Platform: Sega Genesis
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer
No. of Players: 1 player
By: Sophie Cheshire
It's 1980. Imagine a little tiny junior Sophie, six years old and loves orange food. Orange lollies, orange squash and orange cheesy poof style crisps. Alas, in those far off days food manufacturers would stuff lots of chemical food colourings into their products to entice kiddies to eat them up. Why alas? Well because Sophie is allergic to artificial orange food colourings E102, E104, and E110. This allergy took the form of extreme hyperactivity. So for several years little junior Sophie drove her parents crazy with her manic behaviour. Luckily this allergy was discovered and for the rest of the eighties Sophie's snack intake was carefully monitored. Anything with artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives were banned from her diet. That's what you get for having hippies for parents I suppose, exposure to lentils waaaay before they were fashionable.
Anyway, this little introductory tale has some purpose. Yes, Chester Cheetah 2: Wild Wild Quest is a game starring the eponymous mascot of Cheesy Poof-style maize/corn snack - Cheetos. I love Cheetos. Now that I'm a grown up, I can eat whatever the hell I like and artificial orange food figures highly in my diet again. So what if I get an uncontrollable desire to climb the wallpaper and a strange high pitched buzzing sound in my left ear? It's better than drugs, I can tell you! In the game a bag of Cheetos has life giving properties. Chester only has to collect a bag to restore a life when killed. An excellent idea, shame in real life it doesn't work like that. It's also a shame that a game based on such a fine a cheese-based crunchy delicacy is so darn average in every respect.
Basically the plot starts off with Chester cruising on his motorcycle. He informs us that he broke out of the Four Corners Zoo and was on his way to Hip City when his enemy ''Mean Eugene'' stole his map to Hip City and tore it up, scattering all the pieces across the USA. Now you have to guide Chester through the various cities of the USA to collect the map (yes, it's another side-scrolling platform game). You can choose from several levels at the beginning and as you collect the map pieces you can unlock new cities. You don't actually have to collect all the 10 map pieces to get to Hip City, but you get an extra cool ending of you do. You must search each level for the missing map pieces, collect as many single paw shaped cheesy snacks as possible and also any full bags of Cheetos, which act as an extra life and resurrect you if you die.
The controls are fairly standard for this sort of thing. Chester behaves much like Sonic. He can jump and also do a super jump by holding down and pressing jump. He can do a super-fast turbo run and kills enemies by bouncing on their heads. The graphics are rather nice. Chester is very well animated and has a lot of character, but he's probably the best thing about the game. The levels are decent but very generic and so are the enemies. Just your bog - standard animal type attackers. You know the thing, psychotic pigs, nasty birds, evil sharks. All stuck on pre-programmed paths. The bosses are slightly more imaginative. One of the first being a huge fat lady in beachwear you have to bounce on. The sound is pretty poor, some chintzy tuneless midi music and muffled, weedy sound effects. Really annoying after a while, and the ''pling'' sound as you collect a cheesy snack is identical to the Sonic ring-pling.
The main trouble is the levels are all so very, VERY small. It's easy to get half-way through the game in about fifteen minutes. It's upsetting that in order to make the game more challenging the collision detection has been made appalling and baddies are placed in very cheap places. Often you have to make Chester leap across or up the screen without being able to see where you are going and if you do make the jump first time you'll usually get knocked back by an enemy placed in exactly the spot you are meant to land in.
So although the game is generally pretty easy, the duff controls and ropey gameplay can make it more frustrating in later levels where you'll find yourself jumping for platforms and landing only to fall right through the scenery. The trouble is with this game is apart from the Cheesy Poof angle, there is little that distinguishes this game from a hundred other similar side scrolling platformers on the Mega Drive/Genesis system. Its not hugely bad, it's just mediocre. The noble orange cheesy poof deserves a better game than this.