Who’s that green dragon, propping up the bar, gone all topsy-turvy?

Yoshi Topsy-Turvy (2005)

Another advance warning for you this time, I’m about to hit you with some student-level banter, but goodness gracious me, a drinking career is getting tougher and tougher to maintain these days. Of course, I was completely done out of 18 months of social lubrication due to Covid-19, although let’s face it, I was already well over the hill by that stage. And it’s not like I wasn’t practicing the home gargles throughout that period. I’ve always been a strong advocate of that time-honoured money-saving drinking technique.

But look, home drinking is easy enough, it’s like football training, F1 free practice. You can go right over the top and it’s fine, you’re not in any danger. Even if you don’t make it upstairs – and Lord knows I don’t always – at least you can kick back on the sofa, and what’s wrong with a sofa sleep? You only resent it if you’ve been banished from the bed in the first place. And if you can make it up to the sack, that’s a 12-hour sleep in the lap of luxury. And don’t worry about tomorrow’s hangover – one step at a time, young dipso.

That all changes when you’re actually out on the town. You can forget about drinking ’til you’re sideways when you’re in a pub or club, because this kind of thing has consequences. Eventually you’re gonna wanna stand up, and that’s where you’ll stagger about, knock glasses over and eventually get caught up in a brawl, unless the bouncers clock you first and you’ll be too drunk to even brace your body as you get personally headlocked off the premises and lovingly thrown to the concrete outside.

Your alternative to suffering this hard landing, is getting so overwhelmed by the drink that you succumb to a nice old snooze, there and then. But that’s also the last thing you want to do because the bouncers won’t take too kindly to that one either, I‘ve known people who’ve been completely banned from places for taking a nap at the wrong time. If you ask them, I’m sure they’ll say it was worth it.

Of course, if you’re getting that tanked up, money is no longer an issue. That is until the next day when you’re hundreds down, thinking there must have been some banking clerical error made in the wee hours of the morning, in between the several rounds of shots you bought for everyone. Even just the first shot represents a point of no return, that Rubicon between a routine night out and an off your face Bantersaurus Rex of a hootenanny.

My worst nights have been on shots, and I ain’t alone in that respect. At this point, with your face has gone lopsided, your wallet empty and your diction skills dead and buried, you can probably forget about finding someone to go home with. There might be the odd chance at a golden goal, a last minute jewel in the Chinese takeaway after kicking out time, but that’s it.

Time to head off then, but this is where it all goes somehow further south, perhaps literally if you go and stack it. It’s time to get on your feet and get home, and this, I’m telling you, is an Olympic sport. Never mind that powerwalking nonsense, try getting home on eight pints. The worst is drunk running – ever had to leg it halfway across town to be on time for the bus or train home?

Cripes, the amount of times I’ve gone on my ass. Even a leisurely walk home from the local is liable to see me go on my backside, my legs going all out of sync and buckling from under me. And Christ, have you ever had the spinnies? They usually get you when you’ve made it to bed for the night and your centre of gravity decides to get boozed up as well, and your perception almost seems to keep attempting to rotate by 45 degrees. And you know, all of this tends to happen to me because I’m generally too tight to order a taxi home. Can you believe that?

I was almost too tight to get a copy of Yoshi’s Universal Gravitation for GBA, or Yoshi Topsy-Turvy in the USA, not that it made much of a splash in either territory. Well you see, in my dim, distant and poverty-stricken past, I was known for being a drink stealer. Any unattended glass with a bit of volume in it, I swiped and downed. How scaldy is that?

And I would have perfectly enjoyed stealing Yoshi UG for myself, but this is one of those GBA cartridges that looks more like some contraption you’d have in your kitchen to soak up condensation. In the mid 2000s, Nintendo would occasionally sacrifice one of their IPs to some ill-advised gimmick, and usually bring in some hapless outside company to bring the whole thing together.

The gimmick this time is a like a precursor to motion controls – tilt your GBA on its side and some primitive gyros start getting the spinnies, And I do mean primitive, because even with this jumbo cart, controlling Yoshi is bloody infuriating. You’ve got a better chance at controlling your legs after copious double vodkas than getting Yoshi to do what you want. As for you gamers who shelled out for a Game Boy Player for your GameCube, well, I’m not sure what to tell you. You can actually sort of play this game without tilting, but it’s a bit like looking up a dog’s arse, to use a polite phrase. In a pinch, you could move the entire GameCube console to and fro; that must be what the handle’s for.

Ingame, Yoshi will start staggering in some direction, or rather the world itself will spin to accommodate the green dragon. Boy, I sure wish that would happen whenever I get pissed up. Reminds me a bit of an Irish phrase actually, “may the road rise to meet you.” I just wish the road looked a lot better. This is one of those Nintendo GBA games that has some admittedly impressive art to start with, in the opening cutscene, which makes you think the graphics are gonna be pretty top notch.

But then the game starts and my God it looks ugly. Less chivalrous types than myself might liken it to how a woman looks when you’re gargled, versus how she looks the morning after. But all I’ll say is that it’s tough to even work out what the hell is going on, not to mention how bad Yoshi himself looks. One gets the feeling that he’s been on the turps and all, a hefty liquid lunch.

The goals you must complete in each level can differ but generally you’re just collecting stuff and going to the end, and each of the levels are pretty short affairs anyway. Really, it all feels like the tech demo it probably should have stayed as, and you’ll be lucky if you get 15 minutes out of this game, even 5 minutes if those bloody repetitive Yoshi’s Story voice samples get on your nerves, as they do to me, very very quickly.

This game was a staggering waste of money for me, but there’s a different between a staggering waste of money, and getting wasted then staggering home. Here’s a hint, the latter is 1,495,979 times more fun that Yoshi’s Universal Gravitation. Both this game and a good night out will be all too short-lived and leave you with a headache. But this game ain’t a headache worth suffering.

13 December 2022

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