Category Archives: Game Gear

Tom and Jerry: The Movie (GG)

There are few cartoon rivals as iconic as Tom and Jerry. Debuting in 1940, this cat and mouse pair have maintained at least moderate popularity to the present day. Today, we’re going to be focusing on their first ever movie, more specifically the tie in video game based on it. Released in 1993, Tom and Jerry: The Movie would be the first time the pair starred in a feature film. While they have since starred in over a dozen direct to video movies, this was their only theatrical release until the recent 2021 mixed animated / live action movie. As such, it was of a much higher quality than the animated shorts the pair are known for, or even any of the following movies (excluding the 2021 release). I’m sure I saw the movie when it was released, but I’ll admit I have little memory of it, save for a single scene early in the film. I may have some details wrong, but as I remember it, after a typical Tom and Jerry fight, the pair are eventually kicked out of the house, and forced to live on the streets. They both verbally express frustration with their new situation and are simultaneously shocked to learn the other is capable of talking. When questioned, they both simply claimed they never had anything to say, and assumed the other couldn’t talk even if they did. It might not have been the most important scene in the movie, but it holds significance as the first time, to my knowledge, that either of them had spoken properly.

Sadly, the movie barely made back its budget, and received largely negative reviews. While I can’t find any reviews from the time, I can’t imagine this game adaptation was treated much better. Without giving away my whole review now, let me just leave you with this knowledge. I had intended to only write a 30 Minute Review on this game. But before the 30 minutes was over, I had actually completed the entire game. With so little game to talk about, let’s just dive right in.


The game begins with the very simple exposition that Tom somehow found a treasure map. However, Jerry quickly snatches it away from him and sets out to find the treasure for himself.

As would be expected, this makes Tom angry, and he chases after him. Cut to a picture of the map, and we can see that the whole game will only be 5 stages long, starting at “My Home”.

The stage starts with Jerry mocking Tom into chasing him. And of course, we take the bait and start after him, causing him to run away.

We quickly come to a floating platform in the middle of the house, and learn what type of game this is going to be. It’s not a game about chasing Jerry, it’s a game about navigating these random platforms. Tom can’t actually jump up onto these platforms as you might expect. Instead, he just kind of struggles to lift himself up onto them. He can jump from one platform to the next, but he has a relatively short range.

I think it’s important to also point out that Jerry is more of a background piece than an actual objective in this game. To my knowledge, you can’t actually catch him. Likewise, staying on the ground floor is often more dangerous than trying to stay on the platforms. Even if you do manage to stay close to Jerry, he will start throwing bombs at you to keep you back.

That’s not to say staying on the platforms is safe. There are other obstacles to avoid all throughout the stage. Ranging from rogue soccer balls, to falling ceiling lights. There are even some seemingly living brooms dancing around.

Like most games, there are of course health items scattered around the level as well. Many of which can only be acquired by solving a small puzzle, or simply staying on the platforms instead of the ground. In the above example, Tom can not fit through the gap to get the item. But the platform above the item is fake and will fall away once you stand on it.

You’ll want to keep your health as high as possible, because each stage ends with a boss fight. For this first stage, Jerry hides behind a very angry dog that I can’t say I recognize from the cartoon.

Now, I say boss fight, but really, it’s more of a puzzle. You need to bait the dog into chasing Tom and trick it into falling into this random bottomless pit in the middle of the house. Once the dog is gone, Tom is free to strangle the life out of Jerry as pay back for everything that happened.

After each stage, there is a small Bonus game. The first of which is a Pac-Man style game where Tom needs to collect hearts and try to capture Jerry. By some miracle, I actually managed to catch Jerry before I even managed to collect all the hearts.

Capturing Jerry awards extra health for the rest of the game and sends us into Stage 2 “The Night Town”.

Just like with the house, basically ignore Jerry, stay as high as possible on the platforms, and avoid danger. Also enjoy the Sega references in the background, like those Sonic posters and Restaurant Sega.

This stage features a few little things, like landmines on some of the platforms that explode when Tom lands on them, and some sections that fall away behind him. But other than that, there isn’t much to say about this whole stage.

Even the boss isn’t anything special. Two crows show up and start attacking Tom. But nothing is actually protecting Jerry, so just go over and strangle him to end the Stage.

Once again, there is a Bonus game between Stages. This time it’s a simple catch the fruit but not the bombs game. It gets fast very quickly, and you’ll almost certainly catch a few bombs by mistake.

I managed to catch 21 fruits, but that apparently wasn’t enough to earn any rewards. So, we’ll just head on to Stage 3 “On The Ship”.

At the start of Stage 3, we learn something very important. After getting distracted by the unexpected jumping fish, Tom falls into one of the bottomless pits. Except it’s not a bottomless pit at all. It’s just off screen. Tom is free to walk through these pits without fear.

A short distance away is a slightly more dangerous obstacle. For some reason, this cruise ship is equipped with a series of cannons just randomly lobbing cannonballs at guests as they walk across the deck. Seems like a lawsuit in the making to me.

After a few more fish, and a few more cannons, we find ourselves at the end of the Stage. This time, it actually is a moderately difficult boss fight. This angry little crab will spit bubbles at Tom that he has to jump over. But the attack doesn’t end there. Once the bubble reaches the edge of the screen, it will boomerang around and try to hit Tom again. This time, just duck under it, and the bubble will end up hitting the little crab instead.

Just keep up that simple pattern, and soon the crab will be knocked away by its own attack. This somehow causes the platform above Jerry to disappear. Without this protection, Tom is free to once again strangle the life out of him.

Bonus stage time, and we have a repeat of Pac-Man. The map is a little different, but it’s still the same mini game. I actually collect all the hearts first this time, and again somehow managed to catch Jerry.

Just like last time, that earns extra health going forward. Let’s see if we even need it as we head into Stage 4 “The Deserted Island”.

Right away, this Stage is just more of the same. Stay up on the platforms, make it to the right. There are new obstacles, like these moles, and some very angry mushrooms. But that’s about it.

About halfway through, there is a section with falling spikes, but this is more of an annoyance than a danger. After the first spike, we already know more spikes are going to fall. So, we just have to inch through. Jerry tries to make it harder by planting mines in the way, but they explode before we even get to them.

Soon, we make it to the end of the stage, and it isn’t immediately obvious what we have to do. Jerry is protected under a ledge, so we can’t just grab him. There are also a bunch of bats flying around outside of several cave entrances. Turns out, what we have to do is climb up the ledges, and there is a button just out of view.

Pressing that button removes the ledge protecting Jerry, and we can go strangle him. Honestly, the bats can pretty much just be ignored. It’s a fast enough trip up and back to just take the hits when they get in the way.

Time for the final Bonus game, and it’s the fruit and bombs game again. Same thing as last time, just catch the fruit, avoid the bombs.

We do slightly better this time, catching 24 fruits. And that ends up being enough to earn the extra health. We haven’t died yet, so let’s see if that extra health helps as we head into the final stage “The Labyrinth”.

The big thing that makes the final stage interesting is just how many buttons there are. Every few frames there will be a button either high up on a platform or trapped behind a small puzzle. Pressing these buttons will usually make the progress forward much easier, like removing the spike strips on the ground ahead.

In addition to the various buttons, you also need to be aware of the suits of armor that launch their heads around, and the lion heads that shoot fire at you. To be fair, the statues swing their head in a predictable circle around themselves, so you just have to wait till they’re done, and the lions are equally predictable with their fire balls.

This stage also made me aware of a mechanic that was probably always there, but I never really noticed. The screen doesn’t advance as you do, it advances as Jerry does. Jerry usually stays in frame, and waits for you, so it was never really an issue. But in this stage, he would sometimes take a few extra steps, usually so he can clear a spike trap himself, which has the potential to push Tom into danger as the screen progresses.

Take it slow, and you’ll soon make it to the end. But before that, the game does act a little sneaky. Right before the boss fight, there are these two very easy to press buttons. If you press either of them, a platform will appear, making it impossible to collect the health item and heal up before battle. Avoid both of them to enter the final boss fight in peak condition.

Onto the final battle, and this snake isn’t playing around. Right away it launches a skull into the air, causing several move to rain down on top of you. After that, he’ll try a more direct attack of just knocking it straight at you. You need to be quick to have Tom jump over it in time.

Just like with the crab, you also need to avoid the skull’s return trip. If you manage to avoid it both times, it will slam into the snake instead of Tom.

Now that we know the pattern, it’s not that hard of a battle. Stand in the gaps between the falling skulls when he throws it and jump over the skull when he rolls it. After a few cycles of this, a treasure chest will fall from the sky and crush the snake to death.

Tom captures Jerry and ties him up before opening the treasure chest. Inside, he finds a scroll which reads…

“This is the real treasure map. Now, another adventure is waiting for you!”

Seeing this, Jerry frees himself, grabs this new treasure map, and the chase is on once more. Roll credits!



Gameplay – 4 / 10

The fact that Tom can’t simply jump up to the platforms slows the game down to be more of a puzzle game than an action platformer. But it’s not a very good puzzle game, because the solution was usually “Climb the only platform”. Climbing the platforms also causes you to lose sight of Jerry, which kind of negates the sense that you’re chasing him. He might as well have just been waiting at the end of the stage for Tom to show up. It’s not like you could catch him before then anyway. To the games credit, Tom controls very well, especially in the boss fights when you need to react quickly to jump over an attack, and immediately react again as the attack boomerangs back.

