Lester the Unlikely
|Lester the Unlikely|
North American cover art
|Designer(s)||Jeffrey J. Thomas|
|Genre(s)||Platform action game|
Lester the Unlikely, known in Japan as Odekake Lester: Lelele no Le (^^; (おでかけレスター れれれのれ(^^; Odekake Resutā: Rerere no Re?), is a platform video game developed by Visual Concepts for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). It was published in North America by DTMC and in Japan by Asmik Ace Entertainment in 1994.
In the beginning, a typical teenage boy named Lester, who is "kind of geeky" and "kind of sleepy" recently got a new issue of the Super Duper Hero Squad comic book. He was reading it while walking on a dock, until he fell asleep next to a cargo crate lying beside a cargo ship. After he and the cargo were loaded onto the ship by a crane and cruised off, the ship got hijacked by pirates who scuttled it. Lester luckily found a life jacket and swam toward the most adjacent island while the cargo ship sank. Lester must find his way home by exploring the island for someone or something that can help him survive.
The game has a unique engine in which the protagonist, Lester, is easily frightened early in the game and will act reluctantly when faced with animals, heights, etc. For instance, when the player guides Lester towards a turtle in the first stage, he will at first scream and run in the opposite direction; when the player makes him walk towards it a second time he will slowly creep towards it. This coincides with one of the major themes of the game being Lester facing his fears, and these instances happen less and less as the game goes on. The game also has an item and weapon box, allowing Lester to hold both of these things.
Also notable are the game's rotoscoped graphics, referred to in the game's manual as "Filmed in Geek-O-Vision." The manual boasts that the Lester character has more than 250 frames of animation, "about twice the number of an average game."
The first part of the game depicts Lester as a very cowardly character. Every time he encounters a new creature, he runs away in the opposite direction with a scream (temporarily removing the controls from the player's hand). Upon approaching the creature a second time, Lester walks slowly, protecting himself with his arms. Once a certain type of creature has been defeated, the player will be able to walk to this type of creature without any further sign of fear. At the beginning of the game, Lester walks in a very lazy, laid-back stance, suggesting weakness and lack of courage. However, after saving an indigenous girl from a huge gorilla, the girl gives a kiss to the hero and he is suddenly changed. In the following levels, Lester has a very upright and courageous stance.
Eric Browning, the lead artist for Visual Concepts (as well as the voice of Lester), acted as the rotoscope model for the lead character but is not named in the game's credits. Browning described it as "one of those games that starts out way too ambitious, and ends up merely adequate." Lester the Unlikely was one of six SNES games programmed by Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software.
The game was left with mostly mixed reviews with the professional game critics. Some people praised it for its story of a nerd who gains the courage to confront an evil overlord and is courageous at the end of the game. Most people complained about the quality of the gameplay, mostly the controls.