When I was a kid, the T&C Surf Designs T-shirts were a must-have part of any kid’s wardrobe and featured several characters created by artist Steve Nazar, including Thrilla Gorilla, Kool Kat, Tiki Man, and Joe Cool. Although the company for whom these characters were created still exists making surfboards in Hawaii, the iconic characters have long since passed into 80’s lore.
Wood & Water Rage is one of the few NES games that I had as a kid, and I really only bought it because of the “cool” factor of the attached brand. I always wanted to like the game more than I did, as deep down I felt a definite sense of disappointment knowing that I had made a bad decision based on bad reasoning.
Wood & Water Rage offers two game modes – skateboarding and surfing, and features the 4 characters mentioned above. The skateboarding portion of the game is actually not too bad, and is quite the test of both your reflexes and your hand-eye coordination. You skate through a waterfront environment, dodging obstacles, collecting coins to replenish your health, and collecting points by performing tricks. The level ends when you either run out of life or make to to the end in one piece. The surfing mode is similar in that you dodge seagulls and fat guys on inner tubes while pulling off tricks to collect points and try to make it to the end of the level before the waves suck you in, but somehow it all feels a lot less satisfying.
Wood & Water Rage is far from horrible, but it is an average game that was produced solely to cash in on a then-lucrative license. For those of us who grew up in the 80’s it’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but is probably best avoided by those who didn’t live through it.