Welcome to Season 3 of "Captain N: The Game Master". I'm ready to tackle Season 3. Before we do any exploring, though, I need to give you a bit of background information.
In Season 3, Captain N was paired with the new "Super Mario World" cartoon series, which was a sequel to "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3". The SMW cartoons were each 15 minutes long (with commercials), and there were 13 of them. One SMW episode was shown with one Captain N episode. The half-hour show was collectively called "Captain N and the New Super Mario World", though each show also had its own title screen. That means that Captain N was still called "Captain N: The Game Master". This has led to some confusion in online episode guides, some treating them as different seasons of the same series and some treating them as different series. I consider them to be different seasons of the same series. However, Shout! Factory says, legally, it's considered a different series, so Season 3 will not be on the DVD set that will be released on February 13, 2007. Therefore, I'll provide summaries.
Now that the background info's out of the way, let's take a look at the opening theme and get a small glimpse of Season 3.
It starts with the title screen against a pink background. Then there's a transition to Kevin playing his NES, using the footage from the Season 1 opening theme and "Kevin In Videoland". However, after the static fills Kevin's TV screen, Simon, Lana, Kid Icarus, and Mega Man poke their heads out of the TV screen! Say what?! That never happened! Then Kevin gets pulled into his TV set. That transitions to new animation of Kevin falling through the shaft. Just Kevin. There is no sign of Duke jumping into the TV or Duke falling through the shaft. At all. When Kevin reaches the bottom of the shaft, the screen clicks on to a newly-animated shot of the N Team (sans Gameboy) standing in front of Lana's throne, like they were in the Season 1 opening theme. Well, Duke's sitting, and Kid Icarus is flying. Kevin draws his Zapper and fires a red beam at the screen. The screen goes black. During this whole thing, the Season 2 theme music is playing, and Kevin says: "When I got picked to be Game Master, I couldn't believe I was really in Videoland, but, ever since I got here, it's been one exciting adventure after another. Maybe I'll never go home. What can I say? I'm hooked." Kevin's last words in the first episode were "I'm hooked." Nice. Then there's a transition to the SMW theme song. After that, there's a transition back to the title screen.
I have mixed feelings about this new opening theme. There is no new music. They used the Season 2 theme music. I like the fact that Kevin narrates it in this season. They animated new scenes, unlike in the Season 2 opening theme (except for the final scene in the Throne room), but the new animation looks horrid, and you completely get the impression that Duke ran away and didn't go to Videoland with Kevin - except he's in Videoland in the final shot. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Also, the omission of Gameboy from the group shot and reverting back to a Season 1-like ending is interesting. Is Gameboy off of the N Team? Not that I'd mind. :P
Man, it's only the opening theme so far, and I'm already complaining. This does not bode well for the season.
Okay, now that we've gotten a glimpse of what Videoland is like in Season 3, let us venture forth and explore it in detail. With only 7 new episodes, each only 15 minutes long (with commercials), this will be a relatively short trip back to Videoland. Season 3 is beckoning us. I don't want to go, but I must. It is my duty. Onward!
Summary (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 4:54 PM)
Coming home from Dragon's Den, Kevin, Kid Icarus, and Duke stop off on the medieval world of Nottingham to fill up the Warp Wagon. Kid Icarus goes into a weapons shop to buy a new string for his bow. Him, Kevin, and Duke prevent the Sheriff and Prince John from robbing the place, and defeat the Sheriff's soldiers, as well - with a little help from Robin Hood. Robin passes out the gold that was stolen to the poor. Kid Icarus is made fun of by Little John and Friar Tuck for looking like a fairy. Kid Icarus bets that he can outshoot them all, and intends to prove it at the Archery Tournament that afternoon. The winner gets a golden arrow, and Robin decides to enter as well. Meanwhile, Maid Marian, a prisoner of the Sheriff and Prince John, overhears them plotting to capture Robin at the tournament. They believe that even if he comes in disguise, whoever wins must be Robin. At the tournament, Prince John sits on the throne, disguised as Maid Marian. Kid Icarus and the Sheriff are the final two contestants. Kid Icarus hits the bulls-eye, but the Sheriff steals his buzzsaw arrow, gets a bullseye, splitting Kid Icarus' arrow in half, and wins the tournament. When Robin goes up to "Maid Marian" and asks for the prize and a kiss, Prince John reveals himself and has his guards seize Robin. Kevin jumps to his rescue, but the Sheriff points out Maid Marian, standing on the balcony of the tower where she's being held, and demands that everyone at the tournament surrenders to him. Robin offers himself in exchange for Marian. Marian cries out in protest and falls off the balcony. Kid Icarus grabs the golden arrow and shoots Maid Marian. The arrow forms a bubble around her, and she floats safely down into Robin's arms, much to the Sheriff's annoyance. Later on, Kid Icarus is officially inducted into the Merry Men, and becomes known as Archer Icarus.
