The late 90s saw the Information Superhighway quickly pick up steam and turn into the behemoth that made so much of modern life possible. In anticipation, everybody was desperate for computerisation, even in cases where it did not make sense. In 2000, the time-travelling groovy superspy, Austin Powers, spearheaded that drive for innovation to the Game Boy Color, resulting in a mini-game collection and feature-intensive computer environment in Austin Powers: Oh, Behave!
The Game Boy cartridge turns your device, into a fully functional computer of the time, complete with a comedic parody of the D.O.S. booting screen. Once you are done with the initial setup, you are greeted by Powers, who will guide you through some further initialisation. Pick your favourite Powers girl and location, complete with comments from Austin himself. The player is quickly thrown into a virtual G.U.I. ready to begin.
This mini-game collection goes to a lot of effort to maintain the illusion of being a complete operating system. You can change your desktop, rearrange icons, view screensavers. Whereas other parodies like Microshaft Winblows, was directly linked to Microsoft, this has the bonus of being entirely Austin themed. Fab-Dos can take commands like actual D.O.S., so you can concatenate files with cat and much more using the classic text-based commands. A great effort was made to shirk the confines of a device with no mouse and keyboard. As well as to fit onto a cartridge that only has 8 MB of space, a notable achievement. You can even view clips from the films and listen to highly digitised audio samples. Sure, this is far from optimal, but the animations utilised, and the abundance of audio clips is remarkable.
The games part of the package includes such titles as Rock Paper Scissors (Or Throw Me A Frickin’ Stone). You face off against one of Dr Evil’s cohorts in a game of rock paper scissors. Mojo Maze is a slightly more elaborate clone of Pac-Man, with more playing fields. Domination — a Reversi (or Othello) clone with Austin as the teal pieces and Dr Evil as the purple ones, Phoenix Wright-esque speech bubbles popping up as you move. The height of the package is International Man in a Platform Game, a fully formed platform experience, that resembles platforming hits of the past. You can minimise any ‘program’ or should I say Mini-Mi it. For the productivity minded, the fake operating system comes with a word processor, called Austin’s Pad, that can even save and share documents with other players of the game. Along with a fully functional
calculator Shagulator, are just some of the handy accessories included.
I have opined about the limitations of the Game Boy Color previously, but it still mind-boggling what the developers (at the time) managed to do with the device. They went above and beyond in nailing the verisimilitude of the then-current computer tech. Offering a collection full of amusing time-wasters, clever jokes, and wall-to-wall grooviness. Presenting a sense of ambition, that you can appreciate, considering that this is a tie-in product, and tie in products at the time did not have the best reputation for quality. With Austin Powers: Oh, Behave! you can face the upcoming century with the tools to fight evil and be the best shagadelic spy you can be.
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