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Retro Fire

Written: 1.28.07
Acquired: 5.30.06
Status: Cart only
Price: $8

Pub: HudsonAugust '94
Dev: Hudson8 MEGS

I've got a confession to make...

[Everyone's got their chains to break! -Ed.]

I drove an hour just to buy this game. I couldn't find a copy for $5 or so for four months, so at $8 I said what the hell. Well, I was holding it and looking at other SNES games. A lady came in, saw the game in my possession and she asked me if she could have it

"YEE-HAW!"  Lasso 'em up, playa!

I'm a nice guy, and normally I would probably bow out graciously and give her the game.
But I drove an hour plus, JUST for this blasted game. Like hell I was giving it up!  =P

Instead, I politely declined her request, and started showing her alternative SNES kid titles.
She didn't stop though. She was very persistent

"Please... this game is for my son"

"Sorry, I drove a really long way just to get this game"

She gave me the evil eye. "Are you a collector?"

"No. I intend to play it"

I was feeling kind of bad. What were the odds that TWO people wanted SNES An American Tale: Fievel Goes West on the same day at the same time at the same place?

[I'd say about one in 11 zillion... roughly -Ed.]

If it wasn't an hour-plus drive, I likely would have given the game to her. But with the gas I wasted, I'll be damned if I go home with just Super Soccer!  [I KNOW, RIGHT?!  -Ed.]

After a while, I was looking at some 8-bit Nintendo games. She rudely said, "Don't bother with THOSE games. The graphics are horrible"

Somehow, I no longer felt bad about keeping Fievel Goes West!

So that's the backstory... what's the actual game like?  Well, I knew since Hudson made it, it couldn't be THAT bad. This is just one of countless "cute" platformers released on SNES... a face lost in a crowd of hundreds because it fell under the me-too syndrome

Nevertheless, I had an odd interest to see how this game would fare. There are 5 stages, each with two to four sub-levels. At the end of each world a boss awaits you

The 1st level is a romp through town. Zooming in Mode 7 style, let's check out the offerings...

The SNES sure made good use outta that darn Mode 7...

Oooh, just look at that mist
rolling in. Festive. Fievel's
trusty gun fires one cork at
a time. Through upgrades,
you can shoot as many as
3 at once. You can also
upgrade to a water pistol,
while not any more potent,
allows you to put out fires

                                The open barrels aren't a
                                threat, per se. However,
                                stay in one too long and
                                the poor immigrant mouse
                                will choke up, losing one
                                heart. The little splash
                                (sound) he makes is

One of Cat R. Waul's cronies!
Cat R. Waul is the villain in the
movie, as well as this game. Oh
look, I have a lot of nieces OK?

[We believe ya... -Ed.]

                 The next level features a light rain,
                 which is hard to see in this pic but
                 quite lovely on the big screen. Grab
                 all and any coins you see. Each one
                 is good for 5, and once 100 of 'em is
                 procured, you gain an extra life. The
                 game is a cakewalk though, so it's
                 not necessary, but hey, it's fun to
                 hear the sound effect when Fievel
                 pockets 'em

The water pistol will take care
of those fiery platforms. Here's
perhaps the toughest section
in the whole game. Fievel is a
good jumper, but a bit touchy,
that fellow

                    1st boss
is One-Eye

                    He's really easy, and you should
                    be able to perfect him. All he does
                    is jump and causes a bunch of big
                    rocks to fall. Hit him in the face 8
                    times or so and onto level 2 we go!

Another lovely zoom-in shot.
The Sewer levels can be a bit
tricky at first. Fievel travels in
a tin can, and you can speed
it up, or bring it down a notch

Beware of bats that swoop low looking for blood and the high jumping dog fishies

You can leave the can and swim.
But the currents tend to sweep
our little friend away, so a rapid
trigger finger is a must. It's easier
when the tide is high. When low,
it can easily send Fievel into the
various pits and an early grave

Watch out for those urchins too!