Graphics – 8 / 10

This is probably where the game shines the most. For a Game Gear game, this has pretty good graphics. Tom and Jerry are both animated quite nicely. Each of the Stages had unique settings and enemies, complete with the occasional easter egg. There wasn’t a lot to the game, but what was presented was mostly animated very well. I’m a little confused why the intro has them just looking at the text rather than the picture narrative they used in the ending. But that’s about my only complaint with the graphical choices.

Audio – 2 / 10

I’ve never had to do this before, but the music in this game was so completely generic and forgettable that even after playing the game, and rewatching the recording to collect screenshots, I had to rewatch the whole playthrough a second time just to remember what the music even was. I give it 2 points instead of 1 because at least each level had its own music track. I think. I’m writing this immediately after watching the recording and I’m already forgetting what the music was. What I do remember is that nowhere in the game did I hear the classic Tom and Jerry theme song, so total fail as far as I’m concerned.

Story – 0 / 10

As with most non-RPG games, the story is practically an afterthought. Tom finds a map, Jerry steals it, and they go on an adventure to find the treasure. It’s a perfectly reasonable story for this type of game. However, this is specifically “Tom and Jerry: The Movie”. It has been a long time since I’ve actually seen the movie, but judging by the Wikipedia summary, this game has practically nothing to do with the movie it’s supposed to be based on. So, because of that, the game gets a straight fail in the story category.

Total Playtime – 0h 20m

Like I said in the intro, I had intended this to be a 30 Minute Review. But before the 30 minutes were over, I had beaten the game. Also note that 20 minutes is from the time I turn the game on until the time I turn it off. So, excluding things like playing around in the settings, the into, outro, and credits, the game itself was only maybe 15 minutes long.

Total Deaths – 0 Deaths

That’s right, I made it thought the whole game without a single death. I do have a slight confession. Before making my gameplay recording, I played the game for a few minutes to just see what type of game it was, and in those few minutes made it all the way to the final boss before I turned it off to record. In that FIRST play through, I think I died 4 times. Twice in the first level just getting a feel for the controls, once to the crab boss in Stage 3, and once trying to navigate the final Stage. Had I attempted to beat the game then, I probably would have died one more time to the final boss before I saw the pattern. So we’ll say 5 deaths total on a very first playthrough, while not really trying, and still beating the game in under 20 minutes. I do want to note here that there is an option for Tom to DIVE at Jerry. I found no practical use for this ability, since Jerry always runs away, and it wasn’t until after my first death that I noticed every missed dive was actually causing injury to Tom. So yeah, this game has a button to injure yourself.

Overall Score – 3 / 10

I feel bad giving this game such a low score, since I wasn’t unhappy while playing it. But it’s too short, not very challenging, and has nothing to do with the movie it’s supposed to be based on. There is a hard difficulty option, which might make the game slightly more replayable, but I can’t imagine it does anything more than increasing the damage taken to a full heart of health instead of half a heart. At the end of the day, there simply isn’t enough substance here to really justify any higher of a score. I feel like it needs stating one more time, I only intended to check out the game, and I accidentally beat it. I know the game is probably aimed at a much younger audience, but that’s still somewhat disappointing. I’ve never had that easy of a time beating a game, and I feel like even as a kid I would have been disappointed with that level of oversimplicity. Tom and Jerry have several others games, hopefully one of them is better, but this one, I can’t recommend.

Not in this game it’s not.



I hope you enjoyed Tom and Jerry: The Movie. If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling really generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


Hook (Game Gear)

The Game Gear hasn’t been getting much love lately. Well, technically the whole site hasn’t been getting much love lately. It makes a bit of sense at least. The Game Gear is the smallest of all my collections with only about 10 games in it currently. That’s actually a shame because I really love the Game Gear. Even if it ate batteries faster than anything else I’ve ever owned. So today, we’re going to take a whack at a game I loved to play as a kid but never managed to beat, Hook.

Hook, as the name suggests, is a movie tie in game with the 1991 Robin Williams movie of the same name. For those who have never seen it, it is a live action sequel of sorts to Peter Pan. In this version, Peter has married the grand-daughter of Wendy from the original story. In doing so, he has left Neverland behind, grown up into a workaholic corporate lawyer, and become a somewhat neglectful father of two. His new lifestyle has caused him to forget all about his past adventures as Peter Pan, which would be fine, if it weren’t also causing strain on his marriage and family life in the present. Even though he’s in a bit of a rough patch in his life, he never once thinks of possibly returning to Neverland. However, that doesn’t stop Neverland from coming to him, as one night his old nemesis Captain Hook comes to kidnap his two kids right out of their beds. Peter must remember who he once was and become the Peter Pan of the stories if he wants to save his kids. It’s actually a fantastic movie, and one of my favorites when I was growing up. So let’s see what the game version has to offer!


The game begins with Peter and his two kids, Jack and Maggie, standing by the window of Wendy’s old room. It’s time for bed, but the kids have questions for their father. Is Grandmother Wendy the same Wendy from the stories? Are the stories even real? Of course they are, but Peter has grown up and forgotten all about them. Instead, he insists that they’re just stories and they should stop thinking about it and go to sleep.

Naturally, the children don’t like that answer and insist that the stories must be real. This just makes Peter angry, yell at the kids to stop asking questions, and tell them again to just go to bed. How are they ever going to grow up if they can’t tell fact from fiction?

Getting the final word in, he sends them to bed telling them they’ll understand what he means when they grow up. However, the silhouette of a pirate ship in front of the moon implies they’ll learn a very different lesson tonight.

Later that night, Peter discovers the children are missing from their beds. Left behind is a note instructing him to come to Neverland if he wants to save them. Signed by Captain Hook himself.

Having forgotten all about Neverland, he thinks it’s some kind of joke the kids are playing on him, and starts yelling for them to come out. But no one comes. Instead, Tinkerbell shows up, sad to see that Peter has forgotten all about her, but willing to help him anyway.

The important thing is that Peter needs to save his kids, and she is here to help. This catches Peter’s attention, but he is still hesitant. He has forgotten all about his time as Peter Pan, and more importantly, he has forgotten how to fly.

Not wanting to waste any more time, Tink gives up arguing with him and simply knocks him out. She then wraps him up in a makeshift hammock and carries him to Neverland, he can figure out the rest once he gets there.

Once they arrive in Neverland, Tink brings him to the Lost Boys. Even though he has changed quite a bit since he left, she assures them that this is in fact Peter Pan. Most importantly, she needs their help reminding him how to be Peter Pan so he can save his kids.

The Lost Boys are skeptical. They’re willing to help, but only if he really is Peter Pan. Tink starts to defend him, but Rufio, the current leader of the Lost Boys, shows up to voice his objection. There is no way this person can be Peter Pan.

When Peter Pan left Neverland, he handed his magic sword over to Rufio, and that makes him Peter Pan now. So if Tink and Peter want the Lost Boys’ help, he needs to defeat Rufio first.

Even though this is all still training, Peter sure looks the part now in Pan’s classic green outfit. And while he might be lacking Pan’s magic sword, the regular sword he has on him is doing the job just fine against these Lost Boys. Likewise, he has yet to be remember how to fly properly, but he sure can jump pretty high.

Death Count: 02

However, there is a noticeable lag between the time you press the button and the time Peter actually swings his sword. Because of this, even a couple of hungry fish are strong enough to take down the mighty Peter Pan.

I think the problem is that the animation has a complete backswing, which causes there to be a full 15 frames between when the button is pressed and when the attack is registered. So we’re going to have to get used to attacking slightly earlier than we world normally expect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us any with the Lost Boys jumping down from high ledges, as Peter completely lacks any ability to attack upwards.

Death Count: 03

Thankfully, Tink is waiting just up ahead to lend us a hand. We might not be able to fly on our own, but with a good helping of Pixie Dust, we can fly for a short period of time. Sadly, the ability to fly is simply no match for Lost Boys on skateboards…

One good thing the game does have going for it though is the fact that you get unlimited continues. You need to start the stage over again after a continue, but the stages are all so short that it might as well be infinite lives.

Death Count: 05

And with how quickly we keep dying, we might be using quite a few of those infinite lives before we make it to Captain Hook…

Death Count: 06

Luckily, the stage is incredibly short and Rufio is just up ahead ready to fight us. Most likely resulting in our death, of course.

Rufio is the first boss though, so the strategy for defeating him is pretty simple. All we have to do is wait for him to wind up for his attack, and then get our attack in first. Looks like we’re not the only ones suffering from input lag in this game.

With Rufio defeated, he admits that we are in fact Peter Pan and hands over the magic sword. Thanks to this training, Peter also remembers being Peter Pan and is ready to fight Captain Hook to get his kids back.

In between stages, we get to see Peter’s progress around Neverland and over to Captain Hooks ship. It would seem that Peter has taken the rather illogical approach of going completely counterclockwise around the entire island rather than simply head 20 feet west to the ship. Maybe he’s trying to take him by surprise?

Anyway, the next stage is a forest stage and there are a few things we learn right at the beginning. First, Pan’s magic sword is actually quite powerful, capable of sending an energy wave out of it that can attack enemies from a distance. This will really help to counter the input lag. Also we discover a leaf which adds an additional point of health to our life meter, which we are very grateful for.

