Review Information
Reviewer Name: Stan
Game Difficulty: Hard
Difficulty Options: True
Game Information
Full Title: Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau
Year Released: 1996
Game Type: Platform
Max Players: 1

Phew, what do I think of this one? Not sure, it has this odd draw for me, this strange charm that keeps me playing the damn thing in spite of how god awful it really is. Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau is, for those of you who don't know, basically translated as 'Woody Woodpecker's Frustrating Vacation'. Frustrating hardly captures what you'll find herein.
The gameplay is standard platformer fare. You have to guide Woody through a variety of stages, avoiding enemies, attacking enemies, collecting things, taking out bosses and moving on. Nothing too unique here, it's pretty basic in its general organization. However, I must say in spite of how bad it plays, there is a lot of variety in this game. Woody goes from simple platform levels to riding a boat, moving within barrels while fighting a boss, riding on ski lifts and so forth. I was really surprised how much they tried to cram in this one, there is quite a bit here. I suppose it's the variety of play that kept me interested, because otherwise this would rival 20 Em 1 for worst game on the Master System.

The major problem I had with Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau is the controls, which I'll mention briefly but get to later. If it wasn't for them, this would be a fairly easy game to get into. But holy hell good luck. This game's primary difficulty stems from how Woody moves. It's incredibly awkward and slow, making for a rough ride. The first level leads up to some platforms to navigate that would be slightly taxing in Alex Kidd in Miracle World, or something like that, but here, wow, good luck getting through it the fiftieth time, because it will take you about that many tries to learn how to land on one of them, let alone the million or so you have to keep jumping on.

The bosses are quite interesting, however, most of them require you to figure out their pattern and discover some secret weakness or way to attack them. The majority are tough, but one in particular will drive you insane. I can't say I've experienced a more awkward set of button presses and movements than I did in the snow level in this game.

At any rate, Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau is a standard platformer. It has the basic features you'd expect and the basic set-up, but also a lot of interesting little tidbits that for some reason will lead your interest should you dare take the time to pass the first level. Seriously, did they even play test that one?
The graphics show off some decent, cartoony looking characters and animations. My major gripe is that they're awfully slow and sometimes a bit messy. I'm not sure if Tec Toy tried to cram too much in here or something, but whatever they did they should have taken more time on it. Lots of slowdown, even when it seems it shouldn't be happening. Lots of color, though. There could have been more detail, but overall it wasn't the worst thing I've seen.
Sound & Music
The sound isn't the worst, but it's quite choppy at times. You can expect the obvious, an incessant, never-ending rendition of the basic Woody Woodpecker theme from the cartoon. It just keeps going and going. It's not the worst, but it can get a little irritating at times. Sound effects are almost nonexistent, and some of the ones that do exist may leave you scratching your head.
The worst part of Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau is definitely the controls. It will take you ages to get used to their slow, unresponsive action. Terrible. One of the best examples of terrible controls that I've ever seen. And the jumping. WOW, are you kidding me? I can't explain how awful it is, you really have to see it for yourself. Woody will do this weird, high, wide-arc jump and move about two milimeters most of the time, until, usually, you get to the top of a set of platforms and then he careens way to the right and over the edge because you can't stop him. What in the hell is he doing? Once you see this for yourself you'll be obsessed with figuring out some rhyme or reason behind it, but don't bother yourself too long.
Replay Value
Music & Sound
Replay Value
For some strange reason, I've come back to this game on a number of occasions. I really don't have an explanation for it, but it certainly doesn't mean you will do the same. In general, I can probably safely say that most people wouldn't play past the first level, and if they did they wouldn't want to come back to it afterwards, so I must score based on this assumption.
Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau isn't the worst game out there, but if you're looking to buy it, it's pretty much going to be just to say you have a complete collection. It's one of the rarer Tec Toy titles out there, and complete copies are scarce. However, if you're looking to play it, unless you have the strange Férias Frustradas Do Pica Pau psychosis that I seem to, you might want to stay away. It has some cool features, but overall these are marred by some of the worst controls ever programmed.
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