Review by Dave Giarrusso



Graphics: 8

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7

Listen to this idea for a new game: you’re Mikie.  Kick your classmates out of their seats and grab the love letters (to you, from your girlfriend) that were hidden there.  The love letters are hearts.  Beat up the class and grab all the hearts.  Keep an eye out for Teacher or you’ll lose a turn.  If he gets too close, hide by sitting down at a vacant desk, or kick his ass with a teeth-rattling headbutt.  After you collect all the hearts, run out of the room.

Seriously, that’s how to play Mikie.

Mikie is a truly silly arcade game that people almost instantly love or hate.  It took me about two seconds to realize that I love this game.

As Mikie, you run around like a maniac in a steroid rage while rounding up all of your girlfriend’s scattered love letters.  One wonders how the love letters got blown around the school in the first place, but let’s just presume that the whirling Tazmanian Devil of Warner Brothers cartoon and Atari 2600 Taz fame stormed the halls of Hi-School just before 8AM.

Mikie begins his quest in Hi-School.  Not “High-School,” but, right out of a Berenstein Bears story, Hi-School, as in “Hi, School!  How are you today my friend?”  Mikie wanders the school in search of love letters (hearts) from his girlfriend (cheerleading bimbo) that have been carelessly left underneath other students’ seats, in lockers, and around the gymnasium where the other cheerleading bimbos perform only the most spasmodic aerobics.

Mikie has three methods of gathering hearts.  He can A) kick the students out of their seats until they land on the floor in a crumpled heap and then pick the hearts up, B) smash open lockers or glass jars with his forehead and then pick up the hearts, or C) just pick up the damn hearts.  Like I said, I loved this game right from the start.  Not despite its absurdity, rather, BECAUSE of it.  Anyway, the sheer absurdity and mirth of the play mechanic in this game is just funny, and I would no sooner headbutt a real teacher than I would freeze someone before borrowing their skeleton via a punch to the back.  Got that, all you vapid, blame-shifting senators and bored Xanax-popping soccer moms?

After collecting all the hearts in the classroom, Mikie must make a quick exit – opening the door requires a second button.  Now Mikie is wandering the hallway, and - gasp - without a hall pass!

The hallway portion of the game is equally entertaining.  Opening a door other than the one marked “IN” will reveal anything from a boring classroom, to a towel-wearing babe and some bonus points, to a punch in the face.  The janitor wanders the hallway in a vain attempt to terrorize Mikie, but a simple headbutt will put him out of commission long enough to see what’s behind all of the doors.  If you’re particularly talented, you’ll manage to open a door with a boxing glove lying in wait just as the teacher or janitor walks by, thereby punching one of them in the face and down the hall for still more bonus points.

Dawdling too long in the hallway causes another unseen-until-necessary janitor (like the skull tossing Sea Hag in Popeye, or Grampa on the Simpsons) to hurl buckets of water along the floor, a la the giant pucks in curling, Canada’s dullest of the dull sports.  There are also bonus objects that look a lot like six packs of soda, or maybe dynamite, except that six packs of soda in a hallway don’t really make sense.  Six packs of dynamite in a school hallway make even less sense, but who the hell knows what the design team was thinking?  I don’t know what they are, but by all means, grab them for an extra 1000 points.  Maybe it’s the janitor’s forgotten stash of beer?  In a school like this, he’d need something to calm his nerves.

The next stage in the game is the locker room.  Here, Mikie must outrun the teacher, the janitor, and a chef, who has evidently lost his map to the cafeteria (restaurant).  The hearts are scattered about the lockers, which Mikie must open by using his head.  As with the previous screen, gather up all the hearts, make like a tree (and leave), and you’re on your way to screen three.

After tromping through the hallway again, perhaps stopping by an air vent to dine on a nice juicy hamburger, Mikie makes his way into the restaurant (cafeteria).  Grab the hearts, smash open the glass container that holds one heart captive, and get out, pronto.  In addition to the janitor and the teacher, three chefs terrorize Mikie in this screen, and one of them is busy hurling meat at our hero.  Yes, really.

Mikie makes a hasty retreat from the restaurant only to wind up in the danceteria.  I’d been wondering when Adrian Zmed will show up in a game, and this was the most likely place.  Still, no Zmed.  Grab the hearts, but stay away from the Renegade-looking female gym teacher (“givin’ up already?”) or it’s lights out.  The teacher from the first screen is still stalking Mikie, and the real challenge here is to keep Mikie’s raging hormones under control – if he gets too close to one of the dancing cuties, he flips his lid and is rendered motionless for a second from too much rubbernecking.  Sure, it nets him 100 points, but if that teacher catches up to him, is it really worth it?

Mikie’s final task is to collect the love letters left wafting in the breeze out in the garden. Three football players menace our hero, but since they’re both slow and stupid, Mikie can easily out maneuver them, grab all the hearts, and finally catch up to his girl.  The two kiss and jump into their waiting roadster, then drive off into the sunset…

Or do they?  Now Mikie is magically transported back to the locker room stage where history repeats itself until the player gets bored.  Sure, the screens are tougher, and in a different order than the first time through, but, it’s that whole Gumshoe thing again: win the game and you’re greeted with, “Later, that same day…”

I dig this game for lots of reasons.  It’s got a lot of goofy touches that make you chuckle – the football players are stronger than the regular students in the classroom, and they fight for chair position with Mikie as he tries to unseat them.  The teacher constantly chases after Mikie, unless Mikie has the sense to sit down in an empty chair – now ol’ teach’ can’t see Mikie!  The first screen plays the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night.”  The teacher who chases after Mikie (and looks an awful lot like my middle school Spanish teacher) often tires out and must pause to catch his breath.  And who could forget the nearly nekkid towel-babe in the hallway?  Remember to open ALL the doors!

Mikie is a forgotten game from yesteryear, but one that even casual gamers should look over.  Returning to “Hi-School” might not be your cup of tea, but in this case, you’re sure to get a “kick” out of it.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:28 PM