Death Count: 08

As we jump through the trees, we quickly learn a very sad truth about this game. That magic sword has a very limited lifespan on it. As soon as we are hit even once, it loses its powers. That would be fine, except that it’s not a full health ability, it’s actually a onetime power up. After respawning from a death, the power is gone and can only be reacquired if we find the magic sword again somewhere in the world.

Death Count: 09

Without the power of the magic sword, we’ll have to be extra careful to avoid the pirates and archers in the forest as we jump from tree to tree. More importantly, we’ll have to simply pay attention that we actually land on a tree branch, because some of these trees are apparently too tall to fall out of.

Eventually, we make it to a set of trees that have apparently been hollowed out by a very strange forest person. This forest person will pop in and out of the various holes in the trees at random, and it’s up to Peter to find him and attack him before he goes back into hiding. Curiously, there are also several phantom boxing gloves that might pop out of the holes instead, so we need to be on guard.

Thankfully, this is a very easy battle. After hitting him a few times, he’ll go fly off into the distance, never to be seen again. It looks like we also managed to rescue a Lost Boy in the process. I wasn’t aware the Lost Boys had been kidnapped as well as Peter’s own kids, but apparently they have and we’ll have to rescue them along the way to rescuing Peter’s kids.

Death Count: 10

As we continue our way around the island, we find ourselves on the side of a cliff and we need to find a way to reach the top. This would be so easy if Peter could remember how to fly, but he can’t, so we’ll have to take the long way up. Along the way, we’ll have to fight more pirates of course, but we also encounter the first regular enemy that doesn’t die from a single hit. These barrel riding pirates just get right back up and try to run Peter over again.

Death Count: 13

In addition to the enemies becoming stronger, and in this stage having the high ground advantage, we also start to notice that the hit detection is a bit questionable at best. I swear I was nowhere near some of the enemies and it still registered that I was hit.

About half way up the Cliffside, we actually manage to find Pan’s magic sword again. This certainly make the rest of the journey up a bit easier. Especially against enemies on different levels than we are. Just jump up and shoot the beam at them.

Shortly after that, we find Tink waiting for us. With her help, we can simply fly the rest of the way up the cliff where we find another Lost Boy waiting for us to rescue him.

Death Count: 14

We may have reached the top of the cliff, but now we have to pass across the waterfall to get to the other side. This is made much easier with Tink’s help. But we still have quite a few pirates stationed all across the waterfall to contend with.

Death Count: 15

After failing to simply fly high over everyone and running out of Pixie Dust, we try flying low under everyone, and that seems to be the better way to go. Not only does Tink fly ahead and wait to refill our Pixie Dust flying this route, but we also manage to find a Power Leaf to increase our health down here.

Death Count: 16

Once we make it across the waterfall, Tink is waiting for us once again to help us fly up and over a rather steep cliff side. With her help, this is a simple task. Unfortunately, it looks like someone is floating sticks of dynamite down on us from above with balloons. We’ll have to be careful passing through this section or Peter Pan might just get blown to bits.

Death Count: 17

If we manage to make it through the falling dynamite alive, we find ourselves at the edge of a cliff with no option but a leap of faith down into the unknown. Turns out we’re jumping right into the lagoon and quickly get eaten alive by more hungry fish.

Death Count: 19

This section feels impossible. We’re almost guaranteed to take damage just jumping into the water because we can’t see where the fish are before we jump. But then once we’re in the water, the hit boxes are too big and we get hit by fish that look like they’re nowhere near us. The above image for example, in the next frame registers a hit. Both of those fish look far enough away that neither one of them should be able to hit Peter right now.

Death Count: 22

Between how tall Peter is, the auto scroll, the attack lag, and having to swim, everything just rolls up into this impossible little stretch of water that we keep dying in over and over AND OVER again.

Death Count: 25

Eventually we find a strategy that works for us, though it is a bit cowardly for Peter Pan. Rather than swimming in the center, we instead swim so low that only the very top of Peter’s head can be seen on screen. Swimming this low, only the lowest swimming fish are any problem at all.

Death Count: 28

After what felt like forever, we finally manage to climb out of the water at the far bank of the lagoon. Sadly, our trouble aren’t over yet. On the other side, we find Tink once again waiting for us, and for good reason. The floor has become overgrown with thorns, so we can’t walk on it. If that isn’t bad enough, there is also a pirate here that is throwing his swords at us like boomerangs while we try to stay in the air.

Thankfully, it only takes a couple of hit for him to go down. If we simply rush him, we might get lucky and kill him before he manages to kill us. In doing so, we manage to save yet another Lost Boy that for some reason was kidnapped by pirates.

Death Count: 29

This brings us to the snow covered mountains on the north side of the island. Here, there are tons of sharp spike pits for Peter Pan to fall into, as well as a large assortment of pirates roaming the jagged hills. On the plus side, there is a very easy to grab extra life very near to the beginning of the stage. Not that lives matter much, but it’s still encouraging to have the extra lives.

Death Count: 31

As the level continues, we even manage to find an additional Power Leaf, bringing our max health up to 5 hits before death. Then shortly after we find a second extra life for this level. We’re really racking up those infinite lives now!

Death Count: 33

Anyway, we eventually make our way through the mountain range and find that bastard that that dropping bombs on us in the last level. This time he has defended himself beneath the spiked floors of the mountain in a place where Peter can’t reach him. From there, he’s just sending bomb and bomb floating up to blow Peter Pan to pieces.

After a few attempts, we finally come up with a strategy to deal with this guy. By staying to the sides, we can lure the balloons away from the center platform. Then we can jump over them and pop the balloons, sending the dynamite falling down onto the pirate’s head.

A few rounds of this, and that pirate is done for good. Once again, we manage to rescue a Lost Boy we didn’t even realize was missing. Actually, didn’t we save this exact Lost Boy several times already? Does he just keep getting kidnapped again after we save him?

According to the map, we’re about halfway around the island now, only a few more stages to go. For this next stage, we’re actually going to mix things up. Instead of the typical platforming we’ve been doing so far, it’s actually an auto scrolling flying stage.

Death Count: 34

There aren’t any enemies to encounter in this stage. In fact, the only dangers we encounter are a few of those dynamite balloons, and that’s it. Instead, this stage is all about conserving your Pixie Dust. If you use it the whole time, you’ll never make it from one Tink Checkpoint to the next. So it’s best to land on the branches and jump across them whenever possible.

Before the stage is done, we do manage to find Peter’s magic sword once again, but with no enemies to fight, it’s kind of pointless for this stage. So with little trouble we make it to the end and rescue another Lost Boy.

Considering we were half way across the island, I would have thought we had at least one or two more stages before we reach Captain Hook’s ship. But it turns out that isn’t the case. That flight over the woods actually managed to bring us all the way from the far side of the island straight over to Captain Hook’s ship docked at the coast. Now we just need to navigate it and find Peter’s kids.

As it turns out, navigating through the ship might be rather difficult. I’m not sure how any of the regular crew can possibly do it. The floor is lined with sharp spikes around every turn. Not only that, but there are large areas of the ship that are devoid of nearly any floor. Peter can only navigate through them with the help of Tink’s Pixie Dust, so how are the pirates doing it?

Death Count: 35

There is however one hall that stands out above the rest in the ship. This narrow hall is lined top and bottom with spikes and has no platforms at all in the room other than immediately in front of the exits. The only way the pirates can navigate this hall is by riding on top of wooden barrels. Which is good for them, but bad for us, because we don’t have enough Pixie Dust to deal with them AND stay off the spikes.

Death Count: 36

In fact, this room is completely impossible to make it through without running out of Pixie Dust. Going in a straight line from one Tinkerbell to the next, Peter has just barely not enough to make it from one to the next safely.

Thankfully, we come up with a solution rather quickly. If we fly up as close to the spiked ceiling as we can, stop flying and allow ourselves to fall down, then start flying again in time to avoid the spikes, we manage to add a few feet to Peter’s flying distance and get him through the hall mostly healthy.

Death Count: 37

Having made our way through the ship, it looks like we’ve managed to make it all the way to the ship’s bow where Captain Hook is waiting to duel with Peter Pan. Unfortunately, he has the high ground, and victory is his.

We’re not giving up that quickly though, a simple strategy to beat him quickly falls into place. Captain Hook manages to block most of the attacks we swing at him. However, a quick succession of jump attacks seems to be enough to get through his defenses. After a few hits he is knocked off the bow and victory is ours.

With that, Jack and Maggie are saved and we can finally return home. Suddenly, a sword comes flying out of nowhere and stabs Rufio in the back, killing him. It looks like our fight with Captain Hook isn’t quite over yet.

Death Count: 40

This time, Hook is capable of launching his hook at us in complete defiance of physics to attack us from across the ship. He is also even more capable now of defending our attacks. If that’s not bad enough already, he ALSO has more health now than he did a minute ago, somehow.

Death Count: 43

The basic concept of this fight should be easy. Avoid the hook projectile and attack when his guard is down. However, actually putting this into practice is very difficult. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that after using a continue, we no longer have our two extra health, so that just makes the fight even harder.

Death Count: 49

After hitting Hook a few times, he will abandon his new attacks and go back to the sword attacks he used previously. This means that we too can go back to our attack pattern of chain jump attacking in order to defeat him.

Finally, Captain Hook is defeated, this time for good. We also managed to save Jack and Maggie. There are also those two Lost Boys that we rescued multiple times each, apparently they’re the only ones left.

Now that this horrible experience is over, Peter tells the Lost Boys that he is never coming back and then flies off into the air back to London with Tink and his kids.

