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Titus the Fox
Review By: Jared Black
Developer:   Titus
Publisher:   Titus
# of Players:   1-2 (link cable)
Genre:   Platform
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:    12-13-00

Iíve always wondered why Titusí mascot is a fox. I knew that theyíd never created a game starring a fox, so it seemed to me that they just picked a fox because they found it cute. Finally some validation has come to the foxís mascot status as Titus has put him in his own platform game. Unfortunately for that cute little fox the results are mixed at best.

Features:

-Cooperative gameplay using Game Link cable
-17 levels
-8-way scrolling
-Secret areas, hidden bonus levels, and moreÖ

The story behind this game is that Foxy (Titusí girlfriend) is captured by the "evil and ruthless Sultan Rabys". The Sultan challenges Titus to rescue her, so he and Zorro (his cousin) set out to rescue her and return her safely to their forest home. Shakespeare it isnít, but it serves its purpose and sets up the action to follow.

The core of Titus the Fox and just about any game, the gameplay, is actually pretty solid. Titus the Fox plays out exactly the way youíd expect a platformer on the GBC to play. Titus has the ability to jump and throw things. The only way to kill enemies is to hit them with a box (why they picked a box out of all things Iíll never know), and by jumping on balloons you can be hurtled high into the air to jump over high obstacles. Along the way youíll also collect bonuses (a square with a diamond shape inside) that give you an extra life for every 100 you collect. In addition, thereís also a cooperative two-player game mode (basically just two people going through the same quest) that is implemented pretty well, even though it does provide some bad lag and flicker at times.

Unfortunately, beyond that things are a confusing mess. This gameís design is simply horrible. Why they chose to name the first two levels of the game "Extra Level I" and "Extra Level II" Iíll never know. Itís as if, on the last day of development, they decided to throw those two levels in the game and forgot to actually rename them to something that makes sense. Not only that, but the enemies youíll encounter are essentially wave after wave of the exact same enemies. I realize this is only a GBC game, but I expect the enemies to be slightly more varied than this. Also, if you donít read the manual, youíll have no idea whatís going on because the game does absolutely nothing to setup the storyline for you. And since there arenít cutscenes after each level to further advance the storyline, you never really get a sense that thereís any kind of advancement to the story at all.

Perhaps the most horrible design flaw in this game is found in the levels themselves. For some reason Titus thought itíd be a good idea to make things seemingly pop out of nothingness. For example, in Extra Level I you make it to the end of the level and then the level is over. Absolutely nothing marks it as the exit, it just is. On Extra Level 2 however, whenever you reach the end of the level it isnít over. Turns out the exit is hidden high above the level, and it can only be reached by randomly jumping around until you make ladders appear out of nowhere that you can climb up. Of course, since the exit isnít marked, you still have to wander aimlessly until you eventually hit the area where the exit is hidden. In later levels floors and walls will appear and disappear at random, and for the most part these are horribly implemented as well. For example, in some areas if you fall off a wall that rises below you (which is easier to do than it may seem) youíll effectively be stuck on that side of the level because the wall will not retract and rise again. Horrible.

The graphics are pretty much standard for any Game Boy Color platformer, which is impressive considering the game was designed as compatible with both the regular Game Boy and Game Boy Color. One thing I donít get though is why they decided to draw a white line around each character sprite (you can see what Iím talking about from the included screenshots). I donít know if they were going for the whole Jet Grind Radio cel-shaded look or what, but it comes across as ugly. Overall though, the graphics do a good job of conveying the differences between each level.

The music is also standard fare. In each level youíll get appropriate accompanying music, such as spooky music in the skeleton-filled areas. Sound effects are also adequate.

If you can ignore the design flaws, Titus the Fox isnít really that bad of a platformer. If youíre old enough to read this however, youíll no doubt be unable to ignore the sheer number of design flaws. If youíve got a younger child though, he/she may appreciate the simplistic gameplay and cute graphics.

Highs:

-Standard platforming action
-Compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color
-Good use of the link cable

Lows:

-Extremely flawed level design
-Feels "rushed"

Final Verdict:

Titus the Fox manages to join the growing ranks of average Game Boy Color platforming games. The gameplay itself isnít too bad, but the numerous design flaws are simply too much to ignore.

Overall Score: 4.2

 



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