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RELEASE DATE (NA): December 1992 GENRE: Platformer
// review by SoyBomb

It ain't easy being a cheesy game.

Anybody who's been wedged in their inflatable furniture in the basement for the past twenty years is probably among the biggest fans of Cheetos. There must be about sixteen dozen crinkled up emptied-out and licked clean Cheetos bags scattered about on the floor, and small, not-so-discrete pyramids of doodle dust laying around that attract only the most mentally disturbed of mice. Cheesy bits of puffed snackery are like a religion to some, and their god is none other than Chester Cheetah, the one of the raddest (and, pardon the pun, "cheesiest") anthropomorphic snack mascots ever created. So it's probably also likely that, buried somewhere amidst all the other Cheeto paraphernalia, there is an oranged-by-time copy of "Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool" for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or possibly the Sega Genesis). And when our shirtless adonis pops in that game, lo and behold, something really weird yet oddly tubular appears on the screen.

Apparently, Mean Eugene (some crazy fellow whose origins are pretty much unknown, except that his nickname rhymes) has stolen all the parts of Chester's motorcycle and has scattered them around the Four Corners Zoo. He's a bad mamma-jamma with a wicked purple skateboard/cheese grater, and a dog with a hat as a sidekick. That'll scare anybody. Seriously, it will. But based on one of the stupid-sounding early 90s monologues that Chester gives us, I would have sworn that he'd been captured and tagged at the Four Corners Zoo, but the story is a bit misleading. Although we really shouldn't have cheetahs freely roaming the streets -- it's bad for society and small children -- our goal is to actually help him make his way through the psychadelically coloured zoo and eventually escape. Oddly enough, you won't come across too many zoo personnel in your travels. In fact, the various types of fauna will be a greater cause for concern because it seems like all the other animals REALLY don't care for your presence. This gives you a satisfactory excuse to jump on them and kick their sorry butts! And that's pretty much the most action you'll be able to get out of this game, as Chester's array of moves is quite limited. He can walk and jump, just like any video game character. He can also duck, lay down, and crawl if the ceiling is a bit lower than is normally considered comfortable. As necessary, he can also dash and leap a bit farther than usual, plus he has the ability to swing on vines... yup, that's definitely the strong suit of the cheetah!

The worlds are pretty large and filled with fun things to collect. Of interesting historical note is the fact that the health items in this game are actually giant Paws Cheetos, which were popular from 1991 to around 1994. They would probably still sell amazingly well if Frito-Lay hadn't been so gruff and ripped them off the shelves in the midst of their prime. You can also collect smaller tokens with Paws logos on them, presumably for the sake of earning extra lives. Other silly items to collect include a guitar that, as soon as you knab it, transforms you into a rockin'-out rock god who plays the electric guitar, Angus Young-style, while remaining invincible for the entire duration (about seven to eight seconds or so). The only downside is that you have no control over Chester during that time, and at least a couple of times, this item is only available on a very small platform, where you will rock off the edge and into the abyss below. That's poor design.

The graphics in this game can only be described as bearing a strong visual similarity to what people see after they take the same types of drugs that are associated with heavy Cheeto mastication. How's that for you? Although the graphics are not particularly detailed, they are definitely colourful and in your face (just like Chester). There isn't really any graphical shading to be found either, so everything has a colouring book style -- if Salvador Dalí has grabbed hold of it and was given free reign. Heck, even the fonts are really out there, as if they were On the other hand, the music, generic though it may be, maintains the "cool" theme that Chester Cheetah tries so hard to embody. The sound effects, not so much. I don't even remember if there WERE any. Let me check... *runs to the game, then runs back* Alright, so there are sound effects, but they are far too cartoony. Chester's jumping effect sounds like a baby aardvark breaking wind. Don't ask how I know about that.

Ultimately, Chester Cheetah: Too Cool To Fool comes off as nothing more than a marketing gimmick for a snack treat. It's a mediocre platformer, but at least the controls are fairly solid and the difficulty is suitable for young and old. The silly surfer language might be a turn-off, but luckily, it's only a minor part of the game. But it's probably not a necessity for your game library unless you're a completist. Sadly, copies of this game have survived for seventeen years, while no one has been able to find what we are really looking for: a fresh bag of paw-shaped Cheetos. Where did THOSE go? I want those!

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