It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Bubsy the Bobcat: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind
[ Company: Accolade | Year: 1992 | Console: Super NES ]
Bubsy the Bobcat is a product of an era gone made with 2D mascots. He's a smart-mouthed pussy cat who gets involved fighting space aliens. First released on the Super NES and Sega Genesis, Bubsy eventually found his way on to the Atari Jaguar and Sony PlayStation. At one point Bubsy was even going to have his own Saturday morning cartoon. He was a cat at the top of his game. And then it all came tumbling down. Find out where it all started when you listen to Bubsy's first theme song.
Bubsy the Bobcat gets a bad rap. These days he's singled out as the poster child (poster cat?) of an era overrun by furry mascot characters with snarky attitudes. He's no worse than B.O.B., Aero the Acro-bat, Awesome Possum, Rocky Rodent or Boogerman. This song, however, makes a strong argument for why Bubsy the Bobcat should remain buried. It's an upbeat number with a funky beat. It's endlessly cheery to the point of sounding more like the intro from a 1990s family sitcom than a Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off. I'm sure there are people who find the happy melody appealing, but I want to run as far away as I can. It puts me in a bad mood. This theme is only 80 seconds long, yet the whole time I was imagining the sweet embrace of suicide.
I've always been fond of Bubsy's theme. It has a light jazzy groove to it that regularly changes up to keep your interest. It's also a very jaunty tune, which fits Bubsy's character perfectly. In typical jazz fashion, the instrumentation here is quite busy. The keyboard takes the lead and sets a tone I can only describe as sly, especially with the accenting horns, which is perfect for a game starring a cat. Even the bass gets to show off, its part filled with syncopation and walks. With such a diverse set of instruments, the SNES's sound capabilities get a good workout. In fact, the horns used in this theme couldn't be replicated for the Genesis version, but were instead rendered with a more basic synthesizer sound. This theme really stands out to me. It's not too busy, and yet I seem to notice something new each time I hear it.
Haven't we done this game already? Wait, no, it's another game with almost exactly the same name. And it's not a sequel. Huh. I guess this game likes hiding where it's dark.