Back home, Tink is still pumped from the adventure they just had and is ready to go on another one. Peter on the other hand is officially done. He had fun, but now he knows that “Life is the biggest adventure.”


Gameplay – 4 / 10

Let’s get this out of the way real quick. The hit detection is terrible. The enemies don’t appear to be anywhere near you when it says you were hit. Combine that with the input lag, and this game starts to boarder on unplayable.

Now, looking past those huge mistakes, the game itself would have otherwise been a fairly enjoyable action platformer. The controls are simple to pick up. The levels are straight forward, with a few hidden items thrown in. And once you get the enemy patterns down, it’s easy to complete the levels. I would have liked it if the magic sword stayed with you for full health, similar to the Master Sword’s ability from the Legend of Zelda series. That would have easily compensated for the input lag and hit detection. But sadly, that isn’t the case.

Graphics – 8 / 10

The Game Gear didn’t have much screen real estate to work with. With that in mind, I think they did a good job with what they had available. The sprites are about as big and detailed as they can be while still being playable. Likewise, the environments themselves feel unique and well laid out. There were a few spots where obstacles showed up from off screen without enough time to react to, but those were a surprisingly rare occurrence considering the limited draw distance of the screen. All in all, I think they did a pretty good job with the game’s graphics.

Audio – 8 / 10

The songs were nice, and after having recently watched the movie again, I actually recognized a few of them. So in that regard they did a pretty good job, especially considering the Game Gear couldn’t handle much.

Story – 6 / 10

The story of the game loosely follows the story of the movie, which is exactly what you want from a movie tie in game. However, it glosses over most of the conflict in the movie and leaves the game’s story quite thin. But it tried, so I guess I’ll give it an ok score for story.

Total Playtime – 1h 06m

Even with my multiple deaths, this is a very short game. In fact, there is a Let’s Play I saw where the player beat the whole game in under 30 minutes, cut scenes included. That’s to be expected with the Game Gear, since it would go through a full set of batteries in around 2 hours. Even so, I never managed to beat it as a kid because of the difficulty in doing so. For that reason alone, a save feature of some kind would have been appreciated. Even using an emulator it took me multiple sessions to beat. But that had more to do with me walking away in frustration than anything else. Thank god for save states.

Total Deaths – 49 Deaths

This is simply way too many deaths for a game that should have been so simple. Many of these can be blamed on my poor performance, but a large number of them I blame on the game’s terrible hit detection and input lag. This was especially true for that damn swimming section and those fish. I swear they missed me every time, but the game always said otherwise. This game would have been SO much easier if those were fixed. If there is one good thing to be said about the number of deaths though, it’s that the game’s unlimited continues was a much appreciated addition.

Overall Score – 6 / 10

Not to beat a dead horse at this point, but the terrible hit detection and input lag really dragged this game down. They artificially inflate the difficulty so much that at some point you don’t even want to finish the game. Considering how short the game is, that is actually an impressive feat. If it weren’t for those shortcomings, this would actually be a fun and relatively easy game. In fact, it’s a game I would gladly play multiple times if only it weren’t borderline broken. I even went into this play though wanting to really like the game. I had hoped I was simply remembering the game to be harder than it was because I was so young the last time I played. Sadly, the game is exactly as hard and broken as I remembered it. If there is any hope left to hold onto, it’s the knowledge that the game came out on nearly every system available at the time, so maybe one of the other versions is better. But for the Game Gear version, I feel like it might be benefiting from my love of the movie to earn some of the score I’m giving it. Final word, go watch the movie, but maybe pass on the Game Gear version of the game.

You were so close to a great game, but threw it away with bad hit detection and input lag…

I hope you enjoyed Hook (Game Gear). If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Game Gear)

It looks like we’ll be heading back down memory lane with another of my Game Gear favorites. Today we’ll be looking at what was one of the first games I ever beat on my own, Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck. Growing up, I know I beat this game quite a few times. I remember it being a fun, but fairly easy game with a lot of charm. Unfortunately I can’t remember a whole lot about the game past the first few levels. Let’s hope it comes rushing back to me as I play.

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I’ve never played the original Chuck Rock game, I should probably pick that game up at some point to review too. Anyway, in Chuck Rock II, you play as Chuck Rock’s son, Chuck Rock Jr. It would seem Chuck’s archrival Brick Jagger has captured dear old dad, and now it’s up to you to save him. And so Chuck Rock Jr puts on a clean diaper, grabs his wooden club, and sets out on his own adventure. Do you have what it takes to survive the harsh prehistoric world to rescue your father? Let’s find out!


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The game starts with no introduction. Instead you’re simply thrown into the world and expected to find your way, which was a common opening for most games back then. You’ll quickly find yourself coming across some of your caveman neighbors who for some reason act as enemies in this game. Most of them seem to be minding their own business. Especially this guy who’s wig doesn’t seem quite dead yet.

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Even if the enemies aren’t all that threatening, the environment will be. In addition to smashing your enemies, you’ll have to use your club to smash down a few brick walls as well. You’ll also have to hold on tight as you swing over the occasional spike pit. But it’s all for the sake of saving dear old dad after all.

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Before we get too far, I want to point out that the game is just full of hidden surprises even right from the start. There are tons of hidden passages full of treats to find, and lots of invisible platforms to reach even more treats. Even out in the open, many of the flowers will give you points if you attack them. They look like just plain scenery, and really serve no other function, so it’s kind of impressive that they hid some points inside them.

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Anyway, the journey ahead is going to be full of many dangers. Landslides could happen at any moment causing rocks to come tumbling down the hills on top of you. You’ll have to swing across tons of vines, and risk your life over the spike pits. You’ll even face off against fierce dinosaurs hungry to make you a meal.

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…or at least your neighbors dressed up as dinosaurs for some reason. But don’t let any of that stop you. Face every danger head on and before you know it you’ll have made it to the end of the stage. We’re one step closer to saving dad now!

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There are of course great dangers lurking just around the corner for young Chuck Rock Jr. It seems he’s caught the eye of a hungry dinosaur, a real one this time. Despite being what looks like a brontosaurus, a plant eater, this dinosaur is eager to make a quick meal out of our diaper wearing hero.

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Chuck Rock Jr isn’t going to be quite the easy meal however. With his wooden club in hand his swings are strong enough to knock the teeth right out of the hungry dinosaur’s head. Next time he should pick a safer target for dinner, especially now that he’s lost all his teeth. It would be kind of hard to gum a creature to death.

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We may have escaped being eaten alive, but now it looks like we might be cooked alive instead. Just around the corner our young hero finds himself surrounded on all sides by red hot lava. Not only that, but the volcanoes in the distance are erupting, sending flaming balls of lava into the air.

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It would be hard for anyone to survive in these harsh conditions, yet alone a baby. However, the local dinosaurs seem to have figured it out. Equipped with full body fire retardant suits, these dinosaurs are perfectly safe from the heat. In fact they are so well adapted that they have come to master the flames with the use of their flame throwers. Wait a minute. Fire suits and flame throwers? What kind of dinosaurs are these.

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With genius dinosaur enemies like this, it’s good to know you have some friends on your side. In this case it’s a small turtle that seems to rather enjoy the lava. If you ask him nicely, he’ll be willing to ferry you across the lava to safety on the other side.

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Curiously, we seem not to be the only person here in the scorching waste. It would seem a mother is dragging along her children as they try to cross to lava fields no doubt in search of the greenery of the stages we just left. Unfortunately she becomes very hostile at the sight of our young hero and must be dealt with. Sadly this leaves the infants alone and vulnerable. They will no doubt soon die as well without their mother.

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Though we have become surrounded by death, these lava fields are also capable of breeding new life. Such is the case with the giant bird egg we find and witness hatch. Normally a bird would imprint on the first creature it sees and treat it as its mother. Sadly that is not the case with this bird. It is born with an instinct to kill by dropping flaming hot rocks on its enemies. This is something we can’t simply ignore, and we must teach this bird a lesson.

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This newborn sure does grow quickly. After a few dips in the lava, the creature seems to have grown out its feathers and even its beak looks more birdlike. No longer one to drop boulders on its prey, the bird now dive bombs at our hero in an attempt to finish the job personally.

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Again, we can’t let such actions go unpunished, especially from a newborn. With some quick actions, little Chuck Rock Jr brings his club down on the new born bird and sends it sinking back down into the lava where it belongs. Let’s hope mama bird wasn’t around to see any of that. I’m not sure we’d be able to handle her at our age.

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We made it out of that lava field and back to the safety of the green forests. No longer in the safety of our own neighborhood we won’t find any other humans out here. We will however find many of our distant cousins, the monkeys. These guys will constantly be jumping around, and throwing their bananas around at you. At least they aren’t throwing poop at you. Still, it’s very rude of them, and there’s only one way to stop them for good, a nice strong bash with your wooden club.

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Other than the monkeys, these levels are very similar the first stages. Swing from a few vines, try to avoid spikes and rocks, and just get to the end of the stages. The only new element I think worth noting are the giant ants you can occasionally ride to get across the spike pits.

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The monkeys of the forest may have been only a minor annoyance, but they’re no match for Ozric’s tentacles. This octopus like creature is ruler of the water, and a major threat to the life of young Chuck Jr as it spits water and throws small swordfish at our young hero.

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In a situation like this, there’s only one thing to do, grip up on that club and swing away at those swordfish. If you hit them just right, you can knock them into the air and arc them back to hit Ozric right in his oversized head. A few hits like that and he’ll be down for the count.

