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Vaunted Sonic-beater. *yawn* Fast-paced gameplay. *yawn* Edgy, quirky personality. *yawn* Licensing deal to sell unhealthy crap (in this case Chuppa Chups) to kids. Zzzzzzzzzz…
Oh Zool, you couldn’t even be original in your approach to unoriginality, could you? As excited as our Amiga-owning friends became when showing off their own perceived answer to Sonic and Mario, the fact is that the smiles of enthusiasm we showed were just a desperate front to hide our increasingly frantic minds’ race to find a subtle and tactful way of asking to put Alien Breed back on.
Bonus Zool fact: Zool actually made it into a fairly unsuccessful coin-op following his computer and console debuts. Street Fighter II was also a coin-op, but it was much better.
You might look upon that title screen below and wonder why cartoon pirate Havoc is on this list. He’s not overtly offensive. He’s well designed. In fact he looks like quite a pleasant young chap. But if you look at his game in action, you’ll see the most flagrant Sonic rip-off of a decade ruled by flagrant Sonic rip-offs.
We feel sorry for Havoc, we really do. In another game, in another time, he could have been a star. But being forced into the most brazen case of daylight inspiration ever to sully the ‘90s tainted him, leaving him as nothing more than a heavily denounced also-ran (literally). It’s even sadder when you consider that his game was actually really well made for one of its type. Damn shame.
Last we heard he was living in disgrace, making his living on the streets and darkened corners of Vegas. Don’t ask how.
Bonus Havoc fact: Although fairly non-specific of character design, Havoc is apparently a seal. Contrary to this game’s conceit, seals do not need ships to navigate the sea.
Think of the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Think of the most horrible flesh-eating disease you’ve ever heard of. Think of someone clicking a pen for 16 hours straight, right next to your ear. Think of being skinned alive and dipped in vinegar. Take all of those dark, soul-wrenching thoughts, bundle them up into one ball of searing despair, sculpt that ball into the shape of a bobcat, and you’ve got something half as horrible as Bubsy.
In 1993, he was the most hyped thing since organised religion. He was going to be a Sonic beater. He was going to be a Mario beater. He was going to be more fun than your best friend and 18 times as awesome as cake. What he actually was was a loud, obnoxious, self-aggrandising wanker who thought that being a loud, obnoxious, self-aggrandising wanker equated to cool. And boy, did he like trying to be cool.
Even better, his games were unlikeable, uncontrollable and borderline unplayable, and had the horrible pilot for his horrible cartoon show made it to a whole series, it would have ushered in a new world order of darkness and decay that would have made Gozer look like an amateur.
Bonus bobcat fact: Although a wild animal, the bobcat shares certain traits with all cats, in that it is generally a solitary animal and marks its territory with faeces and urine. This explains both Bubsy’s obnoxious, attention-seeking personality and the huge piles of dump he left in game cartridges worldwide.
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