The early 90’s were a good time to be a cartoon mascot. Everyone was getting their own game. That’s where this game comes in. Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool was a quick cash grab trying to capitalize on both the popularity of Chester Cheetah and be one giant advertisement for the then new paw print Cheetos. So, is it possible for a cash grab advertisement game to be any good? Let’s find out.
So cool he froze the name
The story is simple enough, if nonsensical. Chester Cheetah is trapped in the Four Corners Zoo. He bought motorcycle parts by mail, but the zoo keeper got them before they were delivered to him.
Held captive on this park bench, how cruel.
If Chester wants to escape the zoo, he needs to get those motorcycle parts back.
Is it a rock or a small bird? I can’t tell.
Just look how cool this game is. Everyone is cool. Even the rocks are wearing shades to show how cool they are.
Send in the koopa troopas
The first thing you’ll notice when playing is the simplistic single button controls. The only action Chester can do is jump, which doubles as his attack.
They look exactly like your old shoes. But running is physically impossible without them because reasons.
If Chester finds running shoes, he can also run. Unfortunately there is such a long starting animation, and you run so uncontrollably into enemies that I rarely used it.
Rock of death
From the simplistic story, and even more simplistic controls, things just keep going downhill for Chester. The game plays out as a basic platformer game, maybe a little too basic. Just keep going to the right on a mostly flat path. There are a few power-ups you can find. In addition to the running shoes, there is also a guitar that gives Chester temporary invincibility.
Stop playing. I’m trying to rock out.
Unfortunately, it’s invincibility at the cost of any control over him. Once Chester gets the guitar, he will rock out in place for a few seconds, killing any enemies stupid enough to run into him during this time. Not a great power up.
Yay, Now everything is dark.
Then there are the cool shades you can get which will reveal hidden items for a few seconds. Again, pointless.
Why do you have that?
Death count: 1
Eventually you’ll be ambushed by the guard dog in this spider robot thing. Here we have the first major annoyance of this game. Look at this guy. What are you supposed to do to get past him? The screen locked as soon as he showed up. So he must be a boss.
Shhh. He can’t see me down here
We have to kill him. So logic says jump on his head when he crouches down.
Nothing to do here
Nope. Wrong. It’s so much simpler than that. Walk past him and you’re done. As soon as you make it to the right side of the screen, he’ll just jump back into the air and you are free to finish the level.
I give up. Where am I supposed to go next?
Well, not quite yet. We never found the motorcycle part on this level. That is hidden down in the sewers. There are a half dozen different manhole covers throughout the level that lead to a maze of sewer pipes. Which one is the one with the motorcycle part? I’m not positive, but I think this is a clue.
One trip down the sewers, get the motorcycle tires, and we are done with the first area.
Just look at those awesome blueprints
I know it’s hard to tell with just pictures, but this level was short. It’s really short. It’s comparable to maybe half of a Mario or Sonic level, but unlike Mario and Sonic, this game only has 5 levels instead of 30+ levels. This isn’t going to take long at all, is it?
Me Cheetah, you Tarzan
The second level was over so fast; I’m honestly having trouble remembering it to write about. Entering into the monkey pits, Chester has to swing on vines as he looks for his motorcycle part.
Watch out monkey!
Death count: 2
Avoid the hungry coyotes…
It’s staring into my soul…
Whatever that is on the tree…
Rolling around at the speed of nothing
And what are those? Hedgehogs? Is that a jab at Sonic? You wish your game was as good as the early Sonic games.
Are you a boy monkey, or a girl monkey?
Make your way to the bottom right corner of the map to find your monkey friend
Why would the zoo keeper hide that in a tree?
Make it back to the top of the map, and the monkey will get the motorcycle part from the tree for you.
Now we have a sweet motorcycle body
With no boss of any kind for this level, you are done, time to move on.
Can’t eat me if I stand on your nose
Gator Alley takes a slight detour from the previous two levels.
Damn your showmanship Chester
Ride the hippo across the water
I may have mistimed this
Death count: 3
Jump over a few timed sinking logs.
A water-skiing dog…now I’ve seen everything
And jump into the boat to start a forced scrolling level.