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Swimming past Ozric brings us down into the sewer systems. The idea of a sewer system on its own is very advanced for these cavemen, but where did they get all that toxic waste? That stuff doesn’t exactly occur naturally, especially not in clearly marked barrels like that.

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Also where did all of these pipes and conveyer belts come from? Am I missing something here? Did we travel into a different game entirely? I thought we were following a little cave baby rescue his cave dad. Are we working under Flintstone rules here where everything is stone age but somehow also futuristic?

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Survive the polluted horrors and you’ll finally find Chuck Rock and come face to face with Brick himself. At least I think that’s Brick. Is Brick a green fish bird thing? I have no idea who Brick is because I never played the first game. Whatever it is, it will regularly shoot its head off straight into the air as gears and springs come popping out. So I guess this must be some kind of robot controlled by Brick. Again this is very advanced for cavemen.

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After a few hits the green fish thing will disappear to be replaced with a somewhat more human looking thing that must finally be Brick himself. I think it’s supposed to be a seat back, but it has always looked like he has a massive tail like a kangaroo or something. With his robot fish thing destroyed he’ll try to finish you off himself by rising up and hitting you from below.

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Step out of the way when Brick goes for the kill, then swing away at his stupid face. How dare he kidnap your father like that? How dare he make a child travel across that treacherous world to get here. Bash him good until he can take no more and you’ve saved dear old dad.

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Just like that dad is safe, mom is happy, and brick goes to jail. All’s well that ends well.

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Gameplay – 8.5 / 10

The gameplay is fun, but admittedly very simplistic. Each stage is fairly short and straight forward, but there are tons of secrets to find if you feel like looking for them. Then the controls are very responsive and everything is very intuitive. There are also a few standard mechanics I thought the game handled really well. For one thing, many of the spike pits are set up in a way that they won’t constantly damage you. After the initial damage you can safely walk among the spikes without fear of death. Finally there are the boss battles which are the cornerstone of any good action game. They all telegraph their attacks very nicely and make for fun but fairly easy fights.

Graphics – 9 / 10

I thought the graphics were very impressive, especially for a Game Gear game. The environments are all very vibrant and detailed. All the characters also have a lot of expression and humor to them, like the people dressed like dinosaurs or the dinosaurs with flamethrowers.

Audio – 9 / 10

I love the soundtrack of this game. All the music is very upbeat and fits the game perfectly.

Story – 3 / 10

The story as described in the manual is a fairly interesting one. Unfortunately none of that is really portrayed in the game. Really, you could go through the whole game without ever knowing what your goal is. However, that was common place for games of the time.

Total Playtime – 0h 40m

It’s a really short game, and even with all the secret areas there really isn’t much you can do about that. It’s kind of to be expected though. The game has no save system, and the Game Gear can only stay on for about 2 hours on a full set of 6 batteries.

Total Deaths – 12 Deaths

The game isn’t very hard, and most of my deaths were from simple carelessness. Like I said, I used to be able to beat this game legit when I was a kid. As it is, I only died 2 times more than would have been allowed in a legitimate playthrough. I’m sure I could beat it for real if I played it again right now. On the subject of deaths, I would like to point out how well this game handles dying. Any time you die, you get to continue playing right from where you died without much interruption to the gameplay.

Overall Score – 8.5 / 10

I loved this game as a kid, and I still love it now. The game is very short and easy, almost to a fault, but what little game is there is a fun one. The graphics are great with a lot of humor on the little screen. Then the music is fitting and memorable. Possibly most importantly are the fun boss battles. They were all easy if you paid just the slightest attention, but they still felt like epic battles. The first boss in particular has always been my favorite. There’s just an odd thrill to knocking its teeth out and seeing as his face became bandaged and swollen. If you still have a working Game Gear, do yourself a favor and pick up this great title. If not, there’s also a version for the Genesis which has extra levels in it. Honestly I’ll have to pick up that version for myself at some point too. Whichever version you end up playing, you’re almost certain to have a good time.

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Yay! We’re a family again!


Line Break

I hope you enjoyed Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (Game Gear). If you did, like and follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Also leave your comments, suggestions, and recommendations. If you’re feeling real generous, you can even Donate to help me keep the site going. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next time.


Jurassic Park (Game Gear)

I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs. For the longest time I even considered becoming a paleontologist when I grew up. But then the reality set it that paleontologists spend hours and hours outside in the hot desert sun digging giant holes with tiny shovels, and that was the end of that nonsense. I never stopped loving dinosaurs though. Growing up I know I had my share of plastic dinosaur toys, and I remember watching the Land Before Time movie more than was probably healthy. Little Foot and the gang were great, but the summer of 1993 changed everything for me with the release of Jurassic Park.

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At this point I think everyone already knows how great of a movie Jurassic Park was, especially considering it was the highest grossing film worldwide at the time of its original release.  Jurassic Park blew people’s minds with how realistic the dinosaurs looked. In fact it’s still one of my favorite movies partly because of how real the dinosaurs look, as well as how well the other actors interact with those dinosaurs. As with any great movie, it eventually gets sequels, and spin offs, and of course videogame tie-ins. Today we’re going to look at the Game Gear version of Jurassic Park. I remember loving this game as a kid, and if I remember right, it was one of the first games I ever beat on my own without any cheats. So join me on Isla Nublar to see if I can survive the escaped dinosaurs, or if I’ll become one of their dinners.


Welcome to Jurassic Park, the island theme park where scientists have brought real live dinosaurs back from extinction. And a theme park which may never open to the public now that computer problems have allowed the dinosaurs to escape their enclosures, threaten the safety of everyone on the island. With no one else to turn to, they fly in Dr Allen Grant to contain the situation. I think the staff might have taken the title of “Dinosaur Hunter” a little too literally when they hired this paleontologist to round up their escaped dinosaurs, but we’ll do our best anyway.

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The staff has identified four areas of damaged fence where the dinosaurs are escaping from. There’s the Velociraptors to the north, Pteranodons to the east, Brachiosaurs to the south, and the Triceratops to the west. Since they’re probably the most dangerous, and I wouldn’t want them roaming around very long, I chose to try to contain the Velociraptors first. However, just getting to that side of the park in one piece is going to be its own challenge.

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Each area starts with a mini-game showing your drive to each of the sites. Apparently the sound of the jeep lures out every dinosaur in the area, and you’ll have to defend yourself if you ever want to make it out alive. You control the crosshairs on screen and it’s up to you to shoot all the dinosaurs that try to attack the jeep before they cause enough damage to break it. Thankfully, every dinosaur you kill will also drop an item of health to heal you.

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These sections could easily be brushed off as just simple mini-games to pad the length of the game, but in reality they do have a significant impact on the rest of the stage. While most of the dinosaurs attacking the jeep only drop health, there are a few that drop more useful items such as extra lives. Even more important however are the ones that drop gas cans, which when collected will actually add extra bars to your health for the duration of the stage. Failing to collect these can make the rest of the stage a lot more difficult.

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Rounding off the mini-game is a boss encounter with a larger dinosaur, a Pteranodon in this case. These larger dinosaurs are much harder to kill than the others, and actually have their own health bars in the upper right corner. You’ll have to shoot them quite rapidly to prevent it from ramming into the jeep. To make matters worse, the occasionally rock in the road will launch the car into the air, throwing off your aim with the crosshairs as well.

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Win or lose, you’ll still advance to the action stage of the level. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at what equipment we have available. Bringing up the pause menu will allow you to switch between any of the three weapons available. There is a Tranquilizer Rifle which serves as your general purpose gun, sending a wave of energy in front of you to knock out the dinosaurs. You also have Concussion Grenades which you shoot up into the air and are most useful against Pteranodons as well as any dinosaurs that might be on ledges above you. The final weapon is the Fireball Grenade, a weapon a rarely used. The Fireball Grenade is the most powerful, but it is thrown in an arc and I just found it hard to use compared to the Tranquilizer Rifle. Also in the pause menu are first aid kits. These are scattered around the levels, usually in hard to reach places, and allow you to restore your health at any time.

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Onto the stage itself, the computer problems seem to have extended far beyond just the fences as they’ve managed to destabilize the very ground you walk on, seeing as it crumbles away as you walk across it. Not only that, but it has cause lava to shoot up into the air in a perfectly synchronized water fountain like fashion. Having destroyed the bridge in the process, you’ll have to grab hold of the upper supports and swing your way across. And that’s all just to make it to the front door of the building.

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Inside you’ll be greeted by a flock of Pteranodons that have somehow managed to get inside. They seem to be quite content inside this warehouse, even though I would think the metal framework would make it hard for them to fly around. Whatever their state of mind, they still see me as potential dinner and will go into a dive bomb as soon as they see me. Of course, this is the Velociraptors area, and as would be expected, there are a few of them just around the corner waiting to pounce. A few good shots with the Tranquilizer Rifle and it will be lights out for them.

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However, even the Velociraptors seem to be the least of my problems here in the power station. There are several areas of exposed wires shooting off electricity at anyone foolish enough to walk by them. There’s also an elevator ride with constant threat of electrocution as the electricity shoots straight out from the walls, forcing you to press yourself against the opposite wall. I can only hope and pray that these dangers are a result of the computer problems, or even the dinosaurs themselves damaging the equipment. I’d hate to imagine the power station was actually intentionally designed this way.

