Okay, here's a little story. A number of years ago, I was at Red Robin with my family, and the TVs they had in the place were showing old Felix the Cat cartoons. There was one where Felix was trying to evade some foe by hiding in a barrel or something. He then fashioned the barrel into an airplane, and when the foe hit his head and got stars spinning over him, Felix grabbed the spinning stars and stuck them on the front of his barrel-plane to serve as the propellor. Ever since then, I've been "gay for Felix."
The reason I'm reviewing this game now is that Something Awful just did so, and their review was the single least funny thing I had ever seen. I've gotten more amusement from a picture of a dead cat. Fuck you, Something Awful. This is how you half-assedly review an ancient NES game no one cares about in an amusing way.
The Magic Bag is Felix's gimmick in the cartoons. It's somewhat anthropomorphic, and can turn into anything Felix happens to need. And thus, it is your main weapon in the video game. You start with the ability to run, jump and duck, and make the Bag shoot one of those spring-loaded boxing gloves to hit things directly in front of you. It is your "melee weapon," if you will. As you travel through the game, you'll find magic hearts popping out here and there. A heart upgrades the Magic Bag. From the boxing glove, a heart will give you a magic hat and wand, which allows you to shoot stars in a circle around you. It's still a melee weapon, but it surrounds you instead of firing straight ahead. The next heart turns the Bag into a car, which honks its horn to fire a sonic blast a short distance away, thus giving you your first "projectile weapon." A third heart turns the car into a tank, which shoots a big ball in an overhand arc, which then bounces a short distance. Any hearts you get after that are 1-ups, which is cool, and also refill the tank's hearts, which are described in the next paragraph.
These upgrades also serve as your life meter. Each time an enemy hits you, you get knocked back to the previous weapon level. If an enemy hits you when you're down to your bare boxing glove, you die. Additionally, with each weapon, you get a ten-heart meter (see?). This meter depletes over time, at a rate of one heart each five seconds, but you can refill it by collecting the bottles of milk that pop out of nowhere. If the meter runs out, you get knocked back to the previous weapon level, albeit with a fresh ten hearts.
Some levels are a bit different. There are aerial levels, in which you can tap the A button to go up, and in which the weapon progression goes from umbrella-and-boxing glove to hot air balloon-and-frisbee to airplane-and-shooting propellor. There are levels on the surface of water, in which you start with a small raft-and-boxing glove and can upgrade to a wavy-projectile-shooting dolphin. There are underwater levels (again, tap the A button to swim), which start with a snorkel-and-boxing glove and goe to bubble-shooting sea turtle, then jellyfish-shooting submarine. Finally, there is a rather cunning space level, in which you drive a little spaceship. More on that later.
So there are hearts and milk bottles, the latter of which jump out in groups of three. Since this game was made by Hudson, the items pop out of certain locations when you pass through them, so you don't know where something will appear unless you've played the game a lot and have memorized the locations. Also included are some Felix icons, which are scattered throughout each level, and from which the hearts and milk often pop. Guess what happens when you collect 100 of them. Go on, guess. And then there are some hidden 1-ups, which I will tell you how to find in the "Tips & Tricks" section so I can pad it.
The game keeps score, and it has a timer. Blah blah blah. Nothing you haven't seen a zillion times before. It has nine levels, all but one of which are divided into three sublevels, in the tried and true "X-Y" format. Each third level has a boss, which generally stays on the right side of the screen and shoots at you while you shoot it back. Some of them move up and down, and some of them occassionally move left and right, but it's really just a matter of shooting them when they stop flashing from the previous hit while avoiding their projectiles. They are characters from Felix cartoons, including Poindexter, Master Cylinder, a blob, Rock Bottom, and a Felix clone. Since there are seven bosses before the Professor, and five characters listed there, Poindexter and Master Cylinder get reused. And yes, my math is correct. There are eight bosses in nine levels. When you beat each boss, you get 10000 points for each level you've finished. So 10000 for Level 1, 20000 for Level 2...
TIPS & TRICKS
Thumbs up for Felix the Cat.