Mysterious Cities Of Gold Seeks Further Fortune

By John Walker on September 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am.

I’m going to offend you. I hated The Mysterious Cities Of Gold cartoon. And the Belle & Sebastian cartoon. And Around The World With Willy Fog. And Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds. Oh my goodness, they looked like cartoons, but they weren’t. They were the dullest, driest series, meandering to nowhere, and at no point did anyone hit anyone else with a frying pan. WHEN IS IT TIME FOR BANANAMAN?!

Which is the perfect introduction to tell you that there’s a Mysterious Cities Of Gold PC game Kickstarter, and it’s almost funded.

The series has actually been recently revived, and with what appears to be a slightly stumbling schedule, a new 26-part run is currently airing in France. It seems a game to go with it is in development on French shores, and the developers are looking for funding to get it on PC, and translate and relocate it for English-speaking humans. They’re after $30k, and already have $24,500, with most of their run to go.

AAAHHHHHHHH-AAH-AHHH-AHHH-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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122 Comments »

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  1. MuscleHorse says:

    There’s a Belle and Sebastian cartoon? I’m guessing the band are named after it and it’s not a cartoon about occasionally pleasant, romantic but quite often dull music?

      • wiper says:

        And not just a cartoon – it’s based on a French series of children’s books from the ’60s, which had a live-action adaptation back in their day. According to my mother they were lovely, though not having been a French child in the ’60s (and never having really watched the cartoon as a child – it was no Ulysse 31!) I can’t really offer an opinion of my own.

      • baby snot says:

        Embeded videos in comments… Is this the future?

  2. Hirmetrium says:

    Woah John. Woah. A show where they bark the theme tune out is dry and dull?

    You disappoint me. I look back at Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds as one of my fondest childhood memories.

    Your opinion offends me!

    (/end sarcasm)

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      stahlwerk says:

      I remember the Musketeers Show from german television, but they didn’t use the obvious pun and instead opted for the implied one:

      D’Artagnan und die drei Musketiere.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        I lol’d.

        Uh oh.

        I think the language classes are starting to take effect… Must go and pick out some Lederhosen before the rush.

        • mr.black says:

          Heh, now you know how we foreigners feel about pun threats! I can understand them all and they’re funny! Awesome, I rock!

    • apocalypso says:

      When the Herald of Free Enterprise sank, Dogtanian’s usual time spot was occupied by a news flash. I had a tantrum and accused someone (who? the BBC? Townsend Thoresen? The people of Belgium? MY INCONSIDERATE AND DECEITFUL FATHER? I don’t know) of making up the whole thing to prevent me watching one of my favourite cartoons. Not my finest hour. I also scribbled a feather on my dad’s authentic Texan cowboy hat in biro so that I could be Dogtanian. It was ruined.

      • jonnychimpo says:

        Was it dogtanian? I always thought it was Pole Position that I was missing out on, due to this useless Belgian port hands.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    La vache!

  4. Runty McTall says:

    “And Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds”

    Woah…. WOAH! Now let’s beck the F up man, before we say something we regret. The theme tune alone makes this a work of unimpeachable virtue. Check it:

    One for all and all for one
    Helping everybody
    One for all and all for one
    It’s a pretty story
    Sharing everything with fun
    That’s the way to be

    Mysterious Cities of Gold I am less fussed about. I never managed to actually see the final China-Syndrome episode in my youth and then at Uni I sat through the whole damn season in the Broom Cupboard Club and then had to prepare for an exam on the day they showed the last episode SO I STILL HAVEN’T SEEN IT!!

    Guh.

    Did get to watch lots of classic Batman though, which was a plus.

    • foop says:

      Oh dear God, now I have that awful song in my head.

      I’m sorry old chap, but I’m going to have to hunt you down and kill you.

  5. Premium User Badge

    KingCathcart says:

    That’s it Walker. You and I are done.

    DONE, YOU HEAR ME!

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Yeah, if you don’t stop the 80’s cartoon bashing, I’ll be so angry I’ll spend the next 3 years threatening to never view this site again before changing my username.

  6. Ilinx says:

    Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors or GTFO.

    • Schiraman says:

      \o/

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      By J. Michael Straczynski, no less.

      I continue to assume that this means Jayce is somehow set in the Babylon 5 continuity.

      • ZephyrSB says:

        There are theories that the Great Machince on Epsilon III was somehow related to the Lightning League…

  7. rei says:

    How did you feel about ‘Once Upon a Time… Life’? That was my favorite cartoon as a kid, which is surprisingly appropriate for my later career choice. I liked ‘OUAT… The Americas’ too, but never saw the others. I should catch up on YouTube sometime.

