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Big-T & the Bada-Bings

Destroy the Puny Humans!
By Dante Murphy
The year is 1958. You and your steady are sitting in the balcony, peering through red and green lenses as a 50-foot woman stomps, pummels, and wails against a small town. Through the green eye, you see and feel the desperation of each panicking teen, each wizened commander, and each badly-dubbed Asian. But through the red eye, you see powerful fists and frightful energy blasts gleefully laying waste to all in sight.

"I Was an Atomic Mutant!" ( is a red-eye game. Like a B-movie for your PC, every detail is chock-full of vintage campy goodness. From the tactile joys of the Technicolor® package to the opening pastiche of stock film footage and clever text, it's a time-traveling joyride back to the drive-ins of the post-war years.

After watching the opening movie (twice, because it's such a hoot), it's time to dive into the destruction. Choose your monster and some simple game settings, then get ready to…Destroy the Puny Humans!

Beginners will want to select the "Tingling" difficulty level and the "Arcade" game setting, which allows the player to re-incarnate a couple times while becoming familiar with the game and the nuances of each monster. The weapons vary for each mutant, though all have the ability to throw cows, co-eds, and classic cars quite a distance. (Please do not try this at home—especially with classic cars!)

You will soon learn the difference between the punch of the She-Beast and the Death-Ray of the Alien Robot, from the energy they expend to the damage they deliver. The "Destruct-O-Meter" measures progress in each stage, while life force and energy are tracked as well. Fear not if your monster fatigues or is beset with bullets and missiles; colored "radiation" symbols offer renewed health, energy, and even invincibility!

Each level starts with the mutant on the outskirts of a town, city or complex, and the goal is to enact complete destruction without falling victim to the meager weapons of the Puny Humans. The default view in the game is semi-first-person, where you are immediately behind the monster you control, but you can toggle in and out of "Canopy Vision," which lets you watch from a theater or drive-in as your monster zaps and crumbles. The hysterical and peculiar cries of your victims ("Has anybody seen Steve?") punctuate the destruction over each mutant's custom soundtrack. To really put you in the vintage mood, you can even play in black-and-white!

Points and extra lives accumulate at a manageable pace, and though the premise of the game never changes, the joy likewise never fades. If sales are good, the creators at Canopy Games promise a second version that will permit multiple players to raze and ravage. Everything is more fun with a friend.

If a well-rendered parody of B-movie mayhem is up your alley, hoard a couple of these in your fallout shelter. You'll be glad you did.

—Dante Murphy

Behind in your reading?
Check out past ATOMIC features.

Dear Dottie
1999 Articles List
2000 Articles List
2001 Articles List
2002 Articles List
2003 Articles List
2004 Articles List
Remembering Bing Crosby
Carnival Knowledge
Vintage Skivvies Lets It All Hang Out
Destroy Puny Humans!
Broadway By the Year: 1939
Michael Lesy's Altered States
RCR Turns Up The Heat
Super Bowl of Go-Go


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