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Cool Spot is a American sitcom series created by Robert Downey Jr. & David Perry for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was later ported by other teams to Master System, Game Gear, Game Boy, Amiga and MS-DOS in 1994. The title character is Cool Spot, a mascot for the soft drink brand 7 Up. Cool Spot's appearance in his own video game came at a time when other notable brand mascots (like Chester Cheetah and the Noid) were appearing in their own video games, This series first aired in September 22, 1987 and also revived in October 4, 2016

As of February 5, 2019, The following series will contain 300th episode.

Plot summary[]

Cool Spot is a single-player platform game in which the player controls the title character. Cool Spot can jump and can attack by throwing soda bubbles in any direction. Cool Spot can also cling to and climb various things by jumping up in front of them. In each level the player must rescue other cool spots, who look exactly alike, from their cages. In order to do so, the player is required to collect a certain number of "spots" that changes (usually increasing) as the game progresses. "Spots" are placed around the level in large quantities. The player's health is monitored by a humorous Cool Spot face that gradually bends forward and eventually falls from its position as damage occurs. Damage is taken by touching enemies and their projectiles and certain other obstacles. There is also a time limit for each level. The game has no save feature but does include checkpoints in the form of flagpoles.

If the player successfully collects enough Spots to enter the Bonus Stage after defeating a level, it is possible to collect Continues by grabbing a letter hidden within the stage. Depending on the version of the game, all letters either spell "UNCOLA" (7 Up's slogan), or "VIRGIN" (the game's developer). If a Continue letter is collected, Spot will be able to restart on the level he was on at the time of losing his last life, although his total points will be reset. The central character in the game is Spot. Spot has become trapped in a movie projector. As he jumps from film to film, he encounters many classic film genres; these make up the various levels of the game. The main levels are a pirate movie, an adventure movie, and a horror movie, but there is also a Western movie, a sci-fi movie, and a dinosaur movie which are unlocked by finding all five stars in each of the game's levels. Finding all the stars also grants a better ending upon the game's completion.

There are red dots scattered around the levels. Collecting 100 of these earns an extra life.

Gameplay is based on a smaller scale concept of the Chinese board game Go, which originates from over 2,500 years ago. It takes place on a 7x7 board, though in some variations, certain locations on that board would be unavailable.

Two to four players alternated turns, with each player controlling pieces of a specific color. On each turn, a player selects an existing piece of his color, and then an empty position one or two squares away. If the selected location is one square away, a new piece is created in that location; otherwise, the chosen piece moves from its original location to the new location. In either case, all adjacent pieces are then changed to that player's color.

Spot: The Video Game offered an animated approach to moving the pieces. Depending on the proximity and direction of the move, the Spot character would appear as the moving piece and do a dance, roller skate, cart wheel, dive, fall backwards, etc. to the destination location.

The NES and DOS versions allowed up to four players, each designated by a specific color. Human players would hand off controllers so all members could make their moves when their turn arose.

The current world record, for the NES version, is held by Chad Brevik.

Regional differences[]

In the European release, the 7 Up bottle was removed from the intro and replaced by a generic soda bottle of similar color. The decision was made to avoid associating the 7 Up Spot with the 7 Up brand, in a region where Fido Dido has been considered the brand's official mascot since the 1980s.

Originally called Infection, the game was invented by Dave Crummack and Craig Galley in 1988 for Wise Owl Software, which then sold the rights to Virgin Mastertronic UK. Although versions of Infection were programmed for Amiga, Commodore 64, and Atari ST, none saw a commercial release. Eventually, the game was picked up by Virgin Mastertronic US, which licensed it to the Leland corporation, who then released it as the arcade game Ataxx in 1990. Around the same time, Virgin released its own version of the game, Spot: The Video Game. Infection was initially intended to be a budget release, and when the 7-up branding was added, Spot was sold as a full-price title. Infection, while never seeing a commercial release, was released by developer Gary Dunne as freeware in 1994.

Designer Graeme Devine stated in a retrospective interview that the NES version of Spot was created "over six weeks with no development hardware or software".

For a limited time, a mail-in promotion was offered to purchase the NES version for $24.99, along with four labels from specially marked 7up bottles.

