Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S - Covert Action Teams

If you're a fan of the comics, you'll see a few familiar faces here. WildC.A.T.s is based on the Image comic of the same name. This cart is more or less a Final Fight clone. You can control one of three characters, though you can only use one (Spartan) on the first level.

Each superhero controls differently. First there is Spartan, who's sort of like the standard guy in spandex. He has the usual array of punches and jump kicks, along with the ability to launch plasma out of his fingertips. The second guy is called Maul who's a big lumbering hulk. He has a jumping maneuver that knocks everyone on the screen down. This is very useful, because it lets you keep your bearing in tight spots. Maul is also the only character who can run. Last but not least is Warblade (a typical Image comic name, isn't it?). WB has a unique ability to form weapons from his hands. While his attacks do a pitiful amount of damage, he can do a double-jump and climb up walls.

Each warrior's fighting style is different, though the bulk of the attacks you should do consist of jump hits. These knock foes down and keep you from being shot easily.

The first level plays out in the typical fashion of all Final Fight spin-offs. You start out in the city combating endless guys in trench coats and biker thugs. Having the same enemies appear consistently throughout the game with little change except for Bosses make this game (and many like it) tedious. It gets boring seeing the same Daemons, Drones or whatnot screen after screen. One good aspect was that the screen didn't just scroll blandly to the right. Instead, there were inclines and even a sequence where I had to use a forklift to break through a wall. There should have been a few more things like this to keep away the monotony. After passing through the docks and a building or two. a man called Attica awaits in a forklift. He has a seemingly simple pattern, but it is amazingly cheap. He moves back and forth repeatedly until one of you dies. This is a battle of attrition. You will get hit no matter what you do. Jumping doesn't help and Spartan moves too slowly to dodge him vertically. The best bet you have is to get behind him and repeatedly fire plasma bolts. Dodge the best you can by moving up and down. That's your best bet at winning. A few super-mega kill-'em attacks aren't such a bad idea. Use them while you have 'em.

The second level is enormous. It takes an average player about an hour and a half to beat. Each character has roughly three sections to his level, and to move on to the next, another hero must complete a section. For example, Spartan must destroy the computers to shut down the acid vats in Maul's stage. While it adds to the story, it gets a bit frustrating when you're really rocking with a character and have to switch.

Spartan must search for five computers hidden in a maze of corridors, and then destroy an alien nest. The nest is an instant-hit zone with electric floors that really take down your health. Eventually, Spartan must fight a clone of himself using plasma blasts. (He uses an easy pattern. Watch carefully, and time your blasts to his jumps.)

Of all the characters, Maul's levels are the simplest. He fights the same baddies as everyone else, but his levels offer little in the way of traps, except for the slime droppers that are easily avoided. Eventually he'll have to beat some information out of a scientist. That's his Boss! A lady in a white coat is supposed to be the Boss of a giant green superhero! To smash her just use jump punches and she'll go down. Maul also has the pleasure of having to fight the big Boss of Level Two. The anti-gravity machine is a whirling pod that shoots fireballs. Every once in a while it'll open up. revealing its weak point. Use your jumping attacks to whittle it down.

Warblade's levels are reminiscent of the game Strider. He has to climb walls while fighting enemies. The only annoying problem here is that if you get hit, you fall all the way to the bottom. After eating dust a few times, you'll get frustrated. It takes practice to jump from wall to wall. Warblade may look awesome in combat, but his attacks do little damage.

Use his double jump to find hidden items. Try even walking through a couple of walls. His Boss is a giant machine that spits out fireballs. To do the most damage the quickest, get in close and do your spinning jump attack. It should drain most of its life bar.

The third (and last) level is the same no matter which character you choose. You must enter a giant temple where one of your teammates is being held captive. There is a healthy complement of all the basic enemies that you have fought against all along. (Oh boy, more of the same...) There is really nothing new until you make it to the last Boss. Your best bet is to use Maul. Against the last guy he can inflict the most damage in a single hit. It's just too hard with the other two. Warblade can find lots of hidden power-ups but against the final Boss, they are pretty much useless. Use more jump hits. They are the key to beating this game.

The characters in WildC.A.T.s are pretty big and the graphics are really cool. However, after the first level, it seems like the designers lost their enthusiasm. The later screens are simply mundane with little in the way of eye-candy. Power-ups come in the form of life containers, nuke attacks and extra There is also a plasma power-up for Spartan.

Cinemas abound, adding to the comic feel of this cartridge. If it were not tor the same set of bad guys attacking your characters over and over, this could've been a really exciting title. The controls are too tight in terms of jumping and the collision is unfair at times. Overall, comic fans will have fun with it, but remembe' that it gets boring after me first 10 minutes of playing. It could have been a lot better if it had diversity.

PUBLISHER - Playmates DIFFICULTY - Moderate THEME - ACTION NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

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