Cool Spot


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9


For a dot, you have to hand it to the marketing people at 7-Up. Spot is full of personality, and managed to star in two games. It may seem like a promotion shill, but Cool Spot (on any platform) is a great game, and a complete departure from the previous title on the NES. Led by David Perry, this programming team pushed out a brilliant platforming title that does almost nothing wrong.

coolspotsnes1.bmp (171290 bytes)Encouraging (but not requiring) exploration is the game's biggest asset, offering huge levels with seemingly no end to its secrets. You can plow through the levels if you want, shooting bubbles at a variety of family-friendly enemies, and rescue another kidnapped Spot at the end. If not, you can take your time if you keep a second eye on the clock, and explore levels that become bigger than anything in a Mario title.

Basic jumping mechanics are perfect, aided by some of the best (and plentiful) animation on the console. In combination with the huge background objects, you really feel like you're Spot. No, it's not known how a Spot would react to the real world, but this is as close as we'll ever come. His sometimes obnoxious high-pitched voice is overshadowed by Tommy Tallirico's wonderful soundtrack.

coolspotsnes2.bmp (171290 bytes)A few cheap shots can ruin the fun. Enemies regenerate completely after a death, and can easily overwhelm the player. If you're unlucky, you could be dropped in a spot where an enemy is beginning their attack, and you have no way of getting out of the way. Bonus stages, where player's bounce on bubbles inside a 7-Up bottle (subliminal advertising at its best), can alleviate some of the frustration. These only happen if you find the proper piece inside a level to enter though.

Still, a talented gamer (or one who's spent an unnatural amount of time on it) can make it through this one fairly unscathed. It's open enough to form strategies so you can make it out alive, and Spot has a surprising amount of offensive power. The level design is spectacular, all giant mazes yet you never once feel lost. The designers guide players without offering extensive advice.

That's all a sign of an under appreciate gem. Yes, it's hard to acknowledge the quality when you're being sold a certain liquid whenever you press a button. That shouldn't take anything away from this games surprising platform achievements. Just because it's selling pop doesn't mean Cool Spot isn't one of the few great platformers of the 16-bit era.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:53 PM