Michael T. Astolfi, Crispy Gamer

'Scott Pilgrim vs. The Games'

Recently, Scott Pilgrim, the title character of the video game-savvy series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley, received his full big screen treatment. The film debut dovetailed neatly with the release of both the final volume in the series, "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game," the latter a retro 8-bit brawler reminiscent of "Double Dragon" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game."

For those unfamiliar with O'Malley's opus, the tale details its hero's quest to win the heart of his dream girl, the bright-haired, inline-skating Ramona Flowers by defeating her seven evil exes. Pilgrim serves as unreliable narrator, with his battles against the memories, lingering emotional baggage and run-ins with Ramona's prior love interests manifesting as a series of surreal "Street Fighter" style slugfests. Seeing the struggles of a burgeoning relationship through Scott's gamey eyes produces both delight and poignant metaphor in its vibrant depiction of a new romance's opening moves.

While the series is rife with references to venerable video game visuals and vocabulary, the style through which Scott and Ramona air their emotional laundry is firmly rooted in the rich soil of the fighting game. It would not be unreasonable to surmise that this video game genre is one favored by Pilgrim (and likely O'Malley, as well). Naturally, one can't help wonder what Scott Pilgrim's scuffles might have been like if he had been drawn toward a different type of game. . .

1. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Tetris"

The residual emotional baggage left by Ramona's evil exes appear as seven different blocky shapes, which rapidly tumble one after the other towards the ground. The chunks of broken heart threaten to pile up into a haphazard wall which will emotionally isolate Ramona, and leave Scott no chance of breaking through to her. Only by rotating and carefully placing these bits of affective rubbish, can Scott assemble them into the tidy rows of a cohesive emotive history, allowing Ramona to clear them from her psyche for good.

2. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Pokemon"

Does Scott really think he can become the very best, like no one ever was? Each of Ramona's exes held some facet of unique allure which attracted her in the first place. Only by patiently and diligently developing his own skills and abilities will he be able to develop the talents needed not only to defeat the League of Evil Exe trainers, but ultimately to subsume their powers, become a true Boyfriend Master, and maybe even have a chance at capturing the most elusive creature of all - Ramona's heart!

3. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Shadow of the Colossus"

Little is known regarding Ramona Flowers, except that her love life was sacrificed long ago (it seemed to be pretty darn cursed back in New York). Determined to resurrect Ramona's love life, Scott Pilgrim wanders a vast and distant land, known simply as Canada, with only his shining guitar to guide the way. Only when the seven colossal evil exes have been slain can the forbidden spell be cast, and Ramona's love life be saved. Scott Pilgrim must study each exe, uncover their weaknesses, then scale the monstrous beasts and exploit their vulnerabilities. Only when all seven have been defeated will he be able to breathe new love life into Ramona.

4. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Katamari Damacy"

The League of Evil Exes trick the King of All Cosmos into giving them control of all the stars in the sky. Faced with a starless night, Ramona Flowers feels utterly lost at sea. It's up to Scott Pilgrim to bust out of his little world and roll the seven Katamari to match the bizarre demands of the exes. Scott soon finds himself trying to collect only non-animal based food products, demon hipster chicks and lots and lots of coins. Only by restoring the typical twinkly night sky will Scott be able to set Ramona back on solid ground.

5. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Rayman Raving Rabbids"

Fuelled by Scott's own insecurities, Ramona's measly seven exes swell into a moronic horde of manic French Rabbits. Imprisoned by the gaggle of gap-toothed bunnies, Scott must defeat the extra exes again and again in feats of snorkel-filling, cow-flinging and plunger sniping. Only after learning a lot of lessons -- thus earning a large number of powers (and tools) -- is Scott finally able to reach an exit and return to Ramona.

6. "Scott Pilgrim vs. The Oregon Trail"

Ramona Flowers is waiting in Willamette Valley, but Scott Pilgrim is stuck back in Independence, Mo.! Hopping in his trusty Conestoga wagon, Scott heads west to meet his love. The seven exes dangers of Ramona's own journey west now stand to challenge her new beau! Broken wagons, wagon fires, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, thieves and raging rivers -- Scott must conquer them all if he hopes to reach No. 1 on Ramona's Top 10!

7. "Scott Pilgrim vs. Starcraft"

Scott Raynor Pilgrim is in love with Ramona Kerrigan Flowers. There's just one problem. Well, actually a couple problems. A galactic civil war and seven armies of "exestraterrestrials." So, yeah, it's Scott Raynor Pilgrim vs. the universe as he attempts to lead his Torontonian forces to strategic victory over seven different (but excruciatingly well-balanced) exestraterrestrial races, including the tech-savy Twins, the bi-furious remnant of Kerrigan Ramona's "Sexy Phase" and the freakishly powerful Vegans.

Available at Amazon.com:

The Saboteur


Videogaming & Video Game Reviews