Well. That was easy
Avoid the ridiculously easy to dodge obstacles until you catch up to the zoo keeper and his dog.
Thanks for the handlebars
Steal back your motorcycle parts, and we are done with another level, and already half way through the game.
Take the shades off and maybe you could see
I! HATE! THIS! LEVEL! Since we’re in a cave, we get a limited field of vision. This doesn’t make it more interesting, it makes it annoying. Without being able to see the enemies in advance, it’s hard to time your attacks. Even when you know they’re coming, the enemies are so big, and the hit detection so bad, you end up taking damage seemingly no matter what you do.
They love me. They really love me
To make things worse, these small bat enemies don’t actually hurt you. They just cling to you so you can’t move as fast, and you fall in the holes.
Too dark! Too dark!!
Make it through the short platforming area and you’ll eventually make it to a mine cart.
Please keep all body parts inside the mine cart while in motion
Death Count: 4
Here comes a very unnecessary section. Hold down to make Chester duck into the mine cart, protecting him from the hanging rocks. You can pop up to collect the bonus points, but why bother. You’re more likely to get hurt than anything.
Leap of faith
There’s no variation to the obstacles, only hanging rocks. So just hide the whole ride until the track ends.
Death count: 5
Now we have another boss. But what do we have to do? I lost a handful of lives to this guy just because I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I do nothing like in the first level? Is it a race like the 3rd level?
I’ll bash you good
No, it’s a normal boss this time. Wait till the dog stops throwing rocks so you can jump on his head.
HAHA! Your rocks can’t hurt me when I’m sitting slightly lower in the cart.
Death count: 7
The reason this gave me so much trouble was because I didn’t think ducking from falling rocks would protect me. Why would it? They’re falling down into the cart to hit Chester in the head. But apparently ducking makes Chester’s head as hard as steel, because even direct hits do no damage while ducked.
So this cave leads straight to the ocean. Interesting.
Grab your motorcycle part, and let’s move on to the final level.
Best motorcycle ever
All that’s left now is the ignition key.
Why did they discontinue the paw prints? They were the best!
This final level starts with the shortest platforming section in the game. It’s only about 3 screens wide.
Watch my dive
After this section, Chester will jump on this diving board…
It’s a baby Mothra
And hop onto the back of a giant butterfly. Looks like it’s going to be another forced scrolling level.
Where did you get bombs?
Death count: 8
Avoid the various enemies, like these birds dropping bombs…
Get the bug spray
Watch where you’re going stupid eagle
And these dive bombing eagles.
What an odd looking metal bird
Eventually you’ll be shot at by missiles
Military helicopter. For quail hunting.
Death Count: 9
And soon we see where they came from. Apparently the zoo keeper has his own missile equipped helicopter to keep the animals in check.
Thank you bomb bird
Death Count: 10
Avoid the missiles, and trick the bird into dropping a bomb onto the helicopter. Do this two more times and congratulations.
Helicopters can fly upside down, right?
We now have everything we need to escape.
WOW! That motorcycle can drive on water!
We’re done. See you in hip city!
He’s in a better place now, far away from this game.
What can I say about this game that I haven’t already? First off, it is incredibly short. If I were a better play, I could probably beat it in about 45 minutes. It’s also way too easy, with most of the challenge coming from broken hit detection and the cheap shots in the cave levels reduced field of view.
Speaking of the cave’s field of view, it was more than just a filter over the screen. The enemies seemed to not actually exist outside the small radius of light. Several times I would be creeping forward knowing an enemy was just a few steps ahead. But they never showed up when I was creeping. Then when they did show up, as soon as they left the field of view, they just magically disappeared.
The only somewhat redeeming quality of the game is the graphics. The sprites are big, bright, and detailed, and the environments where fun and interesting. That’s not enough to save the game though.
Final word on the game, it was short, it was easy, and it was annoying. I can’t even recommend this game. I played it as a kid, and never beat it. Now that I have, I have nothing but disappointment in myself for all the time I’ve already wasted on this game.
Score: 3 / 10
Death Count: 10
PS: On a second play through, I beat the whole game in 30 minutes with only a single death which was against the final boss. This game is way too short, and way too easy.
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