- System: GBA
- Publisher: THQ
- Genre: Puzzle
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For those new to the world of Rare titles, the first thing that is probably going through your minds is “Who is Mr. Pants, and why does he have a videogame dedicated to him?” Fear not, young reader, for today’s history lesson is coming very soon.
Rewind a decade ago to the year 1998, when Rare’s first incarnation of their website (titled “Rarewhere”) came to be, there was a section on the site found in “Rarebites” by the name of “Site Survey.” According to tales of yore, when Loveday needed a mascot for the page, all the Rare staffers were too busy in the projects in that time. It was then that Loveday conceived the greatest creation on the face of this Earth: a slightly obese stick figure with red underwear, a bowler hat, and a 70’s porn star mustache. His name is Mr. Pants, and he became the mascot for the Site Survey.
During the Scribes age of 1999-present, countless fans have referenced Mr. Pants in the letter section, even going as far as making Rubbish Picture Attachments which have no doubt traumatized Loveday to this very day. It even got to the point where another character, Mrs. Pie, was drawn by Loveday himself, as well as a “rivalry” between Mr. Pants and Mr. Trout, who was a Rare fan’s creation.
Not just content with becoming an instant favorite on the Rare site, in 1999 Mr. Pants indubitably won the “Most Obscure Easter Egg Award” for being in Jet Force Gemini twice: once as a drawing in Tawfret, and another as the last cheat titled Ants Into Pants, in which every drone turns into Mr. Pants to shoot at your own sadistic leisure. Mr. Pants’ second appearance in the N64 era was in 2000’s Banjo-Tooie, where he once again appeared twice: as a constellation in Witchyworld and as the star of his own television show as seen by Boggy the bear in the ice side of Hailfire Peaks.
Born from the ashes
Oddly enough, it was a twist of fate that even enabled Mr. Pants to get his own video game in the first place. Originally conceived as Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers, it was revealed to the public at E3 2001 with 6 other Rare titles. It was due to be released later that year, yet time came and went as the title, as well as the other announced Rare titles (sans StarFox Adventures), became MIA.
Of course, all the plans that Rare had for Nintendo titles went the way of the dodo the day that Microsoft acquired Rare in September of 2002, effectively changing and/or delaying 6 of the 7 titles announced in 2001. Among these titles was Coconut Crackers, and we heard nothing about the GBA titles from that moment forward except for confirmations here and there that they weren’t completely cancelled.
It stayed that way until 2003, when Rare announced on their site that thanks to the deal with THQ, the four GBA titles would be published and released “with shiny new guises.” It’s Mr. Pants was one of the titles to be revealed in the press release, and logically few people thought it was a retooling of Donkey Kong Coconut Crackers. It wasn’t until August 2004 when screenshots of the retooled title came to surface, proving those that believed that it was a retooling correct. It was finally released in December.
The game itself is unique in the fact that it’s the only Rare title to adopt the crayon-drawing aesthetic as seen in Yoshi’s Island. To date it is also the only Rare puzzle game. It’s Mr. Pants proves that Rare can handle the puzzle genre in a more-than-decent light. If you are curious as to how Coconut Crackers could’ve been, or if you just want the awesome novelty of having a game starring Mr. Pants, this title deserves a spot in your video-game collection.