Genre: Platformer Developer: Sunsoft Publisher: Sunsoft Players: 1 Released: 1993
During the Genesis’ heyday, it seemed all Companies wanted was their own “Sonic,” a character to call their own and to make them lots of cash. During this period, it was a matter of “quantity” over “quality” and Aero the Acrobat is the best example of this.
The story is very simple, Aero must stop the mad scientist Edgar Ektor, who is trying to rid the world of amusement and “fun.” Not really the most interesting story ever but these games are not remembered for their plots, they are remembered because of their game play, something which this game lacks very much.
Aero sets itself up in “acts”, with levels in each act. The first act is in the circus (which you would have known from the Title screen). In it, the player faces clowns, lots of clowns; evil clowns, evil flying clowns, evil elf clowns, and evil metal jacket clowns who throw little balls at the player…right. There are also spikes you must dodge. To defend yourself, you can do a spin jump attack, or collect and throw stars at them (not “cool bad ass ninja stars, but nice golden stars), you also have “A” health icons (Think of them like hearts, lose them and you die), You also die on contact with spikes or if you fall into the abyss.
Now, you may be saying to yourself “That seems interesting enough, I could maybe enjoy it” and I would agree with you, until the controls take over, and things go downhill. After you jump, you push B and the D pad to do a spinning move to get rid of the bad guys. This move, however, only works half the time and you’ll end up doing one of the following: hit the bad guy, miss altogether, think you hit the bad guy but end up getting hurt, or miss and fall on a set of spikes. You can try to use the stars I mentioned, which do help, but usually you won’t have any left or you will forget about them altogether. The kill on contact spikes will become friends of yours, as you will always seem to fall on them. The game allows you to build up a good amount of speed, but this only makes you run into the spikes, which stops you on the spot, or makes you go flying uncontrollably off the. There are many ways to get hurt in this game, making it very unfair for the player. There were times when I said to myself “What! I know I hit him!” or “What is with those damn spikes?” Now, you may try to take your time and go slow, but there’s a time limit, so don’t go too slow or that’s the end of you.
The level design is often very poor as well and it’s easy to get lost or hit the spikes and get sent back to the beginning. I once went into a special “warp ring” which sent me to a part of the level with extra goods like heath and lives, However, I could not find a way out, and ended up getting killed on a set of spikes (surprise!). The game has food items which can be collected for bonus points, which serve no purpose at all. Worse yet, if you lose all of your lives, you lose a continue and also get sent, not to the start of the level but to the start of the act, making it very hard to get through some acts.
The Sound and music in the game is horrible. The music tries to sound very “Halloweenish,” but is so bad you will set the game on mute from the get go. The sounds effects, such as Aero getting hurt, also get on the players nerves. The graphics are so-so, not cutting edge great, but they won’t make your eyes bleed in terror either. There are some interesting environments later on but because the game is so hard, you won’t be able to see them!
Overall, Aero the Acrobat is not very good. This is a title that was made in the heyday of companies wanting a mascot to make a quick buck. The controls all but kill this game, as well as some of the weird game play and level design choices.