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Bubsy the Bobcat: What Did Critics Think at the Time?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 10, 2013   |   Episode 3 (Show Archive)  

These days, people seem to hate Bubsy the Bobcat. You see the feline claw his way to the top of many worst character lists and I don't think I've met a single person clamoring for a Bubsy reboot. But what did the game critics think when Bubsy the Bobcat first came out? Let's take a trip back to 1993 and see what EGM, Die Hard Game Fan and others thought of Bubsy the Bobcat Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the reviews. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. For more details and answers to common questions, we encourage you to read the Review Crew FAQ. There you'll find information on review guidelines, how we convert scores, magazine covers and more.)

Bubsy the Bobcat
[ Company: Accolade | Console: Genesis & Super NES ]

GAMEPRO (May 1993)
5 out of 5

"The cat is out of the bag -- at last! Bubsy is a must for any gamer's library. Hot on the trail of Sonic the Hedgehog, this cat really moves! He may not be as fast as Sonic, but he definitely has a lot more purrrrr- sonality. This cat's excellent graphics and great digitized voice make this rollicking, multi-scrolling adventure well worth the wait." -Feline Groovy

9 out of 10

"The year of the bobcat? After playing this cart, I can truly say that this game is terrific. Bubsy's tons of animations really add a humorous side to the game and his voice before each level is also funny. The level effects are great with colorful graphics and many hidden areas to find. What more can you ask for?" -Ed

9 out of 10

"While I enjoyed the detail in Bubsy, the play mechanics and lack of a diversified technique to learn and master brought this cart down a couple of points. All the elements are here, but a lot of the finesse that similar games demand just isn't found here. The levels are long, however, and the game does have its moments." -Steve

87% out of 100%

"Who'd have thought? A total winner from Accolade? Either the personnel changed or got brain transplants, because Bubsy is a real good game. The cat kind of goes where he wants, but everything else is solid. Good graphics & sound and it's fun. Cats everywhere should be proud." -Skid

FORCE MEGA (Issue #3)
87% out of 100%

"Accolade, you've done it! I've sat here for some time now, keeping a beady eye on your products. I've been reasonably impressed, but there hasn't been anything mind-blowing I've wanted to play again and again. But sit me down with Bubsy and you won't get me off the Mega Drive! It's absolutely stunning. Attention, all platform freaks. Here's a classy product you just have to buy. Congratulations, Accolade, your best game to date, methinks." -Ade

81% out of 100%

"While I don't think Bubsy delivered quite the amount of brilliance Accolade would have liked, he's certainly done wonders for them. Graphically Bubsy is something of masterpiece; the Bobcat is brilliantly animated with loads of different expressions and action. Bubsy's a good 'un, but long-term play is something of a chore. Try before you buy, as the man said."

81% out of 100%

"With all the hype, I expected more. Not that it's a bad game, but it's not great, either. The enemies are very repetitive and the action isn't all that fast. Overall, Bubsy is a solid action game and a worthy purchase for SNES owners." -Tom Slick

8 out of 10

"Before you shun Bubsy for my description of its flaws, let me remind you that I'm being very critical. Take a look at the ratings and you'll see that I enjoy the game. However, when a game shoots for a lofty position next to Mario, Sonic and Bonk as an icon, it's help up to stronger scrutiny. Bubsy's flaws don't kill it, because there's loads of fun in there, but they do bring it down a notch or two." -Andy Eddy

79% out of 100%

"After all the hype surrounding Bubsy, especially the claims made by some American mag that he is a Street Fighter II beater, I am very disappointed. Of course Bubsy is a competent platformer character, but then that's what market research is for. Rather like a well written book with a dull plot or brilliantly composed song with no feeling, Bubsy simply isn't a great game." -Paul

SUPER PLAY (Issue #10)
77% out of 100%

"The question that's just begging to be asked about Bubsy is: does it live up to all the hype? After all, Accolade have been plugging the game relentlessly ever since they first announced it six months or so ago, and the gaming world has been awash with Bubsy previews, Bubsy magazine covers, more Bubsy previews, people dressed up as Bubsy, everything. And? No, not really. (How could it possibly?)" -Jonathan Davies

MEGATECH (Issue #20)
74% out of 100%

"Firstly, this is definitely a game that will appeal only to the younger gamesplayer. The crudeness of the graphics, the flaws in the gameplay and the distinct lack of cool of the main character mean that it won't have the mass appeal across all age groups that the Sonic games enjoy. However, the game offers enough difficulty and challenge to keep a young gamesplayer coming back again and again until he's finished it, so it probably offers good value for money in that sense." -Mark Holmes

SNES FORCE (Issue #3)
71% out of 100%

"Cosmetically excellent, this lacks the addictive edge that could make it a classic. If you are really into fast-paced platformers, Bubsy is the closest to Sonic on the Nintendo, and to be fair you could do a lot worse, but this potentially excellent game is spoiled by major gameplay flaws and a frustration level that's far too high." -Simon

SNES FORCE (Issue #3)
60% out of 100%

"So Bubsy is the SNES's new fast-paced platform hero? I hate to admit it, but the spiny Sega one has the edge. Bubsy has the looks, the cartoon elements, but not the fun. If the programmers wanted a speedy Sonic-type game, why did they make Bubsy a one-hit-and-die character, the put enemies virtually every two inches? This cat is lucky there's no hedgehog on Nintendo." -Will
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 82% - Bubsy the Bobcat gets a lot of hate and derision these days, but that wasn't the case back in 1993. While it didn't receive the high marks you would expect from a Mario or Sonic sequel, Accolade couldn't be too sad about the scores the critics gave their mascot game. Most magazines gave it scores in the 80% range, with only a few dipping into the 70s. The lowest score came from Will at SNES Force, but even he was at odds with the other critics he shared an office with. Critics generally liked Bubsy.

What I find interesting about these scores is the U.S. and UK divide. The game came out first in North America, so magazines like GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Die Hard Game Fan had the first crack at writing reviews. American critics loved the game and showered it with high scores. The same wasn't true of the UK press, who had to endure several extra months of hype. After hearing so many good things from the Americans, the British critics were underwhelmed. They hype had died down and the backlash was starting to mount.

But even with European magazines coming in slightly lower, it's safe to say that critics largely enjoyed Bubsy the Bobcat. So when people tell you that Bubsy has always been hated, you send them to this page and discover the truth.

UPDATE - JUNE 9, 2017: A brand new Bubsy the Bobcat game has been announced for PC and PlayStation 4. This news has brought a flood of new people to this 2013 article, which has prompted me to post a much more thorough episode of Review Crew. I added eight additional reviews (mostly from UK magazines) and wrote brand new closing thoughts.


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