Animal mascots and the games that starred them

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Bobinator
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Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Bobinator » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:53 pm

So, with all this recent talk of Superfrog going on, I figured it'd be a good time to discuss the sort of thing that popularized the 90's: Cute animal mascots. Every console and computer had them, unless you were... I dunno, the Acorn Archimedes. They all ranged in actual game quality, so why don't we go over some of the many... many... MANY to come out?

THE GOOD

Jazz Jackrabbit

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In the mid-90's, the two kings of shareware were Apogee and Epic MegaGames. While Apogee's games were always fine work, Epic's games just had a little more visual flair to them, especially since they tended to use the 256 color VGA pallete much more than Apogee. And while the PC world has a great Mario-style game with Commander Keen, it wasn't until Epic came along that it got its Sonic. (At least until actual Sonic games started hitting the PC, but still.) Sure, it's not QUITE as revolutionary as Sonic, since there's no real physics or intertia involved, but the fact you're free to shoot ahead of yourself gives you a lot more freedom to just run like the wind.

Unlike other games of the time, like Zool, Jazz Jackrabbit understands that going around looking for coins and such isn't what Sonic was about. In Jazz Jackrabbit, you're perfectly free to spend as much time looking for collectibles as you want, or blast your way straight to the exit. Jazz might not be able to jump into enemies like Sonic, but he does get a big gun, which can use multiple ammo types. That's not to mention the fantastic MOD soundtrack, all the different level types, each with their own enemies and music, the 3D bonus stages, or the animated cutscenes. Play it.

Gex

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For the record, I'm referring to the original game, not the 3D collectathons that came out afterwards. They weren't AWFUL, per say, but... well, they weren't nearly as good. Released during the dying days of the 3DO, Gex was pretty much the closest thing it ever had to a mascot. Truth be told, it didn't really make gigantic use of the hardware, but it was pretty well put together.

The main gimmick of Gex is that you can stick to walls and ceilings, which opens up a lot of ways you can go. The level design means you get to do this often, especially to find secret areas. The other main feature is that Gex talks. A lot. Hope you like 80's and 90's pop culture references!

The "MEH"

Zool

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I'm going to be honest, I've never really gotten the appeal of Zool. For people who didn't have a Genesis/MD or a SNES, I'm sure they were great games. But when they started porting this game to everything under the sun, it just showed that it just really couldn't match up to a lot of console games.

This game makes me realize just how many British-made platformers of this type seem to involve making you collect a lot of things before it'll let you leave. Superfrog, Kid Chaos, and this, as well.To be honest, this strikes me as a pretty poor design decision for a game that's supposedly focused on speed. I mean, you're given all this speed to do what? Slowly scour a level to look for collectibles? Seems like filler, really. That, and Zool just seems too slippery to really avoid enemies when you're moving at full speed. That spin sword move thing helps, but it has to be specifically activated, so unless you're using it all the time, you have to take things slow and carefully.

James Pond

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The history of the James Pond series has always been a little weird. You had the first game that, for the most part, has been entirely forgotten. Then you have Robocod, which gets 11 ports. 11 ports. I counted. And I'm not entirely sure why, to be honest. It's not a terrible game, but it's kind of ugly to look at, and it doesn't really do anything particularly remarkable. So when the third game comes out, and proves itself to be a much faster, more involved, and a generally much deeper game, it gets... three ports. No justice, I tell you. If it weren't for Robocod, I'd move into the 'Good' section, but... as it is...

THE UGLY

Bubsy

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shut up shut up SHUT UP

...So, yeah. Mascot platformers. Which ones did you enjoy, or not enjoy, and why?

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BennyTheGreek
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by BennyTheGreek » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:11 am

It seemed as though companies had an encyclopaedia of animals back in the 90s and simply opened the page and said "right lets make a game based on a giraffe that has speedy powers when it eats the top leaves of a tree"

Mr Nutz was always the game that made me cry due to the un-originality of it....

its a pretty cack game too...

most of them were poor cash-ins.....ooh johnny likes that hedgehog game..he is sure to like that earwig game or that woodlouse game or that ...well you get the idea....


But they can all rot for one thing....pressing up to jump...

I did mainly use my amiga before I bought a megadrive, so I am speaking from that time...

Bubsy might be the worst of them all though....

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will2097
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by will2097 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:58 pm

I think the only out-and-out 2D platformer i have ever played was Gex on the 3DO. And it was awesome.

Wasn't James Pond loved by the Amiga fraternity? I only vaguely remember it in the mags.

