Saturday, August 11, 2018
#0089: Bubsy II
Gotta be honest, I didn't find Bubsy the Bobcat to be immediately annoying.
His first game, Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind was an enjoyable romp, with great big levels and a steep degree of difficulty. Each world felt unique and worth exploring, and the animations were bold and fluid. Sure, he had a tendency to yammer, as evidenced on the packaging and throughout the pages of the instruction manual, but this was the 90s. Everyone had to have 'tude. Bubsy wasn't much guiltier than the golden boy Sonic, Aero the Acro-Bat, or Bubble and Squeak.
The issue is that with each entry into the franchise, his personality grew bigger while the quality of the games took a tumble. It of course came crashing to a disastrous halt with Bubsy 3D on the PlayStation, one of the biggest abominations in the industry's history, and the death knell that banished Bubsy from the public eye for more than twenty years.
Frankly, I think the low point was actually the ill-fated cartoon show that never made it past its pilot episode (with apologies to my hero, Rob Paulsen), but that's neither here nor there. Actually, I'd prefer it if it was there. Far, far away over there.
A single year after the original title's release, Accolade decided to milk that sucker for all it was worth, pushing out a pair of sequels in 1994. Of the two of them, Bubsy II was superior, but that's not exactly high praise. It'd be like choosing between someone punching you in the gut, or kicking you in the nads. You won't exactly be celebrating your wise decision.
The game focuses on the eponymous feline taking his nephew and niece to a new theme park that features wondrous locales like an Egyptian tomb, a fantasy world, and a land riddled with space pirates. The kids sneak in a day early because they're little shits, and a sinister scheme is uncovered. It's up to Bubsy and his useless armadillo sidekick Arnold to rescue the twins and foil the plans of the wicked Oinker P. Hamm. It's up to you whether you care or not. I certainly don't.
Oddly enough, browsing the Interwebs reveals that critics actually rated Bubsy II fairly favourably, citing his increased arsenal and abilities as positives. Some even went as far as declaring that it was better than the original, but there was one critic who saw past all of that nonsense.
That critic was a smarmy six-year-old who thought to himself, 'shit son, this game sucks balls'. Probably not in those exact words (I don't recall ever saying 'son'), but I definitely realised that the levels were repetitive and mundane, the additional cast members were irritating at best, and the lauded Nerf® Ballzooka™ proved entirely superfluous. Thing is, it was a weird feeling at the time, because I loved the first game as a kid, and I wasn't used to being disappointed by something I trusted. It was this odd sensation of thinking that I should like this; it's Bubsy, and he's cool, but this really bites.
At least it was good training for what Sonic the Hedgehog would pull about a decade later - wakka wakka!
Man, even the cartridge is obnoxious.
To help break up the monotony, Bubsy II also includes mini-games that ironically end up being the most monotonous part of the game. Everything just feels hollow and lazy, and by the time you defeat the final boss, you're left wondering 'is that it?' while at the same time hoping 'please let that be it'. Text flashes up onscreen declaring that OINKER HAS BEEN DEFEATED, as Bubsy laughs at the hapless swine, who appears to actually have no use of his legs and is potentially handicapped. Next, we have a shot of Bubsy's posse celebrating the successful imprisonment of the bad guys. I don't think it's particularly necessary, considering we already got our shitty ending just beforehand, but if you have a kink for pigs behind bars, then you're well catered to.
For fun and research (plus potential fap material), I Googled 'imprisonment fetish' only to find that there were not as many results as I was expecting. I did come away with this nugget from the BDSM subreddit, however:
I spent two days in our basement cell. Bread and water shoved into my mouth 3 times a day. I was beat and fucked whenever mistress wanted. It was some of the best days
That abrupt conclusion sure is a cliffhanger, isn't it? Is there more to this story, or was B_and_M_queen killed before she could finish her sentence? This is high drama and I am fucking addicted.
What I am not addicted to, however, is Bubsy II. In actuality, it is probably the worst game I own, and I'm a little surprised that I gave Taz in Escape From Mars the boot first. You may be interested to know that my overzealous autocorrect desperately tried to convince me that I meant to type Tax in Escape From Mars just then. I'm pretty sure that's what Wesley Snipes went to jail for.
Bubsy will probably never return to the pseudo-prominence he enjoyed upon his debut, and may forever evoke the same kind of vitriol as Justin Bieber and the Macarena. It's considered trendy to lump on the poor dude nowadays, with nobody caring to even give him props for gliding through midair before Knuckles made it cool. And though I feel a bit guilty, it's his own fault for trotting out turd after turd.
What could possibly go wrong? Everything, Bubsy. Fucking everything.