Genre: Platformer Developer: Kaneko Publisher: Kaneko Players: 1 Released: 1993
Here it is! Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest, the game that no one wanted to provide coverage for. Yes, I decided that I had looked at this game enough and wanted to put it out of its misery and write a review for it once and for all, as I think most would be very afraid to spend enough time with it to properly review it. I’ll admit that I had to arm myself with a Game Genie to conquer this terrible game, but I did and played it through and thankfully lived to write another day. I have to start this review by saying that I don’t understand all the love that so many have towards Kaneko as a company and its games. I know that it released a couple of good titles in its lifetime but most were pretty mediocre and some of them, like Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest, are just flat out poor.
This game was released back in a time when every developer had to have a mascot or a marketable character for its games, hence why we ended up with Mario, Sonic, and Bonk. Everyone else wanted to follow suit and we got characters like Chester Cheetah, Bubsy, Cool Spot, Socket and even James Pond. Kaneko decided to take the easy route and cash in by creating a character off of a brand name of snacks. It created a duo of games with Chester Cheetah as the main character.
Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest is a poor game no matter what marketable character it got stuck with. I won’t bother with explaining the plot but will say that it’s a total cut and paste job of each and every other game of this type that needed a story to make it work. The game takes place across ten stages that are punned names of cities across the USA such as Lostin Texas (Austin), Little Shock Arkansas (Little Rock) and Numb Alaska (Gnome). Let me tell you that this game is tough- really, really tough, and I don’t know how they expected anyone to complete it without cheating. Each level is rather short, and you simply have explore them enough to find a piece of a map, bop a few enemies on their head, collect a few bonus items, possibly find an item to enter a vehicle based bonus stage and find the exit sign and fight a boss.
Each and every sprite is huge, taking up a large footprint on the screen and leaving you with little reaction time when it comes to avoiding enemies. You’ll kill an enemy and move an inch, just to have it respawn out of nowhere and kill you. You’ll jump on a spring and fly into the air and hit an enemy you couldn’t see and die… die, die, die over and over again with the game’s one hit deaths. Yes it’s true that you can find a bag of Cheetos which will allow Chester to take an extra hit, but it doesn’t help that much overall. The collision detection is poor as well adding to the frustration. Chester’s movement is very loose and slippery; it can often times be very unresponsive and even glitchy. I’ve had times when I’m playing and he won’t hang on platforms, will land not on a platform like he should but be standing with his feet halfway through it or even fall right through. You can tell that they didn’t spend much time polishing this game up at all. On top of all of that, the world map is annoying to navigate since they made the controls for it so clunky.
The graphics and music are about the only thing that the programmers spent any time with here. The graphics, while too overly bright and gaudy, are at least decent. Chester is animated very nicely, and while the enemies are animated well they are usually pretty bland and generic. The level backgrounds are reasonably nice-looking but lack any real variety and also come off as generic. I found the sound effects to be very cheap-sounding and boring, but the music was at least easy to listen to with its funky blues and jazz sound to it. As long as you leave the grating boss music out of the equation the soundtrack is generally fair but very twangy, like a lot of other cheap Genesis games sound.
As a whole Chester Cheetah: Wild Wild Quest is a total failure. It has some of the most shallow gameplay I’ve ever seen in a platformer and is very derivative of other games of the time. The boss fights are incredibly derivative of several of the Robotnik battles in many of the Sonic games but are sloppy and boring. The last boss is also a total letdown. He’s strangely the easiest boss and stage in the game, and I never died once on him. That’s a rather poor way to end the game if you ask me. The game’s stupid, sloppy difficulty will keep almost everyone from this game just as it should. I hope my falling on the grenade by writing this review will convince all of you to stay far, far away from this train wreck of a game! You have been warned!!
SCORE: 2 out of 10