CGR Undertow – T&C SURF DESIGNS: WOOD & WATER RAGE review for NES

CGR Undertow – T&C SURF DESIGNS: WOOD & WATER RAGE review for NES


Back when I was a kid, one of the coolest
things you could possibly do…was surf. I mean, it was really marketed to kids back
then. And not just surfing, but surf culture. It was used in branding, there were clothing
lines…I mean, remember Maui and Sons? Those t-shirts with the sharks, wearing sunglasses?
Stuff like that was all over the place when we were kids. Surfboards, neon colors, yin
yangs…the word “dude.” And it all came together…with this. This
is how corporate America, viewed “cool.” Dude. It’s T&C Surf Designs, for the Nintendo
Entertainment System. And apparently, all that marketing worked.
‘Cause when I popped in this bad boy, the whole room filled up. “Dude, is that T&C
Surf Designs?” Yeah, it is. Dude. I mean, I play a lot of games around here, and few
of them ever fill up the room. I had no idea T&C Surf Designs would be one of them, but
hey, that’s the power of nostalgia, right? I remember something. I played that thing
when I was a kid, and since being a kid was awesome, that game must be awesome, too. I
mean, that’s the line of thinking, right? Yeah, try playing it now. Dude. Once you understand the timing of this game,
and why a title screen like this is one of the most late eighties, early nineties things
that’s ever happened…the second thing you need to know about T&C Surf Designs…is
that it’s based on a real-life surfboard company. Like, there’s actually a T&C Surf Designs,
that makes actual surfboards. And their logo is actually a yin yang. See,
the kids think I’m making this up. Everything in the early nineties looked exactly like
this. Hey, which brings us to the third thing you need to know about this game. T&C, was
published by, LJN. Yes, the LJN. But don’t worry, ‘cause
here’s the fourth thing to know about this game… It’s only half LJN-ferior. So it’s kind of fitting that T&C is two
letters, ‘cause this is basically two games. In fact, the game’s box actually has a longer
title on it. T&C Surf Designs: Wood & Water Rage. The water part is a surfing game, as
you may expect…but there’s also a skateboarding game, that’s the wood part. The rage part
is what happens when you play the surfing game. ‘Cause see, here’s the thing. The skateboarding?
This actually isn’t that bad. I mean, it’s far from rad, dude…but it’s not bad, dude. Hey, remember Hey Dude? Anyway, the skateboarding. Uh, this one’s
actually fun, even if it is kind of simple. The whole point is to just get to the end
without crashing. But along the way, you have lots of obstacles to jump, lots of rails to
grind…it’s really not bad. And it actually controls well, too. It’s responsive, and
tight…and jumping is kind of cool, too. You can just jump off the board, keeping your
skateboard on the ground…or you can pull it up with you. I’m sure there are skateboarding terms for
those, but…it’s not the late eighties and early nineties anymore, so who the hell
knows? But you have to do both to finish the courses. So this part of the game’s actually pretty
solid. But then there’s the water. And the rage. In fact, I’ll be real honest…I don’t
even know what to say about this part. I mean, the entire game…it’s just…like, you
start, and the water pulls you back, and you lose. Sometimes, you end up getting lucky,
and somehow, you get to the pier. And that’s winning, apparently. Even though you’ve lost a lot more than
you’ve won. But I mean, I played this a bunch, and I still
have no idea what the point is. Or I guess, where the game is. Because all it is, is just…I
guess find that one sweet spot where you’re not being pulled backward, and ride it until
it starts pulling you backward. At which point…well, all the good stuff from the skateboarding
game? The fun gameplay, the decent controls… Yeah, that all just… So what does all this leave us with? Like,
besides the neon colors, and yin yangs, and slap bracelets, and holy crap, that title
screen. Well, what we’re left with…is a really simple NES game, that shouldn’t
be surprising, but is actually kind of surprising. It’s from a notoriously bad developer, but
it’s not half bad. Or actually, it is half bad, I guess. And it’s got the whole surf culture thing
going, right? But the surfing part is the part that sucks, how’s that happen? So somehow,
this simple pair of simple NES minigames is actually a bit of a conundrum. Is it good,
is it awful? Is it just the nostalgia, do we blame Miami Vice for this? I don’t know,
I don’t have the answers. But what I did have…was a surprisingly good
time, with T&C Surf Designs. With the skateboarding, I mean. F*ck the surfing. Shout out to Victor from Brooklyn, New York
for sending this to the show. Thanks a lot. Dude.

Antonio Breitenberg

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33 thoughts on “CGR Undertow – T&C SURF DESIGNS: WOOD & WATER RAGE review for NES

  1. Fisty J says:

    Firsties! Cool video.

