Originally coded by American Game Carts Inc. and later released by AVE when AGCI went out of business in 1992, Wally Bear and the NO! Gang is one of the few non-Wisdom Tree examples of NES games that try to teach your moral lessons as you kick ass - a sort of contradiction if there ever was one. The game was first called Wally Bear and the Just Say No Gang until it was realized that "Just Say No" was a copyrighted slogan, but the gang's name - and the recommended way of handling this cart - remains essentially the same. Just say NO to this game!

The game stars Wally Bear, who is just too spunky and cool to accept drugs and/or peer pressure from Ricky Rat, the local derelict rodent dealer. Wally runs the NO Gang, a motley group of young animals that constantly face persecution from Ricky and his YES Gang (just kidding). So, as the game starts out, Wally leaves his parents' (strangely furniture-free) house and skateboards around finding speed-ups and weapons to fend off evil.

Wally gets served the line by the Man

And i ran... I ran so far away...

The game itself isn't bad at all, although the challenge could stand some fine-tuning. The levels switch between the outdoors city blocks of suburbia, and the subway where Ricky's cohorts hang out, and where advertisements for AGCI's ShockWave and the unreleased Crossbow hang. (I suppose AVE found no problem with a bankrupt company advertising nonexistant games in their releases, huh?) In between levels, Wally discusses the latest happenings with members of the NO Gang - Ricky uses peer pressure to get a young turtle to try drugs, or steals the fancy new portable radio of another member. After rectifying the situation, Wally pontificates on what everyone learned from the ordeal - that peer pressure is bad, that people should have respect for the property of others, and so on.

All in all, not a bad game, and the morality plays in between are such a laugh that you'll definitely want to see this to the end. The main beef I have is with the challenge. The outdoors scenes can get extremely difficult if you die and lose your powerups - seagulls fly faster than you can skate and mercilessly bounce around you. On the other hand, you can cruise through all the subway levels easily just by holding right and B on the control pad until you hit the end. The graphics are a notch above most AVE stuff (a very small notch above, but still), but the music is nothing worth remembering.

The verdict? If you enjoy Wisdom Tree's godlike spins on the traditional NES themes, then you'll love this goofy romp through animal suburbia.

AGCI blow a ton on subway ads then fold! Oh no!

Yeah, thanks, Wally

Pix: |tsr

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