  8. madeofsquares says:

    Yup. Remember the theme tune to Cities of Gold very well, but then I think me and my brother turned over because the actual cartoon was so boring.

    • Runty McTall says:

      Solid gold, solar powered condor plane says you’re wrong.

      • terry says:

        The condor was in the title sequence, so you could switch over just after that safe in the knowledge that you’d already seen the high water mark of the series.

        I was always partial to Inspector Gadget myself.

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          Gadget was one of the best for sure. There can be no arguing about it though, the best cartoon was Dangermouse and the best kids programs were Trap Door (too short and not enough of them made :( ) and Knightmare.

        • Runty McTall says:

          Fair enough I guess, although I always watched on in hopes that they might explain how the thing actually stayed aloft. I think that they also had a gold laser ship or something, so maybe the writers are just a bit confused about the material properties of the metal.

          MCoG gets points for trying to shoehorn a documentary onto every episode, too (at the start or the end, I don’t recall?)

        • Spacewalk says:

          Nah, the best part was the minute or educational content at the end especially the one where they showed a bit of a recreation of a human sacrifice and there was a bit of blood whown which due to the grainy film looked reet brutal. That definitely wouldn’t fly these days which makes it more special.

        • Zekiel says:

          But, but… what about the random aliens (were they aliens?) that turned up near the end? And the mysterious priest figure? And the was-he-good-was-he-bad main adult character with a cloak that always swished brilliantly? I can’t see how anyone couldn’t have enjoyed MCoG as a child.

          Re-watching it as an adult however is not recommended. It moves SO SLOWLY. The first quarter of every episode is taken up with a “previously on” section. The last quarter is taken up with a “next time” section. In between not very much happens. Sadface.

  9. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    I liked it because I was actually allowed to watch it. It wasn’t all subversive like that Ramjet fellow.

    But I don’t actually remember anything about it other than the theme tune and the condor. Still, better than Pokemon.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Shockeh says:

    Most of those I can understand not liking John, but Dogtanian?

    How does that hole where your soul should be feel?

  11. diebroken says:

    A wonderful cartoon! Now it’s got me thinking about all the others… Adventures of The Galaxy Rangers…

    • Paul B says:

      Count Duckula, Dangermouse, Jimbo, The Family Ness, Charlie Chalk, Penny Crayon… the list goes on…

  12. Spacewalk says:

    Challop.

  13. Maxheadroom says:

    I hated them all too. Those huge cavernous, toothless mouths whenever someone was shouting freaked me right out.

  14. Ovno says:

    Heretic, Burn Him!!!!!

    And ooo cities of gold game, I hope it focus on the Olmecs and all that rather than all the conquistador stuff….

  15. fish99 says:

    You wanna see a bad cartoon, go back and watch Dungeons and Dragons.

    • Runty McTall says:

      Another one I never saw the end to. Maybe time seems longer when you’re a kid but that one seemed to go on for ever.

      • Guzzleguts says:

        They never filmed the final episode. You can read the script online somewhere, and unless I imagined it there’s an audio play. It’s actually quite interesting too. Maybe too good for that type of cartoon.

        • Runty McTall says:

          Yeah, I heard that the ending as planned really messed with the good vs bad alignment that was implied throughout. Would probably have resulted in some freaked out kids and loads of complaints.

          • Baines says:

            That has become a bit overhyped over the years.

            Short version: Venger sets up a situation which makes the party think Dungeon Master betrayed them. Then Venger points out to the party that Dungeon Master’s advice always led them into trouble but never home. The party questions Dungeon Master’s role and motives, with half agreeing to help Venger who has offered to send them home himself. Venger wants the party to throw a key into the abyss, while Dungeon Master wants them to use the key to open a vault. The party sides with Dungeon Master and opens the vault, which is where Venger’s “good” was sealed. Venger becomes a good guy, and portals open in different parts of the realm, letting apparently various captive races return to their home worlds. Dungeon Master opens a portal for the party to return to the amusement park.

            Happy ending, right? Dungeon Master was on the side of good. The party did the heroic and right things. Venger is redeemed. Right?

            But if you think about it, the question of Dungeon Master’s motives was swept under the rug a bit, wasn’t it? Venger might have caused the party to question Dungeon Master for his own gain, but what Venger said was still mostly right. Dungeon Master had spent three seasons using “If you do this, then you might find a way back home” claims to get the party to do things for the side of good, and for three seasons the party put their lives in danger but always ended up not quite able to go home. When they finally do get to go home, it is because Venger himself triggered the end-game. And when Dungeon Master gets what he wanted most, he seemingly simply creates a portal that will send the party home. (It isn’t spelled out whether Dungeon Master could always have made that portal, or the opening of the vault allows him to make that portal. Even his line when he makes the portal could be questioned, is he doing it because he finally can, or is he doing it because he has no choice but to let them leave?)

