We really are digging towards rock bottom here, aren’t we. To review this game right after Katawa Shoujo, it kinda makes me throw up a little. Custer’s Revenge has become the go-to title to mention when talking about pornographic video games from the ancient era. Released by Mystique in a special box labeled “NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS”, Custer’s Revenge was a dumpster fire that has since gone on to gain cult notoriety among collectors.
The game puts people in the boots (and little else) of General Custer, famous for losing the battle of Little Big Horn and dying aged 36 way back in 1876. However, turns out the general lived and is now back to teach those natives a lesson.
The game puts Custer on the left side of the screen and has a native woman tied to a pole on the right side. Custer must go over to her and put his little musket in her, which earns players 1 point for every thrust. Meanwhile, a rain of arrows is fired at the field, which can even reach the players when they are already at the maiden. Get hit once and you lose a life and are put back at the far side of the screen.
Custer is presented as a crooked-nosed villain wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, boots, and a scarf, while the girl is entirely naked. However, the character sprites are unappealing with spines that bend unnaturally and misaligned pixels. Just look at Custer’s feet and notice how his leg transitions into his boots. It’s hardly arousing to look at and especially the victim looks more like an ant than a person.
The rain of arrows is another frustration. They enter the screen at a diagonal angle and don’t reach all the way to the ground, creating a confusing perspective. It’s hard to estimate whether you’ll be hit or not and, once the game speeds up, you just don’t have the time to think about it. Adding to the frustration are the sound bites that play each time you die or restart the game. I am guessing the sound engineer was really proud of getting these music pieces out of the Atari 2600, but on some unlucky runs I’d die twice in a minute and have to wait till it finishes so I can respawn.
Custer’s Revenge is novel to play for the sake of its controversy, but once you do it reveals itself to be particularly boring. I can’t imagine some gamer getting his kicks from this way back in 1982 and time has done it no favors.