Greetings, retr0pians. Who DOESN’T love Cheetos? They’re crunchy, deliciously cheesy, and they are represented by a character who has had what is quite frankly one of the most bizarre reboots ever conceived.
Now, with that said, is there a person who would love Cheetos so much to the point that they’d wish that there was a game based off of them? Because that’s what I’m wondering judging by the existence of today’s subject alone.
Developed by System Visions and published for the Sega Genesis in 1993 by Kaneko, and based off of a proposed but never-aired cartoon series, the game follows the exploits of the titular cool cat as he searches for pieces of a motorcycle to escape from the zoo holding him captive. Will this game leave me with a good, cheesy taste in my mouth, or will it just make me want to go on a strict junk food-free diet? Let’s find out, shall we?
THE LOOKS – The graphics are…okay. Not mind-blowing, not eye-melting. Just okay. In terms of redeeming factors, the character sprites and level backgrounds are very stylized, giving off a vibrant and cartoonish look to them. Unfortunately, they are also rather simplistic in their execution which causes them to look a bit sloppy and unprofessional, especially when compared to Genesis games that came before and after it. But you wanna know what the worst part about this is? This is probably the best thing about this game compared to what’s next…
THE SOUND – UGH… I don’t know whether or not if System Visions had a strict deadline to port everything over from the SNES to the Genesis, but the music here just sounds…bad. While the composition does have somewhat of a catchy beat to it, the overall execution of how it sounds it just grating on the ears! In fact, compare the music of the Genesis version above to the original version on the SNES below:
Not only is it less loud and thus less grating on the ears, it also sounds far less sluggish. The differences are as striking as night and day. It might not be the worst that the Genesis has to offer in audio capabilities, but it’s still a major misuse of the system’s sound chip.
FUN FACT: In this game, there is no mention of the actual Cheetos snack whatsoever.
THE GAMEPLAY – As if the laughably simplistic graphics and obnoxious music weren’t already enough of a bad first impression, the gameplay comes in to hammer it all down, leaving you with a generic, lifeless, and all-around unenjoyable experience. Right off the bat, the first major issue is Chester himself. While his controls are acceptable, it’s the pacing of his speed that’s sticking out like a sore thumb. He’s slow. Really, really, really, slow. In fact, Chester is so dang slow that even some of the turtles move faster than he does! Now I’m no animal expert, but aren’t cheetahs supposed to be, oh I don’t know, THE FASTEST LAND ANIMALS IN THE WORLD? And although there are sneakers that can make you go faster, they really aren’t that useful. Secondly, the level design. Now usually I don’t mind games being linear at all: in fact, some of my favorite video game franchises like Crash Bandicoot are well-known for their linear structure. But what really irks me about the level design is that it’s simply TOO linear with barely any variety to keep whoever would want to play this’ attention. Thirdly, during the levels, you can find a guitar. When you pick it up, you start playing a solo and dancing. Why exactly is this a problem, you may ask? Well, whenever you’re playing the guitar, you can’t move. Like, at all. This is made all the more frustrating during the bridge level (you’ll know what I mean when you get there). Lastly, the gameplay itself is so cliche and so uninteresting that by the time the 25 minutes (No, I am NOT making that up) it takes to beat this game are up, you’ll probably have already drifted to sleep by then. I never really expected great quality from a Cheetos game, but almost everything about this trash heap falls into the “Corporate Sell-Out” category so badly that it just feels like no one really cared.
THE BOTTOM LINE – Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool is yet another example of why making games based off of already existing properties can be a terrible idea 94% of the time. The graphics are passable but feel cheaply done, the music is bad and difficult to listen to, and the gameplay brings a whole new meaning to the words “sluggish” and “boring”. I highly recommend that you don’t “fool” yourself into playing this game.