With Level Up’s one year anniversary coming up, I thought I would take this time to talk about the game that made me decide to start all of this. Yes, this whole podcast and show was started after having played one particular game: Felix the Cat for the NES. I had never heard of this game before and actually wanted to share my thoughts about it with people. I also had to come up with an audio feature for my college course at the same time, so this seemed only natural. So this week, I’m talking about the game that made me start Level Up, Felix the Cat for the Nintendo entertainment system.
The first thing I noticed about this game was the graphics. I was half expecting some awfully coloured mess of pixels, but I was really impressed. The colours are really vibrant and the sprites are the perfect size: big enough so you have some details in them, but they don’t take more space then what they need. Like with Dr. Mario, this game was released late in the NES’ life (1992 to be exact) and is almost on par with its graphics. The music in this game is also really good, having an upbeat and care free overtone, much like Felix himself. One superficial aspect I don’t like though are the sound effects: the jumping one gets annoying quickly and the one for collecting items sounds more like an alarm. There are a lot more bad ones in the game, those are just the two you hear the most frequently.
As with Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu, I find the gameplay in this platformer very smooth. It’s fair to point out that they were both published and developed by the same company: Hudson Soft. In this game, you seem to slide a bit more then you did in Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu, which makes it easy to run into enemies by accident, but even easier to hit enemies with an attack while sliding.
One of the main attractions of this game is Felix’s power ups. There are these Felix head icons everywhere in the game, and every time your amount hits number ending in 0, a heart comes out. Collect this, and Felix gets another power up (which also indicated how many hits he can take). On land, he goes from using a punch glove, to surrounding himself in stars, to a one wheeled car with a killer horn and his final power up is a tank. This is awesome. Cause he’s a cat and driving TANK. (Family Guy: Did I mention the tank’s a tank?) Also, I mentioned that it’s only on land he has those particular upgrades, because Felix has some flying and water based levels, each with their different power ups. These levels play out differently and are an occasional and refreshing change.
My one major problem with this game is that it is too easy. Honestly, the first time I played this game, I beat it in like an hour and I never saw the continue screen. One thing that makes this really easy is the fact that, when you’re a tank (Bobby Lee: TTANK!), every heart you collect gives you a life. The other reason this game is so easy is because most of the enemies are easily avoided cause they’re small and don’t use projectile attacks often (unlike Felix, and his car kitty tank). Some of the enemies in the flying levels do use ranged attacks, but you can just go under them. But here’s how dying can become easy: if you die, you have the weapon that it is the hardest to kill enemies with and one hit will kill you (and like I said, its more than possible to accidentally slide into enemies). Still, this game is so easy that’s not hard to avoid a few enemies until you get at least 10 Felix heads and power up.
What can I say about Felix the Cat except that it’s good fun but far too easy. But hey, that’s not really a big issue. This game is probably underrated for several reasons. First off is its timing; it came out when the Nintendo was dying. Secondly is the subject: you have to admit, Felix is rather old and a little obscure for more people. Finally, this game is slightly rare because of its timing, so not talked about often, despite being awesome enough to give a tank to a cat! (Nostalgia Critic: CCCAAAATTTT) All and all, this game was interesting enough to make me have to start a series of video game reviews, so I think that should say something. I give Felix the Cat for the Nintendo Entertainment system 8.5 levels out of 10.