So I was scrounging through my old issues of Nintendo Power from way back in the day not too long ago when I happened upon several articles about and a mini-guide to a quirky-sounding Super NES exclusive called Mohawk & Headphone Jack. According to the NP magz, it was originally being independently developed, but was purchased late in its development cycle by THQ and released exclusively for the Super NES in 1996. Apparently THQ promoted the game back then with a traveling arcade/barber shop where visitors could get mohawks as per the game's title.
ANYWAY, the description of the game play intrigued me, so I hunted a copy down on eBay recently and just got through playing. My conclusion? It's not for everyone, but I liked it! As per its indie roots, Mohawk & Headphone Jack is definitely one of the most unique games available for the Super NES. Ya play as a uh...ass-naked punk dude who dons a certain hairstyle that you'll never guess (also, you can play as his friend, who's name is also suggested by the game's title, if you activate the alternating-play two-player mode), and he's out to collect all his world's CDs because they've all been stolen by this bad guy and blah blah blah blah blah, nobody cares, the story doesn't matter. There are two things you play this game for: its design and its soundtrack.
This is a 2D action-platformer where you collect CDs (you need a certain number in each level to unlock the exit) while the screen rotates. It's not like continuous rotation or anything dumb like that. Rather, our protagonist makes a regular habit of defying gravity and the camera shifts to match. Also, the stages are just designed in a funky way that makes for lots of camera movement; seriously, it's almost constant. There's so much of it going on, in fact, that I actually got a little dizzy at first, though after a couple minutes I mentally adjusted to the style and never looked back (so to speak). Mohawk can also morph in a few ways and the game, in that connection, borrows some elements from the Sonic games and Uniracers. There's also lots of walkthrough walls, HUUUUUUGE levels for a Super NES title, an outstanding map that simply pans out from your spot and allows you to move the camera around the level, and hilariously bizarre bosses round out every other stage. Like I said, that may not be for everybody, but I thought it was kinda cool! It's definitely unique.
Let me also say something about the soundtrack: this game is worth owning just for its music alone. Seriously, it's got one of the very best game soundtracks on the Super NES! The style is sort of like a fusion of Smashing Pumpkins type alternative pop and classic grunge rock from that era. There are special big CDs in the levels that unlock new songs that you can switch to on the fly by pausing the game. Can't say enough good things about the music!
That said, Mohawk & Headphone Jack is not a perfect game. It has real shortcomings that are noticeable. For one thing, the graphics are boring, especially by 1996 Super NES standards. Most games for the system had more detailed graphics than this by that point in time. Another thing is the touchiness of the controls. You'll definitely be imprecise and do lots of overshooting on jumps just because of that. It's not like there are a lot of enemies to fight or a high volume of deadly pits or what have you to fall into though, so the prospects of you winding up in actual peril as a result are for the most part on the low side. The challenge here really is in exploration (finding the CDs and navigating the large stages).
Well anyway, that's all I had to say. Is this a must-own? Nah. But if you're a Super NES owner and should find yourself in the mood to try something new and different and don't mind some secondary imperfections...and/or you just like awesome music...this might be something worth scoping out. Just wanted to bring it to your (anyone's) attention 'cause it's kind of an obscure game I had to dig to discover.Last edited by Jaicee - on 19 July 2020