  2. Relo says:

    Rails to shred, not grind. We aren't in the late to mid 90's and beyond. Dude!

  3. JT STAR says:

    You know I never paid attention to the title I just know the game was always fun since I was little.

  4. Riz2336 says:

    I actually like this game, I still play it to this day.

  5. DavidARayMusic says:

    Review sonic 3d blast!

  6. MrVenom1974 says:

    Blame Miami Vice, Dude!  😉

  7. D.R. Page says:

    This game is so much fun!

  8. Peter Skerritt says:

    Well, you got a LOT farther than I did with the skateboarding. Every time I pop this in, thinking that "It will be better this time!", it just… isn't.

    I like the music and the colorful graphics. I kind of like what the game tried to do, kind of like a California Games thing but focusing on two events, but the play controls just aren't very good and it gets repetitive.

    And, yes: The early 90s did have a thing for neon colors– and they're coming back.

  9. BenevolentDick says:

    I like T&C most dont understand the surfing controls. i even made a video explaining it. once u get it its even more fun!! yay for fun.  

  10. downphoenix says:

    One of the few ljn games worth a damn, it was tough but fun.

  11. Fre1maurer says:

    Pure Mr. Zogs Sex Wax. The best for your Stick!

  12. RelliKs ReliCs says:

    The surfing isn't as bad if you know what to do. You need to jump the top of the wave over and over and never let yourself get close to the wave or get near the bottom. The skateboarding was much better on this game, but I liked that, as I was much more into skateboarding as a kid then I was surfing. This game was just like real life….. kind of….back in 1987 although there wasn't any weed in the game, that would have made this game perfect!

  13. belstar says:

    My teacher says the word dude was invented in 2002 ):

  14. GT6SuzukaTimeTrials says:

    I loved this game, despite how much it mostly sucked. Later on, in my late teens, I was into a band called Thrice. They have a song called T&C. You should check it out.

  15. David Blankenship says:

    This game has "Ok for a rental" written all over it.

  16. Fade says:

    @2:19 look closely at the title screen and tell me what you see

  17. Tom Jackson says:

    @CGRundertow AVGN said the controls blow in this game. Middle finger to LJN!

  18. Sketch Retro & Modern Gaming says:

    hey how do you guys capture your footage? i have an avermedia game cap hd but i know there are some work arounds can you help me possibly?

  19. Andre Pendleton says:

    Seriously nice review, dude! ^_^

  20. Christopher Sobieniak says:

    Too bad there was never a Rude Dog video game or the NES.

  21. kylem1112 says:

    one of my earliest memories was seeing my mom had a neon pink and green fanny pack by t&c designs. and seeing the surfing gorrila. ty. id didn't even know the name of the company or remember that fanny pack until now. lol thanks i was  probably 4 years old with that memory. super early nostalgia

  22. shiningwizard327 says:

    Used to play the crap out of this as a kid. When I start collecting NES games a gain, this will be one of them. 

  23. KT Johnson says:

    Did this game get played on a Retron 5 or something? There is a big sound difference from hearing it from the original NES console.

  24. jageboogie says:

    I had this game when I was a little kid! Couldn't figure out the surfing for sh*t! Good, it wasn't just me..

    I'm telling you man, this one and Ghostbusters (NES)! It's amazing I made it out unscathed….scathed…scathed…sca-sca-scathed!!!!

  25. CyberLance26 says:

    What was considered cool during the 80s and 90s was way more fun than the kind of stuff that is considered cool nowadays.
    Most stuff was way more fun and interesting in those days compared to how its like now actually.

  26. Luis says:

    Wow. Sudden nostalgia moment. I had this game back on my original NES. I dug the music that played, but I fucking hated this game,

    Fuck this game. God. That's like two decades of hate pushed into the back of my mind.

  27. schmoab says:

    Played this game in the 80s but I barely remember the gameplay.

  28. Arno Theadorno says:

    T&C Surf Design apparel was the shit when I was in grade school. And in fact, I'd rock one of their shirts today if I could find one.

  29. CarozQH says:

    This game was made by the same developer as Jaws.

    … and Persona. Yes, Persona.

  30. Johnnay San says:

    one of the best nes games in my opinion.

  31. X Scorpio69 says:

    I completely forget about this game until I saw an image of the surfing gorilla, and even then couldn't put my finger on it. A quick search brought me here. Wow! I used to play this so much, yet totally blanked on it. Crazy!

  32. ElegyForTheMasses says:

    The surfing part of the game isn't bad when playing it properly. The game manual (found everywhere online) explains how to play it.

  33. contact1araya says:

    how come there were characters on the box that you couldn’t use on the game

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