Mean Machines Sega

Garfield: Caught In The Act
By Sega
Sega Game Gear (EU Version)

Published in Mean Machines Sega #39

Garfield: Caught In The Act

Garfield's life consists of relatively few activities. Little else bar the pursuit of sleep, lasagna and Odie occupy the big-boned pussycat. Scaling trees, leaping ravines and surfing water jets don't figure too heavily.

The guys at Sega US haven't let such piffling things get in the way of yet another platformer though. Perhaps conscious of the need to spruce up this rather tired old genre, Sega are taking the opportunity to make the Game Gear version of Garfield: Caught In The Act the biggest game ever seen on the format. A whopping 8 megs of game, twice as much as usual, are bursting the seams of the redesigned cartridge. So have Sega put this extra memory to good use?

Well, the plot is basically a rejigged and remixed version of many of the elements from the Megadrive version - Garfield and his canine 'chum' Odie are sucked into their television set by a mysterious force which pits them against each other in a variety of film genres still buzzing around the crackling valves and transmitters. Thereon in, it's the usual running, jumping and standing still platform fare. But can the addiction of Garfield into the mix make a difference? And, more importantly, do the extra four megs of memory herald a new era in Game Gear gaming?


Garfield: Caught In The Act

The world's first 8 meg Game Gear cartridge, no less.

Game Aim

Jump on platforms. Shoot stuff. Collect things. Jump on platforms. Shoot stuff. Collect things. Jump on platforms.

Paws For Thought

Although the scenario structures have been rethought for the Game Gear, nearly everything is fundamentally unchanged from the Megadrive version. It's claws at dawn as Garfield battles Odie through caverns underneath a travelling circus, a 1930's gangster movie, a dinosaur epic and a dank jungle.


Garfield: Caught In The Act

Numerous rapscallions and ne'erdowells come between you and the television set components that hover invitingly at the end of each level. Some of them, like the coconut-slinging monkey and swooping vulture, are familiar from the Megadrive version. Others, like the hugely mutated Odie and your docile owner Jon you should instinctively want to nobble anyway. To defend yourself, collect as many coconuts from trees as possible - your armoury is strictly limited.

Go Go Go Cat!

Although 8 out of 10 cats might prefer to stay asleep, and Garfield certainly numbers amongst them, this time round our little fat buddy seems to be auditioning for The Krypton Factor. Only when his energy points get very low does he start to pant and adopt the familiar slouch. In the meantime, he finds numerous ways to get from one side of the screen to the other...

1. Stunned Venus Try Traps make handy trampolines for jumping onto high branches in the forest.

Garfield: Caught In The Act

2. Force yourself to suppress your appetite and jump on the back of a handy fish for a stress-free river crossing.

3. These prehistoric elevators are handy for airborne journeys, but watch out for preying vultures - it's a long way down.

4. It's difficult to knock yourself out of the game by falling down canyons. These helpful butterflies are on hand to lift you to safety.


Garfield: Caught In The Act

The Game Gear version of Garfield scores significantly higher than its big brother on the Megadrive for a number of reasons.

Relatively, it looks a lot more impressive, with the level of detail you'd expect from a cartridge with twice as much memory as anything previously seen on the format. Secondly, it's simply a more hospitable and engaging play, even taking into account the lower expectations of games on this system.

At the end of the day though, Garfield remains a baffling choice of star for such an energetic platformer. And the game itself is of the type that is starting to look decidedly tired and unattractive. Games like Arena prove that you can be a great deal more inventive, and pack in a lot more gameplay using half the memory.


Garfield: Caught In The Act

Do you realise that this cart is the same size as Sonic 2 on the Megadrive? Useless stats out of the way, it's a shame it's not as good. I agree with Marcus that this is much better than the Megadrive version, but I do think that it's about time Sega made some more original games than the tired old platformers that that keep getting churned up.

The graphics are bafflingly cute and the slobby Garfield, despite reminding me of certain couch potato relatives, isn't really the instant hit in a game that many may have hoped.

Obviously, if you're a fan and feel like wasting several hundred quid's worth of batteries on this, then hey, buy it by all means. Otherwise I recommend you save your money for some lasagne and train to become like our feline friend in the belly department.


Garfield: Caught In The Act

Graphics 84%
P. Some of the most detailed scenarios ever seen on the system.
N. The characters themselves deserved more attention.

Animation 78%
P. Garfield's lardy antics are effectively realised in wobble-vision.
N. Everything else seems pretty basic.

Music 65% N. I had to turn it down. It would have driven me to kill.

Garfield: Caught In The Act

Effects 60%
P. You 'unpause' the game by activating Garfield's alarm clock.
N. It sounds like someone stamping on a Stylophone.

Playability 80%
P. Straightforward platform fare. Fun - if you like that sort of thing.
N. It oes all get a bit repetitive.

Lastability 79%
P. This offers little over other competent platformers.
N. Don't expect it to accordingly last any longer.

Overall 81%
Impressive graphics - unoriginal game. Looks better than it plays, in other words.