                      He can also patrol on foot, that
                      little rascal. I recommend this
                      method because the dog fish
                      baddies are much easier to deal
                      with in this matter. In the tin can,
                      you're often blind-sided by their
                      leaping antics

I love how Fievel is climbing there
at the edge. There's nothing quite
the little details. One pet peeve of
mine are games which require you
to be in the center of a ladder. Here,
you can climb it however you see fit.
It's a little touch that I really enjoy

Inside those blocks you'll find coins,
invincibility, 1-UP, etc.

                             Boss 2
is Puppet, controlled
                             by the wicked Cat R. Waul

                             Puppet is the toughest boss
                             fight because of his very odd
                             movements and projectiles.
                             Better grab that invincible
                             power up, Fievel!

Onto the train world we go. This
is Stage 3 of 5, for those keeping
count at home

                         I love this stage. Ride the mine
                         cart and pop the baddies that
                         trail you! I particularly liked the
                         music here. The sound of the
                         mine cart is spot-on as well,
                         and you gotta love the giant

Beware of these bad boys! The
first two follow the same pattern,
but the last one is different just
to keep you on your toes

                       Ahh, the fall-away bridge section

                       Unoriginal, sure

                       Fun, hells yeah

The leaps made over the pits
are SWEET! Check out the
sparks effect -- ace

Look at Fievel even, the mouse
shuts his eyes off the impact...
pretty good stuff, Hudson...

                        The bridge is definitely not the
                        place to linger, as it dissolves
                        upon contact. High-tail it, Fievel!

Onto the next level where Fievel
catches a ride on the speed-away

Those platforms give you the perfect
aim, and make disposing of Cat R.
Waul's cronies a cinch

                             Vultures viciously try to pick
                             you off, and those fall-away
                             platforms aren't very good for
                             your health either!

Do you stay on the low ground,
or go above? The choice is yours.
Either way, vultures and cat cronies
are everywhere waiting for you

The 3rd boss is Chula. He's a nasty ole spider! The crates are good for avoiding his babies, but you best shoot 'em off. You can also safely jump on them and catch a ride!

Don't stand on these guys for
too long, as they hatch before
you know it. Gotta dig that
sunlight effect, too

                                  The next world is the dry
                                  and deadly desert...

Vultures are everywhere here.
If you wait too long to kill the
caterpillars, they segment into
many parts. Kill 'em ASAP!

                                  Make haste during these
                                  quicksand bits

The next level takes place during
high noon. The blazing sun is a
nice touch. Fievel can hop on the
cacti, but keep jumping because
it WILL eat up a heart if you linger!

                      The scorpions toss their pinchers
                      at you, and require 3 hits to kill.
                      From here you have the choice of
                      going forward, or escaping the
                      scorchin' sun and heading deep
                      underground... (by blasting that
                      rock to oblivion, of course)

                      Let's see what the underworld
                      has to offer, shall we?

Right before the sand falls, a bit of dust warns ole Fievel of its pending arrival.
Unoriginal but who cares?  It's lovely all the same

Take your time here. Pick
him off before you commit
to his side

The next level is one of my favorites, tied with the mine cart bit. You're in the desert at night, a very starry night, but all is not still as numerous creatures rush to put an end to your travels...
the music here is the best in the entire game and really suits the atmosphere to a tee

The skeleton heads are tough blokes, requiring 3 cork shots, much like the scorpions. They have a tendency to chase poor little Fievel upon sight. The vultures lie in waiting...

Another quicksand bit; shoot
the blocks, the baddies and
collect all the coins you can
before they sink into the sand
and disappear for all eternity...

                  I'm a sucker for night time scenes
                  in video games. I'll never tire of 'em.
                  You can't see it in this pic here but
                  periodically a shooting star blazes
                  through the night sky, accompanied
                  by the perfect sound effect... hell of
                  an atmospheric stage, this one

Boss 4 shows off the Super
Nintendo's Mode 7 again.
You can only attack him
when he's on your level.
Make short work of him,
otherwise the boulders he
drops will eliminate that
bridge one by one....

