In the early 90s, Sonic was only part of a "too cool" trend amongst our niche. Bart Simpson rode his skateboard and used catchy lines. T-shirts of such characters existed everywhere. As the more popular animal, Sonic is the standard I judge others by. Sonic 1 & 2 were so great, that everything else, even in his own series, seemed like a downturn. Still I played them. I've played some I've never played before. And here we are. Platforming animals and a fighting game. Not all are old school, some I put in from the awkward 32 bit years.
These are just brief overviews, full articles might come later.
Sparkster on SNES
Rocket Knight Adventures and Sparkster 2 on Genesis
Three games starring an possum. He's armed with a jetpack and sword. Charging your jetpack lets you blast forward attacking enemies. You can also jump higher than normal with it. The sword and jetpack are the key features here. Konami designed this one, so you'll notice some similarities with other games from them. Contra and Gradius specifically. These are really fun and I had never played them or heard of them until a few years ago.
Aero 1 & 2
These two games feature a bat man who works in a circus. Every level I've played seems to be circus themed, maybe I've not gotten in far enough, but it seems like I got several levels into it and its all circuses. One and two. I'm only kidding of course. It just seems that way. The usual castle and ice levels are around. In an example of the too cool attitude, in one scene Acro pulls out a board and goes down an icy mountain. Extreme for sure.
One thing that aggravates me about Aero is the way you jump. He does this really awful double jump that arcs too far diagonally.
As Ristar, you're a star with arms and legs. His arms stretch and grab things, letting him move around levels. It looks like you hump enemies. Sonic team developed. What to say? Other than he's not an animal and I included him anyway, I don't know what else to say about him. Other than his similarities to Sonic's gameplay. You should probably play this. Also it's made by Sonic's developer which makes sense when you see it and play it. Look at the screenshot there, that's a scene right out of another game for sure.
James Pond 3
A fish platformer. When I played it a a kid, I liked it. Not sure which one I played as there are quite a few.
Same company as Aero made this. You're a ninja, I think. It seems like that anyway. Not that great, not horrible. Just not my thing. Although the word "kamikaze" is in the title.
For some reason, I'm not a huge fan of these. He seems so generic and so cashed in, even as a kid I wasn't a huge Bubsy fan. Does anyone out there have a love for Bubsy? That isn't into animals? I know this is the internet, and that group is just over there. But okay, here we go. Bubsy. Why do I hate him? His advertising campagin was annoying. Him as a character is annoying. Maybe when he came out I was starting to realize "maybe they're not to cool." Maybe his games just aren't that great. His voice over isn't my favorite thing in the world at all. And his games are buggy, hard to control, and not laid out well. So you take poor music, poor gameplay, poor character, and a poor kid, then tell him to rent a game like this. That's a weekend blown. Now a days, that's a whole week blown. No thanks Bubsy.
The worst is the 3D one.
Brutal Paws of Fury
Fighting games aren't fun when no one knows the moves. But they can be when you mash around on the controller with silly characters. So here you have it. A fighting game with animal buddies. I can't really describe it more than that. It's not great, but it is a game with animals. Not a platformer, but I thought I would include it anyway.
Such a great name. Mr. Nuts lets you play as a red fluffy animal who runs around collecting nuts. That's about it really. I recall nothing memorable about him. Basic gameplay on both Sega and SNES was the same as any other basic platformer. Jumping, running, and jumping. That's about it.
Much like Demon's Crest
this game was advertised in comics, but I could never find a copy. Then one day about two years ago, I realized I had a copy of it. What a dummy am I, not playing a game I recall asking myself, what's that like? Well, you're a dinosaur. A small one. You've fire to shoot out, you've a skateboard to ride. That's pretty much it. Levels seem to large to me. Fighting enemies doesn't feel right. But, you're a dinosaur who can skateboad. Nothing is as cool or anti-establishment to a ten year old. Power Rangers original, Jurassic Park, and of course Dino-Bot are all much better than this here, but I know you still want to play as a cute animal dinosaur who rides around his levels.
What the heck is a bandicoot? Before I had a playstation all I knew of this guy was the commercials. Brilliant marketing or cheesey humor, I don't know. They featured a guy in fursuit with his head visible, running around talking as the character with miminal gameplay at the end with the announcer talking it over. Without even watching a single one this morning, I'll take a guess at how they describe the levels. "Extreme" "Awesome." "Action."
Real Time. I should have guessed Real Time. Game's always love talking about real time. I like pretend time better, but that's just me. Anyway, Crash Bandicoot is a fun series. At least the first three. They're pretty much what I want a 3D platformer to be, in most areas. You go from point A to point B and aren't forced to collect hundreds of nothings, unless you really want to.
One thing I always liked in these was being chased by something. Rhinos, dinosaurs, or whatever. You're always getting chased by something every few levels and run towards the screen.
I've never played the original Gex, which is a more standard platformer along the lines of the usual 2D games. I've only played Gex 2 and 3. Both feature similar style. You're a wise ass lizard. Everything seems to warrent a voice clip joke, I remember his Boy George joke being repeated constantly in one section. The cool thing about Gex is that each level you choose from a hub world, which means my absolute favorite 3D trope: Hunting for levels. You actually have to search some of these out. But the fun part is each level has a theme based on movies. Kung Fu, horror, star wars, and the Titanic are ones that I recall. You can crawl along certain surfaces and depending on which level you go into, get different abilities. In Kug Fu world, you're a karate fighter. In the Star Wars one you've a lightsaber. The usual tail bouncing and wall crawling, spin attacks are all there. I've played both two and three, not recently, but I've played them and had some fun with it.
I never could really get into Spyro. I like Spyro, but it seemed to be an adventure that needed more time and exploration than I wanted to do. It seemed like I had to find levels. I've always hated that. Basic gameplay is fun though, I really should find a copy and replay it and all its sequels. How many of them? I'm going to guess twelve. A quick bit of research has found seven main games on the consoles, not counting the portable ones. Adding those five up with the seven gives me my guess. A dozen games. I've only played the first and maybe the second. I'm going to get the first three on playstation and see if I'm missing something amazing. Everyone I talk to loves spyro, or loved. Why does no one keep their games? Why move on to the next one? I've games I've kept for twenty years that I can pull out and play any time. Trading or selling a game has always seemed like the worst and most painful sin for me. Maybe I'm just a little too into games.
Anyway, what made Spyro fun is the gameplay. You're a little dragon so you can fly and shoot fire. I love gliding around from platforms. And fire is always fun. As well as a headbutt. So many games in his set, I'll have a full article on him alone some time soon. And Crash too.
And that brings me to this.
If I had to do a write up about Croc, it would simply be the joke this guy I went to school came up with. "Croc is a crock [of shit]." I won't do that though, since this isn't middle school. Although the internet sure feels like it. No, I'll describe the game a little. I know for sure I played a demo of it, but the actual game I'm a little sketchy on. I'm thinking I did rent it to see for myself how it was. The gameplay has you as a little croc champing around on enemis and doing some jumping around. You save other cute animals and that's about it, if I'm recalling it correctly. Watching gameplay brings it all back and you'll see why a twelve year old kid in my class would have that opinion. I won't say I agree with him, but I recall not loving Croc.
I've found video for a sequel called Croc 2. Why?
After Croc, I'm done with animal platforming for a while now. I've seen enough. Here's a big list.
If you really want more information, find a game, check out gamefaqs and you tube. Do some digging.