Please note that this review is for the Sega Genesis port of Bubsy the Bobcat.
Bubsy the Bobcat is one of those games in life where you love it as a kid, but hate as an adult after replaying the game and realizing just how bad it is. Back in the 90's, this was a game I played a lot and actually thought was fun back in the day. However, just like I said earlier, looking at the game now, it's a game that's aged really poorly.
In this game, a bunch of aliens called Woolies (lead by a double-headed Woolie named Poly and Esther) are determined to steal all the Earth's yarnballs, and because Bubsy has the most yarn, he's the Woolies' biggest target. You take the role as Bubsy and fight the Woolies while collecting all of your yarn.
The storyline for this isn't a strong point for the game, but unlike the classic Mario and Sonic games (which were its main source of inspiration and competition), there aren't many redeeming values to Bubsy to make it a good game.
Like many 2D platformers at the time of its release (1992), you control Bubsy running from left to right to the end of the level, jumping on enemies and avoiding deadly obstacles. When falling from great heights, you can glide to soften your fall so you don't die.
You go through a myriad of different types of levels, including the forest, out in the Old West, the carnival, and in the Woolies' space ship.
Power-ups come in the form of shirts with various icons on them. Shirts with 1 or 2 printed on them give you one or two extra lives (respectively). A black shirt with a red exclamation mark on it makes you impervious to most enemies (though you don't destroy them), while a white shirt with a flashing exclamation mark on it makes you destroy most enemies on contact.
There's various flaws in this game that make it a piece of junk.
The biggest flaw is the “one hit and you're dead” health system on here. Some may defend this by saying that you're supposed to be more strategic when you're playing the game, but I think this is just a bad decision in game design because like the classic Sonic games, you're supposed to run fast, but the lack of any hit buffers makes it difficult for all the wrong reasons. This becomes extremely annoying when you're up against the level boss battles in the levels past the carnival level, where the bosses are overcharged in speed and only have lightning-fast brief moments of vulnerability that allow you to attack them.
The other big flaw is Bubsy's movement physics. While the classic Mario and Sonic games have excellently-programed movement physics to their characters to where the start and stop motions feel natural, Bubsy's movements don't feel natural and the sudden stops from running make it difficult to land on the appropriate areas when you need to platform or avoid obstacles like beds of thumbtacks.
While this may seem like a minor complaint, one of the things that really gets on my nerves on this is that Bubsy is another one of those games where if you land in any body of water, you're dead. I get it, cats hate water, but they're not going to drown at the drop of a hat if they get into water. Though this isn't nearly as absurd as that flaw in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game where the Turtles drown if they fall into water.
The graphics in this game aren't bad. Not quite as lush and vibrant as the classic Sonic games, but it takes enough advantage of its 16-bit format to give enough visual depth to environments and characters. The visual styles for the environments, objects, and characters do a good job at matching the wacky nature of the game.
While I'm more forgiving of the Sega Genesis's infamous “tinny and metallic” sound quality compared to other gamers, you can tell that this was just a port of the Super Nintendo, in which Bubsy was originally developed for, and had a more detailed, coherent sound than the Genesis port. Before each level starts, Bubsy says something stupid in an attempt to sound funny, and the sound clearly wasn't optimized for the Genesis platform, since some of the things Bubsy says sound garbled. For example, in the first level, Bubsy says his stupid tag line “What could possibly go wrong.” When I was a kid, I thought Bubsy was saying “Watch the taki or you're wrong.” Even as an adult, I need to see footage of the SNES port to properly hear what Bubsy was saying.
The soundtrack for the game is decent, but I wouldn't put it on par with the game tunes you can find from classic games like Sonic 2, ToeJam and Earl: Panic on Funkotron, Gunstar Heroes, and Streets of Rage 2.
Bubsy is a game franchise from the past that's been forgotten since it's grueling end in 1996, and it's hard not to see why. Bubsy was just another lousy game franchise from the 90's trying to be the next big thing, and I hope it never, ever comes back.
This was a game I liked when I was a kid, but reflecting on it as an adult, I now think Bubsy sucks. Being a game that tried to cash in on the popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog, this is a "ripoff" game that doesn't even get the basics right. Two of the worst flaws of this game is the "floaty" physics and the health system. The poorly-executed physics will make you drift off the platforms you're trying to land on (often resulting in … more