Felix the Cat review
Therapeutic at best
Felix the Cat was easily one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up, and I, for one, am glad that Hudson Soft did not screw him up with a cruddy video game. I didn't really own this game as a kid, I bought it more recently and decided to see what it was like. I was curious to see if Hudson Soft buggered up Felix or made a great game out of such an awesome series of cartoons. I'll say this; it's no Duck Tales, that game is untouchable compared to other licensed games, but Felix The Cat is still a game well worth your time. It may feel easy, but it can be quite therapeutic when games like Ghosts N' Goblins have killed you for the millionth time and you just want to boost your confidence again. Everything else (excluding audio) has been executed very well...sounds like a good game. Oh, wait, it is.
Story: I'd describe the story as a typical episode of the show. The Professor kidnaps Felix's girlfriend, Kitty, and hold her up for ransom. What does Felix need to pay the Professor with? His bag of tricks. The Professor always wants Felix's bag of tricks, but always fails miserably. Of course, Felix isn't going to take this one sitting down, he needs to defend her honor, so he grabs his bag of tricks and goes off to rescue her. But the big question is this: Does he succeed this time? Who knows... You'll have to play the game to find out...
One thing that I really liked about the story was just how faithful it was to the series. Yes, I know that the whole damsel-in-distress thing is getting tiresome (this was made late in the NES's lifespan by the way), but the way that the entire story is executed and the fact that everybody is there and such... Being faithful with an adaptation gets like thirty points from me.
Gameplay: Typical action platforming by the numbers at its finest in terms of execution. Felix is able to run, jump and fight enemies and bosses using his glove or any of the level's upgrades. Of course, he can also die (god forbid) from getting touched by enemies at his base form, although it might not happen too much due to the game's easiness.
Felix starts every level with a boxing glove. While it can get you far, it makes the game harder for you. It's your choice if you want the game to be harder, but if you want to overkill the game, here's how - for every ten Felix heads you collect, a heart drops down. Collect it and your boxing glove will upgrade. Upgrades range from bullets to stars to vehicles to more powerful vehicles, and they tend to be very powerful, although they make the game a little too easy. The linear path levels can be breezed through with the most powerful upgrade.
Is there a weakness to the upgrades? Well, yes there are. See those hearts? If they run out, you'll degrade to the last upgrade you had, and the cycle repeats until you're back to your boxing glove, and in order to keep the hearts up, collect bottles of milk; fairly reminiscent from that of Adventure Island, except replace milk with fruit, and when the meter runs out in Adventure Island, you die instead of reverting to your original form. It's either that, or you get hit by an enemy, that will power you down. The slow decreasing of power would really balance the game out...if the bottles weren't so common. I swear, levels can feel like they're littered with milk. It's as if Poindexter (who tends to work with Felix in the cartoon series) stole milk cartons from a delivery truck and led Felix to the Professor's base with a trail of milk bottles. Basically, you'll remain in the form you're in for quite a while...
In each of the game's nine worlds, you'll go through two levels of platforming and one boss fight to end the world. The platforming levels are of the "by the numbers" variety; left to right with some platforms to jump on. Sometimes, you get to swim underwater, and other times, you get to fly in the sky, but the actual designs for them are about the same as you would expect from Super Mario Brothers 3; some platforms and a few obstacles. Actually going through them is as fun as it is in other platformers; quite. Although the enemies are quite tame, just going through the levels...they at least keep you awake, that's the main goal for a platformer that's easy.
At the end of each of the game's nine worlds, you'll encounter a boss battle. Don't expect them to be epic, because they are embarrassingly easy if anything. They all require five or six hits and that's it. They simply take it like a bitch, as all they do against you is fire easy to dodge projectiles. That's not a real boss fight, that's just a joke. The rest of the game is easy, yeah, but it's to the point where you can at least challenge yourself; this is downright pathetic. At least speed up the projectiles!
All in all though, Felix the Cat plays pretty well. It's not groundbreaking, it's not going to stop traffic or win any awards, and it is pretty easy, but it's still pretty fun to play through.
Controls: Has the usual A for jumping, B for attacking and Start for pause, as well as the d-pad for moving. The only point of interest is that when Felix jumps, there isn't much room for movement. I mean, yeah, you can slow down momentum in the air, but not change direction. It's more lenient than Castlevania's "you jump that way you stay that way" jumping style, but stiffer than Contra; so close to Mario in other words.
Graphics: The game's environments are quite detailed and about as colorful as it gets for the NES's hardware. Felix himself seems to have translated well into 8-bit, and the other characters also look fine too. All of the animations are fluent - well, as fluent as NES animations could get - and there isn't too much flicker and slowdown. Yes, perfect... Almost. The enemies look kind of weird and generic, and it kind of bothers me because everything else looks so good and the enemies just...don't. Oh well.
Audio: As much as I like upbeat tunes in a platformer based off a kid's cartoon, I also like tunes to be memorable, and unfortunately, they are pretty forgettable. Adding onto that, the tunes, when you do listen to them, are quite repetitive and annoying to hear. It's not the worst soundtrack I've heard on the NES, it does sound good at first, but it gets annoying after some time. Like REALLY annoying.
Replay Value: It's quite a fun game, but it just really feels like another one of those NES games that you'll play, love, beat and forget, then rinse, lather and repeat a few months or so later (give or take a month). That, or used as a bit of a confidence boost after getting flattened by much harder platformers (Ghosts N' Goblins comes to mind).
Overall: Felix The Cat is nothing short of a fun therapeutic yet typical platformer game with some detailed, colorful visuals and upbeat (though eventually annoying and forgettable) soundtrack. I would recommend this to anybody who just wants to play something new, or is curious to see if their childhood icon got *bleep* by the video game industry for a few quick bucks.
Replay Value: 5/10
My verdict - Buy!