Format: Sega Master System
Developer: Vic Tokai, Sega
Year Released: 1989
Also released on: Nothing
Now available on: Nothing
Many people associate the Master System with Alex Kidd. Some associate it with Wonder Boy and some even associate it with Sonic the Hedgehog. Each character featured in multiple games for Sega's 8-bit machine, but there was another platform star whose appearance on the console was well-received at the time and is remembered by those who knew him with fondness today. That character was Psycho Fox who featured in a game which bore his name in 1989.
|Psycho Fox throws the bird.|
|What on earth?|
So, the game itself. Psycho Fox must travel through many strange worlds to defeat Madfox. Although the strange worlds don't actually appear that strange - there's your usual desert, ice, cloud, underground levels on offer here - some of the creatures that inhabit the worlds are very bizarre, and there are some unique ideas in the levels to set the game apart from its contemporaries.
|Invincibility a go-go.|
|Spray that insect thing with insect spray and it'll buzz off.|
|Psycho Fox as Tiger on level three|
|Bonus level! Get yer bonus level 'ere!|
|Bouncing around on level 5. That thing to above left of Mr Fox is blowing air which will push him to the right.|
Levels are split into three rounds with a boss at the end of each third round. For some bosses, you are provided with an item to help you to defeat them. This may be a pesticide spray or an air gun. Some are defeated using more traditional means, and the end battle is a good old 8-bit battle of wits and skill. Unfortunately, each boss - including the final one - only requires three hits to be defeated, so the battles don't tend too last long at all.
|Barney the dinosaur has a problem with bees.|
There are some nice touches to the game. A way of getting over a large body of water is to build up enough speed and running into it. You'll find that whichever character you're controlling will skim on its ass across the water. Apart from the hippo who just falls in. Well he does whenever I try. There is a wind level with wind blowers which suspend your character in the air, and bendy poles which you can run and jump into which fling you off at speed, height and distance. The key to making the most of these is to hit them as fast and as high as you can. There are also the usual platform game features, such as bridges which fall away as you walk over them and steps that turn into slides, or statues that come alive. There are also hidden bonus stages. These are usually found accidentally by throwing Bird Fly into what appears to be empty space. Bird Fly will hit a point in the emptiness, causing a crack to appear. Throwing him a couple of times will cause the crack to become a hole (should have gone to Autoglass). Go into this hole and you'll find yourself in a secret level. In a blatant copy of Super Mario Bros, Psycho Fox (or Psycho Hippo, Monkey or Tiger) can go down a tube which will bring him out in another level. It's possible to get to the final level in the game through a secret level found in the first level of it. Bit pointless though, but it's possible.
|Hmmm.... Not a lot to say here.|
|The final battle with Madfox. Get him!|
A bright, cartoon intro screen and a high level of presentation throughout. A great ending sequence too.
Some of the Master System's best. Colourful, well-defined and varied.
It wasn't easy to make the Master System sound good, but this game doesn't make it sound bad at all.
Takes a little bit of getting into due because of its initial sluggishness and frustrating collisions with enemies that you don't see coming, but becomes much more fun the more you stick with it. The game features plenty of variety, surreal enemies and lots of great ideas which are mostly well-implemented.
An often over-looked Master System gem.
Being a psycho on other consoles
|Kid Kool. Pure turd on a NES cart.|
|The wacky Japanese Mega Drive remake of Psycho Fox.|
|The more horrific Western Mega Drive/Genesis remake of Psycho Fox|
Here's a video of me playing Psycho Fox from start to finish, and amassing a huge number of lives in the process, mostly down to a flukey go on the bonus level.