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Developer Accolade Options
Distributer Telstar 1-2 Players
Game Type 3D Platform Mem. Card
Review Date November'97
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Setting the Scene
Platform games are presently undergoing a major transformation as developers attempt to haul this age old genre into the next generation.

Early attempts on the PSX saw the easy option used as 2D conversions rained down on the consumer by the bucket load. Lomax returned, as did Earthworm Jim. Appearances were also put in from Rayman and Gex, but nothing suggested that the power of the Playstation was even being remotely stretched. In fact Mickey's Wild Adventure was almost a straight port.

This time last year we finally saw just what Sony's 'little grey box' was capable of as two cracking titles appeared on the scene to brighten up the gloomy winter months. Crash Bandicoot was hailed as Sony's flagship character amid mass promotion and publicity and passed the test with flying colors. Crystal Dynamics' Pandemonium crept quietly onto the shelves and still ranks as the most playable platform to date - in my books anyway. Both included 3D lead characters, intelligent camera angles and multiple choice routes. However, with all this 3D trickery you were still confined to the rails and could not venture anywhere within each of the worlds. For this we would have to wait another 12 months. That was then, this is now.

Some years ago a likeable little Bob Cat crawled out of his alley to take on the might of the 16 bit MegaDrive platform heroes.

After a short vacation he returns as the Earth is once again under threat and it is up to Bubsy to take charge and defeat those evil nose shooting, rock throwing woolies. But forget those old 'run left, run right' games of yesteryear because Bubsy the flying bobcat is no longer just adventuring in two dimensions. With a unique and mind blowing true 3D engine, Bubsy 3D allows you to jump, fly, slide and spin into every nook and cranny of 18 enormous 360 degree worlds. Yep, the fully three dimensional platform has finally arrived.

My first impressions were that this looked cool and I couldn't wait to investigate the full 360° surroundings of the polygon landscape. All around were brightly colored mountain ranges, checkered islands surrounded by deep blue seas and high above into the martian sky were platforms spiraling above your head. It was like being in cartoon world and reminded me of Jumping Flash, but that's no bad thing.

Bubsy is viewed from behind and bares a striking resemblance to a certain Bandicoot whose name has slipped me (yeah!). You will either love him or hate him but you cannot ignore him.

Just leave him standing for a moment and you will begin to appreciate how the animators have brought this animal to life. He never stands still. Arms stretch out, head glancing all around, shoulders shrugging. Then it's hands on hip, foot tapping, before providing the cheekiest glance over his shoulder that you have ever seen. Leaving him waiting too long and you are transported to dream land for some superb animated movies. He's like a little Charlie Chaplin, I tell you.

I suppose Bubsy is not the first PSX game that can slightly disorientate your vision but the jump buttons take a little getting used to. Moving him forward provides a little puff of dust as he hurries off while a strafe action sees him perform a sideways hop. Jumping is essential to platform games and for this the Bob Cat can perform a straight leap/grab/pull up action or a dive/float/grab motion. Now these are fine for manoeuvering Bubsy around the masses of platforms that litter the skies but the unintelligent camera follows his every step, launching high above on his rise before rapidly falling on his fall. This can leave you feeling a little off balance if you bound around in too much of a hurry.

Sounds and Effects
As I mentioned earlier you may or may not take to Bubsy's mannerisms and this point is forced by his constant one liners and chatter. His squeaky voice sounds similar to Bugs 'that wabbit' Bunny and delivers repeated quotes throughout the game in a style could drive some people up the wall but the kids should love it.

The music is a selection of slapstick sounds that would easily slot into any Warner cartoon.

There are eighteen levels to plough through with each hiding a few secret areas. Sixteen of these hold two rockets and should Bubsy find them all he is guaranteed a free ride back to Earth. Levels can be completed without both rockets but Bubsy may find his journey home cut short.

The game has an excellent learning curve which uses large red question marks, giant arrows and telescopes. Touching the question mark will pause the game to offer some helpful hints to get you underway. The arrows are a constant reminder of which direction you are heading and avoids backtracking which can be annoying. Telescopes allow you to peek over certain walls to where secrets are hidden. Working out how to get there is a different matter.

Bubsy 3D tries to stray from the usual platform format by scattering 200 atoms around each level. Now normally you would expect your character to collect a certain number of these to gain an extra life but by holding down the square button when collected, these atoms become an extremely useful weapon which can be launched at those pesky enemies the Woolies.

The usual array of power ups are available that render Bubsy invisible, invincible and give extra lives. Each will be welcome due to the fact that there are over 16 baddies lurking around every corner.

Many useful objects are spread throughout each world. Teleporters warp Bubsy to new areas. Propellers power him hundreds of feet into the air. Switches unlock closed rooms and activate alternative transport.

Bubsy rarely keeps his paws on the ground as most of the levels require him to negotiate tricky moving platforms. Transport is also available such as the rocket cars which he must ride to new locations and then leap into another before it comes crashing down to the ground.

Some of the levels are underwater where new skills must be learned. Oxygen must be constantly topped up by collection of tanks which provide 100 seconds of air. The jump button now allows him to swim, ducking is substituted by diving and the power to float becomes a torpedo attack.

Bosses are dispersed throughout the game and a fair amount of thought is needed before you can begin to destroy them.

Bubsy also includes a two player mode where one player controls Bubsy who must race around and collect as many points as possible. The other player controls a big gun which is used to shoot down and stop Bubsy.

Value for Money
Ample levels, loads of enemies, varying landscapes and secrets galore. So Bubsy must be a sure fire winner? Well it is if you like your platforms tough.

There is an awful amount of leaping over moving platforms above hazardous areas where one slip will result in certain death. This can soon border on the frustrating if, like me, you like to bound along at a fair old pace. Fortunately falling onto a solid surface will not damage your character and there are plenty of save/restart points around the game. If you fancy a challenge then give Bubsy 3D a go, but be warned it is not easy.

GRAPHICS: 12/20 I loved the main character with his repetoire of moves and little idiosyncracies. The gameplay was a little too frustrating for me but there will be many masochists out there who will rise to the challenge. The bouncing camera also had me feeling a little disorientated on more than a few occasions. Continuous play over long periods cannot be recommended. It's early days in the fully three dimensional platform market and Accolade have provided a worthy attempt but I feel sure better will follow.
SOUND: 18/20
VALUE: 12/20

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