Dealing with chemical induce hypomania. Constantly having to avoid breaking your neck from slipping on puddles of baby oil. Worrying about exactly where your genitals are rapidly vanishing too.
These are just some of the day to day trials and tribulations of being a muscle bound body builder. Add to that list, if Namco Bandai are to be believed, the constant fear of having your precious body enhancing drugs stolen by American Football Players, aliens and Japanese swordsmen.
It’s this which forms the basis of their WiiWare release Muscle Koushinkyoku (or Muscle March to give the game its English translation). Select your favourite buffed up hunk / trans-gender beefcake / Polar bear (no that’s not a typo) and then watch in abject horror as their precious steroid drugs are stolen away. In what can only be described as the ultimate case of ‘roid rage, you and three fellow gym abusers must give chase and get them back.
What follows is the most bizarre on rails chase sequence you will ever see. Starting at the back of the pack (complete will the most full on view of a muscly, thong wearing bum you’ll ever see in a video game) the thief will try to escape through the streets, offices, cinemas and other locations by careening through all walls in their path and leaving a specific shaped hole. This shape must be matched to make it through safely and continue the pursuit – think `Hole in the Wall` meets Benny Hill, meets Mr Universe.
To do this you must hold the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in a specific combination to make your on screen bodybuilder match one of four poses. As the chase goes on, each one of your AI controller team will falter and get knocked out, bumping you closer up the chain to the thief and giving you less time to assume the correct position. The combinations themselves are limited and straight forward,so the trick is being quick enough to react – fail to match the shape enough times and your hunk gets knocked out, ending the chase.
Stay in the chase long enough to get close up and you have to pump the Nunchuck and Remote in a running motion to close the gap over that last few few meters, before tackling them to the ground so your fallen companions can pile on top and make especially sure everyone sees the error of their ways.
In essence that’s all there is to Muscle March. Throw in an increasingly bizarre cast of thieves, other random sillyness and some funky J-Pop, and it’s perhaps one of the most surreal and homoerotic things you’ll ever play, let alone play on WiiWare. But the limited mechanics of Muscle March means that it offers very little in the way of long lasting entertainment past the initial few minutes of novelty. Coupled with the whole style means it’s nothing more than a curiosity, although that’s probably exactly what Namco Bandai were aiming for when they created it.