Written: 6.3.07 Acquired: 3.13.06 Status: Cart only Price: FREE
It's funny how things work out in the world of video games. How many times do you hear about a game being kicked around the internet forums, and find it in the wild later that week or month? In March 2006, I ran across a blurb on SWAT Kats. A few rabid fans supported it in light of the lashing it received. A week later I spotted a copy at Game Crazy and took full advantage of their Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal. I had never heard of this game before.......
You remember SWAT Kats don't cha? Yes, no? I can't blame ya if you don't. The cartoon debut in September '93 and ran until December '94. 23 episodes were made. Back then I was a huge cartoon fanatic but for some reason I can't recall ever watching an ep. Apparently it was violent, going hardly five minutes without crap blowing up. The show, to this day, has a decent cult following
Of course, as did most cartoons of this nature in the early-mid 90's, a toy line was also produced
It's interesting that the show died off in late '94 yet the game came out toward the latter stages of 1995. Let's see if the game does the legacy proud...
Select from T-Bone or Razor. T-Bone is slower but stronger than Razor. Each has his own unique secondary weapon
Some valuable goodies for your troubles
Wait-a-sec... experience points?! Yup, what's interesting about this action platformer is that as you kill bad guys (and grab those ? icons) you gain experience points. Each time you level up, your weapon is upgraded and your health bar increases. In the beginning your health and shot is very weak; a total of six guns are available (the first one travels very shortly and the biggest one doesn't even go half-way, so this is MegaMan not)
Level 1 EXP:Pea Shooter
Level 5 EXP:Spider Web Missile
Level 10 EXP:Cement Machine Gun
Level 15 EXP:Octopus Missile
Level 20 EXP:Pincer Missile
Level 25 EXP:Slicer Disc (quite potent, I might add)
Numbers pop up over bad guys' head like an RPG! It's too bad though that the weapons, despite looking different, don't have any varying uses
In addition to your Glovatrix attack, T-Bone and Razor have their own special moves, which can be called upon via Street Fighter II commands...
"ARE YOU KEN!"
ONE AT A TIME
SWAT Kats is a one-player experience. Considering their buddy role in the cartoon it's a shame there wasn't a 2-player option. The felines will be the first to agree with 'cha...
5 worlds await. To begin with you may pick any of the 1st four. Forget about tackling world 3 or 4 first, however, since your health and fire arm is not up to par. But it's nice that the option is there
Let's examine the first 3. The rest I'll leave you to discover...
Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
Your first mission is to save the greater metropolitan area of MegaKat City from a deadly bacteria virus
These guys don't play around!
Scaling walls and buildings is part of your job description
What's up with all that debris falling from the sky there, eh?
Damn my big mouth!
[I think Mr. Stay Puff has a bigger one -Ed.]
Quite an urban renewal program they got there
It definitely follows the SWAT Kats legacy
Many gamers have voiced their displeasure for this game. And here's one of the chief reasons... the stomach-churning Mode 7 shooter bit (I didn't find it pineapple-chunky myself, but hey what can you do?) The blue guy is just a spinning picture. This section can be tough at first but the good thing here is... you get infinite lives (for only this section)
"OHHHH my stomach..."
After you survive the swooping mutant bats it's to the monster's belly!
Onto the next level in World 1...
When it rains like such, things get very slippery so watch your step!
All that pollution and carelessness has created abominable creatures
SWAT Kats: top-notch action AND geo-political messages all wrapped up in one
The cave is home to some strange and unrelenting adversaries...
The open-ended-ness of it is quite nice too
Here's where T-Bone's special rocket delivery comes in handy!
Talk about bringing back bad memories of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS!
But if you thought that was bad.......
Hot dog, an extensive scaling section. Other than the mutant fly there, what's the big deal eh?
THAT'S THE BIG DEAL!
Good grief. You gotta be fast to last, believe me. Now you see why the developers placed a 1-UP there at the beginning....
Perseverance is the key
Boss 1 is the maniacal Dr. Viper
Oh thank you
How nice of you
Uh, on 2nd thought I think I hear my dear Aunt Edna calling!
The graphics are interesting. In world 1 it's quite bland but there are some nice touches here. It's got a unique pastel like look to it
Grab that coin way up there
Gotta dig the roller coaster ride in the background, as well as the sea of houses all lit up at night
Man are the enemies here strange to the bone or what!
The Manic Merry Go-Round is but one of many park rides you'll engage in
Pop that sucka!
Fun bit, this is
I hated this ride as a kid...
[O rly? Where did 'cha grow up, Alabama? -Ed.]
I apologize for his crude nature, readers. He's the Jonah Jameson of -- [GET BACK TO WORK! -Ed.]
Hopefully you are well-versed in making precise timed leaps...
Silly though they may be, their aim can be tough to dodge
Who doesn't love the ferris wheel?
A perfect place for romance...
... or an early grave!
Have you ever been to Schlitterbahn? I went there once, summer of 2002
[Wii?! Where?! It's mine! -Ed.]
Hmmm, you're right... where have I seen this before...
Ah yes... why if it isn't everyone's favorite underrated vermin... Rocky Rodent
... And he's none too happy about it, either!
T-Bone: Am not!
Rocky: Are too!
T-Bone: Am not!
Rocky: Are too!
T-Bone: Am not!
Rocky: Are too!
Razor: Dee too!
Rocky and T-Bone:*BLINK BLINK*
*Bleep blip bleep blip*
[What's going on 'round here?! Get these monsters out of my office! -Ed.]