            The script is online, or you can read a synopsis of the script at:
            http://www.dungeonsdragonscartoon.com/2009/08/requiem.html

          • The Random One says:

            I hope you’re not talking about that ending in which they turn out to have died in the rollercoaster and are stuck in hell, because that’s well known to be an urban legend. I doubt an ending was ever written since it looked like the kind of syndicated cartoon that would be written to go on forever.

          • Baines says:

            No, not the roller-coaster death.

            The script for Requiem was posted online long ago. It is a fairly typical episode, or would have been if it had been made. It also has an out that would allow a fourth season and beyond. While the kids get a portal home at the end, the script has the episode ending before you see whether or not the kids choose to take the portal. They could return to Earth, or they could choose to stay in the realm fighting the evils that remain.

            The only two things it would really “end” was the role of Venger as the main villain (as he’d been redeemed, with the show seemingly transitioning to The Nameless One as the real big bad) and the kids’ goal of finding a way home (as they could presumably just ask Dungeon Master to send them home when they wanted to leave.)

          • The Random One says:

            Oh, ok then. I remembered reading that there was a (real) final episode but it was final only by virtue of being the last one written. I must have misremembered.

    • John Walker says:

      HOW DARE YOU?!

    • Schiraman says:

      Yeah, that really was dreadful. Although MSoG was still far worse.

    • Spacewalk says:

      Conan the Adventurer sucked too. I had already seen the first filim and read some of the stories by then so I turned off halfway through the first episode because it was lame in comparison.

    • NailBombed says:

      You FOOL! For that unwarranted slight you shall suffer the unbridled wrath of……. VENGER!

  16. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    The most significant thing about these cartoons for those of us of a certain age (old) was that, being French, they were just about the only time you ever encountered dubbing on TV (Japanese cartoons were unknown in my childhood.) And of course nobody ever told you that it was dubbed, you just had to somehow rationalize the mouth movements that were often out of sync. Some people I’ve talked to about this remember being creeped out by these cartoons but not really being able to put their finger on why – I personally think it was the dubbing effect.

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      zapatapon says:

      Japanese cartoons unknown in France at the time? What about Harlock [Albator], Captain Future [Capitaine Flam], Grendizer [Goldorak] to name a few which absolutely everybody watched

      [EDIT: Oooh, you meant they were the only foreign cartoons *in the UK* at the time? Were french kids alone in having all these cool japanese animes on TV in the beginning of the 80s?]

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        Yeah I mean that the cartoons being dubbed from French, meant they were about the only dubbed entertainment one encountered on TV in the mid 90s growing up in the UK. The muskerhounds, etc were shown in the UK around 86/87… I realise my comment was confusing because Mysterious Cities of Gold is Japanese :)

        The vast majority of kids cartoons were British or American, and the British ones were all my favorites. I really don’t recall seeing Japanese animation (outside of games obviously) until I was much older, in the mid 90s, and that was mostly my friends who were importing Manga. Pokemon didn’t exist until I was 16 or 17 and I dismissed it as something I was too old for, along with Power Rangers :)

  17. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    so the game’s gonna be translated into portuguese and brazilian.. it almost makes me wanna give them some money, to see what brazilian translatian they’ll come up with.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    germany seemed to get the better cartoons.

  19. PuffTheMagicDragQueen says:

    I’d never heard of Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds… went to go look it up. Ah! We had it here in South Africa dubbed into Afrikaans as Brakanjan :)

  20. hthief says:

    I registetered just to say tht dogtain was the beez kneez and you jeopardized the integrity of this great site; because what kind of monster hates dogtain?

  21. instantcoffe says:

    This is based on the new series which are, frankly, bad. Infantilized would be the word (they are targeting the 4-10 yo demographics and they think they are stoopid). Had it been based on the original I might’ve been interested, but the travesty that constitutes the new episodes… They even f*cked up the intro music : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XjKRtVE_FQ

  22. Didden says:

    Take my money… *hugs his old teddy bear* lolol

  23. Jac says:

    WELL THERES NO NEED FOR THAT! You’re out of line and out of control Walker.

    At least I still have Denver the last dinosaur.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Oh thank you very much. I have a deadline at work today and the last thing I needed was Denver the last dinosaur’s theme tune stuck in my head.

