Captain N: The Game Master
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Captain N: The Game Master is a television show produced by DIC Entertainment which spans three seasons and thirty-four episodes, involving an Earth teenager sucked into "Videoland", where he used a NES controller and NES Zapper to lead a group of video game heroes against video game villains.
Captain N was also a segment of the Nintendo Comics System but because of licensing restrictions only characters from Nintendo-produced games appeared. Samus Aran, who never appeared in the show (although her enemy did), was a regular character in the comic.
Kevin Keene, the hero of the show, while playing Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! on his NES, is sucked into a vortex formed in the television, and his dog, Duke jumps in after him. After falling through the Ultimate Warp Zone, Kevin lands in Videoland. To save Videoland from Mother Brain, the villain of Metroid, and to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Kevin must become Captain N.
Kevin appears before the N Team, made up of Princess Lana (ruler of Videoland), Simon Belmont, Megaman, and Kid Icarus. Princess Lana is captured, and the team comes together to save her. The group continues to battle Mother Brain and her group of villains over the course of the show.
The premise was originally created by Nintendo Power's Randy Studdard. The original idea was about Nintendo's main computer going rogue after an accident with coffee reacted with sensitive microships, which also had exploded near a Nintendo employee, giving him the power to create illusions, and called himself "Captain Nintendo". Although the Nintendo computer became sentient, it was actually an ally that helped Captain Nintendo, and warned him that his powers were only temporary. The villian of the story was Mother Brain, who had been brought to life through this accident and was bringing other villians such as Ganon to life. Captain Nintendo countered this by bringing the Nintendo hero Link into the real world. The story ended where a defeated Mother Brain retreated into a state of hibernation, but the computer warned that she would return at full power, and Captain Nintendo resolves to be ready when she returns, and that she will not threaten Earth.
Although Mario did not make an appearance, possibly because he had his own show, there are many times something from the Mario series is mentioned. For example, the characters routinely use a Warp Zone to get from place to place and in the first episode Kevin compares this to the Warp Zones in Super Mario Bros. Snapjaws and Nitpickers from Donkey Kong Jr. are featured as enemies, each in a separate episode.
Many sound effects from the early Mario games are used in the show, and some background music from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! was used in Captain N as well.
Donkey Kong in Captain N: The Game Master
Donkey Kong is depicted as a giant ape who doesn't like visitors. He attacks anyone who enters Kongo Land, his home in the show. Donkey Kong is seen in the first episode when the N Team takes the wrong warp zone and ends up right in his shower. In "Videolympics" he competes on Mother Brain's team and easily defeats Captain N and Kid Icarus in a wrestling match by sitting on them. In this same episode Captain N plays a "life-sized" simulated version of the original Donkey Kong game.
In "Simon the Ape-Man", Simon gets amnesia and believes he's Donkey Kong Jr. In "Queen of the Apes" a brain-swapping device malfunctions among Donkey Kong, Mother Brain and Game Boy, causing Donkey Kong to swap bodies with Game Boy, Game Boy to be in Mother Brain's body, and Mother Brain to get Donkey Kong's body. In "The Lost City of Kongoland" Donkey Kong ends up helping the N Team get rid of the plant creatures overrunning his home. From time to time Donkey Kong is also shown to be the hero of a series of movies gently poking fun at Indiana Jones.
The series was produced by DiC Entertainment (the first season in association with Saban) with Andy Heyward as the executive producer. The music for the first season is credited to Haim Saban and Shuki Levy*, and to Michael Tavera for seasons two and three. The first season was produced and directed by Michael Maliani (one of DiC's top executive). For the show's second season, Maliani took the role of supervising producer with comic book veteran Chuck Patton as the director. For season three, John Grusd served as the producer and director. Captain N's first season was written entirely by Jeffrey Scott, while the following twos were edited by Dorothy Middleton and written by a variety of writers.
*It should be noted that Saban and Levy did not compose a large number of the series they were credited to, the pair hiring ghost composers and only including their own name on the cue sheets to get all royalties for music. Michael Tavera is credited for "Orchestration and arrangement" on the first season of Captain N.
Most of the voice actors and actresses for Captain N were based in Canada, directed by Greg Morton (season 1-2), Marsha Goodman (season 1), Stu Rosen (season 1), and Madeleine Bascom (season 3), and cast by Josanne Lovick and Doug Parker (who also voiced Mega Man). Captain N was the voice acting debut for several personalities who would go on to have a long and profilic voice acting career: the show's main cast include Garry Chalk as Donkey Kong, Dracula, and King Hippo, Michael Donovan as Eggplant Wizard, Andrew Kavadas as Simon Belmont, Venus Terzo as Princess Lana, Ian James Corlett as Dr. Wily, Alucard, and Dr. Light, Alessandro Juliani as Kid Icarus and Matt Hill as Kevin Keene. Acclaimed soul musician Levi Stubbs provided the voice of Mother Brain, in a performance similar to his previous portrayal of Audrey II in the 1986 film adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors.
Season 1: 1989
Season 2: 1990
Season 3: 1991
Note: Captain N: The Game Master was played as part of Captain N & The Video Game Masters during syndication airings.