Bubsy In: Fractured Furry Tales

There was a time when it was deemed a necessity for a console to have a mascot. Sure, Nintendo are still producing Mario titles of unparalleled quality to this very day, but none of the current gen systems have a synonymous character pushing sales. In the 1990s though, to not have a mascot was unheard of - Nintendo (as mentioned, mere seconds previous) had Mario, Sega had/have Sonic, and even the PlayStation and Xbox had pseudo mascots in Crash Bandicoot and Blinx. I suppose the closest the Jag ever came to having a true mascot was Rayman, but he quickly jumped ship and went multi-platform before the Jag was even in a bodybag. True, there was also Zool - but he was already an Amiga mainstay...and so we are left with Bubsy. Bubsy the Bobcat, to give his full title. And while it's true that Bubsy had already featured in his own Mega Drive game, it seems Atari were keen to steal the character and install him as a Jaguar icon. Why? Nobody can really be sure.

The problem with Bubsy is that he just isn't very likeable - he's full of 'tude and wisecracks, and well...he just doesn't really do anything for me. He's a super furry animal who can jump and glide, but can be killed by just about everything he touches...which is a bit oxymoronic if you ask me: who goes around making wise-ass comments and acting like the world's hardest bloke, but can be instantly killed if an errant leaf blows off a tree and lands on his head? That annoyance I will come back to, but first - the game itself.

Bubsy In: Fractured Furry Tales is a fairly standard 2D platformer where you guide Bubsy through a series of fairy tale-themed levels (Furry Tales? See?!), collecting coloured balls, avoiding enemies and getting to the exit before the timer runs out. Sounds fairly simple, and it really is. You can jump and glide through the air which allows you to traverse larger gaps in the scenery, and you can defeat most enemies simply by bouncing on their heads. The graphics for the most part are quite nice - well animated and impressively coloured, and the levels (which are further divided into chapters) are quite varied and all take place in different story worlds (Alice in Wonderland, Arabian Nights, Hansel and Gretel etc). There's a boss at the end of each level and then you move on to the next area. Like I said - it's all fairly standard platforming fayre.

The thing that completely and utterly destroys any kind of fun that may have been gleaned from this game though, is the outrageous difficulty level. And I don't mean it's tricky to find your way or there are tough parts in certain levels; I mean that Bubsy is one of the most brutally unfair games I've ever played. Every single enemy has the ability to kill Bubsy just by touching him - even if you weren't aware you were in touching distance. Stand on a table and let something walk past below you - uh oh! The thing's hair touched your foot: dead. Sometimes you can't even see enemies because they're the same colour as the background. Other times, if you haven't timed your jump to perfection and your backside touches them as they walk under you: instant death. And it's not just the enemies that are out for Bubsy's blood either - the levels themselves are chock full of innocent-looking items that will snuff you out if you so much as look at them: boxes that contain drawing pins, lifts that take you up into shafts that have spikes at the top and no way out, floating cookies that kill on sight...even stuff you thought was background decoration until you try to walk past it. See that cupcake in the background? Instant death. In places, it's almost laughable how many times you can die within about 5 seconds of starting a level. True, Bubsy is blessed with 9 lives, but trust me - they'll all be gone before you even reach the halfway point of level one. See those pictures down there? I got them all using level codes I found on the internet. There is absolutely no way in hell that anyone - anyone - could get through this game with the initial 9 lives and the absurd and unfair difficulty level. This could be down to poor level design, but come on - Bubsy is clearly aimed at the younger gamer (even if they wouldn't get any of his one liners or references to 90s pop culture), but I'm a 31-year -old fairly experienced gamer...and I found it impossible! Definitely a game to buy if you enjoy replacing joypads every 3 minutes.

Bubsy then. Looks OK, has some fairly standard music and sound effects...but is impossible to play due to the horrendous difficulty level. Can Zool 2 be more enjoyable than this? I guess there's only one way to find out...


  1. Doc Clu can complete the whole game in 45 minutes ;-)

    1. Then I tip my hat to Doc Clu - they are a much more accomplished gamer than I!