Developer: Active Enterprises
Publisher: Active Enterprises
Year: 1991
Rarity: A
Password/Save: No

OK. I'll be fair. You've all heard about Action 52. Everyone badmouths it, and probably only 5% of those have played. I decided the only way I could give a fair review was to play all 52 games on the cartridge. Of course, I won't individually review them all, but you can get a pretty good idea of what this game's about.

Action Enterprises was basically some loser coding games in his basement in the Virgin Islands and Florida. They only released two NES games—Action 52 and Cheetahmen 2, the sequel to the widly unpopular flagship game from Action 52. Well, this game retailed for $199 Christmas 1991, and didn't really sell well for a good reason, which you'll find out. Anyhow, the game itself looks cool, and the idea of that many games on one cart is pretty appealing, isn't it? What a letdown it must've been to have blown $200 on a game for your kid and find out it spelunks ass.

Challenge: B+. Heh. The biggest challenge of all is trying to stay awake while the game is on. But seriously, the games fall into two categories—one that is so poorly coded it's impossible to stay alive, or it's so devoid of action that you can leave the game without pausing and survive.

Graphics: F. While the graphics themselves are done poorly but not terribly, the way they are animated is pretty pathetic. Two or three frames make for some pretty choppy gameplay.

Sound: D–. Ugh. Sound is sparse and very poorly done, and most games don't even have music. In fact, I wish none of them had music because they're all terrible. The only bright spot on the game is the "make your selection now" voice and the intro sound, which is techno-sounding—these two factors boosted the grade from an "F" to a "D–". After the beginning things really start to break down.

Fun: F. Ah, yes..."Fun." The section of this review I was so eager to write. Well, here's the thing. I tried every game on this cartridge and gave them all fair chances. They all sucked. About a quarter of the games on here will crash you into a wall or drop you into a pit as the game starts unless you hold the controller hard right or left. Thanks for the warning! Others are just so rediculously pointless it makes me laugh just thinking about them. Take "Storm Over the Desert," for example. It's a badly coded one-screen tank game. Whenever the tanks move, it sounds like a fork scraping a plate, repeatedly. And here the saddest part—tanks, miniature men, and Saddam Hussein randomly pop up over the battlefield. Sometimes there can be a couple of Saddams onscreen at once, about 10 times bigger than they should be. SADDAM HUSSEIN! It's not hard at all to see why Active Enterprises went out of business in 1992.

Overall: F. It's stunning, really. FIFTY TWO different games on this cartridge, and NOT ONE is worth playing at all. Not one! They're almost all one-screen, crappily-coded "action" games that appear to be assembled using a single template. This isn't to say you should pass it up, however—even if you're just a small-time collector this should be in your posession, because it's one of the rarest NES games. I wonder why. Treat it as you would an insane relative—wrap it up, put it in the attic, and never speak of it again, occaisionally visiting it every few months.