I’m the guy who gets all the anthropomorphic mascot platformers now, aren’t I? The corporate anthropomorphic mascot platformers?
That’s alright, because I consider myself a bit of a Cool Spot aficionado. Despite this, I couldn’t rightly tell you the difference between a ‘spot’ and a ‘dot’.
I knew Cool Spot first as a videogame character, and second as a spokesperson for lemonade. See, my 7UP representative in Australia was Fido Dido, who was pretty much just a cartoon dude with spiky hair. Thank God I don’t have to review his videogame.
Don’t ask me why, maybe we were just not cool enough to handle a red dot with sunglasses. So the first time I saw this circumferential wonder was on the cover of my second Megazone magazine (July 1993), a magazine that I was subscribed to as a member of the uber-hip Sega Club; a multiplatform magazine so openly slack in its coverage of non-Sega platforms, that it dropped all pretense and became Sega Megazone only months later. Flipping through the pages of my tattered July ’93 issue, I am amused by the superlative praise lavished upon our circular hero.
“Meet the coolest spot in the world!” The front cover declares. Well, nobody’s denying that – how could you conceivably make a spot any cooler beyond painting it red, giving it sunglasses, a mouth, legs and arms, and naming it “Cool Spot”? I humour them, and read on.
‘COOLER THAN SONIC?’ The paragraph header reads.
WOAH! Woah, there!! Easy, boy!
COOLER THAN SONIC?!!
I drop the magazine to the floor and boot up the ROM. I prepare myself to play The Jesus of Videogames, though I know in my heart of hearts that nothing can prepare me for this moment.
Hey, this ain’t too bad! In fact, this is quite good! Precise controls, juicy little secrets. Nice, big jumps – somersaults even. Quality animation for once! Crisp, detailed images; chirpy calypso music.
Cooler than Sonic, though?
I check the magazine again, because surely I must have missed something:
‘Even standing still, Cool Spot is way cool. If you thought Sonic’s foot-tapping/watch-checking routine was good, get a load of Cool Spot’s moves: he clicks his fingers and taps his foot in time to the music, he cleans his sunglasses until they’re spotless, gets out his yo-yo and does a few tricks (he can even walk the dog), dusts himself off after a fall and when he’s really bored, he’ll let out a huge, spot stretching yawn.’
Of course! I always thought Sonic was at his coolest when he was not moving. I mean, his foot-tapping was unparalleled! But then Cool Spot came along with his yo-yo tricks, AND THEN HE JUST YAWNED AND BLEW HIM AWAY! PWND!
Was ‘coolness’ the Holy Grail for every post-Sonic platformer? It’s funny, because I don’t think there’s been a single anthropomorphic mascot platformer reviewed on this website that hasn’t been a) compared to Sonic the Hedgehog (and lost), or b) forgotten in the sands of time. The only other mascot we remember is the one who didn’t participate in this Fool’s Gold Rush at all – a pudgy plumber from Italy.
The moral of the story is:
SONIC IS COOLER THAN YOU. STOP TRYING SO HARD.