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randombullseye avatar 6:23 AM on 09.21.2009  (server time)
Old School Games: Rockin Kats

For whatever reason today, which is a Wednesday, I thought I would look up Cats TV. Cats TV is a game I've hunted for years. I've always wanted to find it and stupidly never thought to hunt for cat nes games. Now, I know the game I always was trying to find, Rockin Kats.

Cats TV as I've known it is actually Rockin Kats. Twenty years ago, or there abouts, I went with my cousin to another video store. Not the emporium where I usually would rent games, but another place. A place that I only went to that one time and rented two games from, Bucky O'Hare and Rockin Kats. Cats TV, as I called it. Its the same time my cousin rented Castlevania IV and I was blown away by that, but at the same time was going home to my nintendo and loving it. Playing something like this.

Before I get going, I just found this. I was doing routine internet surfing reading about the Donkey Kong board game again and somehow got in my head to go look for Cats TV. Now I found the name and looked in my games, sure enough I had it. I was ready to play it and just enjoy it with no research or nothing and in exploring the game I instantly knew this was the game. I hunted this for so long. Rockin Kats. Then I died on a pretty harsh pit, until my lives ran out. I go back to the title and what did I notice?

Look closer. You see that down there?

Yes, Atlus. A company that's ruling my adulthood once again taunts me. How they made this and why, I don't know. What the hell. What are the chances? I mean really. The last six months or so all I've done is Shin Megami Tensei and all their other niche in a niche games.

Okay, so let's describe Rockin Kats. You pick a tv channel and go into a level. Not that difficult a premise really, you're after a girl cat and you fight puppy dogs. Not complicated at all, premise wise. Once you actually play it a little you'll see that this is a hidden game that I'll be shouting about to everyone.

Gameplay is astonishing. In my younger days, I never would have made it anywhere on this. It's outrageously difficult, but it's great for it. You've one main weapon to start with a boxing glove that launches out. You can catch certain items and launch them back at opponents as well as bounce around Ducktales style and swing similarly to Bionic Commando. Remember that pit I couldn't cross? I totally had to spin jump it. Throughout the levels you collect money and have several minigames to play for powerups, as well as a shopping channel where you can gain new weapons. I bought a gun and started kicking everyones face in, I'm anxious to see what else I can grab. There's a boxing glove with spikes on it that seems to kill everything faster but can't grapple. A bomb that arcs when you punch out. And jet boots that let you glide. That might sound lame, but its actually really helpful. Those giant gaps are brutal. You also have three mini games to play. Roullette wheel full of money. A game where you shoot balls through tubes for money. And one where you flip yourself into baskets for money. Not exactly wild stuff, but it worked. I used the ball one to get a few hundred dollars and power up.

So on my replay this morning I managed to beat a level and feel proud of myself. So then I thought, I wonder if I could beat this whole game? And sure enough two hours later I had managed to stomp poor little Rockin Kats faces in. Some really funny dialog happens whenever you go to a boss battle, usually only one or two lines from the evil puppy dog changes, but every time you always see these two lines.

And every time I laughed. What's really funny is one where the puppy mentions his robot was also coming. This game reminds me of Arnold in Pumping Iron where he's always coming. I laughed at that too. I had a really great time with this. The four levels all felt varied enough with some uniuqe boss battles and sub bosses. The Indian totem pole boss being an interesting one in that he has two little cats that dance towards you and you can hit them to stun them and then hit the guy on the pole, but the whole time its raining. So you're having trouble moving. Of course buying the gun stops that from being tough, but still. I thought I'd mention it. I tried to snap a picture of every boss and every level, missing only channel 4 and the last one. I really love games that let me pick my own levels to go into. I also love when I get to fight all the old bosses. I can understand where some people wouldn't, but these bosses are well designed and fun to fight against. And the second fights were somewhat different which stood out to me. Especially when you have all the weapons. I played the three mini games very little and got up all the cash I needed for extra men and the weapons and it wasn't especially difficult to do all that.

Would I ask you to play Rockin Kats? Yes I would. I loved this game years ago and today I feel somehow more complete as a person having not only found it, but beaten it. Even if not on the actual cart that I played on. That's really my ownly sad part of today. I somehow own the Ducktales from my old video store (A friends cousin kept it too long and then I got it off him) but not Rockin Kats. I'm sad that I doubt I'll ever see that particular cartridge in my lifetime. But that's only a cartridge right? The game itself is still out there and very playable, and I had fun. I liked the grappling hook jumps and gigantic pits to jump over. With a little time I had the hang of it and burned through the last two levels.

In my research on the game I found too late that there is a hidden final level. That breaks my heart to know that I did something I never thought I would be able to do, in not only finding out this game but beating it, and now I find out there was an extra bit to it. But at the same time it gives me something to do some time. I can beat it all over again and get to that final level.

Box Art

Japanese box art with more early 1900s gangstery name:

Did you ever play this? Maybe you rented it at twenty years ago?

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