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Tails’ Skypatrol – Game Gear

Tails’ Skypatrol – Game Gear

sky_patrol_4143Platform: Sega Game Gear

Developer: JSH

Publisher: Sega

Release Date (NA): Japan: 1995

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Tails’ Skypatrol is Miles “Tails” Prower’s first spin-off game from the Sonic the Hedgehog games of which he is known. While technically a spin-off and a prequel, Tails’ Skypatrol is not created by Sega or the Sonic Team, instead being created by the Japanese gaming company JSH. Originally released as a Japanese Game Gear exclusive, Skypatrol would later be released on the Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube, as well as being an unlockable game in Sonic Adventure DX, also for the GameCube.

Tails was flying around in his plane day (remember when Tails and Sonic are flying around in Sonic 3… yea… you remember… that was freegin’ awesome) when he sees an island below him. The island has him intrigued so he decides to breeze down for a looksee. He stumbles upon an old witch who casts spells that fill the island with traps, enemies, and crystals. She runs off on her railcart and Tails, determined to put a stop to all evil, chases after her.

skypatrol 3Skypatrol kicks off with a “training area” set in the Green Hill Zone (or so it looks). The words “Training area ready?” pop across the screen, so I didn’t think much of it when I died a couple times, thinking it was strictly a training area. After 3 deaths, I was slapped with a Game Over! Okay, so now that we have that out of the way, we can restart the game and not die immediately.

Skypatrol plays much more like a flying game than a platformer as Tails is tasked with staying afloat through the entire game. He does not land, in fact touching the ground or walls and fixtured-objects kills Tails right away. In previous Sonic installments, players would collect rings as a sort of life meter. But in Skypatrol, Tails collects what I can only describe as candy wrapped up in little plastic wrappers to boost his life meter. I could be wrong, but that’s what it looks like. This life meter only protects Tails against damage from spikes, enemies, and other damaging items but not from walls or the ground. Those are deadlier than AIDS in 1988. It is imperative that Tails collect as much candy as possible to keep his life meter full, which is actually more like a flying meter. You might recall in Sonic 2 and 3 whenever Tails would get tired, he would start to come back down to the earth. So Tails’ meter depletes naturally the more time he spends in the air. Collect that candy and remember to floss daily.

skypatrol 4Tails is armed with only one weapon, and that is a ring. With the press of a button, he can propel the ring about 4 times the length of his body in front of him, or at about 30 degrees up or 30 degrees down. 45 degrees would have been MUCH more appreciative, but nevertheless, it is what it is. The ring serves multiple purposes and essentially serves as the driving force behind everything Tails does in Skypatrol as flying really takes a backseat in this “adventure/platform” title. By propelling the ring he can use it as an attack, as a way to ring the bell (the bells are checkpoints), hook onto a cart that rolls along a track, break some rocks to open up a path, and more. It’s actually a pretty inventive feature that I found to be quite unique but not all that revolutionary.

While a true prequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, the zones look nearly identical to the others (not graphically) and could really just be another random game in the series. The colors and animation are actually fairly brilliant for a Game Gear game and I have to say I was very pleased. While the zones might look the same (because they really are), there is basically zero similarities between this game and ANY other Sonic game, which may be disappointing to some but might also add some freshness to a line of stale Game Gear games for others.

skypatrol 5The enemies in this game are varied, but nearly every enemy has some sort of projectile. If one of these projectiles hits you, you will start tumbling to the ground until you are hurt. Oddly enough, the game randomly decides if that one time hitting the ground is going to kill you or if you will survive through it. It’s very strange but we take what we’re given sometimes and I’m taking it in the butt by JHS development squad. Bastards. Worse than the enemies themselves is the maze that is every single damn level. Walls are tough to avoid when the game is scrolling from left to right forcing you to move and dodge items. There are huge walls on turn-styles for some damn reason and you have to time them perfectly to get through. One hit and you’re dead. For some reason, there’s a number of checkpoints that start right in front of these things and when you come back from dying, you’re launching point is in front of the same damn thing that killed you the last time. Why?! WHY!?

While Tails’ Skypatrol is obviously all about flying around and staying afloat, all of the candy necessary to replenish your meter is located way down on the ground, forcing you to zig zag up and down the entire length of the stage just to collect the diabetes-causing lifeblood you need! Unfortunately for Tails, he moves about as fast as trying to download a 30 minute porn movie through dial-up internet. If you press forward, he will FLY forward so fast you can hardly control him! But every other direction moves disappointingly slow and can truly get in the way. Inskypatrol 7 fact, pressing forward is more hazardous than anything as it can often put you in a position where you can obviously see that you need to fly upwards to get out of trouble but Tails just CANNOT move fast enough and you fly right into a wall like a dumbass insect.

There are very few, if ANY, redeeming qualities in Tails’ Skypatrol. The controls are sluggish, the game is overly difficult, the levels are uninspired and tedious, the enemies are stupid and erratic, and every stage is littered with disappointment the likes of which the world has never seen. On the plus side, the music is average at best (actually halfway decent for a Game Gear title), the graphics and animation are pretty spectacular for a Game Gear game, and there appears to be an unlimited number of continues. But that’s as far as it goes. There isn’t anything to gain from playing Skypatrol. Even if you’re on a long trip in the back of a Greyhound next to the toilet, this won’t take the smell away that Big Bubba just left for you.

While Tails’ Skypatrol is a full-on spin-off (that sounds funny when you say it a few times fast), it just doesn’t do any justice for the Sonic series and actually causes more dismay than anything. The number of disappointing Sonic titles compared to the number of quality Sonic titles just keeps getting larger and larger with every title they create. I am beginning to feel that the ONLY quality Sonic games skypatrol 6ever created were on the Sega Genesis. Skypatrol fails miserably but not for lack of trying. They did try and at least they tried to do something new and different as opposed to making the same old crap that many other people do. And at least it’s not just a version of a home console game dumbed down to be handheld and portable. Skypatrol is a Japanese only title created exclusively for the Game Gear, but it can be played at home on your GameCube via Sonic Gems Collection and you won’t have to spend the oodles of dollars necessary to buy 1. A Japanese Game Gear and 2. The actual game. Go grab Sonic Gems Collection for your GameCube but don’t do it for this game alone because this is just a little slice of Game Gear for ya… and now we know why the Game Gear fell far behind in the handheld battle, don’t we? Oh, and hey Tails… eh, nevermind. We still love ya anyway.

Nerd Rating: 4 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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