Fart jokes and frying pans…

As someone who grew up playing the shooters of the 90s, the resurgence of what the kids call Boomer Shooters has me eating well. Whether it is the return of classics like Doom and Quake or the new entries such as Dusk and Prodeus, I am never lacking in something new to play. It has been a renaissance of the genre and I love it. Now not every game from this era was as magical as the last. There was a series of these games that simply tried to cash in on the craze, much like today. One of the most popular ones was a game called PO’ed.

Developed by a company called Any Channel, the game was originally released on the 3DO and eventually made its way to the original PlayStation a year later. At the time of its release the reviews were, to be kind, mixed. The concept was wacky, and the controls were extremely stiff. There is a reason people thought this remaster was an April Fool’s joke other than it being announced on that day. Nobody really asked for this game to come back, and the idea that it only showcases how just about anything can make a return in this day and age.

MSRP: $19.99
Platforms: Xbox (reviewed), PlayStation, Switch, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

The story of PO’ed is a weird one. It leaned into the comedy and took pokes at the popular titles. You play as Ox, who is a chef stranded deep in space after the ship he was assigned to crashes. He wakes up from his slumber only to realize the crew is dead and he is surrounded by hostiles. The game opens up with a letter he is writing and that is about all the story we get. It is simple like most games of the time, but instead of trying to be serious, it leans into the wacky and sets itself apart on that front.

Wacky is truly the name of the game. As I mentioned, Ox is a chef, so he begins the game with a frying pan as his main weapon. Eventually he gets throwing meat cleavers before discovering more traditional weapons. The enemy design is also…wild. The first enemies you encounter include a butt with legs that attacks you with farts. No this is not made up, this was the defining factor of this game and as a 13-year-old trapped in a 44 year old body, it is still funny to me.

PO’ed is a weird anomaly of that time. It focuses more on open sprawling level design as opposed to linear corridors. This was a big deal back then, although playing it now most will not appreciate what it was achieving. The levels are large open areas that eventually can be maneuvered around with a jetpack. The game was really pushing the technology for its time even if it feels archaic by today’s standards.

The thing about PO’ed is there just isn’t a whole lot to it. The main campaign can be completed in about three hours, and it never really gets going in any meaningful way. The levels are basically finding the exit and leave, which was par for the course, but getting to that exit is rarely interesting. Sometimes I stumbled onto it, while other times I got lost in the bland mazes because everything just looked the same. They don’t really mix up the formula enough to keep it interesting.

Nightdive did a commendable job with this port. It isn’t on par with their other efforts, for obvious reasons, but porting this to the Kex Engine has done wonders for the design and playability. The game still has low resolution pixels for the enemies, but the updated level textures and increased resolution really make the awkward designs shine. There are also plenty of options to customize your experience which we have come to expect from Nightdive. They truly excel when it comes to bringing these classic games into the modern era.

PO’ed is a game most people have never heard of, and even those of us that do rarely talk about. It was always relegated to that game where you hit farting butts with a frying pan on the schoolyard, and since nobody (outside of myself) had a 3DO, most people had never even heard of it. Still, I love revisiting these classic shooters, even the ones not so fondly remembered. It was a different time and games like these were an exception instead of a rule, and that made it exciting. Keep doing what you do Nightdive, I will buy and play each and every one of them.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Nightdive upgrades remain excellent
  • Nothing else quite like it
  • Very short campaign
  • Maze like levels
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.