Cool Spot

Title           Cool Spot
Game Type       Platform
Company         Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Players         1
Compatibility   Requires 1MB+ of RAM
HD Installable  Yes (with WHDLoad Patch)
Submission      Hidehiko Ogata Profiled Reviewer (

It was big, commercial, and a port - so I just passed on it back then
(*1). What a shame it was; because Cool Spot (Virgin, '93), in all
fairness, is quite a solid platformer.

Along with such venerable titles as Desert Strike, John Madden Football
etc., it was indeed a port from Sega MegaDrive/Genesis (MD/G) which shared
a somewhat similar hardware spec with the Amiga. The premise couldn't be
more irrelevant: Jump around, shoot/avoid the bad guys, collect enough
stuff to move onto the next levels... basically an excuse to show off the
corporate mascot of the time (remember the red pâté with shades?)  With
all its commercialism, it's hard not to take pleasure in the
big-production glitz the game has in plenty.

Be it the big main sprite which is skillfully hand-animated in the cartoon
style; or the colorful rendition of 2-layer parallax background
(the quintessential MD/G element); or the funky groove which ranges from
latin to southern soul... the game oozes with quality that cries out
"ain't I just COOL?" The impact of the picturesque splash screen itself -
with our Spot, surfing on an empty bottle, to suitable surf music, with
copper wavelets and all - borders on that of Shadow of the Beast, albeit
in a completely different style.

Where the game betrays its intended audience, however, is in the lack of
thought on the overall level theme/arrangement. It begins in an
appropriately "cool" sunny beach and boardwalk, yet soon degenerates into
the realm of household fantasy; full of toys, cowboys and pets, seen from
the perspective of tiny Spot... an all too familiar situation for kids,
which seems to exist just for the sake of it. Worse, later four of the
twelve levels make a sort of round-trip to earlier ones; without any
inter-level theme nor long-term goal to justify such design, it merely
undermines the main attraction: The sightseeing value.

Thankfully, the designer Dave Perry went on to remedy these shortcomings
in another big licence that had a built-in plot: Disney's Aladdin,
followed by his milestone: Earthworm Jim. Fortunately the former also
made it to the Amiga; unfortunately the latter did not...

In short: Jolly simple flashy fun, if a bit aimless. Unlike its cousin,
it doesn't require AGA - nor gigahertz of speed, as MD/G emulators would.

Extra, on the port job: I'm just guessing, but there are two potential
hazards: Graphics (MD/G is closer to AGA than to OCS/ECS (*2)), and
control (MD/G has 3 buttons). I'd say the former doesn't show; and the
latter, while a bit clumsy even with the provided 2-button option, is
passable. Kudos to Jaguar Software for their superb port (of Aladdin too!)

(I hope someone with real MD/G could fill me in here.)

*1  Which was rather odd, come to think of it, as the merchandise was
    mostly unknown in Japan (where I live) to begin with.

*2  Makes me wonder: What if AGA had arrived couple of years earlier, as
    planned originally, which certainly would have helped cross-developments
    between the Amiga and MD/G even more? Where would such a healthy
    symbiosis have led involved parties: C=, Motorola and Sega? Alas, it
    was not to be; today it's just a pipe dream...

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