                                     The last world... Cat R.
                                     Waul's town... Like the
                                     other worlds, it's quite
                                     easy to beat

Snakes and falling rocks are two hazards you'll come across

Climb the steps if ya like, but watch out for bombs being chucked out of the windows

Shoot the wheel barrows to re-direct them... they're very effective in taking out bad guys

When all is said and done, enter the saloon and prepare for the final battle... but before you do..

Watch out for falling snakes... and oh my God, SNAKES ON A LADDER!  Sorry, I
couldn't help that one...


Cat R. Waul in all his glory. As you
may know from the movie, or not, Cat
R. Waul is a smooth-talking cat who
tricked Fievel's family to come to what
he promised a land of great wealth and
opportunity... yeah, to be dinner!

So Fievel endures and this is what it all
comes down to...

By the way, look at Cat. He's a bit on
the creepy side, ne?

His pattern is simple. When he chucks his top hat, hop on it. On your way up, shoot
him in the face and immediately ski-daddle

Repeat this until he falls to the lowest floor; it'll take 3 hits on the top floor, 4 middle and 5 on
the 1st. Congratulations... you'll have beaten this incredibly easy title


Have you seen the ENDING? It was well ahead of its time, not to mention....




Judge for yourself...

Some misc. notes

  • Two buttons only, jump and shoot
  • Can be beaten in 45 minutes with no continues used
  • Fievel could have been a 1-hit-wonder, that's HOW easy it is. But instead, Fievel can withstand up to 4 hits per life
  • EGM rated it: 5, 5, 7, 7
  • Movie came out in 1991


It's nothing grand or spectacular, and there are dozens upon dozens of far, FAR superior examples of the platforming genre than this. I can easily understand if one rated this game a ho-hum 5/10. It's very feasible, as the gameplay isn't anything to get excited about. Hell, I'm still pondering why Hudson even released this game in late 1994, when the movie came out 3 years prior. This would have made for a great 1st gen SNES release. By late '94, this game was primitive and Fievel had long gone out of fashion. It makes you wonder...

Fievel Goes West is a decent, unremarkable platformer

At any rate, I'll also say this... the game is enjoyable in its own way. Graphics are very good,
music is catchy, gameplay is decent but unremarkable and it can be beaten in under an hour. It's not a bad game at all... just hampered by the lack of main character appeal (for some people at least) and the fact that by late '94 expectations for this type of genre were much higher. For $60 this would make a terrible purchase. For under $10...

But price doesn't play a factor in how I rate a game. The bottom line is, thanks to the passage of time and a natural decline in value, Fievel Goes West can be enjoyed without that nasty "buyer's remorse" feeling. More importantly, Hudson Soft made a fairly decent game worthy of a look from diehard platforming fans who have conquered everything else. Fievel Goes West won't blow you away, but it's good enough to play through at least once. Its simple old school gameplay will appeal to certain gamers. Though... that is also its downside. It's a little TOO bare and basic. There's no option screen, a glaring lack of weapons, lack of levels, etc. The cover shows Fievel swinging a lasso but it never appears in the game. What you see is what you get... or, er, not, come to think of it... nonetheless..

Other than a SLIGHT hit detection problem, which you'll probably not even notice after a while, Fievel Goes West is slightly above average platforming fare. You could do better, but you sure could do worse. In the end it does get lost in the crowd of me-too platformers, which the SNES
has no short supply of. This one is decidedly right in the middle of the pack. It's certainly not a
disgrace, but well, it is what it is. Play through it once and you'll probably never think twice of it.
But hey, not every game is meant to be a masterpiece, like Super Mario World. No one will ever
remember Fievel Goes West for being any sort of special SNES relic, but that doesn't mean it's
a bad game at all. It'll simply never be discussed for it's neither A). a classic B). an underrated
gem or C). downright horrible. It's in that inconspicuous D). catergory: not good enough to shout
with praise, not bad enough to throw under the bus. Many SNES games share this fate. They're
playable, sure, but that's kind of all they are. After you turn it off, it kinda fades away in memory

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 6
Longevity: 4.5

Overall: 6.0