  24. Bahoxu says:

    Aww. That music hits me straight in the nostalgia. Doesnt really look like a game i would enjoy though. More of a childrens game. I think i’ll sit this one out.

    Now, if someone did a ‘for adults, dark and gritty’ ulysses 31 RPG…

  25. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I absolutely DETESTED Cities of Gold. Not as much as Dogtanian, but ye gods was it dull.
    But both were eclipsed by the nightmare that is Raggydolls. A theme song that sticks in your mind the way diarrhea sticks to flypaper.

    Now I have a mash-up of Dogtanian and Raggydolls stuck in my head.
    DAMN YOU WALKER.

  26. Laurentius says:

    I prefered “Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea” then “Mysterious Cities of Gold”, this opening song..so sweet.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I was wondering how long it would be before this popped up. I would like to have more memories of this but it’s mostly been eroded by time but what I can remember was great.

    • Orageon says:

      Yeah, it also had a grand opening theme. Also, the design and ambiance was very special. Loved it but at the same time was very intrigued.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Heresy!

    I was excited when I heard about a new series but sorely disappointed when I saw what they did with it… cheap cell-shaded 3D instead of hand-animated 2D. Not like this.

    It seems the game is in the same new style and tone, so um, not sure I approve… But, the original series remains a landmark.

    Much as I would’ve welcomed a good continuation it didn’t really need a sequel. I think Avatar (The Last Airbender) is the Cities of Gold of this generation.

    • Prime says:

      It seems the game is in the same new style and tone, so um, not sure I approve… .

      To each their own, I guess. Looks fine to me, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I think the new look just doesn’t fit compared to the old series. It’s not like the animation in the original series was THAT detailed, a lot of held poses etc… but it was effective and nicely understated. 3D that tries to look 2D always comes across as a bit stiff because the shapes are never fluid enough. And the animation seems off: this new style just seems sort of goofy and bouncy (maybe to please the younger audience as instantcoffe suggests above).

      As for the game, it doesn’t really look like it’s going to capture the sense of wonder and well, mystery, that made the series. It looks like a themed puzzle game, which is nice, but it’s not what I’d want out of a Cities of Gold game. More something like Journey mixed with Ico, set in that region and time .

  28. Radiant says:

    John look inside your heart.

  29. Radiant says:

    you can’t because you do not have one.

  30. po says:

    I pretty much hated any cartoon that tried to have a story running through the series, because between missed episodes and the huge amount of time they dragged the story out for, you never had a clue what that story was supposed to be about.

    At least these days you stand a pretty good chance of getting an entire series on DVD, so you can actually follow it (or if you get cable/satellite there’s so many children’s channels it repeats almost weekly. Kids these days are so lucky. Back in my day we’d only get a few hours of programming in the evening, with maybe 2 shows that were age appropriate).

    • Jake says:

      I was just going to say the opposite, I think Mysterious Cities of Gold was the first programme I saw that had a serialised story. I can’t really remember how good that story was, but at the time it was quite impressive – especially considering most kids shows were episodic and quite inane.

      I also used to love Pirates of Darkwater, I think that was one long story too, and quite freaky for a kids show.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        For me, 80 days around the world (Philleas Fox, or whatever it was actually called) was the first I remember having a continuing story. And it was easier for me to understand at the time because it was clear that they were going round the world and if I missed an episode or two I could always check where they’d got to on my toy globe. So it was obvious when they were making progress, and how far they had left to go… Still seemed to me like the series ran for a lot longer than 80 days though ;)

  31. theirongiant says:

    Heresy! MSOG was awesome, sure it started out a little dull but by the end there were aliens and spaceships and a nuclear explosion (if i remember correctly). Fair play, Belle and Sebastian was murderously dull and Dogtanian was annoying.

  32. big boy barry says:

    80 Days Around the World is the one i remember most fondly along with Dungeons and Dragons and Transformers. I liked most of the 80s cartoons though to be fair.

  33. Prime says:

    I didn’t hate much in the 80s – I was kinda cool that way – but I really didn’t like Dogtanion. Apart from brain-occupying theme tune (30 years and counting…) The biggest problem I had with these cartoons, like Mysterious Cities, were the fact they took aaaages to do anything exciting. Mostly there was just loads of chat chat chat….

    Ulysses 31 got it exactly right. Bloody love that series, I do. Challenge of the Gobots, anyone?

  34. Premium User Badge

    Deekyfun says:

    As a discerning youngster, I don’t remember hating many cartoons. Certainly not ones which had transforming ships and golden condors. It could be that, watching them now, I would hate them, but it’s impossible to look beyond my rose-tinted bias goggles.

