Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Dr. Claw's Dump 'n Pump" review

Dr. Claw's Dump and Pump is a strange anomaly of gaming from 1994. When it originally came out, Nintendo's censorship laws almost got it banned based purely on the proposed artwork and name.

A committee of publishers worked long and hard with the Nintendo board to get the game released with the official seal, but to no avail. Instead, the developers gave up and took the game over to Nintendo's competitor, Sega, who reluctantly released the game in limited quantities, making it one of the rarest cartridges to own. Oddly, the game has little to nothing to do with the Inspector Gadget brand, and instead is a rather inventive puzzle/action game hybrid.

You play as one of the employees of Dr. Claw, Who after making a tragic mistake involving a golf ball and a toilet, accidentally causes the executive washroom to overflow. Dr. Claw, furious with you, throws out into the sub-basement of the facility, where you're forced to clean up the mess he caused.

Your character has the ability to push boxes, climb on them, press switches, and throw his robotic claw, which allows him to cross gaps and stun enemies.

You start every stage on the bottom platform with one row of blocks beneath you. The object of each level is to shut off every malfunctioning pump mechanism before the water touches it, which will cause the entire system to short out and explode, killing you. You will also die if you fall into the water. I have no idea what's in that stuff, but it doesn't look healthy.

There is no time limit per se, just the rising water that increases every few seconds. Every time you hit a switch, the water level will decrease by 1 row, buying you some more time.

There are two types of blocks in the game, wooden crates which can be pushed by the player and will float on the surface of the water, and metal crates which will sink. In a surprising knowledge of hydrodynamic physics, pushing metal crates into the water will actually cause the water level to rise slightly.

Enemies are your standard arcade game fare: rats, bats, spiders and goblins. Rats will run back and forth on platforms, Bats will hang from the ceiling, waiting for you to come near them before dropping down to attack you. Spiders will slowly raise and lower on their webbing. Goblins are the most annoying, and will actively attempt to reach the player by climbing up and down ladders. All creatures can be defeated with the claw, except for the goblins which will only be stunned. Once the player has stunned a goblin, it can be defeated by pushing it off a platform into the water.

The game has 50 levels, and some of the later ones get pretty freaking hard. I've never been able to get past level 42 without using savestates on an emulator. Though the graphics and music are rather lacking.

It's still quite fun, despite having almost nothing to do with the Inspector Gadget brand. I honestly don't know why they didn't just call it something else, because this could have been a great game if it were just more well known. I really do recommend this title, but good luck trying to find a copy of it even on eBay.

Because the game doesn't exist. I made everything up. Based on the AVGN joke.


  1. Nice troll review, Brah. =P

  2. "Though the graphics and music are rather lacking."
    You kidding me? I found the graphics to be highly inspired, drawing inspiration from the show as well as giving it a slightly grittier twist, drawing upon some of the concept art for the darker cartoon show which was unfortunately cancelled in favor of what we got instead. These themes never clashed but rather worked with each other, creating a striking contrast and working all 16 of the Genesis' bits to the bone. I've yet to see another video game, current or otherwise, stimulate the visuals of a cartoon show so well.

    As for the soundtrack, by far my favorite OST of all time. Each track is custom made for each level, ensuring that the player is never pulled out of the mood of the game. It can go from a action oriented heavy beat to a slow, almost ominous ambiance within ten seconds and yet it still flows perfectly like a river of pure African orphan tears as a massive shipment of hamburgers slams into their sandy shores.

    Still, a fair review in (almost) all regards. I really do recommend taking the time to really appreciate the presentation some time, though!

  3. Sweet review. Lame Anonymous comments. You kidding me? I found the...-ballz!

  4. Perfectly done review. Awful authentic sounding/comedy gold.


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