Episodes[]

Main article: List of Cool Spot episodes
Season Episodes Originally aired Networks
First aired Last aired
1 23 September 22, 1987 May 24, 1988 4Kids
2 23 September 27, 1988 May 23, 1989
3 24 September 26, 1989 May 22, 1990
4 24 September 25, 1990 May 28, 1991
5 23 September 24, 1991 May 26, 1992
6 25 September 29, 1992 May 25, 1993
7 24 September 28, 1993 May 24, 1994
8 24 September 27, 1994 May 23, 1995
9 24 September 26, 1995 May 28, 1996
10 24 September 24, 1996 May 27, 1997
11 24 October 4, 2016 May 23, 2017 Disney XD
12 24 September 26, 2017 May 22, 2018
Film June 29, 2018
13 24 September 25, 2018 May 28, 2019
14 24 September 24, 2019 May 26, 2020
15 24 September 22, 2020 TBA

Home media[]

Main article: List of Cool Spot videos

Fox Kids released six videos of Cool Spot between 1995 and 1997. Disney released several videos of the series from 1998 to present; each collection contained four episodes of the series.

In March 2005, Disney gave TR3X the rights to release the series. Season 1 was released that May, followed by season 2 that August and season 3 in December. That same month, Fox Kids announced that Season 4 would be released "sometime in 2006", but Shout delayed the release to an unknown date before finally releasing Season 4 in April 2009 and Season 5 in September 2009. From there on, Shout made a plan to put out two-three seasons a year. Season 6 saw a release that December, followed by Seasons 7, 8, and 9 in March, August, and October 2010. Seasons 10 through twelve were released between February, July, and December 2011, completing the entire original series.

On the series' 30th anniversary in 2017, Disney XD released a boxset containing all seasons of the original show and a bonus disc. The set went out of print, but Disney XD re-released the set in May 2017 in "shelf-friendly" packaging.

Title Release date No. of episodes Years aired No. of discs
Cool Spot: The Complete First Season May 17, 1998 23 1987-1988 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Second Season August 30, 1998 23 1988-1989 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Third Season December 6, 1998 24 1989-1990 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Fourth Season July 28, 1999 24 1990-1991 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Fifth Season October 23, 1999 23 1991-1992 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Sixth Season April 15, 2000 25 1992-1993 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Seventh Season September 25, 2000 24 1993-1994 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Eighth Season March 13, 2001 24 1994-1995 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Ninth Season August 14, 2001 24 1995-1996 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Tenth Season February 26, 2002 24 1996-1997 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Eleventh Season July 8, 2019 24 2016-2017 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Twelfth Season July 13, 2019 24 2017-2018 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Thirteenth Season August 11, 2020 24 2018-2019 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Fourteenth Season July 19, 2021 24 2019-2020 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Fifteenth Season September 18, 2021 24 2020-2021 2
Cool Spot: The Complete Series December 6, 2021 238 1987-1997 29 (+1 bonus disc)

Reception[]

Cool Spot (1987 TV series) was rated TV-14-DLSV on Complex's 'Best Fox Kids of All Time' list, which praised the game for being a 'pretty enjoyable platformer' despite blatant product placement.

Pewit gave it a score of 82%, and summarized it as "one of the most enjoyable platform games in a long time".

Writing about the Genesis version, all four of Electronic Gaming Monthly's reviewers were impressed with the graphics and level design, and while one of them felt that the isometric perspective and controls make the game frustrating to the point of being unplayable, the other three felt that the difficulties presented by the perspective and controls actually enhance the experience. A reviewer for Next Generation also considered the graphics impressive and found the isometric perspective presented no difficulty at all due to the "diagonally oriented control method". He nonetheless concluded that "in a final analysis, the game offers only enough excitement to be considered average." GamePro gave it a negative review, complaining of the player character's slowness, the way the isometric perspective makes it difficult to judge where ledges are, the "average at best" graphics, and the poor sound effects.

Though not outright panned, the PlayStation and Saturn versions received more uniformly negative reviews, with critics universally remarking that the isometric perspective makes it hard to judge where objects are and makes the controls confusing on all the possible control configurations. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly said that the graphics are enhanced to the point where they are impressive even on the more powerful PlayStation, and were particularly enamored of the cutscenes, but found it hard to enjoy due to the control issues and jerky scrolling. Scary Larry of GamePro was impressed with the graphics, scenery, and audio, but said the control issues make the game "drastically unplayable." Doctor Devon, reviewing the Saturn version for the same magazine, similarly said "It's a shame the charming graphics and sounds are left high and dry by the spotty gameplay." Stephen Flames of Sega Saturn Magazine said the game compared well to fellow isometric platformer Sonic 3D Blast in terms of graphics, but not in terms of gameplay. He particularly criticized the completely linear structure of the levels, opining that the consistent goal of moving up and right makes the game monotonous. In contrast to EGM and GamePro, Next Generation's reviewer said the PlayStation version showed "no significant upgrades or extras" over the Genesis version. He also criticized the player character's lack of personality, and said the sense of discovery present in the best platformers is absent from the game.

