Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Daily Ten: Platformer Games With Attitude

In honor of Crash Bandicoot making a return later this year with remasters on the Playstation 4, I thought I'd take a look back at other platformer games that had some WILD and ZANY characters that were no doubt the result of the same focus group testing that gave us Poochie. As we go through, you'll notice that most of these games are actually pretty good just suffer from a complete failure to stand out from the crowd.

10) Aero the Acro-bat - SNES/Genesis

Released in 1993, Aero the Acro-bat was one of the many anthropomorphic mascots that followed the wake of Sonic's success. Despite what you may think, Aero was actually pretty cool! No really! He's a bat, that works as an acrobat! How is that not awesome!? 

It helped the the plot was simple (save the circus), the levels were absolutely massive and well-designed, taking full advantage of tight platforming controls. Aero has some success with a sequel and a spin-off (Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel). These days, Aero is available on the Virtual Console but is otherwise forgotten in the dustbin of 90's platformers. 

9) Pandemonium - Playstation 1

Pandemonium was a cool platformer with a strange, Medieval dream-world type of aesthetic to it that also gained good marks from critics of the time for the top-notch character design of the two leads. In fact, the game was a bit of a hit and warranted a sequel that resulted in....

.....a 90's makeover! 

The whole sequel suffered from a horrible case of "Trying-to-hard-itis". Which is a shame, as the first game is really good and worth your time to hunt down for a snapshot of platforming at the dawn of the CD era. 

8) Chuck Rock - Genesis 


If you remembered Chuck Rock, and the sequel, Chuck Rock 2: Son of Chuck before reading this, then congratulations, you've made the same sort of poor life choices as I have. Chuck Rock is a perfectly competent platformer that features dinosaurs offering their assistance to Chuck as he rescues his girl from evil caveman Gary Gritter. While you can't tell from this cover art, Chuck Rock was a rock'n'roll caveman with ATTITUDE. So much attitude, that he actually became a company mascot! 

What company? Well maybe you've heard of Core Design. No? Well then I'm sure you heard of the mascot that replaced Chuck, a British character by the name of Lara Croft. 

7) Radical Rex - SNES

What better way to follow up a caveman with attitude, then with a DINOSAUR THAT LOVES TO SHRED!? Can you feel the focus group testing that resulted in Radical Rex? Are you snickering a little that this was published by Activision? Yeah, they made some poor choices in life before Call of Duty helped make them a very, very rich company. 

As with most video game dinosaurs, Rex can not only shred but he also breathes fire. I'm okay with a skateboarding, radical T-Rex but breathing fire? That is just too far. I question the level of research that went into designing this game. 

As always, for the rest of the list, hit the jump and make sure to bust out a 720 while you do it! 

6) Ty the Tasmanian Tiger - Playstation 

I'll post the commercial for Ty's game, and that's all that needs to be said about Ty:

5) Battletoads - NES

Oh Battletoads, you showed us how to do the whole attitude thing, and technically you should not be a platformer. Horrible, horrible level design with far too MUCH platforming puts you on here. Just look at Rash! A thumb's up, a cocky grin, sunglasses! Rash has ATTITUDE. If you want a perfect example of just how much attitude the Battletoads had, please direct your attention to the print advertising:

"Radical racing" my ass. 

4) Yo Noid! - NES

Remember the Noid? The EXTREME Domino's mascot that originally was just a weird jester sort of guy? Well when the 90's hit, like most corporate mascots, the Noid got a bit of a makeover. To be really specific about his game, Noid got a makeover that grafted him onto an existing Japanese platformer. Changes were made so that the hawk-riding sections were now....of course...SKATEBOARDING sections! WOOO! 

I have a friend that manages a local Domino's, and now the next time I see him, I'm totally asking him about whatever happened to the Noid. 

3) Punky Skunk - Playstation 

I feel like all you have to do is look at the art for the game case and you get it. CAN YOU SMELL THE FOCUS GROUP TESTING!? Sadly, unlike others on this list, Punky Skunk's actual game was really bad. It did however, include snowboarding. So that's something. I guess. Let's just move on before the stink lingers. 

(Skunk? Stink? Lingers? HA! I could totally design 90's platformers!)

2) Conker's Bad Fur Day - Nintendo 64

There was a quote that started out Baldur's Gate 2 I believe, something about "If you stare into the abyss for too long, the abyss stares back." Some Neitzsche guy ended up ripping it off, but that quote applies to Conker. A "deconstruction" of the platformer with attitude genre, Conker's Bad Fur Day still stars....wait for it....a mascot with attitude! In this case it's a mildly self-aware mascot in a totally self-aware game that makes it like the hipster of platforming. 

It's a really fun game just because of the attitude that's everywhere. The singing Poo boss is something that every gamer needs to experience at least once in their life. The female squirrel on the cover is making me think of furries....and I'm starting to get these confused feelings like when I first watched Space Jam....let's just move on to #1...

(Speaking of #1, did you pick up on why Conker is #2? HA! I crack myself up.) 

1) Bubsy

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you all, the Poochie of video games. 

In fact, you were reading this and wondering "Where's Bubsy?" right? I knew it! 

Bubsy fills me with such rage, that we're just ending this right here and right now. 

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