Thursday, August 13, 2015

Yogi Bear's Gold Rush

Blaugust Day 13

I'm always on the look out for a great licensed game. This often means looking up developers and publishers I like on Moby Games. Around the time I started to get into GameTek published games I discovered Yogi Bear's Gold Rush for the Game Boy. The screenshots I saw showed an interesting platformer with pic-a-nic basket collecting. I went to my local game shop and saw it for $20. I waited a few months and decided I would spend $20 on it. When I approached the game was marked $30! Long story short, I got it for $12. Always be nice to people who work in retail.

Yogi Bear's Gold Rush was exactly what I was looking for. A fun, simple platformer for the Game Boy. You play as Yogi and you collect picnic baskets. There's a handful of levels with different themes. Some have bosses, some don't. The goal is to collect all of the gold. If you don't, when you beat the game it tells you to play again and find the gold. The platforming and the level design are perfect. There are hidden areas that require you to jump into the abyss to get a 1UP, and you can do so confidently because the level seems to be guiding you to it. It's on the easier side, so I found myself risking a life or two trying to find secrets. Without collecting all the gold discs you won't beat the game. I'll give you a hint: one requires you to jump into the water.

This Game Boy game is so good I figured it must be a port! Googling Yogi Bear's Gold Rush turned up color pictures. Some of these were labeled as a Super Nintendo game. So of course I had to try the Super Nintendo Yogi game, Adventures of Yogi Bear. While Twilight developed platform perfection, the developers of the SNES game didn't have the same understanding of physics. Yogi is harder to control. Sometimes he seems to slide instead of coming to a complete stop. Trying to land a jump on a moving platform can be difficult. The bouncing mechanic will often lead you right into an enemy or a dead end. One positive thing about this game is that Yogi's sprite is big and detailed. Unfortunately this means he takes up a lot of the screen making the sloppy controls even worse. Overall, it's not very fun. The icing on the cake is that the color screenshot I saw online was of an unreleased Game Gear version of Yogi Bear's Gold Rush. Here's Adventures of Yogi Bear:

I remembered Sonic being cooler.
The handheld Yogi Bear's Gold Rush is a fantastic Game Boy game. It's simple and fun. The challenge comes from increasing your score and finding secrets. Its graphics are simple but resemble the license. The console counterpart, Adventures of Yogi Bear (or Yogi Bear: Cartoon Caper in Europe) is just a mess, and its challenge comes from fighting the controls and level design. It's interesting to see how different companies handle the same license. Even with something as standard as a 2D platformer you can get vastly different games. Have two companies ever surprised you by how differently they represented a license?
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