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Avoid being fatally electrocuted and you’ll come face to face with the first boss, the alpha Velociraptor. Considering the Velociraptors are perhaps the most dangerous of the four escaped dinosaurs, it’s kind of amazing that the boss battle is the easiest one. I never even had to move from my starting position. There are four doors in the room and the Velociraptor will appear in one of them, and then run straight across to the other open door in the room. It really pays no attention to you as it runs around, and after shooting it once, it won’t hurt you for the rest of that run, even if it touches you. So just stand still and shoot it as it shows up, you really don’t need any more strategy than that.

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It’s still a boss battle though, and it will take a few rounds before you finally put him down. Of course, you aren’t here to KILL the dinosaurs, they’re the star attractions of the park. To bring that point home, the post battle scene shows the Velociraptor alive and well inside a cage, and ready to be transported back to his enclosure. Let’s just hope those bars can hold him better than the electric fences did.

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With the Velociraptors now once again contained, I already feel like the island is a safer place. And so, we’ll just travel clockwise around the island to capture the rest of them. That means our next stop has us trying to contain the Pteranodons. It also means another mini-game. The bulk of the journey is the same, except we’re shooting small Pteranodons instead of the little dinosaurs from before. Also the boss battle is slightly different. We’re still fighting a Pteranodon, but this time it’s carrying a large bolder which it tries to throw at the jeep. You’ll have to shoot the boulder out of its claws or risk it being dropped on your jeep.

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Death Count: 2


Upon arrival at the site, we find ourselves at the bottom of a cliff side. We also learn that Grant can’t swim, not even the slightest as the water below acts as a bottomless pit. I guess it makes sense, spending hours out in the desert digging in the sand doesn’t exactly prepare you for swimming. You’d think any full grown adult would at least be able to tread water though, and not just sink like a rock. Speaking of rocks, the cliff side seems to be experiencing some kind of rock slide, as giant boulders are regularly falling down from above. I’m sad to say that while the boulders never hit me, they did distract me long enough to make me slip off the cliff and fall into the water again.

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I’d better get inside the work tunnels before I fall into the water a third time. Unfortunately, these tunnels don’t seem to be much safer. They’re an odd maze of random elevators and moving platforms over pits of sharp rocks. Not only that, but there aren’t even paths to many of the platforms, which leaves climbing along the ceiling Grant’s only option. I guess a paleontologist really was the best choice for this job. All those hours digging have strengthened his hands and fingers into the tools of the gods, allowing him to find support in what looks like a smoothed flat rock face.

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Death Count: 3


Having navigated the tunnels and scaled the cliff side, we’re now open and exposed to the Pteranodons swooping down from above. The Concussion Grenades make quick work of them, scaring them off into the sky. However, the dinosaurs once again prove to be the least of my problems. Just like back in the Velociraptors area, the ground here in unstable and crumbles as you walk across it. This caught me off guard, making me miss one of the jumps, and once again go plunging into the water. Someone buy Dr Grant over here a life jacket to wear! We need to focus or we’ll never capture all these dinosaurs!

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Those small Pteranodons were just target practice apparently, as now we come face to face with the boss of the stage. Just like in the Velociraptor fight, the Pteranodon pays little attention to you and instead flies in a predictable pattern between the trees. The stage itself is actually rather interesting. From the screenshots, you can already tell that we’re high up in the trees, jumping from branch to branch as we try to avoid the Pteranodon as well as line up some shots to subdue him. What you can’t tell from the stills is that the screen is constantly scrolling upwards, adding another element of danger to the stage.

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After enough hits, the Pteranodon can take no more and is returned to its enclosure. With all the trees around, I guess they couldn’t get a truck out here to drive it back, so they bring in one of the helicopters to air lift it out. A rather risky move if you ask me. It’s barely contained in any way and its wings are just kind of flopping down. If it wakes up and starts moving around it’s going to pull that helicopter right out of the sky. But I guess I shouldn’t worry about that right now, there are still two more dinosaurs to capture.

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We now head south to the Brachiosaur area. With how big a Brachiosaur is, I’m not sure what they expect me to do to capture it, but we’ll have to try something. Of course the drive to a new area means another mini-game. The little dinosaurs are back this time and provide some nice target practice. The boss however is much different. This time instead of a Pteranodon it looks like it’s a T-Rex hot on our tail! QUICK, SHOOT IT IN THE FACE BEFORE IT EATS US!

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We escape the T-Rex only to find ourselves on a water front. Focus Grant, we already know you can’t swim. There are a couple different kinds of dinosaurs in this area. There are a bunch of Pteranodons pecking at the bones of some creature. But they fly off as soon as I get close to them. The threatening dinosaurs are the ones that jump up out of the water, taunting Dr Grant with their ability to swim. I’m not sure what kind of dinosaur they are, but a quick shot from the Tranquilizer Rifle sends them right back into the water where they came from.

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As we make our way inside, we’ll have to look out for more Velociraptors. I thought I took care of those guys back in the first stage. I guess more of them escaped than I had thought. Maybe being inside with them isn’t the best idea. We’d better head out the back way and hope they don’t follow. Of course, the escaped Brachiosaurs are waiting just outside the door. They’re huge, but at least they don’t seem to mean any harm, they’re just kind of curious to see what I am. But curiosity from such a giant creature can quickly turn dangerous. With nowhere else to turn, I guess this inflatable raft on the river will have to bring us to safety.

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I don’t think I could have made a worse decision in my life if I tried. Brachiosaurs apparently love the water, and their long necks allow them to easily come up for air. As innocent an action as that might be, with me out here on a little inflatable raft and possessing no ability to swim whatsoever, this is a terrible situation for me to be in. We’ll have to knock the poor thing out before it can knock me into the water. We were sent here to capture it anyway.

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After a few hits from the concussion grenades, the Brachiosaur finally collapses on the river bank. Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park staff doesn’t seem to have any better idea than I do on how to get the massive thing out of the water. They brought a crane, but even that doesn’t seem big enough for the job. They’re the professional though, and I’ll just have to trust they know what they’re doing.

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With three of the dinosaurs already safely recaptured, that means there’s only one left, the Triceratops. Again, there is a mini-game as we drive out to the west side of the island, and again we use those dinosaurs as target practice. Once again, the boss dinosaur changes, this time to a bipedal dinosaur with a boney plate on its head, possibly a Pachycephalosaurus. Whatever it is, we’re going to have to shoot it in the head a few times to stop it from ramming our jeep.

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Here in the Triceratops sections, Mother Nature seems to be pissed and want nothing more than to kill us. Whether it be small localized tornados, or constant lightning strikes punching holes in the ground, I can only stop to wonder what I did to piss off Mother Nature so badly.

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The lightning strikes become so bad that they even start the ground on fire. We’ll have to jump up into the trees or we’ll be burned to death. That’s not really the best strategy however, since the fire will only spread into the upper branches. When I found a small pond, I thought I might finally be safe, but I was so wrong. Mother Nature took that moment to strike the pond with lightning as well, sending ripples of electricity through the water. We’ll have to hold onto the branches or risk electrocution in the water.

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When we finally do find the escape Triceratops, it seems a welcome change to the forces of nature that preceded it. There is however very little room to manure in this clearing. With the triceratops gearing up to charge, our only hope is to jump up into the trees out of its attack range. Now stuck with its horns in the tree, we can get in a few shots with the Tranquilizer Rifle before it can recover. It’s a cleaver beast however as it kicks up dirt with its back legs while trying to free itself. Not only that, but it has learned our tactic, and will now kick up dirt to attack us in the trees.

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It’s the toughest battle so far, but eventually we manage to knock it out and can bring it back to its enclosure. However, I can’t help but question the competency of the staff at this point. They did ok with the Velociraptors when they put it in a big cage. But then the Pteranodon wasn’t restrained at all, and they couldn’t figure out what to do with the Brachiosaur. But I have to draw the line here. Who thought it was necessary or even helpful in the slightest to put traffic cones down around the Triceratops? Are we scared some random car is going to come out here into the woods and somehow not see the 10 foot long creature laying on the ground? Even Dr Grant looks like he’s pointing and yelling at people to do something helpful. What are you two doing just leaning up against that tree? Go get another cage or something before it wakes up!

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I was brought in to capture the four escaped dinosaurs and I did just that. Whatever the staff ends up doing with these dinosaurs is none of my concern. However, the ride back into base reveals one last challenge. Perhaps the one people should have been most concerned with the whole time. The Tyrannosaurus Rex has also escaped his enclosure and is heading straight for the Visitors Center. This stage is actually a secret bonus level in the game. As a kid, I could never figure out how to unlock it, and I thought it was random, but I now know that it’s unlocked by completing the other four stages all without using a single continue. With how easy the rest of the game is, this feat is quite easy to accomplish. However, I always dreaded unlocking this stage because it is so much harder than the rest of the game. You’re also given little chance to learn the layout of the level because of the fact that you lose all of your continues at the start of the stage. As a kid I never managed to beat it. Let’s see if my skills have improved over the years.

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One final time we embark on the mini-game. This time we really need every bar of health we can get. When the boss shows up he’s terrifying compared to previous bosses. He’s bigger, and a blood red color and he is much more aggressive than any of the others. He’ll be right up on the jeep before you know it, and he isn’t likely to be knocked back like the others were. You’ll just have to keep shooting as fast as you can and hope it’s enough. Upon arriving at the Visitors Center, you’re greeted with an equally terrifying sight as the staff and scientists are seen running in terror for their lives. What have we gotten ourselves into now?

