If you’ve ever suffered petty cruelty at the hands of someone in a position of power and fantasized about a disproportionately violent response, The Revenge of Johnny Bonasera will give you the chance to live out that dream in video game form.
It's a point & click adventure that takes you on the journey of a young man determined to bring fiery retribution to the punk bullies that wronged him and his sandwich. Johnny is small and weak, so he must rely on his wits to ensnare the loutish oafs and make them regret the day they met him.
The look and feel of the game is thematically similar to South Park. The animations are minimalistic, and the characters move like paper cut-out dolls with limbs that swing on hinges.
There is limited music throughout the game. I don’t believe I’ve ever played a game that didn’t have atmospheric music or sound effects, so this was a first. The silence made the sound effects more intrusive as a result.
Like most point & click games, the player collects objects and combines or uses them to solve puzzles. The interface is as uncomplicated as the artwork. Interactive hotspots are located by mousing over likely areas, and player can view the options with a click.
There is an in-game map that allows the player to move between different areas. Each location has only a few screens, so the player never has to go far to find the necessary pieces to solve each challenge. Although the main quests can be solved in any order, the game is very linear. Timing nor choice affect the outcome.
It’s unclear whether the game creator wanted to leverage the main character as a sympathetic figure, but if that was the goal, it did not reach its mark. The protagonist, Johnny, is villainous as the bad guys and is essentially unlikable.
The storyline is set-up when a group of “punks” approach Johnny on the street. The hulking thug in the group tells Johnny to leave. Johnny refuses and insults the hefty goon instead. The bully reacts by knocking Johnny’s sandwich to the ground.
Johnny must have loved that sandwich. He flung himself at a tough guy nearly twice his size and attempted to pummel him in impotent rage. What made that sandwich so special? I suspect it contained rare and difficult-to-obtain lunch meats from the expensive farmer’s market located on the other side of town. Why else would a minor offense provoke such a suicidal response?
It isn’t a surprise when Johnny gets punched and knocked to the ground for his efforts. As Johnny crawls off, bleeding and humiliated, a second punk delivers an ego-stinging kick to the ribs. Unbeknownst to the churlish punks, their actions launched Johnny on a bitter vendetta.
Johnny doesn’t just want restitution. He wants the ones that hurt him (and his sandwich) to suffer. He uses the shock and awe version of revenge by vowing to destroy what each punk values most in the world.
One of his victims, did nothing to earn his ire. A girl was with the ones that hurt Johnny, but she did not speak or act in the scene. Her mere presence with the other two earned her a position in Johnny’s revenge plot, though. For Johnny, clemency is not an option, even you are only guilty by association.
The game is very short. Exploration is non-existent as there are fewer than 20 screens in the entire game world. A full playthrough may take as little as an hour for those experienced in the genre. If you get stuck, however, there isn’t anything in-game to help guide you on the right path or get a hint as to what to do next.
The Revenge of Johnny Bonasera is a watered-down, flat-pack cardboard version of the Cask of Amontillado. While the main character may have justification for his anger, his response is excessive, bordering on insane. It’s difficult to relate to him, and it makes participating in his revenge quest uncomfortable rather than satisfying.
The graphics are uninspiring and the lack of background music makes the game feel empty. It plays like a 90s flash game with as little depth and complexity as you would expect in a browser-based point & click. The game has no replayability value and is over almost as soon as you start. Its redeeming value is in its crude, brutish humor which may appeal to the same audience that enjoys the inspiration for its art.