Legacy[]

While Cool Spot was a side-scrolling platform game, its sequel, Spot Goes to Hollywood, was more 3D in orientation and featured gameplay inside various movies. Despite excellent visuals, its isometric perspective and unusual controls made it an exceedingly difficult game. This game, published once again by Virgin Interactive, was developed by Eurocom. It was released for Mega Drive/Genesis in 1995, Sega Saturn in 1996, and Sony PlayStation in 1997, with the 32-bit versions featuring revamped graphics and different levels than those of the Mega Drive/Genesis version, and being developed by Burst Studios instead of Eurocom.

Story (Sega Saturn and PlayStation version)[]

A bubble goes through Hollywood, which ends up inside a movie theater and pops as it hits a Cool Spot soda vending machine. Cool Spot himself falls out with a can of soda and wanders into the employee room as he starts up a movie projector. As he goes inside he is trapped inside the projector and gets sent into the movies showing on the screen.

The first movie Spot ends up is a Pirate movie, as he travels through various pirate ships and even rides on a cannon. He defeats a giant Octopus and then finds himself in an Adventure movie, where he finds himself on canyons, a Minecart ride, a temple and defeats a Giant Spider along the way. Spot then heads to the last movie, the Horror movie, which has Cool Spot heading through a graveyard and a large staircase.

What happens next depends if the player doesn't get all the hidden stars in every level. If the player doesn't get them all, the horror movie finishes, Spot's friends cheer for Spot for succeeding through the movies, but Spot notices that the player didn't fully complete the game, and so he takes himself back into the movie projector and gets sent to them, again.

If the player does get all the hidden stars in every level, the Horror movie's bonus stage sends Spot to space and then the last level; It's full of Stars, where Spot rides a spaceship and fights a Giant Robot Mech. Cool Spot then defeats the Mech after a weight falls onto it. Cool Spot manages to free himself from the movies and all his friends cheer. Cool Spot wonders out of the Theater, and all the Spots escape alongside with him for a reason, and that is because various monsters from the movie want their revenge, and so chase after Cool Spot until the staff credits roll, and escape out the door.

References[]

  1. "Spot Goes to Hollywood: A Little Red Dot and So Much More". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 90. Ziff Davis. January 1997. pp. 172–3.
  2. "Review Crew: Spot Goes to Hollywood". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 79. Ziff Davis. February 1996. p. 31.
  3. "Review Crew: Spot Goes to Hollywood". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 87. Ziff Davis. October 1996. p. 62.
  4. "Spot Goes to Hollywood". Next Generation. No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 96.
  5. "Spot Goes to Hollywood". Next Generation. No. 24. Imagine Media. December 1996. p. 96.
  6. Fulljames, Stephen (April 1997). "Review: Spot Goes to Hollywood". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 18. Emap International Limited. pp. 72–73.
  7. "ProReview: Spot Goes to Hollywood". GamePro. No. 90. IDG. March 1996. p. 60.
  8. "ProReview: Spot Goes to Hollywood". GamePro. No. 98. IDG. November 1996. p. 114.
  9. "Saturn ProReview: Spot Goes to Hollywood". GamePro. No. 101. IDG. February 1997. p. 84.
  10. "News: Infection At Last!". The One. No. 29. emap Images. February 1991. p. 18.
  11. Spot: The Video Game at MobyGames
  12. "A Moment With... Graeme Devine". Retro Gamer. No. 122. Imagine Publishing. December 2013. p. 30.
  13. "Sega Force No.18 pg. 61". Sega Retro. June 1996. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  14. "GamePro #45 pg. 43". Sega Retro. April 1993. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  15. Nintendo staff. "Super NES Games" (PDF). Nintendo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  16. "Mean Machines Sega No 14 pg. 100". Sega Retro. December 1993. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  17. "GamePro #51 pg. 154". Sega Retro. October 1993. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  18. Nintendo staff. "Game Boy (original) Games" (PDF). Nintendo. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  19. Cool Spot at MobyGames
  20. "When McDonald's, Domino's, and Chester Cheetah Took Over Your ..." Motherboard. Motherboard. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  21. "9 SUPER NINTENDO GAMES AND ODDITIES TOO WEIRD FOR THE SNES CLASSIC". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  22. "Fido Dido returns as face of 7 Up" Archived May 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine at B&T,
  23. "The Best Super Nintendo Games of All Time". Complex. Complex. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  24. "Cool Spot – Viileä Piste". www.pelit.fi. Retrieved 2020-05-01.

External links[]

  • Spot at MobyGames
  • Spot at Hall of Light Amiga database
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