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Death Count: 4


I always thought it was the dinosaurs they should be running from, but in reality, the computer problems may have just triggered the automatic laser defense turrets mounted seemingly everywhere in the Visitors Center. I want to let that sentence go, but I just can’t. Why on earth are there such an excessive number of automated laser turrets set up in the VISITORS CENTER?! What kind of paranoid psychotic architect did you guys hire that they were insistent the visitor’s center needed an extensive laser defense grid?

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It doesn’t even keep the dinosaurs out! They’re too smart for that. The Velociraptors have figured out how to use the automatic garage door openers to hide in the various conveniently placed storage areas. The juvenile T-Rexes on the other hand have taken up hiding inside the walls like the worst kind of infestation imaginable. The only time you see them is when they stick their heads out one of the holes they managed to break in the walls just to eat people that walk by.

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Death Count: 7


When I finally made it to the Tyrannosaurus, I had no idea what to do to knock it out. None of the weapons seem to have any effect on it. There are also no safe areas in the room. It’s just you and the T-Rex locked in a tiny room together. When he pins you in the corner, there’s really nothing you can do but curl up in ball and accept death. That death will of course come quickly because every attack from the T-Rex takes away 2 bars of health.

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Death Count: 9


After a few deaths and much struggling, I finally figured out at the very least a way to hurt the behemoth. By using the Concussion Grenades, I managed to knock some of the boxes off the shelves above which came crashing down on top of him. They didn’t do a whole ton of damage though, and there still aren’t any safe places to hide when he attacks. It wasn’t until I remembered those med kits I’ve been picking up throughout the whole game. I haven’t needed them even once so far, so I completely forgot that I even had them. I’m sure there must be a more effective strategy for fighting this boss, but I just can’t see it. While it might not have been a very good strategy, the results speak for themselves as the T-Rex comes crashing down to the ground.

I included the Staff Credits because i have my doubts any of those are real names.

Now that the T-Rex is contained, all the dinosaurs are accounted for and reconstruction can begin. Dr Grant is treated as a hero, and several months later the park finally opens to the public. From the handful of images shown, very few safety precautions are put in place, and no doubt those dinosaurs will escape again to terrorize the island. But I will be long gone by then, and it won’t be my problem. Good luck everyone stupid enough to visit Killer Dinosaur Island!


Gameplay – 8 / 10

I’ll admit that the gameplay is rather generic, but I’ve said it before that generic doesn’t automatically mean bad. The game doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it handles everything very well in my opinion. Starting with the minigames leading into the stages, I do believe those are the best console crosshairs I’ve ever encountered. The speed and responsiveness of the movement is absolutely perfect, or as close to it as you can get with a D-Pad. Then on the stage proper, the controls are well handled, the environments feel alive, and the level designs are fun and varied. The ratio of environmental hazards to actual enemies might be leaning heavily towards hazards, but that never detracts from the game. Then the boss battles at the end of each of the stages are all fun and rather unique, though admittedly a bit too easy. All together it forms a very fun experience, which is exactly what you’re going for.

Graphics – 9 / 10

Considering the limited space to work with on the game gear screen, the graphical quality is actually really good. Dr Grant himself ends up somewhat generic. Actually, for the longest time I didn’t even acknowledge that it was supposed to be Dr Grant. For some reason the player character always gave off a feminine vibe to me and I thought maybe you were playing as Dr Sattler instead. Though neither of them are actually a good fit for the gun toting hunter you play as.  The Dinosaurs however look amazing, and really the dinosaurs are the stars of the game anyway. They have impressively large sprites which are very detailed for the time, and many of them look truly menacing.

Audio – 7 / 10

I’ve always enjoyed the music in this game, but again, it’s a bit generic. All the music fits well and adds a nice atmosphere, but none of it is particularly memorable. I do have to give them credit for really nailing the T-Rex roar and using as the starting cue for each of the stages. But then at the same time I feel I need to be really critical of the fact that the iconic theme song doesn’t appear anywhere in the game, unless I just missed it somehow.

Story – 8 / 10

The story in the game takes a huge departure from the movie. Instead of being on the island when the systems fail and trying to survive, you are actually flown in after the fact with the goal of containing the situation. It’s an acceptable change which lends itself nicely for the type of game they were trying to create. While playing, everything is held together nicely and with more thought than most other action games. The beginning of the stage minigames show the hazardous drive to the different parts of the island, followed by the stage proper, and finally the capture of the escape dinosaur. It’s the post boss battle screens that really seal the deal for me, showing off that the dinosaurs are still alive and well. I just love the fact that the dinosaurs aren’t being hunted like monsters. Instead you’re trying to contain escaped zoo animals, for lack of a better term.

Total Playtime – 0h 41m

The game is kind of on the short side. But to its credit, the Game Gear ate batteries faster than you could buy them, so it had to be a short game if you ever wanted to finish it. Despite the short playtime, they manage to pack a lot into the game to keep it exciting. Then the secret Tyrannosaurus stage added a lot of replay value to the game. Like I said earlier, I never managed to beat it as a kid, and without the extra lives I gave myself, I not sure I would have beaten it this time either.

Total Deaths – 9 Deaths

The bulk of the game is very easy. I had 3 deaths in the Pteranodon area all from bad jumps and falling down the bottomless pits. But those 3 deaths were my only deaths until the final secret T-Rex Section. Even there, I died once from those stupid lasers, and not again until I fought the T-Rex himself. Then of course it took 5 deaths and 3 med kits before I killed him. So really, the T-Rex was the only actual challenge of the whole game.

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I might be a bit biased towards this game since the Jurassic park movie is one of my favorites, but I love this game. Everything about it is just so much fun. The gameplay is great, as are the graphics. While the game is admittedly very easy, it’s not so easy to be boring. You still need to be on your toes or you’ll easily get blindsided. It does have a few flaws. The playtime is short, and the game is very linear, which might turn off the explorer types. Then considering this game is a Jurassic Park title and should be all about the dinosaurs, it’s a bit surprising how few you actually encounter. Even so, the seeming lack of dinosaurs never hurts the game any. At the end of the day Jurassic Park ends up being an entertaining adventure game and definitely one that would appeal to fans of the franchise. If you still know where your game gear is, consider adding Jurassic Park to your collection. You won’t be disappointed.

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The headlines read “Mass incompetence causes the death of dozens of Jurassic Park employees!”


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Ren and Stimpy: The Quest for the Shaven Yak

SNICK, The Big Orange Couch, All That, Ren and Stimpy, Are You Afraid of the Dark? I can’t remember a more important time block in my childhood life. I loved all those shows, and I wish I could find copies of them to watch now. They are all amazing pieces of nostalgia that I could write at length about, but right now we’re only going to focus on Ren and Stimpy.

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I love Ren and Stimpy, but it has always held some mixed emotions and mixed signals in my life. For some reason I never understood, my parents didn’t liked me watching it. They would still let me, but they weren’t happy about it. Sure it was a bit more violent than the other shows, but it was silly and crazy and I loved every second of it. Now that I’m older, I can see the jokes that went over my head as a kid, and I fully understand why my parents weren’t happy with it. It really is a rather disgusting show. That’s not even including the later seasons when it moved from Nickelodeon over to Spike TV and became “Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoons”. I’m an adult now with a child of my own, and I still don’t feel like I’m old enough to be watching that smut.

Before we jump into the game, I think we need a little back story. The game gets some inspiration or at least its kick off point, from one of the show’s short segments featuring Yak Shaving Day and The Great Shaven Yak. Yak Shaving Day is a holiday vaguely similar to Christmas where you hang dirty diapers from the walls, fill your dad’s boots with coleslaw, and leave a pot of shaving cream next to the bathroom sink in hopes The Great Shaven Yak will visit you in the night and leave shaving scum in your sink. Not the kind of holiday I would want to celebrate, but to each his own.


Stimpy enters the living room excitedly one day to find a new pair of shoes waiting on the floor. But they aren’t any normal shoes, in fact, they aren’t shoes at all, they’re hooves. These hooves belong to The Shaven Yak who must have left them by accident last Yak Shaving Day. They must return them or Yak Shaving Day will be ruined forever.

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You can choose to play as either Ren or Stimpy, and you are free to switch at the beginning of each level, so it’s not a major decision you’ll be stuck with. They play nearly identically, but they do each have a special move which makes some levels easier with one rather than the other. Ren is capable of jumping high into the air, allowing him access to higher areas that would be inaccessible to Stimpy. Stimpy on the other hand has a ground stomp ability that lets him break small branches and open secret areas that Ren can’t get to. In general I like to play as Stimpy since I like him more and also the branches are a little more obvious than the random higher ledges.

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death count: 1


Their journey north begins in The Blacker Than Black Forest, a rather bright and cheerful wooded area despite its name. Here you’ll encounter all sorts of woodland critters like squirrels, birds, and skunks. None of them present a serious threat, but they do show up in a rather high frequency.

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The only enemies that present any real challenge are the porcupines and the bears. Both are immobile, but they are also immortal, making them more of an obstacle than an enemy. The porcupines will throw out projectiles, and you have to time it just right to jump over them. The bears on the other hand will completely block your path, you need to attack until they start crying, then you can walk right past them.

