Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Sega8bit & SMS Power! 2013 Event - 10th August 11 weeks and 2 days from now
Review of Psycho Fox by ACE magazine
Overall rating 84%
Don't be put off by the title. The fox in Sega's latest platform caper is really quite cute. Your challenge is to negotiate him around the various platforms and several levels in a bid to defeat the evil Madfox Daimyojin.
Foxes are respected creatures in Japan - worshipped at Inari temples as gods of the harvest. But this vaunted position is about to be usurped by Daimyojin. who has thrown the world into turmoil. He has populated the land with evil creatures bent on destruction.
Psycho Fox must visit all seven staged of the game eliminating these creatures with whatever weapons he can muster. The stages have three rounds each and you have just three lives with which to conquer its extensive network of platforms.
Your fox can punch the enemies to destroy them or jump on them if he is agile enough. He can also enlist the support of his trusty ally - Bird Fly. Bird Fly will launch himself at the enemy and knock them off the platform clearing a path for Psycho Fox. To get Bird Fly to perch on your shoulder you must first crack open an egg - but be careful in doing this as some of the eggs contain enemies.
The Psycho Stick is another useful artifact to look out for. It enables Psycho Fox to transform into either a hippopotamus, monkey, or a tiger. Certain forms are more appropriate than others depending on the situation. The Hippo, for example, has powerful punching power that can smash through walls but he weighs a good deal and may sink through some of the platforms.
Taking the correct route is the key to Psycho Fox, as some paths are a good deal more difficult than others.
Alongside all the hazards and creatures out to get you there are also plenty of 'leg-ups' for Psycho Fox. There are excellent jumping boards which enable him to trampoline high into the air to move around. There are also swing poles, jumping boards, wind rides and bridges.
Manoeuvring Psycho Fox takes a bit of practice. He can be made to move a consider able speed and carries the momentum of this speed into the air with his leap, carrying forward a good deal. On landing you can immediately right his position by moving the joypad in the opposite direction, often creating an excellent 'steaming heels' effect as he lands on a platform. Just like a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
Before you confront Daimyojin you must complete the treacherous seventh stage, where all of the traps that you have previously encountered must be negotiated again. As if this were not enough to worry about there are also some tricky escalators that can throw you off the scent. Daimyojin himself is as tough to defeat as any mean-looking end of level nasty from a shoot 'em up - a huge sprite taking up a third of the screen.
Apart from the main business of platform leaping in an attempt to confront Daimyojin there is also a secondary game in between stages. This is a gambling game called Amida, where you place bets with the money you have gathered in the platform scenes on how far you will get along the paths. At the end of each path is a prize. The more money you have, the more paths you can bet on.
Secondary games are popular in Japanese console games, particularly those involving an element of gambling, and they certainly do add an extra dimension, as well as providing light relief from the main business of the challenge.
Psycho Fox is very much a game for platform officianados. It is Marioesque and features some very tough pieces of platforming. It has real lasting value. There is more than one way to get around it, adding to the appeal. The Secondary Game is also fun, offering something else to boast about apart from how many of the platforms you have so far mastered.
Graphically the game is superb, particularly some of the later stages such as the Ice Zone. Wind Zone, and Underground Cavern. Perhaps not quite as appealing as the Alex Kidd games but certainly one of the best platform offerings available for the Master System.
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