Review by King Broccoli

"Secret Agent"

Crash-landing on a strange planet and having his family kidnapped soon after, our alien hero Cosmo must use his guile to save the day. Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventures is yet another one of those side-scrollers that Apogee managed to pump out ten or so years ago, but one of the lowest ranking ones in terms of quality. This game takes you through a good number of levels, with only a pair of suction-cups to keep you out of harms reach. And to be honest, Cosmo and his kind are so ugly you have to wonder why he’d even bother to save his kin in the first place.

GAMEPLAY
Yes sir, all our protagonist has at his disposal is a jump and those previously mentioned suction-cups that are where his hands would normally be. Using these tools he can stick to walls, climb up walls, and accidentally slip down walls before sticking to them again. He’s a responsive little character and is easy to control, but the environments he’s placed in and the enemies he faces make for some pretty painful playing.

The levels are generally set-up with a base that you can pretty much stroll along (ignoring big chasms and jumps, etc.) with a big collection of platforms just a little bit higher to make your trip that little bit more interesting. It’s up here that all the little pieces of fruit and bonus stars are hidden so it’s highly likely that you will spend most of the game in these sections. Crawling primarily along the bottom, but sometimes daring to appear up higher are the enemies. Most are the kind that you can just jump on, some have to be avoided completely, but on very few occasions do you actually feel threatened by these adversaries. If you really need some help, cracking open crates will often reveal powerful little rockets (they can destroy some parts of the scenery) and items of health. You’ve only got three or so health bars up your sleeve so for heavens sake use them well!

Up until now the game sounds pretty simple right? Just grab some fruit and stomp on some creepy-crawlies! However there is some mean challenge in this game and most of it comes from the environment. Often big holes will appear in the ground, requiring you to jump inside and cling to walls before getting out the other side or even bouncing off a big springboard. The problem is that while there is a lot of precision jumping required by the player, often they can be falling unaware of where to land, and if they do know then it can be just as hard maneuvering to that spot. Most of your lives will be thrown down these bottomless pits, which is a rather peculiar way to lose them if you ask me. I’d rather a good challenge on terra firma any old day.

So that’s basically it really. You harvest fruit and jump on a few enemies before being completely slaughtered by one jump. The levels differ from each other in only the slightest of ways; you’ve got more useless baddies and more stupid chasms. It’s very repetitive gameplay, and you’ll be looking forward to the ending simply because you won’t have to play the game any more.

GRAPHICS
I suppose the graphics have some quality about them. The backgrounds are almost richly detailed; the screen is filled from top to bottom with green vegetation and other miscellaneous objects. You will get sick of the same basic colours repeating themselves over and over, but at least there’s always something going on. The more astute players can spot little animations in the background and everything else is colourful enough to drag your attention back to the foreground. The land that Cosmo is running around in is a rich and vivid one, but is ultimately let down by some poor execution that winds up making the screen a pain to look at.

The characters are also lackluster, showing little imagination considering all the freedom that the designers would have had in making the game. Cosmo looks like a person with red hair who’s gone a little bit mouldy and has come down with the chicken pox. The enemies are equally woeful, appearing mainly in the form of randomly shaped blobs with two eyes and a number of teeth. Overall it’s a very poor showing from the graphical department; I would not enjoy watching the visuals in this game for long periods of time at all I’m afraid. Best just to play with your eyes shut, you’ll wind up falling in the same holes in the end.

SOUND
Well it’s hard to picture anyone putting up with this sound for too long. The background music suits the poor quality of the graphics and then some. I like my chirpier tunes to inspire a toe-tapping good time, but these travesties that have been included will only injure your toes via you planting them on the face of the next person you see. It is bad music, and this extends across to the sound effect department. They’ve included happy, exciting sounds that sound as if they should be accompanying epilepsy-inducing pictures. These varieties of overly bright noises were not the things that ears were originally made to listen to, so turn them down by all means necessary.

You guessed it! Overall the sound sucks! Very few redeeming features to be found here, nothing to create a happy mood, only things that will make you mad. If the graphics weren’t already bad enough going solo, this accompaniment will turn them into despised, deplorable backdrops. Put your speakers out of their misery before Cosmo begins his torture of them.

LIFESPAN
Hard to see someone putting up with this game for long, the levels are essentially the same and there’s very little fuelling you towards the finale. Most of the people who start the game will never ever finish it in their entire lives. But you can’t simply blame it on the lifespan, he’s just a category affected directly by the others! Blame that dirty gameplay, and the abhorrent fun factor for making the lifespan as short as it is.

FUN FACTOR
The fun factor is abhorrent (some of you may have already heard rumours of this). No entertainment value can be garnered from this game; you’re too busy falling in pits to have any real fun. Sure having suction-cups for hands is a bit of a novelty, but it wears off! And pretty damn quickly at that! You won’t find anything in Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventures that you haven’t experienced before, which makes you feel as if you’re just playing the game as a chore and not as an adventure. Bah!

CHALLENGE
Learn to hit all the springs in the level, and learn to use some nuances when jumping and the game is easy enough. Don’t and the game will be too hard, these extremes make an uneven challenge and uneven challenges are bad challenges! Yes, the challenge is bad. It’s so bad it gets the shortest paragraph of the entire review!

THE FINAL PARAGRAPH
Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure is a real toiler, a real laborer. It provides some solid moments of play, but never threatens to do anything spectacular. The entire game is ruined in a big way by poor level design and to be honest the production elements don’t do a damn thing to save the game’s plight. Apogee does have a lot of these older games out, and I suggest you go and play them before turning this one. Cosmo is a game that should be turned to purely as a last resort, when you’ve played every single other game in the world (actually that’s a big exaggeration, just play a lot of other games instead) then maybe you could consider giving this game a bit of a whirl. Highly not recommended! BAH!
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GOOD POINTS
- See Cosmo jump
- Cosmo jumps high
- Jump Cosmo jump

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Gameplay
- Graphics/sound
- Lifespan, challenge and fun factor
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GRAPHICS - 3/10
SOUND - 1/10
GAMEPLAY - 3/10
LIFESPAN - 2/10
FUN FACTOR - 2/10
CHALLENGE - 3/10
OVERALL - 2/10


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 10/09/01, Updated 10/09/01


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