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The levels themselves are rather easy and straight forward, but there are a large number of hidden objects and secret areas. As mentioned before, Stimpy’s ground stomp ability opens up several areas, but there are also hidden enchanted canoes that will carry you to high ledges that even Ren’s high jump wouldn’t be able to reach. With all these areas and items you’re rarely short on health, which you might have noticed in the top left corner is measured in rubber nipples. Who could possible dislike a game where your health is measured in nipples?

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death count: 3


The real challenge comes from the boss fights. I’m not sure exactly what it is we’re fighting, a bear? Or maybe it’s a wolverine? Either way, it moves fast, hits hard, and has a lot of health. Luckily, it has a predictable attack pattern. It might take a few tries before you recognize it, but once you do he becomes a push over.

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Survive the boss, and you’re treated to a short cut scene where Ren gets stung by a scorpion. I feel really stupid now, but when I was younger, it never clicked that Ren’s outburst of pain was anything other than just that. It’s actually the password so you can continue your game from the start of this stage. It’s a really clever way to mix the password into the game without it slowing down the pace any. It was just a little too clever for 8 year old me.

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The Stinking Dry Desert ramped up the difficulty pretty quickly compared to the forest. There are a lot more indestructible obstacles compared to the last stage. For the desert stages, many of the cacti have replaced the porcupines, launching projectiles that must be avoided. Apparently this desert is so hot the cacti are actually exploding. Or maybe you’d rather be killed by the undead cows throwing their bones at you.

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death count: 5


Not all of the obstacles are immobile though. There’s also a variety of tumble weeds and mini tornadoes going around ready to damage you. The tumble weeds are usually easy enough to avoid since they generally just roll straight towards you. Even when they do bounce they aren’t much harder to avoid. The tornados on the other hand can be a bit more troublesome. They are faster than the tumble weeds and seem much more intent on following you. How tiny sentient tornados can form in the first place is anyone’s guess, but there they are for the world to see.

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The regular enemies are trickier too. You’ll be attacked by plenty of vultures intent on laying their eggs right on your head. At least I hope those are eggs. There’s also occasionally refreshing glasses of lemonade that are actually just mirages. Once you get too close they’ll reveal themselves to have been scorpions all along.

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There are also several underground caves to explore, breaking up the pace nicely. These caves are full of immortal spiders lying in wait for someone to walk under them. The many stalactites on the cave roof also seem to be dripping oil. Curiously, many of these oil droplets seem to come to life, sprouting legs and walking after you.

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death count: 8


Survive the dangers of the desert, and you will come face to face with a spitting cobra as the stage’s boss. Maybe it’s just me, but the cobra wasn’t nearly as challenging as the previous boss. A rapid fire attack with just the minimal amount of dodging was enough to beat him.

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This brings us to The Stinking Wet Bayou. This time around, Ren tries to attack a giant mosquito about to drink Stimpy’s blood, but instead just manages to punch Stimpy in the nose. Poor Stimpy, he’s always being assaulted by Ren.

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death count: 13


I am a little disappointed that the mosquitoes in the levels weren’t the blue ones in the cut scene. Instead they are these giant eyed generic things flying around everywhere. The blue ones fit the style of the cartoon better and I could have sworn I remember seeing them in the show like that before. They make up for it a little by including mudskippers just like I remember from the show.

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They also went ahead and added crocostimpys, which are crocodiles that look surprisingly like Stimpy and have a call that sounds like the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” song. They’ve popped up randomly in the other levels, and I think they might have been bonuses, but I never managed to kill one, so I can’t really confirm what they do. Either way, I was happy with their inclusion since there have been so few direct show references so far.

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death count: 18


Avoid losing all your blood to the mosquitoes and you’ll eventually face the, um, leech? I think it’s a leech. Whatever it is, it gave me the hardest time of any of the bosses. It moves really fast and even knowing the attack was coming, I wasn’t always able to avoid it in time. The draw distance of the screen also played a part in making this level harder. It was short enough that if I waited to actually SEE if he was walking or lunging, I wouldn’t be able to react in time. Jump when he was walking, and I’d land on its head, wait till I could see the lunge and I wouldn’t be able to jump out of the way in time. His pattern also seemed the most random of any of the bosses. But a pattern is still a pattern, and once you get the rhythm, he’ll eventually go down just like the others.

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We’re getting close now as we climb The Perilous Mount Hoek. Unfortunately our team wasn’t paying attention and walked off a cliff. Will cartoon characters never learn to not walk off the edge of cliffs? At least gravity seems to ignore them until they notice it, and if I remember correctly, being distracted and forgetting your falling was the secret to flying.

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The laws of physics aren’t the only thing a bit questionable in these mountains. For some reason there seems to be a high number of mountain chickens and mountain crabs. That’s really the best they could think of? Mountain crabs?

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It just gets worse from there with mountain snails and whatever the hell those red things are. Seriously, they’re little red worm things with a single eye, and when you kill them, they don’t die. Instead they crunch up into a ball and start bouncing towards you. What are they even supposed to be?

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death count: 22


Eventually they just start throwing the whole arsenal at you by including the birds from the first level, the vultures from the second levels, and the blue mosquitoes from the cut scene. Where were you guys the whole last stage? If you’re going to be enemies now why were those other mosquitoes filling in for you before?

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death count: 30


My mosquito complaints aside, eventually you’ll come face to face with a crazy lumberjack. I haven’t quite decided if he’s amazingly good or bad at his job because I don’t think I saw a single tree on this mountain. So either there never were any trees, and he should go to the blacker than black woods, or he is so good that he chopped down every tree on the whole mountain. Regardless, he is psychotic and somehow mastered the aerodynamically impossible ability to throw an ax like a boomerang.

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It’s the final stretch. We’ve made it all the way to The Great Frozen North. All that’s left now is to find out where exactly the Shaven Yak lives. That is, if these icicles don’t kill our heroes first.

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death count: 36


This is where the game really cranked it up to 11. The enemies aren’t really anything that bad. But there are giant snowballs rolling around everywhere, making some areas nearly impossible to get through without taking a decent amount of damage. This was the only part of the whole game that made me feel like rage quitting.

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There are also immortal polar bears blocking your path at seemingly every turn. They can’t be killed, and unlike the regular bears, they can’t be stunned either. All you can do is try to jump over them. Even with the high ledges over then, this is sometimes easier said than done.

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death count: 39


This brings us to the final boss of the game, the Abominable Snowman. At first, I thought he was the hardest, near indestructible, almost cheatingly impossible boss the game had to throw at me. That’s because there appears to be only a single point in his whole attack pattern when he is even capable of taking damage. Any other time your attacks will just pass right through him. Once you notice and accept this though, he becomes the easiest of all the bosses, you just have to be patient. But I wasn’t disappointed. Yes he was easy, but you still have to watch his pattern and keep it up while you slowly drain his health or you will still die. Because of this, I truly felt like I had beaten him with pure skill rather than largely luck like the other bosses. It let me end the game with a real sense of accomplishment.



Having finally found The Shaven Yak, returned his hooves, and saved Yak Shaving Day for everyone, there’s only one thing left to do. Dance to the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” song, then fly back home in the Shaven Yak’s enchanted canoe.


Gameplay – 8 / 10

The game is just as much fun to play now as I remember it. The controls are simple and well executed. And the level designs are varied enough to keep it entertaining. They’re a little too easy, which causes a noticeable contrast when you finally make it to the boss fights. While the bosses do have fairly rigid attack patterns, they aren’t immediately obvious, and will take several attempts before you figure the pattern out. Followed by several more attempts to find a suitable counter attack. However, because of the rigidness of the pattern, I never felt cheated when they killed me. It was all part of the learning process.

Graphics – 7 / 10

The graphics were great for the system. Ren and Stimpy look fantastic, as do most of the enemies. I can’t really complain about what is presented, but rather the missed opportunity. I remember the show having several nature mockumentary episodes that introduced a variety of random animals what would have fit nicely in the game, so it’s a bit disappointing that nearly all the enemies are generic animals. Also it was kind of odd that the crab enemies seemed to be reused in every stage, even if it made no sense for there to be crabs in those areas.

Audio – 9 / 10

They did a wonderful job with the soundtrack, recreating as best they could several iconic songs from the show like the main theme, the Muddy Mudskipper Song, and Happy Happy Joy Joy. Even with the limited quality of the system, any fan of the show should be able to recognize them without trouble. They also used one of my favorite classical songs “Night on Bald Mountain” as the boss battle music. While these songs were all reused in each stage as opposed to stage specific songs, I can’t really fault it because I enjoyed it all the same. They are catchy songs that draw you into the game and make it more enjoyable.

Story – 7 / 10

The story, weak as it is, is still the perfect level of crazy to match the show. It explained the different locations as simply part of their journey across the globe trying to find the Shaven Yak. Add in the short cut scenes between levels, and it became a fun journey to save Yak Shaving Day.

Total Playtime – 1h 42m

It’s a rather short game, but a very enjoyable one.

Total Deaths – 39 Deaths

The enemies, though numerous, were rarely any frustration. Most of these deaths were from fighting the bosses, and the others were typically from falling down bottomless pits for an instant death.

Overall Score – 8 / 10

I really love this game. The levels are fun, the bosses are challenging, and the music is catchy. Plus the passwords at the start of each new stage saves you from having to constantly replay the early stages, thus avoiding one of the biggest frustrations of retro games. It’s not perfect, and if you’re not already a fan of the show, you admittedly might find it a bit generic. Fans of the show however should find it to be a truly enjoyable experience, even if the true show tie-ins are a bit few and far between.

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