Felix the Cat

Felix the Cat USA Felix the Cat NES Nintendo Review ScreenshotDeveloper: Shimada Kikaku
Released: October 1992
US Cartridge ID: NES-FC-USA

Players:  1
Genre: Action Platform
Supported Peripherals: Controller

ROM Size: 2 megabit
Mapper: MMC3 (128k PRG, 128k CHR)

Requires Flash10

Originally appearing in 1919, Felix rose to fame during the reign of silent films, though Hudson’s Felix the Cat concentrates on the particulars of the franchise’s 1953 reboot, which, amongst several other changes, introduced Felix’s famous bag of tricks. In his NES outing, Felix must save his girlfriend Kitty Cat who has been kidnapped by the evil professor. When the professor demands Felix’s magical bagFelix the Cat USA 001 256x224 Felix the Cat NES Nintendo Review Screenshot in exchange for the safe return of his true love, Felix takes off in pursuit.

Felix the Cat plays much like any typical NES platformer, featuring twenty-three stages of play that will instantly remind gamers of Nintendo’s first-party classic releases like Kirby’s Adventure. Travel through Felix Land is comprised of three primary modes: land, sea, and air. In stages of each type, Felix can upgrade his arsenal by collecting floating icons, akin to coins in Super Mario Bros. In land based stages, Felix starts with an extending mechanical boxing glove, which can be supplanted by a magician outfit (throwing a halo of stars around Felix that damage nearby enemies), a car that can sonically attack foes with its horn, and a tank that lobs angry clown faces at the opposition. In aerial stages, Felix begins with his umbrella, which can be further upgraded to a hot air balloon, and ultimately an airplane. Underwater stages begin Felix with a snorkel, succeeded by a turtle, and finally a spherical submarine adorned with ears, a nose, and a large mouth.  Land stages that come directly before underwater areas provide Felix with a small canoe that can be turned into a firing dolphin if enough hearts are collected. While in any upgraded vehicle, a heart meter will start counting down. When these hearts run Felix the Cat USA 135 256x224 Felix the Cat NES Nintendo Review Screenshotout, the vehicle will disappear, though they can be replenished with bottles of milk strewn throughout the stages.

The graphics in Felix the Cat are excellent, placing it amongst the top of NES games in terms of aesthetics. Felix’s sprite is well animated, and each of his several forms  are loaded with personality, thanks to the exceptional attention paid to small details like face and walking animations. There is often a lot of flicker on the screen, which is understandable considering the number of moving elements on the screen at any given time, though it can occasionally become distracting. The backgrounds are colorful and well animated, and enemies lack the generic qualities that so many other NES games revel in. The sound provides a suitable accompaniment,  remaining uptempo and unobtrusive throughout. The controls perform exactly as expected, regardless of the type of stage or vehicle being used, and the jumping controls are tight enough to ensure that Felix always lands exactly where the player intends. There are occasions, however, when jumping that the screen does not scroll up like expected, inadvertently causing Felix to take damage from an otherwise hidden enemy.

While the game does feature several stages (with most of them including secret areas),the lack of challenge makes Felix the Cat feel much shorter. The game is no less fun because of this, but those looking for a heavy challenge are advised to avoid it. The lack of difficulty makes Felix more suitable for those that want an Felix the Cat USA 112 256x224 Felix the Cat NES Nintendo Review Screenshotenjoyable experience without being punished for not having level layouts memorized, or for those that want to play with younger children.

Felix the Cat‘s fantastic art direction and the sheer amount of character expressed in each sprite is a testament to the respect that the design team held for the source material. Further bolstered by the pitch perfect controls and the variety that the vehicles bring to the gameplay, Felix the Cat can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Capcom’s Disney games as one of the best platforming titles on the system.

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Hudson, 10/1992
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