Title : Aero the Acro-Bat
Publisher : Sunsoft
Genre : Platformer
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1993
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $6-$7
Ah, the 90's. The generation in which gaming different publishers tried to push a whole symphony of new and potential mascots for their brand. Some worked, most didn't. We all remember what happened to Bubsy. But here's another victim of the ill-fated "mascot-wars" (oooh, just thought of another blog idea because of this). It was entertaining how they tried so hard to make up some cool new anthropomorphic mascots, but most of them ended up just being completely abysmal.
Sunsoft was looking to make greater strides into the platforming market, and they thought they were clever by coming up with a little critter known as Aero, the Acro-BAT. Get it? Acro-BAT. Because he's a BAT..and he does acrobats. *sighs* This is just so sad. I didn't think he was "cool" then and he certainly isn't cool now. And sunglasses don't help, especially when you work for the circus.
As you guessed it, this platformer is all about flying around and jumping in circus-esque environments, controlling these freaky little bat with a Fonzy style haircut. I admit, I played the game a few times when I was younger, although I believe it was for the SNES. I don't particularly remember enjoying it much back then, but there's no harm in trying it again now after many, many years.
It's up to you Acro-Bat. Impress me!
You've got around four worlds to traverse through in Aero the acrobat, with about five levels in each world. The trick is with these levels, it's not all about just getting to the end of the screen. You need to accomplish a series of tasks within each level before the "exit warp" is revealed. They'll either tell you have to jump through a bunch of hoops, land on certain platforms, or collect a certain number of items.
The whole objective thing actually forced you to hold your interest as nothing was ever straight forward. Each level posed a new challenge.
As you would expect, you've got enemies and environmental hazards blocking your every move. Giant gaps, spike pits, enemies that hurl projectiles at you, or enemies that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. All you would expect from another platformer. As for weapons? You can fling some stars at em, or just pile drive em into the ground as your flying in the air.
That one was always more fun.
Of course, you've got some boss fights, which are surprisingly challenging considering the rest of the game is easy. And I'm just saying the game is easy because it seems like it's throwing you an endless supply of lives and power ups throughout the level. They don't make them hard to find and you basically just stumble upon them. It's pretty hard to die unless you purposefully throw yourself down pits, or crash into enemies as you rush through the stage.
Graphics aren't too shabby, although the game seems to "blur" a bit and nothing is as crisp as I would like it in terms of graphics. Compared to Sonic, which was beautiful, this doesn't really come close. Music was entertaining though, and gives off that "circus" vibe. Felt like I was in a carnival the whole time playing it.
While the game is entertaining, the nail in the coffin is the horrendous controls. You've got that slip and slide effect tormenting you as you try to make tricky jumps. I can't stress enough how important decent controls are to a game. If you can't move your character to where you want it to go with a flick of the directional pad, you've got some serious issues.
Oh - and I hate time limits....but other than that, pretty enjoyable, just hate the mascot lol.