Written: 1.28.07 Acquired: 5.30.06 Status: Cart only Price: $8
I've got a confession to make...
[Everyone's got their chains to break! -Ed.]
I drove an hour just to buy this game. I couldn't find a copy for $5 or so for four months, so at $8 I said what the hell. Well, I was holding it and looking at other SNES games. A lady came in, saw the game in my possession and she asked me if she could have it
"YEE-HAW!" Lasso 'em up, playa!
I'm a nice guy, and normally I would probably bow out graciously and give her the game. But I drove an hour plus, JUST for this blasted game. Like hell I was giving it up! =P
Instead, I politely declined her request, and started showing her alternative SNES kid titles. She didn't stop though. She was very persistent
"Please... this game is for my son"
"Sorry, I drove a really long way just to get this game"
She gave me the evil eye. "Are you a collector?"
"No. I intend to play it"
I was feeling kind of bad. What were the odds that TWO people wanted SNES An American Tale: Fievel Goes West on the same day at the same time at the same place?
[I'd say about one in 11 zillion... roughly -Ed.]
If it wasn't an hour-plus drive, I likely would have given the game to her. But with the gas I wasted, I'll be damned if I go home with just Super Soccer! [I KNOW, RIGHT?! -Ed.]
After a while, I was looking at some 8-bit Nintendo games. She rudely said, "Don't bother with THOSE games. The graphics are horrible"
Somehow, I no longer felt bad about keeping Fievel Goes West!
So that's the backstory... what's the actual game like? Well, I knew since Hudson made it, it couldn't be THAT bad. This is just one of countless "cute" platformers released on SNES... a face lost in a crowd of hundreds because it fell under the me-too syndrome
Nevertheless, I had an odd interest to see how this game would fare. There are 5 stages, each with two to four sub-levels. At the end of each world a boss awaits you
The 1st level is a romp through town. Zooming in Mode 7 style, let's check out the offerings...
The SNES sure made good use outta that darn Mode 7...
Oooh, just look at that mist rolling in. Festive. Fievel's trusty gun fires one cork at a time. Through upgrades, you can shoot as many as 3 at once. You can also upgrade to a water pistol, while not any more potent, allows you to put out fires
The open barrels aren't a threat, per se. However, stay in one too long and the poor immigrant mouse will choke up, losing one heart. The little splash (sound) he makes is charming
One of Cat R. Waul's cronies! Cat R. Waul is the villain in the movie, as well as this game. Oh look, I have a lot of nieces OK?
[We believe ya... -Ed.]
The next level features a light rain, which is hard to see in this pic but quite lovely on the big screen. Grab all and any coins you see. Each one is good for 5, and once 100 of 'em is procured, you gain an extra life. The game is a cakewalk though, so it's not necessary, but hey, it's fun to hear the sound effect when Fievel pockets 'em
The water pistol will take care of those fiery platforms. Here's perhaps the toughest section in the whole game. Fievel is a good jumper, but a bit touchy, that fellow
1st boss is One-Eye
He's really easy, and you should be able to perfect him. All he does is jump and causes a bunch of big rocks to fall. Hit him in the face 8 times or so and onto level 2 we go!
Another lovely zoom-in shot. The Sewer levels can be a bit tricky at first. Fievel travels in a tin can, and you can speed it up, or bring it down a notch
Beware of bats that swoop low looking for blood and the high jumping dog fishies
You can leave the can and swim. But the currents tend to sweep our little friend away, so a rapid trigger finger is a must. It's easier when the tide is high. When low, it can easily send Fievel into the various pits and an early grave
Watch out for those urchins too!
He can also patrol on foot, that little rascal. I recommend this method because the dog fish baddies are much easier to deal with in this matter. In the tin can, you're often blind-sided by their leaping antics
I love how Fievel is climbing there at the edge. There's nothing quite the little details. One pet peeve of mine are games which require you to be in the center of a ladder. Here, you can climb it however you see fit. It's a little touch that I really enjoy
Inside those blocks you'll find coins, invincibility, 1-UP, etc.
Boss 2 is Puppet, controlled by the wicked Cat R. Waul
Puppet is the toughest boss fight because of his very odd movements and projectiles. Better grab that invincible power up, Fievel!
Onto the train world we go. This is Stage 3 of 5, for those keeping count at home
I love this stage. Ride the mine cart and pop the baddies that trail you! I particularly liked the music here. The sound of the mine cart is spot-on as well, and you gotta love the giant leaps...
Beware of these bad boys! The first two follow the same pattern, but the last one is different just to keep you on your toes
Ahh, the fall-away bridge section
Fun, hells yeah
The leaps made over the pits are SWEET! Check out the sparks effect -- ace
Look at Fievel even, the mouse shuts his eyes off the impact... pretty good stuff, Hudson...
The bridge is definitely not the place to linger, as it dissolves upon contact. High-tail it, Fievel!
Onto the next level where Fievel catches a ride on the speed-away train
Those platforms give you the perfect aim, and make disposing of Cat R. Waul's cronies a cinch
Vultures viciously try to pick you off, and those fall-away platforms aren't very good for your health either!
Do you stay on the low ground, or go above? The choice is yours. Either way, vultures and cat cronies are everywhere waiting for you
The 3rd boss is Chula. He's a nasty ole spider! The crates are good for avoiding his babies, but you best shoot 'em off. You can also safely jump on them and catch a ride!
Don't stand on these guys for too long, as they hatch before you know it. Gotta dig that sunlight effect, too
The next world is the dry and deadly desert...
