A while ago I wrote on this spot about King's Quest for the Master System. I said that it was "a unique experience to play a rare type of game like that on the Master System". I also noted that I thought King's Quest was "the only 'graphical adventure' available on Sega's 8-bitter". Now I have to reconsider those words, because Cosmic Spacehead is partly a graphical adventure game as well. Not as much in the same vein as King's Quest, this game still contains traditional platform elements with a dose of adventuring touches.
The story behind Cosmic Spacehead is extremely weird. The hero of the tale, Cosmic, is an alien who has once crashed with his spaceship into the "legendary planet Earth." But, returned to his home planet, his fellow aliens wouldn't quite believe him. (I ain't surprised. The famous French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre already mentionend the absurdity of life, so why would any alien believe in the existence of Earth - let alone humanity?). Anyway, Cosmic decides to return to Earth to take some pictures to show his teasing fellows. But before he can take off to our lovely planet again, he must acquire money, a space car and a camera on his home planet.
Cosmic has to travel between different locations, which traveling exists out of some of the most tedious platform bits I have ever experienced. He hasn't got any method of attacking enemies and touching one means you die. You just have to jump over them and gather some stuff which looks like alien candy bars to me. The places you travel between are more interesting. Here is where Cosmic Spacehead shows its adventure elements. The menu (with possible commands to look, pick up, talk, give and use) is very similar to the King's Quest menu system, but there isn't as much to do. With that, the environments on the exploring parts are completely 2D. It misses the freedom to move which was remarkable when used in King's Quest.
The puzzles aren't too hard, and there are some really funny touches (e.g. flying balloon unions as backdrops, giving a helium balloon to a huge monster to let him fly off), but overall the game is maybe a little too childish. However, it could have been a really decent game if it wasn't for the tiresome platform parts which add nothing but annoyance. The James Pond-like music can drive you insane as well, but the graphics are bright and large though they could have used more colors. Furthermore there is a 2-player mode as well, but that's just a boring mini-game which has nothing to do with the real game.
While King's Quest for the Master System didn't really age well, it's remarkable for a game that set new standards for the genre. Cosmic Spacehead is enjoyable for a while, but never quite manages to match King's Quest's uniqueness. Still, for the fans it's one of the few Sega 8-bit games to give you the chance to play a graphical adventure on your early Sega console. If you somehow really enjoy it, don't forget to check out the superior Genesis and PC outings of the game.