It’s been a while since I last featured a video game in the QDR, so I’m going to remedy that by going retro with an SNES title that I used to play a TON of back when I was a kid… Cool Spot. Yes, a video game starring the red circle from the 7-Up logo. In fact, the game is one giant advertisement for 7-Up, but despite that it actually was/is a fun game. That seems weird to say when you consider most games based on a movie or something today usually suck, and yet here’s a 7-Up platforming game that is satisfying. We can’t get a decent Aliens game, but Virgin Gaming was able to make a fun game starring a soft drink mascot that’s just a red dot. Amazing.
When people think SNES (yes I know the game was also on the SEGA systems) and platformers, they’re probably not going to have Cool Spot enter their top 20 and that’s a shame. Cool Spot really has no business being any good whatsoever, it’s an advert game, and yet it’s an extremely solid platformer with a great soundtrack.
It’s fun to go back to a game like this now and see how much things have been made easier today. Cool Spot certainly isn’t a difficult game, although it isn’t the easiest game either, and yet the controls that felt so good at the time aren’t anymore. For the most part, the game still controls quite well as far as the jumping and all that goes; the platforming is very nice. The combat now is a little more difficult than I remember it being simply because you’re trying to shoot soda bubbles (I use to think it was bottle caps, but apparently not) at enemies using the D-pad. No problem at the time, but going back to it today I realize just how dependent I’ve become on thumbsticks (the shooting here isn’t as simple as launching a fireball in Super Mario Bros.).
I remember when Playstation first came out and everyone was all hyped about how good the games look and 3D and all that jazz. Yet, games like Cool Spot (in addition to many, many others) show just how great the SNES (and to a lesser degree Genesis) was. I pop in a Playstation game today and it’s downright unplayable because of how ugly it is. I put in Cool Spot, and it still looks great. All the bright colors and varied environments, coupled with increasingly challenging platforming, makes Cool Spot a joy to go back to after almost two decades of not being touched.
Where Cool Spot really shines though is in its audio. The game has great, if not somewhat cheesy, music and sound-effects. I remember liking to play the game as a kid at times just to hear the music, and even today after not hearing it in a very long time it still has a certain charm to it.
The gameplay is nothing groundbreaking; it’s a fairly standard platforming game for the time. You work your way through varies levels side-scrolling left, right, up, and down collecting “Cool Points” (other red spots) until you get enough to be able to unlock the cage at the end of the level where one of your Spot buddies is being held captive. Holding you back are enemies, a time limit, and some pretty good platforming to keep you on your toes. In addition to standard levels, the game also has bonus levels.
If you have an SNES (or Genesis) or a TwinFC/Retro Duo and have never played Cool Spot before, definitely try to find it somewhere cheap and get it. It’s an extremely charming little platformer, even if its goal was to sell you 7-Up.
Cool Spot gets a three out of five: SATISFYING.