Monday, September 6, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 21-D: From Games to Toons Pt.4

Next on the agenda,Video Power's The Power Team. Now,most of you probably don't remember this show or even heard of it for that matter. Well,I'm about to educate you.

The Power Team aired along with the video game reviewing show Video Power. Steven Martiniere was the director and Jack Olesker was the developer and story editor. The cartoon series was produced by Bohbot Productions. The show reran on USA Network as Acclaim Masters.

Mina: The cartoon show featured characters from Acclaim video games. They included Max Force from NARC, Kuros from The Wizards and Warriors series, Kwirk from the game of the same name, Tyrone from Arch Rivals and BigFoot from the game of the same name.

Mina: The cartoon show also featured a cartoon version of the host of Video Power, Johnny Arcade, as they fought against villains from the Acclaim lineup, mainly Mr. Big from NARC. Malkil from Wizards and Warriors and Kwirk's enemies from his own game would occasionally appear as well.

Mina: For the most part,the show seems to be a clone of Captain N: The Game Master. However,the writers and director took the opposite tactic by having the game characters come to the real world. A common device on the show was the characters trying to recover the “game paks” from Mr. Big which would send them home.

Mr. Big would actually use the Game Paks to try to blast the characters back home during their battles. While this is what the heroes wanted, had Mr. Big sent them home,He'd be free to cause havok in the real World without any opposition.

Mina: Mr.Big has Joe Rockhead and Spike working for him,2 other NARC boss characters. He also has as a counter to Big Foot,a living red monster truck named Burnt Rubber. What Kind of name is that? Couldn't they find a cooler name for this guy? I mean who the hell names their Moster Truck 'Burnt Rubber'. Seriously!

Anyway,During battles, Johnny would use a special communication device that looked like an NES Advantage controller to direct the Power Team members from his room.

Mina: Wha..!? An Arcade-style Controller as a communication device? Couldn't they give him something that actually Qualifies as a communicator,like a Walkie-Talkie or something?

No argument their Mina. Anyway,To make the show more "Kid Friendly" A few of the characters underwent heavy redesigns from their game incarnations.

Mina: Max Force looked like a SWAT officer and had a utility belt instead of machine guns. Kuros bore more of a resemblance to a barbarian than a knight in armor.

Though,The barbarian design was likely based on the Wizards and Warriors cover art. Which featured Kuros as a Fabio look-a-like dressed as Konan the barbarian. In the games themseles,Kuros was a knight.

Mina: Tyrone was given a small afro,probably so he wouldn't resemble Micheal Jordan too much. His Arch Rivals counterpart looked abit like an 8-bit version of the famous B-Ball player.

Mina: Tyrone's catchphrase would be 'awwww man!!!'. Disney would later adopt this catchphrase for Jake Long. Y'know since 'aww man!!' is also Jake Long's catchphrase.

Mina: Anyway,Kwirk's catch phrase would be 'Alright! Alright! Alright!' and probably acted the most like his videogame counterpart. Big Foot would talk with a Southern trucker accent and use trucker terms like '10-4 good buddy!' And now for the villains. Take it,Cartoon Historian.

Thank you,my assistant. As stated before,Mr. Big had 2 Henchmen. Joe Rockhead isvery powerful,but very dumb. He also Loved Chili Burgers. Henchmen #2,Spike would be the more capable thug. And since the show is aimed at 8-12 year-olds,he doesn't deal drugs like in the game. Mr. Big was also more human and used all kinds cigar related items. Yes,you heard correctly...Smoking in a Kids Show.

Mina: They would Never Ever be able to get away with that these days. *laughs*

Anyway,Mr.Big didn't turn into a giant skeleton monster like in NARC. While Mr. Big was the primary villain,on occasion other villains,who were the adversaries of the other characters would appear. Kwirk's enemy Rowdy Roddy Radish. Mr. Big is missing his mustache from the arcade version of his origin; however, he neither had it in Acclaim Entertainment's NES port of it.

Before the beginning of each episode Johnny Arcade is briefly shown playing each character's game on his NES before they come flying out of the screen. Even Kwirk, which was a Game Boy game. While Johnny was always leading the team, he was never actually seen hanging out with the characters.

Mina: Why? Who knows? Maybe they didn't want to make this show seem like a carbon copy of Captain N?

Johnny would always be in his room calling the shots. Even though Max Force does take a bit of a leader role. In one episode,Mr. Big tampered with Johnny's controls making him unable to give orders.

