Sometimes, you can't help but wonder what goes through the minds of game companies as they produce video games like this. What impelled Taito to release another cartoon-based game is beyond me; and with their 1992 release of The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper, they obviously hadn't learned their lesson from their previous cartoon-game release, The Flintstones. Also considering the release at such a late year, Taito must have had a screw loose when deciding to make a NES game like The Jetsons hit the market.
If you've ever seen the Jetsons' movie, you might notice that the story to this game is surprisingly similar. Cogswell, Mr. Spacely's long-time rival, decided to set up a factory on planet M38, posing a threat to the planet's existence and the rights of its alien residents. Mr. Spacely doesn't want this to happen; so he calls upon the help of, perhaps, his laziest and most annoying employee, George Jetson. George, always fearful of losing his job, agrees to sneak into Cogswell's factory and put a stop to the its harmful business. You just have to hope that Cogswell's factory doesn't put a stop to you first.
Now, you would think that, if you had to stop a factory on planet M38, you would immediately go to that factory and put a stop to it, right? Wrong! In this game, you have to fly around to a whole bunch of different factories and buildings before heading to the M38 factory to accomplish your goal. Some of the interesting places you have to visit may be slightly intriguing, but it still makes most of the game seem rather pointless.
The levels you travel through take on the usual side-scrolling platform format. The factories and other places you visit don't all necessarily move from the left to the right, some parts of the levels move from right to left; but it's interesting to note that the screen will not scroll in the opposite direction from which you must head, meaning that you cannot backtrack very far at all, whether you want to or not. While this is very rare in late-released NES games, it doesn't make a good effect as you realize that there were items you missed and wanted to collect.
These items that you collect are usually found behind small boxes, which can be easily picked up and tossed away. The most abundant items you will find are pills, also called "power packs", which are necessary in order to use helpful items later in the game. You will also find some white stars, ten of which will earn you an extra life. If you're lucky, you may also discover a heart to fill up a container of your energy or a whole extra life for - ah, isn't it obvious. Some of these items can also be found when killing an enemy by hitting it with a box or any other special item.
And what would a Jetsons game be without that futuristic machinery touch? For one thing, most of the enemies you encounter will be robots or moving machines that usually just walk back and forth or fly around in a particular pattern. Also adding to the "Jetson touch" are large switches that you will find at various points along the game. Any of these switches can be pulled and each will do a different thing depending on what switch it is. Some switches may temporarily switch gravity, while some might open a door, while other switches perform other various tasks.
Needless to say, George Jetson is lazy in the cartoon show and it shows in the game. The character just refuses to jump, instead relying on a small jetpack on his back just to perform a simple hop. Unfortunately, the stooped-over posture that George assumes when jumping seems kind of awkward, forcing you to get used to the strange control. To add insult to injury, your character can also be a bit slow when performing a function like lifting a box. Plus, he's even hard to control when walking, as he slides when you try to stop him or turn him around.
But as you wade through the bad game control present in this game, you will at least find some decency in the graphics. The characters are very well done, looking very much like they do in the cartoon. The enemies are also done well, with their almost realistic form and the robotic appearance in many of them. The backgrounds vary between being a plain color to being nicely detailed to even being animated, such as seeing the small silhouette of a conveyer belt moving boxes along. What the graphics fail to do is to create much of a futuristic look in the game. While many of the characters and enemies seem to fit the game well, most of the areas in the game seem more like modern places than mechanical places of the Jetsons' time.
The game music is also okay but not exactly great. Certain parts of the game that should have had music, like the title screen and the opening story screen, didn't have any, besides a little two-second tune to start up the story. The gameplay music is at least decent, but the tunes could have been improved to become more appealing. The boss music is better, capturing the mood of the moment quite well, though it can become annoying after a while. But it's too bad that the music is just too loud, almost drowning out the sound effects many times.
The average sound effects in this game are shown through the great sounds of, say, George's jet pack mixed with bad sounds that you hear, such as the sounds you hear when a character is talking to you. Jetson's jet pack exhibits a very good sound characteristic of the jet packs and flying vehicles from the cartoon show. One of the only other sounds I can appreciate is the banging sound you hear when hitting an enemy. Many of the other sounds, like when collecting objects and throwing boxes, consist of nothing more than little blips and beeps that are tailored to try to fit the action, not doing a very good job of it, either.
As in Taito's earlier cartoon-game release, The Flintstones, the challenge is somewhat unbalanced. Most of the levels can be pretty simple after you do it a few times, but the bosses (the later ones) and other small parts of the game can be so difficult that it takes a ton of tries to finally pass it. Luckily, you do have infinite continues, just incase you keep dying from the enemies. The overall challenge of the game is pretty tough, of course, because of the bosses; but the other simple parts are easy enough to give this game a medium, or average, challenge.
All of this leads up to the relay value, finding out how much fun the game is. While some of the special objects you collect and some of the areas you visit may be intriguing, each level becomes so predictable that you can easily lose interest in the game. It can sure be fun the first time around; but once you beat it the for the first time and have visited all of the areas, interest in the game seems to dwindle. It's probably not a game you'll be going crazy over, but it's also not one you'd like to throw away out of boredom. The replay value is nothing more than average for the average NES game player.
While this game is a very rare and interesting release from Taito, I still wonder why they released it at all. It seems that many of Taito's cartoon-game releases only found themselves at the average level. Still, they just kept releasing more, as if people were to start going bonkers for the games all-of-a-sudden. It's no wonder the later releases are so rare. At the time of this game, it was sure time for Taito to start concentrating on newer systems than releasing average NES games like this, which had every possibility of selling few copies. Ah well, it's out already; so buy it if you can find it. It's a rare cartridge to find.
- Story (4/10): You have to sneak into a factory to stop it from damaging the planet it is on.
- Gameplay (3/10): Some of the areas are interesting, but the game is still just a sub-par platformer.
- Control (4/10): George Jetson's jump is awkward, he is too slow, and he can slide too much.
- Graphics (6/10): Many of the characters and backgrounds are good, but the futuristic look is lost.
- Music (5/10): The game music isn't very appealing, though the boss music is pretty good.
- Sound (4/10): A few good sound effects here and there but mostly just ineffective blips are heard.
- Challenge (5/10): Many of the areas are a cinch, but the later bosses can be very hard to beat.
- Replay (5/10): The game is so predictable that it doesn't leave much incentive to play it again.
- Overall (5/10): This is just another average cartoon-based platformer from Taito.
My Score: 5/10