Review by fekkot

Reviewed: 03/20/01 | Updated: 03/20/01

He isn't playingdead.......

Ahh. The electronic jungle. It's a lush and wondrous place- full of beautiful, abundant wildlife such as Hedgehogs, Bobcats and Bandicoots. And much like the real jungle, this jungle is based on survival of the fittest (or at least ''survival of the most marketable''). It's a viscous hunt day in and day out and natural enemies simply depend on what's most teeming. Some of the wildlife makes it- some don't. As if their competitive struggle for survival wasn't enough, there's a greedy owner of an Italian plumbing company trying to mow the entire forest down!

Unfortunately, since the early and mid 1990's, the mascots are ever-dwindling and many (like the acro-bat) are even extinct! That near-catastrophic event occurred mainly because the populace just stopped being concerned with the wildlife and most of the jungles have been plowed down to get more space for more industrial areas like Squaresoft and Capcom factories. A lot of the wildlife did futile attempts of adapt to their new surroundings (like the Jim Earthworm and the Bubsy Bobcat) Even most of the wildlife that IS under safe captivity are those specially breeded by the plumbing company owner himself such as gorillas, and even a few mutated and deformed ones like drunken squirrels!

But that doesn't mean no one even tried to keep the jungles going strong. In 1993, there was a big ''save the mascots'' campaign, where even some of the most prestigious companies made contributions. Konami, for example, taught opossums to fly rocket packs, thus making them more marketable and impressive to the public. In the fall of 1993, Tengen trained an opossum of their own. But this wasn't just any possum, or was it?..........

It's name was the Awesome Possum. And it's goal was to stop the evil Dr. Robotni- I mean Dr. Machino and his tree-decimating henchmen from turning Mother Earth into a giant industrial waste dump. How was he to do such? By jumping on them- no big mystery. But there's more; on his way to thwarting Dr. Machino's plan, he picks up cans and bottles people carelessly threw and left lying on the ground, in the sea, or in the air (somehow). In a few select places, he can hitch a ride on his friends: a rhino, a (mysteriously large) bee, and a goose for quicker transportation and temporary invincibility from his adversaries.

THE HABITAT

CONCEPT/DIALOGUE: 7

It's quite a bold and unusual idea to have an ''environmentally conscious'' protagonist in the form of a platformer. But the concept is rather similar to the world's cheesiest superhero, Captain Planet. The ending isn't all that great, and neither is the plot or the intro. However, in between every two levels (or on the option mode), you'll be asked an environment-related question such as, ''When was the first documented observation of declining whale populations? (A) 2000 BC, (B) the 1500's or (C) the 1900's''. Unfortunately, while the questions are interesting and informative, 90% of the time, the correct answer is just the most extreme choice. If the choices are 10,000, 100,000 and 1,000,000 you can bet it's going to be a million. I also would've wished for a reward for getting them right.

GAMEPLAY: 1+

There's hardly anything about the gameplay that you wouldn't expect. Nearly every assumption you've probably made about this game so far is likely to be true. But one you couldn't possibly expect is the control. Saying that the control is awful would be an understatement, but saying what it really is would stop this review from being posted. How bad is the control? It's so bad that driving a Hornet won't give you an ample impression. It's so bad that the people at Eidos can gain self-esteem after playing this! In some places the control is far too tight, and in other cases it's so loose that you can't even be certain to land on a platform that's the size of half of the screen!

DESIGN: 2

Run to the right...jump on enemies...grab 50 cans for an extra life...bounce off of a spring...touch a ''checkpoint'' flag jump on more enemies. Forest stage...to an underwater stage...to a factory stage... As you can see, this game is designed from 100% recycled material. Most of the enemies are just goofy chainsaw-carrying cyborgs. Some are on rocket packs and scuba-diving suits, but they all do the same things: just walk back and forth in a small space of a level. In fact, even most of the BOSSES mindlessly walk back and forth!

