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Irritating Stick (in Japan Ucchan Nanchan no Honō no Challenger: Dengeki Iraira Bou Returns) is a puzzle game based on a Japanese game show Ucchan Nanchan no Honō no Challenger: Kore ga Dekitara 100 Man En. It was developed and published by Saurus in Japan on March 19, 1998, and Jaleco Entertainment in North America on February 3, 1999.
As said above, the game is based on the original Japanese show, where the player tries to maneuver a metal rod through a metal maze, if one of the sides is touched, the player will get electrifried and will start again from the last chekpoint. There are three main levels according to the difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert, there are also TV courses, a section of maps generated by an artificial intelligence and even a level creator where you can create and save your own levels.
Why It's Irritating
- The name itself is really stupid and makes no attempt at being attractive, in words of James Rolfe (AVGN): "Who puts the word "irritating" in the title of a video game?"
- The box art is lazy. It only contains the title of the game, an artwork of the player arms holding a metal rod while getting electrifried and the sparks coming out of the rod. It also seems that it tries too hard to emphasize on how irritating could the game be, as the sparks cover almost all of the box art.
- Terrible and unattractive graphics. The backgrounds look really dull since there are only 2 backgrounds, for example you can see lights and a background that looks like India and they seem to be taken by GIF images and there are only a few awful-looking 3D models: the arms of the player, the level obstacles and the metal sides.
- The announcer is by far the worst and most insufferable, anytime you're reaching a specific zone of the course or you get close to the metal sides, the announcer will scream really loud the same lines over and over. The most infamous one is the "Watch out, you're too close to the edge!" line since after hearing his voice, it can make your hair stand on end. It's insufferable to hear that Bubsy was given a run for his money.
- The default PlayStation controller is not too comfortable to make diagonal moves and it's pretty hard, and frustrating to go through the mazes and adjusting the speed level to not get electrified. Even worse, the controls are very sensitive and there are some parts where you will need to be extremely fast and precise. Using a DualShock controller will improve greatly your precision at moving the rod, but the controls are still very sensitive and the only way to deal with this is reducing the speed level.
- Generic and repetitive music that will stick in your mind forever after a few minutes.
- The scoring system is strange and it seems to be broken, because you can do a really awful job or die a lot of times intentionally, and the game will never give you the lowest rank possible.
- There is a button to view around your metal rod that also stops the obstacles to keep moving, but if you press it, the time counter will still go on, making it a complete waste of time.
- The game is kinda short, if you have the enough patience and skill, you can complete it in half an hour.
- One of the robot bosses have retractable boobs. In a kid's game.
- Fortunately you can turn off the announcer's voice.
- It's one of the few PlayStation games where you can create and play your own levels, although you can only save up to three courses.
- It has a lot of replay value thanks to the AI generated courses and the level editor.
The game received "unfavorable" reviews on GameRankings, and it was voted the #1 worst game name of all time by Game Revolution.
IGN gave the game a 5.5 out of 10, saying that "Irritating Stick is a quirky game that appeals to gamers with tastes that go beyond the standard fare". They criticized the lack of the original game charm, the announcer that is not as good as the original Japanese announcer and the repetitive gameplay, but praised the game graphics.
Jeff Gerstmann from GameSpot was harder and gave the game a 3 out of 10. In words of him: "Irritating Stick captures some of the essence of the TV show, but in the end, it just isn't any fun". He also complained about the terrible graphics and how dull the game is.
On the other hand, Famitsu gave it a score of 29 out of 40.