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Spirou (Genesis)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  GTramp (62428)
Written on  :  Oct 20, 2011
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars1.25 Stars

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Spirou the zerou – world’s most lame herou

The Good

There’s only one good thing about the game – its visuals. The graphics are colorful and varied with several instances of nice parallax scrolling (that’s what I enjoy the most in 16-bit games!). The game’s atmosphere is depicted pretty well. If it’s a jungle, you’ll know you’re in the jungle; if it’s a street at night – there will be no mistake about that. Animation is nice too. Spirou and his almost useless squirrel sidekick are animated especially well, with cartoon-like quality. And that’s about all there is good to it. By the way, while we’re still at it, SNES visuals seem to be a bit better – more parallax scrolling and overall better backgrounds.

The Bad

Absolutely everything else in this game is bad, no – horrible. The game is long and very hard. It’s not the bullet-hell type of hardness or strategic type of hardness – oh, no, sir – it’s a “fight-with-unbelievably-broken-controls” type of hardness. You’ll be constantly dying – over and over again just to get past the first three or four levels. It requires a lot of memorization, and even when you do memorize the levels, you’ll still die and die and die – ugh, bad luck!

The controls ruin this game completely. It seems the French developers were trying to make the movements of Spirou life-like, so please be patient to wait for about a second for him to pull his gun and fire it. To shoot down diagonally press fire and then down, and if you’re lucky, Spirou the zerou will shoot instead of ducking. Otherwise you’ll most likely get hit again and again. The unbelievably long shooting animation leaves you completely vulnerable. And by the way, you only get a gun four levels into the game! Running is another issue. When running, Spirou gains momentum and that leads to many instant deaths – no matter how careful you are… Walk slowly and be punished for being slow, run fast and die constantly – it’s all the same! And sometimes Spirou will just refuse to jump when you most need it.

To beat the game all you get is mere 3 lives (about 5 hits each) and no continues. You can grab a few 1-ups here and there, but it won’t save you. The cheating developers don’t even replenish your hit points between the levels. The levels are full of deadly hazards, hard to hit enemies (they are hard to hit because this Spirou guy is a limp invalid when it comes to shootin'), instant deaths and leaps of faith – with most of them leading into bottomless pits! And there are no checkpoints! You start from the very beginning of the level each time you die! There are 2 boss fights in the game and both of them are just atrocious. Ignore tactics and just shoot hoping that the villain’s health will be depleted faster than yours. I won’t lie here – some levels are well designed, but it looks like they were originally intended for some better hero, some kind of Probotector or other crap like that. But no, we get this Spirou the under-herou as a protagonist. Gosh, the French guys clearly thought: let’s make a game harder than the freakin’ Battletoads! And they succeeded – the game is nearly impossible to beat. Hell, I’ve beaten Battletoads when I was 13!

There’s a password screen but it’s more like a sadistic joke: the long, tiresome, brutally hard game gives you only 1 password. That’s right. In the middle of the game they grant you a password. What an abomination. Needless to say there is hardly a 16-bit gamer who did see this password – it’s nearly impossible to get to it. And it only gets harder further on.

Music and sound are also terrible. Nothing really to say here – it sounds like the developers worked with the Genesis sound chip for the first time. No drums, no good tunes, no recognizable sounds – just yer typical late Mega Drive European sound crap. That’s right, in mid 1990-s most of European developers (namely, Infogrames) messed with Genesis sound chip to produce some of the worst video game music ever.

The Bottom Line

Overall – stay away from this pile of dang. Don’t touch it even if you’re in love with 16-bit era as much as I am. Or better yet – give it a try. Yes, download a rom (don’t you spend a dime on this game!), pop it up into your emulator and try it for yourself. Go on, don’t be shy to die again and again and again! What you say? Savestates? Hell, no! Be a man. Or you can try a code and skip to any level – try this also. The developers will laugh in hell watching you die!

It’s one of the worst games I’ve ever played and I’ve played a lot of ‘em. In fact it’s so bad that there isn’t even a FAQ for this game. Yes, it’s the same guys who made Tintin and Smurfs. No wonder I loathe Infogrames and their freakin’ armadillo. It creeps me out.