GRAPHICS: 1+

This game has digitized Mortal Kombat-style graphics, only a lot worse (like Pit-Fighter for those of you unfortunate enough to remember). Aside from the graphics being extremely flakey and the backgrounds looking like they were made by a winner of a kindergarten drawing contest (the junkyard isn't even colorful enough!), I believe that the whole ''pixilated'' look does NOT work for mascot platformers. Mainly because of the small characters usually associated with them. Speaking of which, this is a 16-megabit game, but there isn't one character that even fills up a 6th of the screen!

As if that wasn't bad enough, the animation is as sloppy as it gets. There are so many missing frames in something as simple as a jump that it looks like the characters teleport with almost every movement! There's no slowdown or breakup, but I'm not cutting any slack for that because the game hardly ever has parts where more than 3 sprites are moving on the screen at once! Seriously, this game could've had a decent port on the freakin' Master System!

SOUND: 8

This was obviously the main focus and marketing tool of the game. I remember that on this game's ads, the highlighted words would always be something like ''the first Genesis character who REALLY talks!''. You're probably thinking they're liars now, but it's true to an extent. This game set (and still has) a record 80 different audio clips (about 75 coming from the protagonist)- the highest ever on a 16-bit system. Too bad Awesome sounds like a whiny 5-year-old on most of his lines like, ''hey! Leave me alone!'' when he gets hit and, ''stop polluting!'' when you jump on an enemy. All of the voice clips sound fairly clear. I certainly must give the game props here.

MUSIC: 2

The music is...unique. It keeps the same style throughout the game, but it isn't tedious. It isn't upbeat, but it isn't serene or atmospheric. It doesn't go with the level themes, but it's not out of place. It doesn't sound any real instruments, but nothing really resembles a keyboard either..... All that I can say to you is that it sux. If you're lucky, the controls will have you swearing to much to notice it.

CHALLENGE: 8+/COOLNESS IN CHALLENGE: 1!

8+ is NOT an acceptable number for this game's target audience. In fact, the way that game is challenging is a thorn in anyone's side! True, there any one-hit-wonders to immediately take out all five of your hit points, but there are still way too many unfair hits. I don't even think I would've bothered to beat this game if I was 7 right now. That's coming from a person that beat Ninja Gaiden 2, Castlevania 3 and even Super Ghouls N' Ghosts! But when I died on Ninja Gaiden, I'd say, ''AAARRGGG! CURSE THAT RAVEN!'' and not ''AAARRGGG! CURSE MY JUMPING!''. There really is something wrong when the design, gameplay, graphics AND challenge all team up to make the control as pathetic as it is. Imagine having to tap the controller from left to right about 20 times in one jump just to have a chance of landing on a goomba correctly (and hope you don't land right in front of it's face) on Super Mario Brothers. Worse yet, you only have five lives and no continues to beat the game with!

LONGEVITY: 2

Even if you bother to finish the game, you'll already have heard the voices. The best reason to play this game after beating it is to try to ''ace'' the trivia from the option mode.

OVERVIEW

AWESOME!

*over 80 voices!
*fairly cool trivia questions

ROADKILL

*the control is rock-bottom
*extremely sloppy animation
*cheesy music
*bland/ripped-off characters
*the enemies act too much alike
*absolutely nothing new gameplay-wise
*far too hard for it's target audience
*really, the control is.... UGH!

KEY MOMENT

Definitely the trivia.

WORD TO THE WISE

If you're a completist, find the ''no collision'' code to this game (or ask me) so you can get this over with faster.

SAY WHAT?

I said the control is horrid!

HOW'S THIS HABITAT?

It's to polluted and full of junk. I suggest you either put some houses here or plant something new. This place is completely beyond repair.

FINAL TIPS TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT:

1. Notice that this is designed from 100% recycled material
2. Remember that crap enriches the soil
3. Remember to throw this game in the can for plastic.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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