Sunday, October 17, 2010

VGR Felix the Cat

And finally, here's the very first NES review on teh blog.
I wasn't going to review your usual super-popular gaming franchise or cult game.

Instead I went for a little game by Hudson that didn't really made people talk about it either back then or nowadays.

Warning: Review for Retrogamers and game collectors, since this is exactly the kind of game you can only play on the original system and won't be republished nowadays on the digital market :/

VGR: Felix the Cat 
From Hudson Soft
Played on NES
Also available on Game Boy

Type Sidescroller plateformer
Year 1992

Felix the Cat is one of the very first cartoon animated characters.
He was created around 1919, a long time before Looney Tunes or Mickey Mouse came out to be.

I won't hide it to you dudes and gals that Felix is actually one of my favorite characters of all time.
The lil' guy managed to survive the various eras.
Cartoons came by, times changed, animated styles evolved and yet, Felix still survived along the years.
Even if he isn't as present nowadays he's still remembered by many, adults and kids. An icon, it has been long since Felix felt in the public domain. Now, anyone can use him, royalties free. He still appears on many merchandising items, shirts, bags, any country, Mickey only Felix doesn't require any approval.

His last cartoons were the Twisted Tales of Felix in the 90s and more recently, Baby Felix, an anime from the 2000s.

Even so, with such a long running "franchise", it is a bit weird that so few games of Felix have been produced over the years.. (maybe because of the lack of profits people would make on his marketing image, since anyone would be able to also use him around such game if it would be produced...).
Apart from a pretty bad Playstation 1...wasn't there a more successfu gamingl entry for the grandpa of all animated cats?

 The objective is simple. Felix don't answer to hostage-takers.

The evil Professor kidnapped Felix's girlfriend, Kitty, once again!
He wants to steal his famous magic bag of tricks.

But Felix isn't going to give it up easily. So he goes after the Prof himself.

The plot is simple. Basic you'd say.
And that's all I require from a fun ol' school sidescrollin' platformer.

A bag, that's all he needs to explore all the 8 large worlds and defeat all the enemies and bosses on his path.

The game looks like your standard late-8-bits plateformer.
Colorful, decent sprites and well done (animation and gameplay)
Felix controls sort of like Mario. He jumps with A. He can however also attack with B.

It's not a super long game. Not because of its content. But difficulty-wise.
It's quite easy, at least once you try it once or twice and get the hang on Felix's control (more on that below)
The game is composed of 8 worlds, each made of 3 sub-levels. (well, there's actually a 9th world but since the 8th is also shorter I don't really count it as a separate world)

Across his path will be a dozen of different enemies and at the end of any world, a boss. One of the Professor's minions.

Power-ups! Power-downs! Magic Felix is on the scene!

So what's this game gimmick you're asking me?
It's all in the health/lives system.
Felix doesn't use an health bar like most games back then like, say, Mega Man.
Instead he uses an hybrid system which is basically a mash-up of both Mario and Sonic's health system.
Basically, Felix can die if he's harmed once. Like Mario, he needs a boost/power-up.
Like Sonic, he can grabs something that powers him and will be lost at once if harmed.
Felix grabs one and, like Mario again, will be transformed into a powered up form. Grab another hearth, another better power-up. Etc, etc... Get hit, go back to the previous form. If harmed in the basic non-powered-up form, you die!

Anyway, Felix has many powered-up forms.
A magician, a tank, a plane, etc... I'll let you discover them by yourself.

There's also Felix's head to collect in the levels. For score and upgrades. Every 10 collected, you'll win an hearth/power-up.

The game also throws at the player various original segments, to shake things up and for the experience. It never gets dull nor repetitive that way.
There's the usual "walking"-type levels. But also "flight" levels, "swiming" levels (like in most 80s/90s games) and "boat" levels. Each come with their own transformations for Felix and with their own set of enemies/obstacles.
Also, there's little bonus rooms (sort of like the underground rooms in Mario Bros) in the form of Magic Bag Rooms.
In brief: it's a pretty decent platformer who tries to offer an original, even if simple experience.

Overall, it's a wonderful game, well deserved entry for the wonderful cat!

I really like this game!
Sadly, it's super simple, specially if you're used to good ol' games of the same era.
The levels are many, and even a bit long sometimes, but too simple.
Felix's power-up system is original but it gives him such an edge on enemies... :/
The bosses can be tricky sometimes.

The more powerful Felix gets (and the more layer of lives he adds), the clumsier he plays and attacks enemies...which is a nice trick to balance the difficulty (or else, Felix would grow stronger and more invicible each time).

If you find it in a bargain bin, garage sale, in second hand, anyway, get it!

Try it!
For Felix fans and 2D platformer lovers~

I give it:

 2 / 3 Bruces!


  1. Felix is in public domain? SCORE! *Rush off to make a 100% legal Felix cartoon. But I'm not bothered right now...*

  2. That's who many companies and organisations have been able to use Felix.
    Like a division of the US Navy:
    There was even a group of firemen in NY I remember.. (though I wasn't able to find a pic this time...)