Take heart, 8-bit warriors! The best Saturday morning cartoon of the 1989-90 season is at last upon us on DVD. Captain N: The Game Master follows the adventure of average teenager Kevin Keene after he's transported into Videoland to battle the forces of Mother Brain with the assistance of familiar heroes from the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System such as Mega Man, Simon Belmont, and, um, Bayou Billy for some reason. The fan favorite hits stores today and DVD Verdict has a decent review of the collection.
The plotlines are the typical sugar-coated ADHD variety of Saturday morning sensory overload, just set in video game worlds and peppered with sound effects from Super Mario Brothers. Again, not a big departure from shows of its ilk back in the day, and Captain N executes the game-plan in fine fashion. Episodes move crisply and manage to be highly energetic without Koopa-leaping into excruciating territory. A few of my favorites: "Quest for the Potion of Power," introduces Zelda and Link into the series, though Link is quickly emasculated by Captain N; I don't know how they wrote a coherent episode about Tetris of all games, but they did with "The Trouble with Tetris"; "Germ Wars," the series finale, has the whole N Tram miniaturized and transported inside Kevin to battle off an infection—weird, but satisfying.
As I said once before, I used to watch Captain N religiously back in the day along with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, but having caught a rerun here or there over the years I have to admit that it hasn't aged all that well. Many characters aren't true to their now-established personalities and sticklers for authenticity such as myself might have a problem with the various continuity errors and outright mistakes (The hero from Kid Icarus is named "Pit", not "Kid Icarus"; Mega Man doesn't come from "Megaland", nor does Mother Brain live on "Metroid", etc.). Still, it's good to see the series land on DVD for new audiences to discover.