant fourth place finishes. It doesn’t matter what the difficulty is. The computer will win. You might as well turn the difficulty up to the hardest level anyway, as you get more bottle caps by finishing last on that setting than you do winning on the easy setting. (That way, you can more quickly unlock stuff you don’t want!)

Not that you could win in this broken monstrosity.

The only mini-game I managed to win was the bottle -opening game, and even then the balance was way out of whack. On my first try, on wuss difficulty, I doubled the score of the next best player. Then I turned it up to the crazy difficulty and more than doubled the score of the next best player.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

7. Originality
It’s a mini-game collection for the Wii based on a poor interpretation of a joke that stopped being funny 15 years ago. The games from a mix of poor Mario Party rip-offs to poor Raving Rabbids knockoffs.

8. Addictiveness
This game is as addictive as swallowing thumbtacks.

9. Appeal Factor
Rednecks deserve better than this crap. Where is my Demolition Derby? Where are my Monster Trucks? Where is my Ford Ranchero? Where are the mullets?

If there are rednecks that this game appeals to, I’d imagine them to be of the “what the hell, let’s rape Ned Beatty” variety.

10. Miscellaneous
Even if you are playing by yourself, the computer makes you chose 3 opponents. You only start the game with 4 characters, and you don’t see anybody else play! Why do I care if Sheena is player 2 and BillyBob is Player 3? It doesn’t freaking matter? Why do I need three opponents anyway? To remind me how poorly I’m playing this game that I freakin’ hate?

And another thing: How come there are only 12 mini-games? There are proper Wii games that have proper story modes and several dozen mini-games.

And who, for the love of all that is good, is Calvin Tucker?

calvin-toilet-seat-horseshoes
The Scores:

Story/Modes: Awful
Graphics: Bad
Sound: Bad
Control/Gameplay: Dreadful
Replayability: Very Bad
Balance: Bad
Originality: Very Bad
Addictiveness: Worthless
Appeal: Awful
Miscellaneous: Worthless
Final Score: Dreadful Game

Short Attention Span Summary
Calvin Tucker”Ëœs Redneck Jamboree is the worst game I”Ëœve ever played on the Wii. Do not buy this game. Do not rent this game. Do not look at this game in the store. Do not even say it’s name aloud three times while looking in the mirror.

I’m serious.

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