Misc. Tidbits (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 4:57 PM - 5:01 PM)
The episode was written by Dorothy Middleton.
The episode originally aired on Saturday, September 14, 1991, as the Season 3 premiere and the twenty-eigth episode of the series.
I first saw this episode on NBC and finally on "Captain N & The Video Game Masters".
Interesting Notes (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 5:02 PM - 6:30 PM; Monday, November 27, 2006, 11:27 AM - 11:28 AM, 12:27 PM)
The title is yellow with no quotes.
Kevin's Zapper beams are blue in this episode.
Kevin never played the Robin Hood video game before.
Kevin read about Robin Hood in storybooks.
Kevin's weapons don't lose power in this episode.
Great Lines (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 6:22 PM - 6:30 PM; Monday, November 27, 2006, 12:20 PM - 12:25 PM)
Shopkeeper: "I was saving that for the poor."
Sheriff: "How generous. Then you won't mind being one of them."
Sheriff: "You'll pay for this outrage."
Kevin: "And so will you."
Prince John: "I don't see why I have to wear the dress. I look pitiful in pink."
Dumb Lines (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 6:02 PM - 6:30 PM)
Kevin: "And I thought Robin Hood was just a legend I read about in storybooks!"
Sure, Kevin, but it's entirely reasonable to assume that, since Robin Hood is in Videoland, someone on Earth made a Robin Hood video game based on said legend.
Rant (Saturday, November 25, 2006, 5:04 PM (I think; I forgot to add the time stamp when I started) - 6:30 PM; Monday, November 27, 2006, 11:11 AM - 12:56 PM)
This episode was written by Dorothy Middleton. I recently learned that she was also the story editor during at least Season 2. I'm not sure about Seasons 1 and 3. The last episode written by Dorothy Middleton is "Gameboy". That episode was okay. How well does she do this time?
This episode is only tenuously based on "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" for the NES - in that it uses the characters from the Robin Hood legend.
All Season 3 episodes start with the Captain N logo against a dark background while music suitable to the episode plays. These opening shots were chopped off when the episodes aired in the "Captain N & The Video Ganme Masters" syndication package in 1993, making the episodes start abruptly. In this episode, medieval-style music plays.
Holy crap! What happened to Kevin and Kid Icarus?! They are hideously drawn. The animation style for Season 3 is drastically simplified, compared to Seasons 1 and 2. Of the two, Kevin is affected the most. I don't like it.
How does a medieval world have fuel for a flying ship such as the Warp Wagon? I suppose that, even if that particular world is primitive, the people might know of more advanced worlds and agreed to keep stocks of fuel available for travelers to refuel their vehicles.
Kid Icarus wants Kevin to feed his ego, and Kevin unenthusiastically obliges. Why does Kid Icarus have Simon's ego all of a sudden?
Also, how did two N Team members survive a mission to Dragon's Den, let alone make it "a successful mission"?
How can Prince John smell gold? Does gold have a particular scent?
Ah. Duke's there, too. This is the first time that we see him. Okay, so there were 3 N Team members on Dragon's Den. That's still a low number, though.
Speaking of Duke, he looks the same as usual. Lucky mutt.
How could Prince John's hourglass wrist watch possibly work?
Why does Prince John's horse suddenly grab him with its teeth and then spin around in circles before taking off?
Why does those 4 soldiers that come out of the warp digitize like that? That never happened before. Well, I take that back. It happened in "Mega Trouble For Megaland".
Why do the two soldiers stupidly stand around and agree to witness Kevin's little demonstration? Don't they know any better?
What the hell happened to Kevin's Power Pad?! There are now only 6 energy units, and the A and B buttons are vertical! Even with the simplified animation, how did they screw that up?!
Oh, and Kevin presses Left on the cross-key to backflip. WTF?
When we see Kevin after he defeats the guards, his collar is entirely red. Oops.
How could the Sheriff still be heard after the warp closes? His voice has an echo effect, so maybe he and Prince John merely warped somewhere a short distance away?
The woman's clothes turn nice simply because Robin gave her gold? WTF?!
So Kid Icarus' wings are called "power wings". Mmmkay.
Friar Tuck is there. Does that mean Roman Catholicism exists in Videoland?
How could a figure be made by stacking gold coins?
What the hell is up with Kevin, Duke, and Kid Icarus' get-ups? Are they in disguise to hide from the Sheriff and Prince John?