Vultures are everywhere here. If you wait too long to kill the caterpillars, they segment into many parts. Kill 'em ASAP!
Make haste during these quicksand bits
The next level takes place during high noon. The blazing sun is a nice touch. Fievel can hop on the cacti, but keep jumping because it WILL eat up a heart if you linger!
The scorpions toss their pinchers at you, and require 3 hits to kill. From here you have the choice of going forward, or escaping the scorchin' sun and heading deep underground... (by blasting that rock to oblivion, of course)
Let's see what the underworld has to offer, shall we?
Right before the sand falls, a bit of dust warns ole Fievel of its pending arrival. Unoriginal but who cares? It's lovely all the same
Take your time here. Pick him off before you commit to his side
The next level is one of my favorites, tied with the mine cart bit. You're in the desert at night, a very starry night, but all is not still as numerous creatures rush to put an end to your travels... the music here is the best in the entire game and really suits the atmosphere to a tee
The skeleton heads are tough blokes, requiring 3 cork shots, much like the scorpions. They have a tendency to chase poor little Fievel upon sight. The vultures lie in waiting...
Another quicksand bit; shoot the blocks, the baddies and collect all the coins you can before they sink into the sand and disappear for all eternity...
I'm a sucker for night time scenes in video games. I'll never tire of 'em. You can't see it in this pic here but periodically a shooting star blazes through the night sky, accompanied by the perfect sound effect... hell of an atmospheric stage, this one
Boss 4 shows off the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 again. You can only attack him when he's on your level. Make short work of him, otherwise the boulders he drops will eliminate that bridge one by one....
The last world... Cat R. Waul's town... Like the other worlds, it's quite easy to beat
Snakes and falling rocks are two hazards you'll come across
Climb the steps if ya like, but watch out for bombs being chucked out of the windows
Shoot the wheel barrows to re-direct them... they're very effective in taking out bad guys
When all is said and done, enter the saloon and prepare for the final battle... but before you do..
Watch out for falling snakes... and oh my God, SNAKES ON A LADDER! Sorry, I couldn't help that one...
[ENOUGH IS ENOUGH... I'VE HAD IT WITH THESE..... -Ed.]
Cat R. Waul in all his glory. As you may know from the movie, or not, Cat R. Waul is a smooth-talking cat who tricked Fievel's family to come to what he promised a land of great wealth and opportunity... yeah, to be dinner!
So Fievel endures and this is what it all comes down to...
By the way, look at Cat. He's a bit on the creepy side, ne?
His pattern is simple. When he chucks his top hat, hop on it. On your way up, shoot him in the face and immediately ski-daddle
Repeat this until he falls to the lowest floor; it'll take 3 hits on the top floor, 4 middle and 5 on the 1st. Congratulations... you'll have beaten this incredibly easy title
THE ENDING THAT NINTENDO TRIED TO HIDE...
Have you seen the ENDING? It was well ahead of its time, not to mention....
Judge for yourself...
Some misc. notes
Two buttons only, jump and shoot
Can be beaten in 45 minutes with no continues used
Fievel could have been a 1-hit-wonder, that's HOW easy it is. But instead, Fievel can withstand up to 4 hits per life
EGM rated it: 5, 5, 7, 7
Movie came out in 1991
It's nothing grand or spectacular, and there are dozens upon dozens of far, FAR superior examples of the platforming genre than this. I can easily understand if one rated this game a ho-hum 5/10. It's very feasible, as the gameplay isn't anything to get excited about. Hell, I'm still pondering why Hudson even released this game in late 1994, when the movie came out 3 years prior. This would have made for a great 1st gen SNES release. By late '94, this game was primitive and Fievel had long gone out of fashion. It makes you wonder...
Fievel Goes West is a decent, unremarkable platformer
At any rate, I'll also say this... the game is enjoyable in its own way. Graphics are very good, music is catchy, gameplay is decent but unremarkable and it can be beaten in under an hour. It's not a bad game at all... just hampered by the lack of main character appeal (for some people at least) and the fact that by late '94 expectations for this type of genre were much higher. For $60 this would make a terrible purchase. For under $10...
But price doesn't play a factor in how I rate a game. The bottom line is, thanks to the passage of time and a natural decline in value, Fievel Goes West can be enjoyed without that nasty "buyer's remorse" feeling. More importantly, Hudson Soft made a fairly decent game worthy of a look from diehard platforming fans who have conquered everything else. Fievel Goes West won't blow you away, but it's good enough to play through at least once. Its simple old school gameplay will appeal to certain gamers. Though... that is also its downside. It's a little TOO bare and basic. There's no option screen, a glaring lack of weapons, lack of levels, etc. The cover shows Fievel swinging a lasso but it never appears in the game. What you see is what you get... or, er, not, come to think of it... nonetheless..
Other than a SLIGHT hit detection problem, which you'll probably not even notice after a while, Fievel Goes West is slightly above average platforming fare. You could do better, but you sure could do worse. In the end it does get lost in the crowd of me-too platformers, which the SNES has no short supply of. This one is decidedly right in the middle of the pack. It's certainly not a disgrace, but well, it is what it is. Play through it once and you'll probably never think twice of it. But hey, not every game is meant to be a masterpiece, like Super Mario World. No one will ever remember Fievel Goes West for being any sort of special SNES relic, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game at all. It'll simply never be discussed for it's neither A). a classic B). an underrated gem or C). downright horrible. It's in that inconspicuous D). catergory: not good enough to shout with praise, not bad enough to throw under the bus. Many SNES games share this fate. They're playable, sure, but that's kind of all they are. After you turn it off, it kinda fades away in memory