SYSTEM SMACK-DOWN: Garfield: Caught in the Act (Game Gear, Genesis)

garfield

Ever since his debut on the daily papers in 1978, Garfield has went on to earn a status as one of the most instantly recognizable and beloved cartoon characters of all time. In addition to this, he’s also made the rounds in almost every form of media, including television shows, movies, and of course, video games.

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Developed and published in 1995 for the Game Gear and Genesis by Paws Inc., Novotrade International, and Sega, Caught in the Act revolves around the titular character as he finds himself trapped inside of a television set, his only hope of escaping being some good-old fashioned action platforming throughout several programs. With that out of the way, which version is the most deserving of the lasagna-loving feline’s name? Let’s find out, shall we?

Garfield - Caught in the Act (U)

ROUND ONE: THE LOOKS

GAME GEAR – One of the main reasons why the Game Gear ultimately died off and faded into obscurity was that a good handful of the titles released for it were pretty sloppy looking, ESPECIALLY when Sega began to wind down operations on it and the Genesis (the period when both games were released). For starters, the character sprites as a whole aren’t that great, as they’re extremely pixelated even for 8-bit standards. While you can still tell which characters from the comics and cartoons are supposed to be which, the sprites could be better. The backgrounds, while resembling what type of program they’re supposed to be based on, are nothing special, as they look as equally as unprofessional with a simplistic aesthetic.

GENESIS – One thing that’s worth noting about the graphics in this version is that in a similar fashion to The Lion King, the graphics were done by the creators themselves, this case being Paws Inc., who are responsible for the character sprites and animations, while the backgrounds and some other sprites were done by Sega. All in all, the efforts by both culminate in what is possibly one of the best-looking titles that the Genesis has to offer, right up there with the first three Sonic games and Earthworm Jim. The character sprites look like they leaped right out of some of the strips, with their animations being fluid, smooth, and appropriately cartoonish. The backgrounds are also great, as they help to suit the mood and theme of each stage. But if there is one thing that I have to ask…why exactly are the items and some of the sprites in 3D? I mean, in Donkey Kong Country it worked because it was done entirely in 3D, but in here they kind of stick out like a sore thumb amongst what is mostly a 2D game. Whatever, let’s try not to stray off-topic.

WINNER – GENESIS

ROUND TWO: THE SOUND

I just have to say that in this category, I won’t be comparing the sound of two versions. The reason why is because that they’re honestly on the same level on mediocrity, the only difference being that the Genesis one has significantly more advanced sound quality. While they do fit the levels, the tracks don’t exactly get me in the mood for platforming as much as they just kind of bore me a bit. This will most likely be the only time I do this in a SSD article, though.

WINNER – NEITHER

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ROUND THREE: THE GAMEPLAY

GAME GEAR – Looking back on the Game Gear nowadays, I feel like one of the most glaring problems that it had was that a lot of the titles released for it were pretty bland and forgettable, with this version most certainly being one of them. Aside from the somewhat muddy controls, the level design brings nothing new to the table, getting as generic as generic can possibly get. The camera is also way too close, which can make telling where you’ll land after a jump a mind-numbingly difficult task. You know, given Garfield’s personality, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this version was designed and programmed by him.

GENESIS – While the Game Gear version is just plain bad, the Genesis is a bit more middling. At one moment, the stages can be tediously designed and suffer from a bad case of cheap difficulty, but at another, they can actually be pretty fun and even a bit imaginative. As for the controls in this version, they’re pretty good, though they could use a bit more refinement. The most glaring issue with this version that I feel needs to be addressed however is the collision detection, which might just be some of the worst that I’ve seen in a while.

WINNER…KINDA – GENESIS

THE RETR0PIA RANKINGS:

GAME GEAR – D

GENESIS – C+

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AND VICTORY (SORT OF) GOES TO…THE GENESIS VERSION!

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3 thoughts on “SYSTEM SMACK-DOWN: Garfield: Caught in the Act (Game Gear, Genesis)

  1. Paws Inc, haha. I never had a Game Gear, but I don’t think I missed out too much. I did envy the color back before the Game Boy Color days, but it seems like it didn’t help the battery life or the games themselves in this case. Then again, licensed games weren’t always good. Haha at Garfield designing the Game Gear version. Good System Smack-Down as always! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

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