Behold The Beauty V: Yep, More

by Jeff Akervik on Aug 07, 2012 at 10:13 AM

So it's been quite a while since I wrote my last Behold the Beauty. To be honest, I've been quite busy with actual work that doesn't involve sarcastically mocking horrible video game covers. (I know, how can this not be my full-time gig?) Thankfully, I've been able to carve out some time to once again focus some loving attention on that rare breed of box art that is memorable for all the wrong reasons. I just hope I haven't lost my touch – not that it matters that much since these bad boys tend to speak for themselves. Get it on…

Here we start off with a cover seemingly done entirely in colored pencil – by a 6th grader. It adds a depth of realism you don't find very often these days outside the walls of John F. Kennedy Elementary School, and for good reason. How else could you so effortlessly combine the likes of so many powerful characters into one artistic piece of pure brilliance? You can't – unless you use colored pencil. Just remember that.

The key to remember with Suspect is that you're being accused of murder. Sounds interesting enough, right? Everyone loves a good murder mystery with the main character out to clear his/her name at all costs. The suspense! The intrigue! Yep, someone has turned up dead and "now they're pointing fingers at you." Must be the police, right? Or the FBI? Not quite. Nope, these accusers come from a more diverse background. Namely, Transylvania, the jungle, a royal castle, Venice, and an office building for werewolves. This has blockbuster written all over it.

Funny how the majority of these characters do enough killing in their own right, that you'd think they be cool with the whole murder thing. But what's even more disturbing is that black, circular eye-type things on the left. What is that? Is it an eye? And if so, how could it talk, let alone accuse someone of murder? And who exactly is the ring leader of this posse? It's gotta be the werewolf, right? I mean, he's wearing a suit for crying out loud! I also love how Dracula and the werewolf are staring each other down. Looks like we're about to have another dead body on our hands. Good thing the court jester is there to sort all of this madness out with a little light-hearted humor. But not before he gets mauled by the zombiefied gorilla lurking in the shadows.

The only thing we know for sure is that the descender of the "p" in the title is getting the life choked out of it. Yep, violence reigns supreme in Suspect. Not even the typography – poorly kerned mind you – is safe from the madness.

While we're on the topic of violence, why not take a nice gander at this lovely cover for Vigilante? Doesn't it just give you the warm fuzzies all over? Yeah.

Attention game developers: It's one thing to want to "effectively" communicate the tone of your game through your cover art, but it's entirely another thing when said artwork freaks the living crap out of any sane person with a pulse and renders you sleepless for nights on end. This is some disturbing s***.

At least the artist got a little patriotic with the color scheme of the title. Ahhhhh, that makes it all better.

I would cry too if this was the box art for a game I was trying to sell. At least the artist made ample use of the outer glow feature in Photoshop.

Gotta love that lizard man's party hat. Nice teeth. The guy on the right throwing up the devil horns also seems to be having a good time, what with his goggles and ripped physique. Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps. It even looks as if part of Michelangelo's Book of Genesis fresco made it into this game as well. Talk about range.

But what about the younger demographic? What if they're not necessarily fond of partying lizards, Renaissance paintings, heavy metal-loving swimmers, and overly emotional grown men? Have no fear, Thomas the Engine is here! And by the looks of things, he's none too pleased by what he's seeing.

That makes two of us, Thomas.

You're a soldier. You have one arm, emerald green pants, a bandana coming out of the back of your neck, and no mouth. You're none too happy and you're going to let the world feel your wrath by rapidly swinging your water gun in an upward motion while dousing them in a stream of liquid. This ain't gonna be pretty, but war never is.

Come on. Come party with Cheggers. You know you want to. But please, only if you're 3 years of age or older. Cheggers has an image to uphold – and by his looks, alcohol to consume.

Hold on to your seats, Phoenix Games is back…again. They have a certain unique ability to take beloved characters from your precious childhood memories and warping them into unimaginable nightmares. Their cover for Hansel & Gretel is, of course, no different.

Where to start? How about with Gretel's hair. Her mop top looks like someone dumped a bowl of pudding on her head and slapped two red dumbbells on for good measure. Gotta make sure that stuff doesn't get in her eyes. Too late.

And then there's Hansel. Phoenix Games decided the pudding look was a little too feminine and instead went with a much more masculine approach – the banana peel style. And while Hansel's hair is fairly disturbing, it's the least of his concerns. Check out the beast paws he calls hands. Yeah, quite large. About three times larger than Gretel's hands. No wonder she looks a little timid. You know what they say about guys with freakishly large hands.