Mina: Outside of Mr. Big,the primary villain was Malkil,the warlock who was the main enemy of Kuros. He appeared to be far more sinister than Mr. Big and often worked alone. Although in one episode,he did team up with Mr. Big to battle the Power Team.

Mina: Malkil had also figured that the team would be lost without Johnny Arcade, so at one time he transported them to the gothic land of Sindarin, Kuros' native land. The team learned to work without Johnny's leadership and survive in the medieval realm.

Mina: While Kuros was glad to be home, he explained that he must return to the real world as the goal of the Power Team was to keep villains like Malkil and Mr. Big from ever invading and to allow each team member to return to their worlds in peace, thus explaining the rationale of the series.

Well now you know about one of the most obsure cartoon shows ever. Though,this show isn't nearly as obsure as Mutant League,a Show I'll be talking about soon. Next up,the Sequel to the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.

Mina: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 was based on the video game Super Mario Bros. 3. It aired on NBC as a part of Captain N: The Game Master,from September 8 1990 through December 1 1990.

The cartoon continues the adventures of Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool,and Toad as they battle King Koopa. This time however,King Koopa has his Koopalings,whose names differed from their original names in the video game. On the show, the Koopalings were called:

Cheatsy Koopa (Larry)- a diminutive Koopa, yet a pure schemer to his core.
Big Mouth Koopa (Morton)- had a tendency to constantly yammer on and on about any and all situations.
Kootie Pie Koopa (Wendy)- the only female, and a spoiled brat.
Hop Koopa (Iggy)- the youngest of the twins, loved getting into trouble.
Bully Koopa (Roy)- sported a constant pair of sunglasses, and was basically the bully of the group hence his name.
Hip Koopa (Lemmy)- the second twin, basically prone to mischief like Hop.
Kooky Von Koopa (Ludwig von Koopa)- Apparently the eldest of the kids, and had somewhat of a mad scientist persona, and reveled in creating inventions to bring disdain to the Mushroom Kingdom.

No official explanation was ever given to the name change. While its reason is disputed among fans,most agree that the likely explanation is that DiC did not have access to their real names during production of the show,as they were using the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 3 as reference.

In the Japanese version of Mario 3,the Koopa Kids weren't named (usually being called simply as "Koopa Kid" or "Little Koopa"). It wasn't until the game was brought over to the US for translation,that the kids got names. This was shortly before The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 went on air.

Mina: Oddly enough,though,names from the American version of the game were inserted (such as referring to King Koopa as "Bowser"),which may have been a last minute attempt to make the cartoon feel more like the US version of the game. DiC likely retained the show names to avoid confusion among viewers and to avoid the large amount of expenses of to re-animate the whole show to accommodate this.

Like the previous Mario cartoon series,the animation was done by Sei Young Animation Co. Ltd, however this show was co-produced by Reteitalia S.P.A., hence the slight differences in character design.

Mina: When the series first aired,it was part of the one-hour series "Captain N and the Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3" on NBC's Saturday morning cartoon block. It aired as Mario 3 episode/Captain N episode/Mario 3 episode. Later, the two shows were split into 2 individual shows after NBC ended it's Saturday morning block.

Mina: Since the show was based on Super Mario Bros. 3, the enemies and power-ups were also seen in the show. In addition to being more faithful to the Mario gameplay,the series was given an established sense of continuity,something that the previous series lacked.

The show was also known for having many of its episodes set in "the real world". These episodes took place in locations such as London,Paris,Venice,New York City,Cape Canaveral,Los Angeles and even Washington, D.C.

Mina: One memorable episode entitled "7 Continents for 7 Koopas" was about the seven Koopa Kids invading each of the seven continents.

It should also be noted that Mario and Luigi had New York accents instead of Italian ones. This was prior to Charles Martinet auditioning to be the voice of Mario and creating an italian accent for the character

When NBC canceled their Saturday Morning lineup in 1992,the show was split from Captain N and aired on Family Channel as part of Captain N & the Video Game Masters (aka VGM). Super Mario World,Captain N,and time-cut versions of The Legend of Zelda were also part of this mini-block. When it aired on VGM,the episodes ran slower than the NBC versions to fill up more time.

Mina: Like the previous Mario cartoon,This show featured Cover songs. In the Non-NBC re-airings of the show,these songs were replaced with Mega Move,a song heard a lot on Captain N: The Game Master. The DVD box set also contain's Mega Move in place of the Cover songs.

Mina: Well,that was long.

Up Next,this show's sequel,Super Mario World.

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