Sunday 6 September 2009

Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos

I've been re-writing my Sonic the Hedgehog 4 page on tORP, which requires actually playing the Speedy Gonzales game it was based off rather than just making guesses about the game like before. I suppose it's a bit sad, because more people on the internet seemed to have played the pirate hack featuring Sonic than the official, untouched Speedy Gonzales game.

Developed by Sunsoft and published by Acclaim for the Super Nintendo, Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos is a platformer involving the cartoon mouse on his quest to save other cartoon mice from some cartoon cats. As you can guess, it's a "fast" platformer and takes a few ideas from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, hence why it was such a good match to throw Sonic in and market it as Sonic 4 for the SNES.

Looney Tunes games tend to vary in quality. During the early 90s there was a set released for Sega's consoles, and a different set released for Nintendo's, often developed by entirely different studios. There's also a major hurdle when developing a Looney Tunes video game - you're effectively having to stretch a five minute cartoon to something that could potentially be several hours long, and all the time we're expecting the same quality of animation and humour.

The problem with Los Gatos Bandidos is it's not funny. Because Speedy cannot defend himself outside of the kick move, you're more likely to get hit and die than you are in a game like Sonic. The level design often encourages you to go fast, only for you to land in some spikes or fall down a pit. I'm not laughing.

The graphics are also rather poor in places. There's a lot of relying on pillow shading and gradients so despite being based off 1950s/1960s Warner Bros. shorts, it doesn't look like them... at all. The majority of the stages seem out of place too - since when did Mexico have permanently snowy regions and castles? This isn't my idea of "looney" I'm afraid, though admittedly, Speedy Gonzales isn't much of a character without Sylvester or Daffy Duck to mess around with. He's known for his stereotypical Mexican accent... yet he barely ever uses it in game. Something doesn't add up.

The music is alright, but it's nothing special and I don't think the SNES sound chip does the series much justice (though to be honest I've never been a big fan of the Super Nintendo's audio). In fact, overall Los Gatos Bandidos is nothing short of average, and though it's still a far better game than a lot of platformers, Looney Tunes deserves better than average! However, saying all this, Sonic 4 is undoubtedly a lot worse, so Speedy is the best way to go if you're desperate to play that game, and if you look past the fact it's not really "Looney" you'll still probably enjoy it.

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