Hansel should also see a doctor about those knees of his as well. A little too young to be developing osteoporosis I'd say. But he appears to have bigger things on his mind, like why his sister has dumbbells on her head. Pudding is a good source of calcium, however.

And then there's the wicked witch in the background looking incredibly stoned off her a** – just like I remember in the fairytale.

As always, Phoenix Games keeping it real.

Who knew the King of Camelot had an egg for a head? Phoenix Games, that's who.

Wait, I can't tell if this guy's an air traffic controller or not. Oh ok, he's telling us right there on the cover. Good thing too because otherwise I would have thought he was just some dude with really clean teeth hanging out at the airport. Check out that sparkle!

Who proudly proclaims their job title while so obviously failing at said job? Look at the sweat bursting from his forehead. Very reassuring. Does an air traffic controller even have the authority to tell a pilot to fly sideways or in a loop? And if so, why would you listen to such advice? Oh, I get it, because he's an air traffic controller. Remind me to never visit this airport.

You're doing a great job buddy. Thumbs up indeed.

This is one nasty cave. Even if Mr. Knees is a supposed "Cave Fighter," I wouldn't hedge my bets that he'll make it out of this one alive. Let's count all the ways he's screwed, shall we?

First, and most obvious, is why would anyone in their right mind enter a cave this infested with crap? No offense, but our hero doesn't look too skilled in the ways of Indiana Jones. Heck, he's headed straight into a wall. Brilliant move. Just for that, he deserves to die. The mortified look on his face is a sure sign this guy won't last five minutes, with or without his Lugz.

Second, what's up with all of the rope he's hung from the ceiling? And how are they, in any way, helping him escape the imminent danger that is closing in from all sides? Would you really want to climb up into the range of those psychotic mini pterodactyls? And when did snakes, with massively large fangs, mind you, learn to climb rope? Not to mention he might accidentally – or purposely if you take his current situation into consideration – impale himself on one of those countless stalactites. Yeah, I'd stay off the ropes.

And then there's that gun of his. Sure looks like some sort of water gun to me (again with the water guns?). This guy comes prepared. I never enter a cave without my trusty water gun. It especially works well on man-eating plants. Good thing Mr. Knees is surrounded by them.

Also, did you happen to notice how cold it is in this cave? Ice everywhere, even on the logo (Get it? That's how you know it's really cold in the cave). Is Mr. Knees dressed for such harsh conditions? If not, maybe he can go warm up inside that cute little yellow bus. But I'm sure the snakes would find a way in their as well. Seriously, could there be a worse juxtaposition than a scene of imminent, albeit ridiculous, death and a jolly, playful bus tooting along? I'm assuming it's the "bubble bus," but that just begs yet another question: What is a bubble bus? And what does a bubble bus have to do with a cave fighter? This cover is so deadly – for all the wrong reasons.

Eat your heart out Lara Croft.

Pedophiles unite!

I used to believe that the idea of a grown adult man and a young adolescent boy spending some quality time together playing checkers was about as innocent as one could get. After seeing the cover Checkers, however, I realize I couldn't have been further from the horrible, horrible truth.

The boy seems to be enjoying himself in a fairly appropriate manner, but the adult male appears to be having a little too much of a good time. Look at the way he's slyly leering at that kid, with his arms resting casually behind his head no less. Gross.

And what's the deal with those semi-transparent white motion gestures spewing forth from the board? First off, is that even necessary? Are there that many people who apparently don't know how checkers is played? It's fricken checkers. And even if they are completely dumbfounded by the game, do these visual cues help make it any more enticing? Furthermore, who slams their checker pieces as forcefully as those impact graphics are suggesting? He's just a kid; this is checkers, not Hungry Hungry Hippos. But what makes these graphical motion gestures even more disturbing is the sickening notion that this guy loves playing with this kid for all the wrong reasons. Yep, this guy loves playing checkers. He really, really loves playing checkers.

Poor kid. Hopefully he'll never have to hear that guy whisper into his ear, "King me." 

And there you go kiddies (no pun intended, seriously), another batch of horrific creative output served with a generous helping of sarcasm and unwavering criticism – just for you. Feel free to catch up on previous editions of Behold the Beauty if you haven't reached your daily quota of daily visual torture: I, II, III, and IV. Until next time…