It's OK sir, they're not on the payroll
[Why didn't you say so! Here, have some cookies. Nevermind, they're chocolate chip, my favorite! -Ed.]
Oi vey. Never a dull day here, no sir ree. Alas, back to teh game... let's see what other surprises lie in waiting at MadKat's crazy park...
Talk about a low blow -- T-Bone always gets the last laugh!
My kind of ride!
I could do without these nasties though
*DUN DUN DUN!!!!*
The spookiest place in the park!
Ace reflection bits, though!
Even more open-ended than the cave!
This place is very tricky indeed
The old saying comes to mind... "There's a wolf at the front door, and a tiger at the back"
[Quit talking 'bout my wife and mother-in-law! -Ed.]
It's a catastrophe in every respect of the word...
No stinkin' icy blocks are gonna stand in MY way! MWAHAHAHAHA!
MadKat is boss #2
Hoo-ray it's time for another Mode 7 bit...
Again your goal is to enter the vile creature's mouth
Those purple thingies form into spears and hurls itself after your space ship
He's considerably tougher than the first time!
HURRAH! But not so fast -- the PastMaster sends you to ancient times!
Love the fog there. This level is my favorite of the entire game. I really enjoyed the look and style here
Hmmm, who... or what... are they running from?
Sheesh, I had to ask didn't I!
That pile of bones just cracks me up!
[The ogre... not so much -Borat]
The journey up the mountain is slightly reminiscent of NES Contra! And check out what happens when the little guy misses swinging that shovel!
Heh heh... good stuff
"You'll never take me alive!"
"Well, you'll never take me dead!"
[The price I pay... for free labor -Ed.]
Neat little bit this is
Watch yo' head, T-Bone! Those platforms collapse too -- way to bring a brother down!
These spiders move unnervingly..... yesh
Heh, actually I think I'll stay over at Holiday Inn but thanks for the offer mate! Cheers
This force-scroller part sees giant ogres and a pesky PastMaster and his PO'ed pet
These bits are quite tricky!
Later on in this world you'll battle the PastMaster. The rest is up to you. Good luck
I'VE SEEN SWAT!
This game very much flew under the radar. Advertising was next to none, I could not find one single ad in all of my back issues. Furthermore, only EGM previewed it, and neither GameFan, Super Play or EGM ever gave the game a review. Although I fell somewhat out of gaming in '95, I knew about most of the SNES releases at that time. SWAT Kats was a discovery in 2006.... it goes to show you the lack of pub the game got
WHAT'S THE PASSWORD?
SWAT Kats incorporates a password system, funky stuff like 6C-HO-24-JJ but at least it's only 8 characters
All in all, despite a few tricky bits, this game is rather a walk in the cake, or a piece of park as they might say [*slap forehead* -Ed.] You won't need a whole lot of tries to beat the dang thing, and at the end, a performance assessment is doled out. It took me 229:50 or 3 hours and 50 minutes. For 5 worlds? Damn
I have to say, though, that this game will forever hold a soft spot in my gaming heart. It was the first SNES game I beat in my 'resurrection' period, and as such it help break my bad habit of playing a game for 30 minutes and moving onto the next. I never intended to beat SWAT Kats back on March 19, 2006 (when I first played it). I was going to take the cart out and play something else when I decided to give it one more casual go. That 'casual go' turned into two hours and before I knew it, the game had me hooked. What started out as dull impressions on World 1 turned into a strange love affair as I tackled the later, more engaging levels. And I could see why someone would hate this game. The first world is boring standard menial platforming action stuff, and that annoying-ish mode 7 part can be a HUGE turnoff, but if you actually stick with the game it gets much better as you progress. I suspect many walk away with only having played World 1. A tragic mistake. One I almost made, and because of SWAT Kats I now try to beat every game I start. If anything, I'll always remember it fondly for that
The graphics, like the game itself, start out very bland and dry, but progressively gets better as you go on. The sound and music isn't half-shabby. The classic cartoon intro that everyone raves about, with the intense guitar riff, makes the faithful leap over. For those who followed the cartoon who could forget Razor's "BINGO!" soundbyte? AIM sure haven't, and it sounds spot-on
No, the gameplay is nothing special, but it can be quite enjoyable in spots and really affirms to me what a truly awesome system the Super Nintendo is. Here's another one of countless games you could just as easily waste a weekend on! The thing that I noted when I played through SWAT Kats back in March 2006 is that it really reminded me of an 8-bit Nintendo game from 1990. That weekend I spent happily working my way to fight DARK KAT was akin to an innocent weekend some 15 plus years ago. This, of course, is meant as a compliment to the game's basic simple feel. There's something "NES" about it, and I like it for that reason. It's a shame though the weapons don't have any different purposes. Worlds 4 and 5 were a bit of a letdown, coming off the heels of the relatively commendable previous two worlds. Don't expect a furious action title, either
But hey, there's enough good to go with the bad....
The SNES library is very strong, and SWAT Kats, though it does nothing to separate itself from the pack, is simply another delightful-in-its-own-way action title that could serve you well on a rainy weekend. I have fond memories of playing through this game from last year, and at the time I gave it an 8. That was, until I played the likes of Super Metroid and company, you understand. SWAT Kats isn't quite THAT good (that being, 8 out of 10 good), but chalk up yet another serviceable action game for the ole SNES
Maybe you guys did in the cartoon world.... but in the realm of the SNES ..... not quite up to the high standards set before y'all, but a decent effort!