Author Topic: Animal mascots and the games that starred them  (Read 1640 times)

Offline Bobinator

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Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« on: February 23, 2013, 04:26:06 AM »
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 Archmides. 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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b16upFloYak

Yeah, I'm putting this one up first. Deal with it. 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.

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.

I could go on and on, but I've already got a review for this game, so let me cut it short and say Jazz is great because it's got an amazing sense of speed, fantastic music, and some very inventive level design. Play it.

Gex

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xMt4U_wJPk

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CYwdtqHGeM

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. To be honest, this strikes me as a pretty poor design decision for a game that's supposedly focused on speed. 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.

Croc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yAVveYCqMo

Honestly? I really wanted to like Croc as a game. It's got a lot of secrets, and it's probably one of the very few 3D platformers you'll find on the Sega Saturn. It's got a cute character, some really good music, and some reasonably challenging level design. For me, though, my issue was that it was trying to put tank controls in a genre that really, really shouldn't use them. Especially when the only way you can sidestep is this tiny little shuffle that covers no distance, making it hard to line yourself up for platforming or avoid enemy attacks in the slightest. ...Did I mention the music was good?

Haven't played the sequel, though. Maybe that fixed that.

THE UGLY

Awesome Possum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5aCwQB3Fcs

aaaaaa[size=140]aaaaaa[/size][size=180]aaaaaaaa[/size][size=220]aaaaaaaaa[/size]

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

Offline Vyothric

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 05:24:20 AM »
Aero the Acro-Bat (I saw it mentioned in chat when you were talking about this). The first game is too hard to be much fun, but the second is ace. Has some good music too. Got a few tracks uploaded here

Gex: It's not bad. I tried to play it on the 3DO because.... I have a 3DO. So I may as well, right? Not really. The 3DO only does S-Video and the game has framerate problems, so there's really no logical reason to play it on the 3DO. Gameplay wise I quite liked it, though it's really frustrating later on in the game. Also, having to collect the video tape to save...I hate that. When I came back to it after a long time, I forgot about that and kept wondering why my game wouldn't save.

Jazz Jackrabbit has always been a favourite of mine. It's one of those games that I got up early before school to play. Pretty sure we didn't even have all the episodes so I just played the same one(s) over and over.

Super Frog: Jumping is too floaty, but otherwise I don't mind it too much.

Zool: I definitely liked it more back in the day than I do now.


Too tired to think of any others right now.......

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 07:51:01 AM »
We've had:

Mr NutzĀ  from Ocean.

Cheestah Cheetah (probably spelt wrong, but there you go) MD.

James Pond (and Robocod) a fish (various platforms)

Bubsy The Bobcat

Wonder Dog (MCD/Amiga)

Rolo To The Rescue (MD)-Elephant, along with The Ottifants


Sparkster/Rocket Knight-Possum again.

Saturn had Bug.

Amiga had Qwak (duck) along with Donk if i recal.


Lupo Alberto-The Videogame (Wolf)


Then you've:

9 Lives (Cat), Radical Rex (dino), Alfred Chicken, Beavers, Brian The Lion, Charlie Chimp, Doc Croc, Quik The Thuner Rabbit, Steg The Slug, Titus The Fox, Pyscho Fox, Gordo (chimp, Lynx)....Monty Mole, Sam Stoat (safe Breaker), Beaver Bob (in Dam Trouble), Cosmic Wartoad, Battle Toads, Chicken Chase, Mama Llama etc



On a similar vien, Amiga also saw cutesy platformers trying to deliver what the consoles did with likes of:

Charlie J.Cool, Magic Pockets, Brat, Chuck Rock, Kid Chaos, Ruffian etc, you also had a Tetris clone featuring 'Puddy Cats' called 'Gorbills', by name of 'Minskies Furballs'.

Offline dougtitchmarsh

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 14:20:52 PM »
A great thread, I'd never played Jazz Jackrabbit before and some of these I'd never heard of so I'll be looking out for some of them to try out.
As for animal game characters, can't think of any which aren't obvious or been mentioned already..
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Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 14:52:51 PM »
We've had:

Worms (EWJ and Worms).

Spiders: Spider PSOne and there was an iOS game featuring a Spider.

Top Hat wearing Rabbit (Whizz on MD+Saturn)

Offline Vyothric

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 14:55:56 PM »
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel. That one's OK.

Of the others mentioned I liked James Pond 2 and Titus the Fox, but I haven't played that in many years.

Earthworm Jim and Worms are both ace.

Offline dougtitchmarsh

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 14:59:24 PM »
Wasn't there a large ape in a game some years back, pretty well known in the day and had his own games on the Snes?
It's coming to me now, Donkey Kong lol.
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Offline Vyothric

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 15:11:07 PM »
Always forget the obvious ones. Also...

Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Star Fox...

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 15:13:10 PM »
And i'm ashamed to say i left out Ecco The Dolphin, despite being a huge fan of the series and owning the CD sound track to Tides Of Time.


Along with:

Bently Bear (Crystal Castles) played to death on 2600, along with Kangaroo.

I also own:Kao The Kangaroo on Dreamcast.

Then you've more recent things like Dogs Life and Mr Mosquito on PS2, Blinx (a crap, time sweeping cat) on Xbox,Sly Racoon on PS2, so animals etc still playing key roles in gaming.

Offline Bobinator

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 19:36:51 PM »
It amazes me how a game so blindingly unremarkable as James Pond 2 could get onto as many systems as it did. I mean, sure, it's not a terrible game, it's just... kind of ugly and mostly forgettable. Heck, even James Pond 3, which I'd honestly say is the better game, ends up getting like two ports after its official release. The world is weird, I tell you what.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 20:05:48 PM »
Quote from: "Bobinator"
It amazes me how a game so blindingly unremarkable as James Pond 2 could get onto as many systems as it did. I mean, sure, it's not a terrible game, it's just... kind of ugly and mostly forgettable. Heck, even James Pond 3, which I'd honestly say is the better game, ends up getting like two ports after its official release. The world is weird, I tell you what.

And the critical acclaim it did.I enjoyed the original James Pond on the ST, but never took to Robocod at all.

Regarding Bubsy, Zool, Mr Nutz and Bug-Edge decribed them all as 'total personality vacums' :-).

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2013, 19:21:56 PM »
Couple more:

Marsupilami (MD)- (based on a French cartoon?), had a lemur escorting an Elephant through out the levels.

Kolibri (32X), Hummingbird as main 'character' which reminds me of Agony (Amiga), which had an Owl (not sure if it had a 'mighty wingspan' though-some might get the reference there :-) ).

Offline Vyothric

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2013, 19:49:38 PM »
Kolibri, I've actually completed that. But I wouldn't really recommend playing more than a few levels.

Agony is a pretty good game, I think.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 21:10:42 PM »
What's Koibri play like? only seen a few reviews, seem to score solid enough, looked nice, great use of 32X colours etc.

Few more Animal games:

Fur Fighters PS2/DC (had on DC, not a huge fan, always seemed like it belonged on the N64 for some reason).

Parappa The Rapper, he's a dog, Chicken teaches him too cook etc

Offline Bobinator

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Re: Animal mascots and the games that starred them
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 21:29:35 PM »
I dunno if I'd really count Kolibiri as any kind of mascot game, really. For one thing, he's not anthropomorphic. I haven't really gotten too far into it, but from what I hear, it's a shooter, I think. That, or it might play like Ecco, but I might only be thinking that because it's by the same people.

Also, this is the Marsupalami that I remember, back when it showed on Toon Disney over here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkbeC2JhFT0

I don't think the cartoon was based on the game at all, or vice versa.