For most of the game, you're on a unicycle and pretty out of control. Whatever orders you put in on the controller is advice the dummy takes very lightly. Pressing hop has about a sixty percent chance of making him hop, which isn't bad for a talking dummy, but really shitty for a video game. If he even bothers to listen to you, tapping gently on the left side of the controller is the equivalent of your dummy cycling about 40 feet on the screen. Expect to go off the edges of lots of things and if you see a bad guy, it's completely up to fate whether or not you can keep yourself from crashing into him. Most of the enemies are robots made out of trash and rubber tires, but they can still knock your head off. That's not figurative either; your head seriously falls off all the time in this game. When it happens, all your controls are reversed, and it makes your already insane dummy that much harder to keep under control. By the headless dummy point, you'll find that you play just as well when you sit on the controller and bounce up and down.
When I'm playing games, I feel like it's my responsibility to keep the guys alive. For example, Jungle King is putting his life in my hands in exchange for my 25 cents, so it's the least I can do to try to keep him out of the alligator mouths. I'm not very good at Jungle King. When he gets crushed under a rock, I apologize to him. I don't care who at the arcade thinks I'm crazy, I was in charge of a little guy, and I told him to walk in front of a rock twice his size. I feel bad about that. If he falls off the vines into the man-eating grass, I scream, "Jungle King! I'm sorry, Jungle King!" I don't do that with the Crash Test Dummies. When the dummy's stupid ass wheels himself off a cliff and into a pit of spikes I say, "Well, you should have listened to me, dipshit. I told you to stop." Also, I should probably bring up the point that your guy dies really damn easy for a crash test dummy. If you smash into things at high speeds for a living, it should take a lot more than a vacuum cleaner on wheels to knock your head off, much less kill you.
Crash test dummies always seemed like a funny idea to me. If a car crashes into something, it doesn't make you any safer if you know how many arms fly off a toy person at that speed. When they launch cars at things, do scientists think they're training them? "If we ram 200 more cars into the wall, they will learn how to stop breaking." They could have saved a lot of mannequin building time if they'd called any ordinary high school graduate and asked them what would happen to a plastic human if you sent it into a brick wall at 50 miles per hour. "Greetings, colleagues. Our random phone-poll suggests that driving a dummy into a wall at high speed is going to mess it up pretty bad. Thank you."
This isn't a game based on the fun lifestyle of crash dummy scientists, though. This is a game based on a series of public service announcements. What ideas got rejected before they made this game? Did they pitch Milk It Does a Body Good Showdown Laser Squad, Captain O.G. Readmore's Learn-to-Read in Space, and Hooty Owl's Highway Cleanup: Zotan's Revenge? How burned out does a video game designer have to be before he starts making games about safety commercials? That's rock bottom. That's licking-beer-off-the-bar-and-trying-to-lay-your-fat-cousin rock bottom.
It was irresponsible in this case too. In the past decade, there have been nearly 10 deaths loosely connected to a connection leading to a child playing video games at some time in their life. That is absolute proof that nearly all children are following the examples they see on their Nintendos. And this time, the example set is two blissfully happy talking dummies purposefully driving themselves into deadly accidents without seatbelts on. "RARARRGGGH!" Do you hear that? That's the sound of dying children, playing what they thought would be a harmless game of non-Nintendo Crash Test Dummies. Children mindlessly follow whatever's on their TV, and you crash test dummy people put some seriously crazy shit on their TV.
Here's something that's more irresponsible than showing kids how fun vehicular disasters are: the phrase BUCKLE YOUR SAFETY BELT is trademarked*. I'm not a lawyer, but I think that means that you can get in legal trouble for telling your friends and family to Buckle [Their] Safety Belt. Maybe you can say it if you modify it like "DON'T Buckle Your Safety Belt" or "Buckle your safety belt, motherfucker!" To fully protect yourself from litigation, though, you probably shouldn't ever tell another person to put their seatbelt on for any reason. Even hand gestures and crude drawings could be interpreted as illegally similar to the trademarked phrase. So why would you trademark something that saves so many lives? Money. The corrupt government gets money from glass-repair lobbyists to keep as few people as possible from suggesting their friends wear seatbelts. Because the glass companies lose money every time you strap yourself down instead of flying through a windshield.
*"Buckle Your Safety Belt" may be said outloud, however only with the expressed written consent from Hank's Windshield Repair. To receive this consent, call one of their legal representatives at their convenient 1-900 number. Remember! Getting the license to pass life-saving advice onto your family is only a $4.95 phone call away (+ $0.95 each additional minute after the first)! Until then, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if you are involved in any conspiracies to get a person to put a safety belt on.
To the game's credit, the graphics aren't that bad. To the game's discredit, it's not very damn hard to make a graphic of a rubber tire look like a rubber tire.
The game starts to get repetitive if you play it more than 0 seconds, but it doesn't matter since you probably won't be able to control your unicycle mannequin well enough to get past more than the first couple vacuum cleaner robots. Luckily, since your main weapon is a gas canister that only stuns bad guys for 2 seconds, you can't kill anything, and can fight the first two robots for as long as you want. Either way, you can have more fun sitting in a car buckling and unbuckling your seat belt.
This whole cartridge was trying to get us to put on our seatbelts on. But after you play it, take a look at yourself. If you look hard enough, you'll notice a hint of something... suicidal. That's your subconscious desperately wanting you to forget about The Incredible Crash Test Dummies game, and it knows the only way to be sure the memory's gone is suicide. So playing this game doesn't make you want to wear your safety belt. Completely the opposite; next time you're in a car, you'll have to resist the urge to take the seatbelt off and aim for a tree.
Tragic Gaming Bonus Download: The Incredible Crash Test Dummies ROM