Felix the Cat
I was absolutely impressed the first time I rented this game years ago. Felix the Cat, released by Hudson Software in 1992, is more than just the boring platformer that I thought it would be. It's another one of those overlooked NES games that deserved more attention than it recieved. It may not be the best platformer out there, but it sure is a great video game creation that shouldn't be overlooked as much as it was.
The story in this game is pretty simple, though not great. The evil professor (he doesn't have a name) wants Felix's magic bag of tricks. To get the bag from the cat, the professor catnaps Felix's friend, Kitty, and offers to ransom Kitty back to Felix in exchange for the bag. Felix isn't willing to give up his bag of tricks, but he also isn't willing to give up Kitty. Felix must get to the professor's laboratory to eliminate the menace and rescue Kitty. With his magic bag of tricks in hand to help him along the way, Felix sets off on his quest.
As I mentioned before, Felix the Cat is a platformer. It's a side-scrolling platformer, that is. In it, you control Felix through nine perilous worlds as you keep your mind set on rescuing Kitty. Each wold contains multiple rounds to travel through. Each of these worlds takes place in slightly different areas than the others. Some worlds take place on dry land, some take place in the air, some take place in the water, and one takes place in the Professor's lab. In each round of these worlds, you will have to beat the clock as you make your way to the end of the round before your time runs out.
As you find your way through these rounds, you will encounter many enemies along the way. You cannot jump on these enemies to defeat them, like you can in most platformers. In this game, Felix's magic bag of tricks is the thing that does the enemy-killing work. When first starting a world, you will have no special abilities handy. At this point, you can use something simple from your bag, like a spring-loaded boxing glove; and you can lose a life with one touch of an enemy. After collecting ten Felix heads scattered throughout the round, a heart will appear. When you grab this heart, you will be given a special ability, such as the ability to drive a tank, that will last for a limited amount of time. The more hearts you collect, the more advanced your special ability will become. At this point, a touch from an enemy will merely transform you back to your previous ability. You can also expand the length of time you have with a special ability by collecting five Felix heads, which will make milk bottles appear, which will give you extra ability time.
The game control in Felix the Cat is the game's biggest downside. Responsive controls are surely evident, but that doesn't make up for the big control problem the game presents. Felix is very hard to control when jumping. You can't move Felix around in mid-air very much, making it hard to perfectly land on a small platform that you're trying to aim for. This bad control is something you have to get used to, or else you find yourself giving up very quickly out of aggravation.
The extraordinary graphics in Felix the Cat was one of the first things I noticed when I rented the game. The picture doesn't quite match up to games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Kirby's Adventure, but it is still extremely well done. The background and the foreground are both very detailed and good-looking, especially the ground that Felix must stand on. Foreground objects are very detailed, and Felix looks very much like he does in the cartoons. The only part of the graphics that cause a disappointment are the enemies, which, though clear, they aren't very elaborate and well colored. But other than this, the graphics are in no way horrible or sloppy.
The game's music is another flawed area of the game. While the songs are all well composed, not all of them are very catchy. In fact, some songs can get downright annoying after putting up with them for a while. These songs did blend with the game very well, but they are nothing memorable at all. The only song that I really like is the theme song, which I do find a little fun to listen to. The aquatic music of the swimming levels is okay. Most of what's left of the music is not very good.
The sounds in the game are okay, but they are nothing spectacular. The sounds you hear are mostly your average beeps that are combined to make a good excuse for sound effects. The sounds of jumping and of collecting Felix heads is just high-sounding beeps. The sound of collecting a milk jug is a very high-pitched ring. Nothing really dominates over that. The sounds remain lackluster throughout the game and don't offer good the sound quality that one would hope for.
Not much of a challenge exists in Felix The Cat. In fact, I had the game beaten the first time I rented it. It doesn't offer much of a challenge, which can actually be a good thing. Seeing that the game is based on a cartoon character, this game may be more focused on children, offering an beginner's challenge to the kids who want to play it. This game is obviously more suitable for newer video game players, even though it is still enjoyable for the experts, too.
Though sloppy control prevails, the game is still very fun to play. The game may be simple, but it can also be entertaining. The variety of the different worlds and the curiosity that you have when trying to find out what abilities Felix can obtain will keep you playing for more. While this game may have all the qualities of a standard platform game, you'll see that it's design goes above and beyond the first look and expectations you may have.
If you were to ask me whether or not you should buy this game, the first thing I'd say is, "Good luck trying to find it." The second thing I'd say would be, "If you can find it, I fully recommend its purchase." Felix the Cat is more than just a plain, boring NES game. It is a great cartoon-based game that is innovative and entertaining. In fact, this is one of the best cartoon-based game I've ever seen. It definitely deserves a look at, especially for those NES junkies.
- Story (5/10): Felix must save his friend, who is up for ransom by an evil professor.
- Gameplay (6/10): This game would have been a boring platformer if it wasn't for its innovations.
- Control (5/10): Controls are responsive, but Felix can be hard to control when in mid-air.
- Graphics (9/10): Everything (except the enemies) is very detailed and good-looking.
- Music (5/10): The music is pretty good, but it gets annoying after a while.
- Sound (5/10): With it's plain collection of beeps, the sound effects remain pretty lackluster.
- Challenge (4/10): This game is very easy to complete. It is definitely a game for beginners.
- Replay (7/10): The game is very entertaining, especially with Felix's special abilities.
- Overall (7/10): While this may not be one of the best NES games, it is still highly overlooked.
My Score: 7/10