Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!
Greendog Sega Mega Drive box art
|Developer(s)||Sega Technical Institute
|Publisher(s)||Sega of America|
|Release date(s)||1992 (Genesis)
1993 (Game Gear)
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! is the title of a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Sega Technical Institute and Interactive Designs for the Sega Genesis home console, and was published by Sega of America in 1992. A ported version for the handheld Sega Game Gear was released a year later.
Greendog, as it was often abbreviated, was part of a series of games that Sega produced in the early 1990s in an effort to create mascot characters for Sega before Sonic the Hedgehog was ultimately chosen; other examples of these type of games included Alex Kidd and Kid Chameleon.
The eponymous protagonist of the story is "Greendog", the player character, a laid back, cool surfer and skater with a mop of bleached blonde hair. He has surfed most of the biggest waves around, including off the coast of Australia, California and in the Mediterranean, and is always in search of the biggest waves which will give him the biggest thrill and he cares for little else in life. He has numerous contraptions and toys, such as a gyrocopter, inline skates, a skateboard and an antique frisbee which could be very dangerous in the wrong hands. He doesn't say much except "dude" and "cool".
One day, while surfing in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of the Grenada islands, Greendog is knocked off his surf board by the biggest freak wave he has ever seen, and falls unconscious in the sea. When he wakes on the beach, he is apparently in another version of our world, or at least some form of very vivid dreamworld, and a mysterious and apparently magical gold pendant is tied around his neck and he is unable to remove it. His girlfriend, Bambi—a beautiful, buxom blonde woman in a red bikini—finds him and explains to Greendog that the pendant is of Aztec origin and carries a terrible curse; it dooms the wearer to be attacked by animals and wild primeval creatures and, worst of all, will prohibit surfing.
The only way that Greendog can lift the curse is to travel to a lost Aztec civilization and track down six pieces of a sacred Aztec treasure which were scattered across the Caribbean Islands, so that the pieces can be put back together, and ultimately so that Greendog can remove both the curse and the pendant. However, nobody knows exactly where the pieces of the treasure are.
The single-player gameplay requires you to survive several side-scrolling levels, armed with only a flying disc that you can shoot at enemies to destroy them or at various objects such as totem poles, in order to obtain food and therefore reduce the damage meter.
The game has some homages to earlier side-scrolling adventure games, such as Pitfall! as the character often has to swing on vines to advance and many of the levels take place in a tropical jungle or in an ancient Mesoamerican temple. Many levels require the player to use a skateboard or inline skates to advance. The six levels cover the Caribbean islands of Grenada, Mustique, Curaçao, Jamaica, Saba, and finally St Vincent. The latter level is in a volcanic state and is where the temple and final piece of treasure is found. Unusually for a video game, there is no final boss to defeat at the end, merely an onslaught of ever more fierce creatures.
The Ancient Temple levels consist of either platforming your way to a randomly generated tiki-like boss, each piece that has a special power, or skateboardin' or rollerbladin' your way through an obstacle course. Each piece of the Aztec treasure you collect gets you closer to your goal. Collecting them all reveals that they're actually pieces of an ancient flying surfboard, and Greendog takes it for a beautiful moonlit ride although he can barely control it, and he is informed that "it is only the beginning of his adventures" and "the power of the board must be unleashed"...
An October 1992 review in GameFan Magazine rated Greendog with 71.5%. The game currently has some positive reviews on MobyGames which praise the innovative style and atmosphere of the game, especially the calypso music soundtrack, yet also stating that the platformer genre and the central character of "Greendog" were both lacking in originality. Although the game was fairly well received, a sequel never materialized.