An innovative and fun platformer that isn't just another Mario. Cool Spot uses the Y-Axis almost better than Mario World

User Rating: 9 | Cool Spot GEN
Cool Spot is a game that I love because of its art. When I played it as a kid, I loved the animations and the challenging levels. My completionist gaming outlook got its roots trying to grab all 100 spots in every level of this game. Taking a look back after years of study and even more years of working in game design, I appreciate Cool Spot even more for its design.

Its use of the Y-Axis was something that no one had done successfully in a platformer ever before. Metroid did a decent job at it, but it was still pretty "stiff". Super Mario Bros. 3 was well-done but still needed more flexibility. Super Mario World is the glowing beacon of Y-Axis greatness on the 2D gaming mantle... but Cool Spot isn't to far from it.

The levels in Cool Spot are laid out in ways that stretch and fill out the flow of the game in great ways. Each level has a specific mood and flavor, whether you were strolling the beach, dodging cheese flung by rats inside the walls of an old house, blasting crabs on the docks, or hopping from toy to toy in a mad rush to the ceiling of a toy store. The artwork was fun and humorous. The animations fit in well with each environment, too.

The bonus stages are a blast. You have to collect a letter that will spell out UNCOLA (7up's old tagline) in each bonus stage while grabbing bonus points and lives in the process by leaping from bubble to bubble up the inside of a 7up 2-Liter bottle. The bubbles would bounce you upward in ways that you had to be quick to react and have a good memory to navigate. There's no way to explain it without you playing it yourself, but they are a lot of fun.

Once you've rescued all your fellow Cool Spots, you must travel back home the way you came through each environment, only those environments are harder this time. In the end, it is a fun game that I've replayed through the years and it still holds up. I recommend it to anyone who still has a working Genesis, emulator, or maybe a GameTap account if its up there.