Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Centuries come, centuries go, and some people never see eye-to-eye. Folk have always been at loggerheads. Look at David and Goliath, Hitler and Churchill — Andy and Fergie!
So somewhere along the line, it was decided cats should loathe and detest the ground mice walk on. Nobody knows why, but if it weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be reviewing Sega’s brand, spanking new cartoon romp, Tom and Jerry. As Master System games go, this one’s quite a little corker! It looks slick and plays really well. The graphics do the MS proud and animation’s superb. But — and it’s a fairly large ‘but’ (oof!) — the whole caboodle could’ve been a helluva lot better...
The game concept’s pretty simple. You take on the role of our fiendish feline, Tom, and must chase little Jerry through house and garden, hill and dale, mountain and ravine before he outwits you totally and you run out of steam!
The kitchen’s the setting for the first stage. Jerry races like a mouse possessed across the lino, lies on the floor and waves at Tom as if to say, ‘Come and get me fur-face!’ Each level’s a horizontally scrolling affair. Use the D-button to move Tom left and right. Press button and Tom leaps long distances, or a quick touch of the down button and he steps gingerly (does that mean he’s a ginger tom?! —Ed). Hold right and button to zoom at high speed if you reckon Jerry’s within nabbing distance.
Unfortunately, Tom’s not very domesticated, so life in the kitchen’s somewhat unbearable! As Jerry disappears into the distance, Tom negotiates platforms, ledges, pipes, hot plates and mutant fruit as he attempts to stop his cheese-chomping friend in his tracks. If Tom gets too close, Jerry throws a stinkin’ great bomb in his path! They can be leapt over; if unsuccessful, poor Tommy gets frazzled alive and a unit of energy’s lost. Speaking of which, all-important life force is displayed as a diminishing bar. Eight life units are yours for the taking at the start of the game. Collision with walls or obstacles results in the loss of one unit.
More often than not, Tom grabs Jerry at the end of each stage. However, with a bit of nifty footwork and a quick sprint here and there, that mousy maniac finds his way into the cat’s clutches no sweat!
On first play, Tom and Jerry looks incredible for an MS game. Graphics are varied and colourful and the backdrops work well, some heavily incorporated into the game. Acorns fall from trees in the forest section and huge boulders crash over the side of waterfalls on the mountain stage.
I was a little disappointed that the visuals weren’t more cartoon-like. Tom and Jerry are animated legends! Don’t get me wrong, the main sprites are great representations, it’s just they don’t appear to star in their own cartoon adventure, as the Tasmanian Devil did in Taz-Mania.
That aside, there’s a great humorous element running throughout. I love the way Jerry taunts Tom and throws a whopper of a bomb! Poor kitty, he always comes outta scrapes the worse for wear!
Something tells me Tom and Jerry may be a little easy, especially for hardened gamesplayers; Stage 3’s reached in the first few goes. Things do get a little tough from then on, mind.
Stage 6, the baby’s room, is choc-full of rampant toys and out-of-control footballs! Beware of the gaping hole and the metallic dog with razor-sharp teeth. K9, eat ya heart out!
I found the control system a little sluggish, somewhat annoying coz if Jerry starts to leave the playing area, the screen scrolls and Tom must run or leap at top speed to avoid getting stuck at the side of the screen. If this happens, all eight life units are lost and the game ends.
Fret not! There are seven continues to play around with. Make good use of ‘em!
Just a quick mention about the sonics. There’s a nice cartoon-style soundtrack on the title screen and an individual ditty for each level. They’re quite atmospheric and, unlike many MS tunes, don’t annoy. If ifs a fun game you’re after, that looks good and doesn’t tax the old grey matter too much, add Tom and Jerry to your collection. You won’t be disappointed.
A good-looking game, with a great humour element. Somewhat easy.