Oh. Yes, they are.
They still look stupid, though.
Kevin calls Princess Lana "my lady". Awww... =)
It's cute that Kevin still wants to "scope Maid Marian out", though. Hehe.
Kid Icarus is referred to as "Kid Icarus of Olympus". Kid Icarus' world is called Mount Olympus in the comic books. On the cartoon series, it's called Mount Icarus. How could Dorothy Middleton possibly screw that up? Was the world called Mount Olympus in the writers' bible and simply never changed?
The trumpet players blow raspberries at the Sheriff, their tongues coming out of their trumpets! Ugh! Stupid cartoon physics! This is stupid even by Captain N's standards.
Why does Robin suddenly go to "Maid Marian" to claim the golden arrow, if the two finalists were Kid Icarus and the Sheriff?
The Sheriff's threat is that Maid Marian will stay locked in that tower forever? No death threat? If I was the crowd, I'd have charged, run the Sheriff over, broken into the tower, and freed her.
After the Sheriff's threat, Kevin makes his hands into fists, similarly to what he did in "Kevin In Videoland" when he first saw Mother Brain.
Why does Kid Icarus fire the arrow at Marian? He has absolutely no idea what it does! He could have killed her!
The Sheriff gives up after Kid Icarus saves Marian. He just stands there, looking pissed.
The episode ends on a happy note - with Kid Icarus being inducted into the Merry Men.
Lesson: Don't judge people's abilities by their appearances.
Okay, before I give my final thoughts on the episode itself, I'm gonna talk about some general Season 3 stuff.
This episode was our introduction to Season 3. The animation was severely downgraded, and the episode running times were cut in half. I'll save my speculation on the reasons for these things until my Season 3 review. When I first watched Season 3, I still didn't realize that the series was dying.
The commercial bumpers are back to naming the series specifically, ditching the generic bumpers that Season 2 had. That's a step up. The bumpers at the halfway point of the Captain N episode are narrated by Chip and Pepper, two live-action surfer guys from a series called "Chip and Pepper's Cartoon Madness", which aired right before this series. The bumpers right before and right after the Captain N episode are narrated by the Captain N characters themselves! Whoo-hoo!
Now for the episode itself. Ignoring the downgraded animation and the halved running time, this episode is average. It's a Kid Icarus episode, and he's not one of my favorite characters. This episode has a similar theme to Season 1's "Wishful Thinking", which is another Kid Icarus episode. I'd have liked the episode to have been based more on the video game. Also, the simplification of Kevin's Power Pad and the addition of lame cartoon physics work against the episode.
Still, the decreased running time (at around 10.5 minutes, it's shorter than a Zelda episode!) might actually work in the episode's favor. It doesn't take long to watch, and stupid filler doesn't make it drag.
Unfortunately, the shorter running time also means that not every N Team member could appear. This will be a recurring element in Season 3: short side adventures with a few people as opposed to the "epic" full-team adventures.
Oh, yeah, Mother Brain and her lackeys aren't in this episode. This will be a recurring element in Season 3 as well.
As for what to cut out, I can't think of any filler in this episode. Dorothy Middleton made good use of the short running time that she was given to work with. This is a lean episode.
Overall, "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods" is an average episode.
Kevin: 5 (stopping the Sheriff's attack, defeating 2 soldiers, defeating 2 soldiers)
Kid Icarus: 2 (getting the gold back from Prince John, saving Maid Marian)
Even though this is a Kid Icarus episode, Kevin is the most useful N Team member. Even though Prince John was retrieving the dropped gold, and it was Robin that caused him to lose it a second time, Kid Icarus does get a point for making him lose it in the first place. Duke was useless. Why'd he even appear? Did Tomm Wright voice another character?
The running total usefulness ratings for this season so far are:
Kevin: 5 (1 episode)
Lana: 0 (0 episodes)
Simon: 0 (0 episodes)
Mega Man: 0 (0 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 2 (1 episode)
Duke: 0 (1 episode)
Gameboy: 0 (0 episodes)
Kevin is in the lead so far. What a surprise.
The running total usefulness ratings for the series so far are:
Kevin: 142 (27 episodes)
Lana: 42 (26 episodes)
Simon: 48 (26 episodes)
Mega Man: 43 (26 episodes)
Kid Icarus: 50 (27 episodes)
Duke: 24 (27 episodes)
Gameboy: 18 (13 episodes)
Lana is still in 5th place. We'll see how long that she stays there.
That's the end of my review of "Misadventures In Robin Hood Woods". "Pursuit of the Magic Hoop" originally aired second in Season 3 - on Saturday, September 21, 1991, so I'll review that next. See you all in my next review!