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Black Ridge
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Black Ridge » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:14 pm

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Remember this one back in the day. Loads of animals to save and help you along the way. I enjoyed it years ago. I bought it for ShadowNeku years ago when he was heavily into megadrive collecting.

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TwoHeadedBoy
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by TwoHeadedBoy » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:34 pm

Zool's not an animal, he's a ninja of the Nth Dimension! It's alright that one, good music at least, but far too fast to see what's going on (especially with the speed the background moves at as well). All these years later and I still haven't gotten past the first boss.

Gex is definitely a good game - my most played 3DO game, and I've stuck the PlayStation version onto my PSP for "Gex on the Go".

Can't say much about Jazz Jackrabbit, but I've played the second one. It's fun, but I'd prefer bigger sprites.

Robocod's an excellent game, there's no faulting it! Haven't got around to playing the versions that were done for the DS or PS2 yet, but I'm curious nonetheless.

There's NOTHING wrong with Bubsy, at least not with his first game. It's loads of fun, fast and colourful. You can say it was designed by ad-men with nothing but sales in mind, but so was Sonic. Death happens a lot in that game, yes, but there's a different death animation each time at least. It's too enjoyable to hate.

Rolo to the Rescue's a good one, but there's a certain point I can't get past, which ruins it a bit. My fault that is, not the game's.
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c0nfu53d
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by c0nfu53d » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:42 pm

BennyTheGreek wrote: Mr Nutz was always the game that made me cry due to the un-originality of it....

its a pretty cack game too...
Which version? The Snes Mr Nutz was good IMHO

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Dreamer
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Dreamer » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:44 pm

The Aero the Acrobat games were not too bad, they were nice looking games but the controls were a bit pants.
Rocket Knights Sparkster's probably my fave animal game character next to Sonic.

Then there's AWESOME POSSUM!!! *vomits*



Bobinator wrote:The history of the James Pond series has always been a little weird. You had the first game that, for the most part, has been entirely forgotten. Then you have Robocod, which gets 11 ports. 11 ports. I counted. And I'm not entirely sure why, to be honest. It's not a terrible game, but it's kind of ugly to look at, and it doesn't really do anything particularly remarkable. So when the third game comes out, and proves itself to be a much faster, more involved, and a generally much deeper game, it gets... three ports. No justice, I tell you. If it weren't for Robocod, I'd move into the 'Good' section, but... as it is...


I could never get in to the third game, though i loved James Pond 2 and it still gets a playthrough almost every Christmas.
I'm sure i remember seeing a copy of James Pond 2 for the PS2 once :lol: i can't remember how much they were charging for it though.

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Dreamer
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Dreamer » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:47 pm

c0nfu53d wrote:
BennyTheGreek wrote: Mr Nutz was always the game that made me cry due to the un-originality of it....

its a pretty cack game too...
Which version? The Snes Mr Nutz was good IMHO
I got the Mega Drive version for Christmas when i was younger and i couldn't stand it but i bought it back when i started collecting for the Mega Drive and now i love it :D

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koopa42
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by koopa42 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:48 pm

Harsh on Robocod, I thought it was great

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BennyTheGreek
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by BennyTheGreek » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:49 pm

c0nfu53d wrote:
BennyTheGreek wrote: Mr Nutz was always the game that made me cry due to the un-originality of it....

its a pretty cack game too...
Which version? The Snes Mr Nutz was good IMHO

It was the amiga version....although it looks as though it was a follow up that I played...damn those pirate discs that were everywhere at the bootsales at the time :oops:

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snowkatt
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by snowkatt » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:52 pm

i only ever played the sonic games and rocket knight adventures
never was all that good at them

do the tmnt count ?
hey wait ! i got a new complaint !

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Liamh1982
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Liamh1982 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:45 am

Dreamer - I've got the PS2 Robocod, it cost me £2 from Grainger Games.
And it has not been tarted up in any significant way, may as well be playing my Mega Drive cart.

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joefish
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by joefish » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:02 am

Foxx Fights Back (Spectrum/C64)
Turbo the Tortoise (Spectrum)
Titus the Fox (ST/Amiga/PC/CPC/GBC)
Crash Bandicoot, Crash Team Racing etc. (Playstation, etc.)
Fire and Ice (ST/Amiga game with a blue coyote, not to be confused with other games with similar titles)

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by the_hawk » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:08 am

Best - Monty Mole (On the Run & Auf Weisersen), Sonic (2 & CD) & EARTHWORM JIM (1&2)

Worst - Awesome Possum & "Impossamole"
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Fishsta
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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them

Post by Fishsta » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:25 am

Brian the Lion, anyone?

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