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Aero the Acro-Bat

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Released: 1993

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Sunsoft

Developer: Iguana Entertainment

Submitted by: Steven Ronald Jackson

During the 16-bit console war of the early 90s, every company was trying to get a piece of the action. The mascot melee between Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, was the cue for dozens of developers to come up with their own platform personas. While some developers would come up with successful third-party platformers, the majority would ultimately come off looking like second rate clones. Sunsoft's 1993 outing Aero the Acro-Bat would fall into the latter of these two categories, coming off as nothing more than a cheap cash-in on a successful fad.

Aero the Acro-Bat was like a majority of third party platformers available for both the SNES and Mega-Drive, and besides subtle differences were in essence the same game. Aero the Acro-Bat as expected has you taking on the role of Aero, who's mission is to save the circus he lives and works at from the evil ex-clown Edgar Ektor. It is the basic platform narrative which we have all seen before and know so well; good has to overcome evil in order to save the day.

Gameplay consists of Aero having to reach the goal of each level by completing a variety of tasks which can include jumping through hoops, riding on rollercoasters, stepping on specific platforms to make them disappear, which when completed allow the goal to appear and the player to progress. The game has 20 levels and are all big in size and stature, which although is some would say 'value for money' does cause a lot of frustation.

The levels are very difficult to navigate due to the stiff and somewhat unresponsive controls. Plus, the fact that the levels often contain many difficult jumps, made even more difficult by infuriatingly placed spikes stunning you, makes the game not a fun experience. Added to which, Aero's main mode of attack, a strange double jump drill thing, makes it very difficult to attack enemies, which as with the spikes make the game not a very fun experience.

In terms of presentation, the game is fine, but not very spectacular. The colours are bold, but are not a patch on Super Mario World, and the music is just average, in some cases even annoying, due to continually looping throughout playing a stage. The presentation is not terrible, but not brilliant either, just very average, which once played does not make you want to pick up and re-visit stages again.

In short, Aero the Acro-Bat, was yet another SNES clone of the hugely successful titles which came before it. It is a very average experience visually, and a frustrating one once played, due to the niggling mechanics and annoying controls. Aero the Acro-Bat has been re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console, but if I was you I'd stick with Super Mario World which is a much more fulfilling as well as enjoyable experience all round.