    Actually, I do remember taking a big dislike to Count Duckula, but I think that was due to the animation style making me feel physically ill.

  35. int says:

    Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!

  36. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Another series that I remember being pretty great was an animated version of The Wizard of Oz, unrelated to Judy Garland…. and Sindbad the Sailor.

    Also: Alfred J. Kwak.

    • MartinWisse says:

      Yeah, Wizard of Oz, dubbed into Dutch and which seemed to have the characters just yap yap yap all the time with crappy puns and jokes.

      Sindbad? Was that the one where his parrot would randomly change into this magical woman?

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        I don’t remember puns but I remember the story being interesting. Also, at one point the Emerald city was under siege and the enemy used a giant worm to tunnel under it. It was weird. I also remember this one episode of a castle filled with statues where you had to pick the right one or you turned into a statue yourself…

        Sindbad: Yep. That’s the one. Also: SPOILERS, gosh! ;)

        I thought the graphical style of Sindbad wasn’t that great but it did have a unique look to it and I remember really liking the story and characters.

    • Orageon says:

      A good show, too, that one. Some parts were censored in europe as they contained partial nudity. That little thing that many japanese cartoons have here and there, but that were not ok by european standards.

  37. RProxyOnly says:

    We may oft disagree on the nature of games Mr Walker, however your taste in cartoons is IMPECABLE, yes indeed, are those bitter diappointments in animated clothing, some of THE worst excuse for ‘cartoons’ it has ever been my abject sadness to be roped in by.

    Muskateers (Edit.. Muskahounds) and Cities of gold are mind numbingly boring and filled with faded shadows of cartoon characterisations, places where fun is unheard of… I have kept my opinion of said abominations secret for all of my years in the face of my contemporaries constant extolements of love and fondness, YOU, sir have restored my faith.

    It is my honour to present thee, The Penfold, Order of the Mouse…. Arise

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      I think the thing with cities was that everyone remembers watching it, but nobody really remembers much about it. It was boring and you mostly mentally switched off and started daydreaming or playing with toys while it was on. It meandered so much and went on for so long that it was impossible for a child of 6 or 7 to follow the story arc. My best guess as to why so many people remember it so fondly (besides the music of course) is that it’s simply the sheer amount of time we spent sat with it on the TV. We all associate it with watching TV when we were kids, which was pretty cool for most of us.

  38. Cleops says:

    I loved The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and it is still one of my favourites shows now as it does stand the test of time. Yes, the theme tune ala Dogtanian could be annoying, but how many shows do you know even had miniature documentaries after them explaining the historical context and the meanings/symbolism of the show, and a soundtrack that sounds like an early Daft Punk.

    It inspired me as an adult to travel around the world to most of the places in the show and I even got a degree in archaeology. Between MCoG, Ulysses 31, Tiswas, Bananaman, Goodies, you name it, I really am grateful to grow up in the period of time that I did.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      I enjoyed documentaries as a child.. almost any subject, the open university, the BBC2 Christmas lectures.. any bearded guy in a bad suit and a kipper tie explaining things really (maybe that says more about me :/)… but those ‘cartoons’, to me as a child, were bordom opitimised.

      • Cleops says:

        Hehe! Maybe if the Japanese team who shot the mini docos adorned some dodgy flares, kipper ties and a tight man perm, to explain the episodes it would have appealed more to you ;) I watched all that doco stuff too, but MCoG really struck a chord for me at the time growing up in the UK countryside and not getting the best education/access to knowledge other than TV and books.

        It wasn’t until I was about 20 that I picked up a copy of The Odyssey and realised that Ulysses 31 must have been based on it and that it wasn’t as exciting without space and robots.

        Each to their own I guess. This forum is actually the first time in 30 odd years where I have encountered people not liking the show as even people I have met at anime conventions have either loved it or haven’t heard of it.

        • Premium User Badge

          JamesTheNumberless says:

          My experience also. I think there’s a whole repressed generation of us, mostly afraid to come out and say that we didn’t really like Mysterious Cities of Gold… Cartoons were good but the real application for the telly was plugging in the Spectrum :)

          • Prime says:

            Yep. Me too. There seems to be some unspoken thing that everyone who watched it as a child loved it then and does still. It bored me to tears, although the Condor was cool. I’ve got friends on my Facebook who still proudly tell me they’ve got the DVD set.

            I don’t get this ‘Goonies’ thing either…

            And yes. ZX Spectrums are why they invented TVs in the first place.