"Cool Spot was a game I never played that much, especially back when it was released for the Sega Genesis. However, despite that, it still managed to leave a lasting impression on me. Whenever I think of the game, one of the first things I automatically remember is the opening, where Spot, a red dot with shades, the 7 UP mascot, jumps in and out of the SEGA logo, which is shortly followed by Spot pushing the giant Virgin Interactive logo on screen, all by himself. Then, finally, the title screen ..."
Cool Spot was a game I never played that much, especially back when it was released for the Sega Genesis. However, despite that, it still managed to leave a lasting impression on me. Whenever I think of the game, one of the first things I automatically remember is the opening, where Spot, a red dot with shades, the 7 UP mascot, jumps in and out of the SEGA logo, which is shortly followed by Spot pushing the giant Virgin Interactive logo on screen, all by himself. Then, finally, the title screen appears, which really wasn't much of a title screen to begin with. The name of the game, Cool Spot, was nowhere to be seen, instead, I was treated to Spot surfing on a 7 UP bottle, while the Wipe Out song plays in the background. That's one hell of a start. The actual game itself was quite interesting, as Spot was pitted against an odd assortment of enemies, which included crabs, clothed mice, and toy robots. Then there were the bonus stages, which took place inside giant, 7 UP bottles. Then there was that weird stage where all you did was slide down ramps. Then there was the fact that, for what was basically a video game advertisement for 7 UP, it was actually a pretty tough and challenging side-scrolling, platform title.
Yeah, despite the lack of play time with Cool Spot over the years, it still provided me with a memorable experience. Every now and then, I think about playing Cool Spot again, but I just never get around to actually doing so.
However, Spot Goes to Hollywood managed to do the impossible: it compelled me to dig my Cool Spot cartridge out from storage, which wasn't easy to do, hook up my Genesis, and play the game for an hour. Was it because Spot Goes to Hollywood was such a good game, that it made me want to play its predecessor?
The best way to describe the difference between Cool Spot and Spot Goes to Hollywood is similar to how a series attempts to make the jump from 2D to 3D, and failing. The biggest mistake the developers did was decide to change the perspective to an isometric point of view. I don't understand why they felt the need to do this, considering the side-scrolling perspective proved to be quite effective in the prequel. You're probably thinking it couldn't be that big of a deal, and I thought so, too, considering that, despite being a bit of a nuisance, it wasn't that bad in games like Landstalker, Sonic 3D Blast, and Dark Savior. Then I played it. For the very first stage, which takes place on a pirate ship, I was struggling to stay alive and get through. I tried my best, but I was getting butchered: I would constantly miss enemies by an inch with my shots, because I wasn't standing in the right spots, I would accidentally land on spikes, because I would miss the flat surface by an inch, and I would unintentionally jump off the ship, because, of course, I missed the platforms I was aiming for by an inch.
What's sad is the fact that this stage was one of the more simple stages in terms of structure. In other stages, you're forced to jump on small platforms that are usually surrounded by spikes, water, and, unfortunately, sometimes over bottomless pits. And thanks to a somewhat dodgy hit detection, you're going to miss the platforms most of the time. This is made more annoying when you factor in your very small life bar: three hits and you're dead. Shoot, Cool Spot had a more forgiving "life bar"... and you get hit a lot in that game! The auto-scrolling stages, however, takes dying to a whole new level of stupidity. If you're behind an object, even ones that are breakable, when they're about to scroll off screen, you die instantly. You don't get hit, temporarily become invisible, and pass through the objects, you just die. This is especially annoying in the graveyard level, where you're flying on a broomstick at night. Certain, dark objects blend in with the dark ground, so you're likely to unknowingly fly into something like a dark vase and not know it until the game sends you back to the previous checkpoint. Hell, in one particular stage, you can die while standing on top of a trampoline as it scrolls off screen. Buffoonery.
Eventually, I sort of got the feel of Spot Goes to Hollywood... after I beat it. That's just wrong on so many levels. But, no matter how good I got at the game, I just couldn't beat the combo pack of flaws that waited for me in every stage. I kept missing platforms, I had to constantly rearrange my position to hit enemies, and I just continued to die a lot. This game was literally work to play through; every time I would land from a jump or make it to a new area, I had to stop for a second and make sure I wasn't standing in the wrong place, so I won't get screwed over, thanks to the perspective, hit detection, and my health. There are actually good moments in the game... like that one stage that's not trying to do something stupid to kill me, and that other stage that doesn't have platforms that force me to guess where to land, but they're few and far between, and just don't make up for the rest of the title.
But I will say this: thank you, Spot Goes to Hollywood, for making me play Cool Spot, again.
Community review by pickhut (March 10, 2009)
Alternative tagline: Hit the Road, Jack.
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