The Tick – A Beat’Em Up Retrospective


I don’t know much about The Tick. From what I can see he’s blue, he’s naked, and he has no penis. It’s not good when you can tell a game is garbage within the first two minutes of playing it. The game plops you on top of a bus, and a horde of enemies attack. You have to defeat many waves of them to complete the brief first level. Unfortunately, that beginning stage sums up the game. You move from area to area fighting the litany of enemies who keep emerging from nowhere until the drool on your chin dries. Suddenly, the level ends, no end boss, nothing. At least not at first.

After some tedious beat ’em up action, the game makes you do a platforming level. Jumping from platform to platform in a beat ’em up is never fun, especially while having to dodge random projectiles. Don’t you dare fall because your fate will be worse than losing a life: you have to fight a boss. A pointless boss, and they aren’t easy to kill. So don’t fall.


I picked up The Tick in a small town pawn shop. I bartered the price down, but after playing it I knew that I still over payed. Did I mention how the game is so laborious that I came close to smashing the controller into my face? That was fifteen minutes into the action. A person shouldn’t have to be medicated to play a video game.

Many beat ’em ups have flaws, but what gets you through the game is that it’s fun to beat up assholes. Not in The Tick. The gameplay is clunky and repetitive. The bad guy’s designs are generic and limited. They are all the same, except their color and the weapon they use.

The Tick’s attacks are no different from any other beat ’em up game, 8-bit one that is, in that you get a kick and a punch and a jump kick. There is a special move that is available in limited quantity. In certain areas you get a sidekick who helps our naked blue man. The Tick and his buddies fight back to back. Physically, touching backs. It’s the most interesting part of the game. But of course it doesn’t last long. This feature would have been great in Double Dragon. The details in the designs of the sidekicks could have used some attention.


Did I mention how playing this game will lower your life expectancy more than smoking? The AI is dumb. All you have to do is stand in one spot and press the kick button repeatedly. The enemies will keep running into your attacks until they die. That’s until chapter five comes. It’s there when the game reboots itself with a different set of enemies. Just in case you weren’t frustrated enough, the new crop of bad guys have guns and bazookas and grenades. To paraphrase Ringo Starr, I got a blister on me thumb!

This is the part where I like to talk about the game’s story…

That was easy, there isn’t one. All you get are the names of the levels. Did I mention how this game makes Bayou Billy look like a masterpiece?

While The Tick is one of the most annoying; frustrating; boring beat ’em up games, it’s also one of the longest. There are more levels here than in Bubble Bobble. Did I mention how terrorists should be forced to play this game as a means of torture?



In perfect symmetry, the game glitched out at some point in stage seven, and I couldn’t progress any further. An enemy got stuck halfway off screen and I couldn’t advance until he was beaten. The problem is I couldn’t reach him to kick him. I figured that I must be blessed, I have a get out of jail early card and I’m using it…

Oh right, I forgot about the dumb special. I used it and it killed that glitchy douchebag who was stuck in the corner. Now the game must goes on.

The name of level nine hints that it’s the final one, but it’s only a ploy. I thought it was fitting since there is one stage for every circle of hell. I was happy to be nearing the end, but it wasn’t the final level. There’s a tenth, eleventh, twelfth, all the way to sixteenth .But it was in level ten I encountered the glitch that ended my run. I made it to the boss challenge where you have to bust up certain areas on a giant ray gun in hopes of destroying it. The vulnerable spots flash in red and no matter what I did I could not smash the spot I needed to. I watched a video on YouTube: it showed the person passing the level with ease. Me, I’m blessed. Early release on good behavior.

That’s where I stopped playing. It was enough. I saw in that video that there was another half an hour left.


A guy named Joe Hawkins is credited with designing The Tick. I did research into this dude and I’m assuming that it’s a pseudonym because I can’t find anything about him. Or, he changed his name after the mess that is this game. Rightly so. Do not get this. If you have it, do humanity a favor and destroy it. Did I mention how the game is so tedious that I came close to smashing the controller into my face?

3 thoughts on “The Tick – A Beat’Em Up Retrospective

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