Spot: The Cool Adventure

Spot: The Cool Adventure (スポットクールアドベンチャー) / McDonaldland - Game Boy (1992)


This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Spot

After tackling the exciting world of, er, board games, Virgin decided to do what they should have done in the first place and make a platformer. Well, “make” is probably a bit strong of a word. What they actually did was take McDonaldland, a cut-down version of M.C Kids for the Game Boy, change some graphics, and boom, new game! Besides some different sprites, about the ONLY difference between McDonaldland and Spot is that you can’t switch between characters at all in Spot. Was a sudden loss of the McDonald’s license what brought this game out, or were Virgin trying to sell the same game twice? You decide. They also removed the intro cutscene from Spot, which means that you’ll never have any idea what Spot is doing, or why. Not that a game about a soda mascot really NEEDS to have that much of a plot, but they could have at least put in some sort of effort. A statement which sadly, applies to the game as a whole.

Both versions of the game were based off of M.C Kids, so even though a lot of it was gutted out for this version, playing one means you’ll have some idea on how the other plays. Your main method of attack is chucking one of the many boxes scattered across the level you’ll come across. Spot can’t defend himself at all without carrying a box, so you’ll want to make sure you have one on hand in case any enemies pop up. You can also do a high jump by holding down and hitting the A button, although actually using this to reach higher places can be tricky, since Spot can only change direction during this jump during the descent. The enemies never pose much of a challenge, generally moving back and forth until you chuck a box at them. The most excitement the game ever throws at you are moving platforms.

And to be perfectly honest, that’s pretty much it. You get the occasional bonus stage, and the platforming gets tougher as you go on, but nothing really changes. Every level is just some sort of variation on the same platforms and enemies, and even if the scenery changes from world to world, the game itself doesn’t. None of the things that made M.C Kids interesting shows up here, like the hidden cards you could collect, or the boats you can ride. What little there is to play through is made even more frustrating due to the controls. Spot has very little horizontal momentum when he jumps, which means time and time again you’ll find yourself falling into a pit instead of the spring you were aiming for. The controls are really the only thing that gives this game any challenge, given how common health pickups are, along with how little of a fight the enemies put up.

McDonaldland

It’s an incredibly unremarkable platformer on a handheld that was chock full of them, really. Nobody probably really expected all that much from a licensed game, but given how good M.C Kids ended up being on the NES, they could have done so much more. As Virgin proved, you could slap anything into this game and it would turn out to be exactly the same game. This game does nothing to separate it from the dozens of high quality platformers out there for the Game Boy, and either version of the game is best left avoided.

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