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Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure: Forbidden Planet (DOS)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kvn8907 (180)
Written on  :  Jun 19, 2008
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars

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Summary

Stop and go fun

The Good

It was pretty fun. All the levels were doable while still challenging, and there was never a spot that was so difficult to get past that you'd need to cheat or use a guide.

Also, the game lets you chose how involved you want to be with the level: do you just want to charge through it and get to the exit as fast as possible, stay as long as possible and get as many points as you can, or go through carefully and get end with as many bombs and live bars as possible to make the next level easier?

It was nice that you were given the opportunity to look up and down without going up and down. It was also nice that you didn't have a limited number of lives to work with, and if you died, you just had to restart the level.

Also, the sounds are cute, and the graphics are pretty good, considering the time it was made.

The Bad

Two words: bottomless pits. I know bottomless pits are staples of platform games, but this was ridiculous. Cosmo often was suctioned securely to a wall, but if his cups went just one inch below the bottom of the screen, poof, suddenly he can't hold on anymore, and you have to restart the level. It doesn't matter if you have 5 full health bars, and before were on a nice, solid wall instead of a slippery one, you have to restart. It's even more annoying and aggravating than usual if it's at the end of a level, since because there's no way to save within a level, you have to go right back to the start.

Though you are able to look up and down, you cannot look right and left, making Cosmo seem strangely myopic. Stationary creatures and guns don't even notice you until you see them (which reminds me of the joke about the creature so dumb that he thought that if he couldn't see something, it couldn't see him, though in this game it's true), so sometimes you have to jump, fly through the air, then land back where you were just to shift the screen over a little (I won't even go into how crazy it is for characters to be able to maneuver through the air, since it's so widespread). Even while on walls, when Cosmo can turn his head and look, the screen doesn't change. Add to this that in adding the detail to the game, they sacrificed the scope, so it seems more zoomed in than other games.

It kind of goes without saying that this game doesn't make a lick of sense. Often there are fruits, objects, and whatnot just floating in the air, often in a perfect arc to where you need to land. Plus while he has limited hammerspace storage for bombs, and can somehow only carry 9 (though each is about a quarter of his size, and he indeed does take them from hammerspace), he somehow has unlimited storage for the thousands of fruits, vegetables, stars, gems, and other knickknacks he picks up through the game which increases his score. I don't mind so much it not making sense as it being inconsistent. Add to that the fact that he seems to go from one level to another at random, as if he's just wandering around the planet, that while small creatures are dangerous large ones with mouths swallow him whole without damaging him, and that for some reason there are levels set inside of beasts, which doesn't make sense no matter what planet you're on.

Finally, there's the music. It gives you the option to turn it on or off, but there isn't any. And to my knowledge, there never has been, since I don't remember there being any when I played it when I played it many years ago. But, while I was writing this, I tried out the game on DOSBox (I played through it by just double-clicking the .exe files in Windows Explorer), and I'll be danged, there IS music. Though now I hear it, it's not so great. Like the sound, while the graphics seem a bit ahead of their time, the sound and music seems a little behind. Few of the sounds in the game actually sound like real-life sounds, and the music sounds quite bad even compared to the MIDI of today.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it's pretty fun. It's also pretty cute. Trouble is, it's the sort of game you don't want to play for too long at a time. After struggling through one, maybe two levels, and perhaps dying 5 feet from the exit by falling in one of the many bottomless pits, you certainly want to take a break before trying the next level. So, while doable, it is frustrating, for that reason and many others. But it's simple and fun enough to keep coming back to play it.

Also, the ending to the first episode has disappointed kids and given them nightmares for years. Seriously, what kind of ending is that? Cosmo gets eaten by a big creature, and it looks like all the effort children put in the game is for nothing? I wonder if Apogee actually got many orders for episode 2 and 3, or a lot of people just gave up in sadness after 1. Anyway, it's this kind of crap that made me hate shareware (I was never allowed to order anything that was shareware as a kid anyway, so to me every shareware game was nothing more than a tease), but at least now this game is available on the internet for people to play and see what would have happened if they or their parents had paid $40 for the next two episodes.