Aero the Acro-Bat

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Aero the Acro-Bat
Sega Genesis Aero the Acro-Bat cover art.jpg
North American Genesis box art
Developer(s)Iguana (GEN, SNES)
Atomic Planet (GBA)
Publisher(s)Sunsoft (GEN, SNES)
Metro 3D/Zoo Digital (GBA)
Director(s)Nigel Cook
Producer(s)David Siller
Jeff Spangenberg
Jay Moon
Designer(s)David Siller
Nigel Cook
Team Aero
Programmer(s)Richard Cowie
Carl Wade
Jeff Spangenberg
Darrin Stubbington
David Brevik
David Crummack
Composer(s)Rick Fox (as Fox Productions)
Platform(s)Sega Genesis
Super NES
Game Boy Advance
Release
Genre(s)Platform
Mode(s)Single-player

Aero the Acro-Bat is a 1993 video game developed by Iguana Entertainment[6] and published by Sunsoft. It was released for both the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. Aero the Acro-Bat, a red anthropomorphic bat, was created by David Siller.[7] In 2002, Metro 3D released a version of the game for the Game Boy Advance, with a battery back-up (which the original versions lacked).[6] The GBA version was titled Aero The Acro-Bat - Rascal Rival Revenge in Europe and Acrobat Kid[a] in Japan. The SNES version of the game was released on the Wii's Virtual Console in the PAL region on July 23, 2010, and in North America on July 26, 2010.

Plot[edit]

A spoiled, rich kid named Edgar Ektor was a regular attendant at The World of Amusement Circus and Funpark, but was banned after a failed prank almost killed a lion. 20 years later, Edgar became a powerful and evil industrialist. Aided by Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel and his Psycho Circus gang, Edgar sabotages the funpark and kidnaps all the circus performers. Aero the Acro-Bat is the circus' greatest star and the only hope for rescuing the performers (including his girlfriend Aeriel) and putting a stop to Edgar's evil schemes.

Gameplay[edit]

The levels are played in typical 2D platforming style. In order to clear them, the player must accomplish certain tasks so that the exit warp can be revealed. Those tasks include passing through hoops, stepping on platforms until they disappear, riding roller coasters, etc. There are 4 worlds with 5 levels in each one, and the levels are large, many of them containing awkwardly positioned spikes that kill instantly.[6]

Aero can attack enemies by shooting limited stars or by doing an aerial diagonal drill attack at his target when he is in the air.[6]

If enough points are collected at the end of a level, a bonus level can be played, in which Aero has dive into a pool. The bonus level is a vertical platform level in the Genesis version. When Sunsoft converted the game for the SNES they changed the bonus level to utilise Mode 7 as a straightforward level to maneuver above an overworld map.[8]

Development[edit]

For many years David Siller had ideas for the game's character in his head.[7] He first sketched the concept of Aero in 1992. Although Aero's early designs resemble a human acrobat, Siller always intended him to be a bat.[citation needed] The gameplay mechanics were partly based on Namco's Mappy series.[citation needed] By this time, Siller had agreed to join Sunsoft of America.[9]

The final concept was designed by David's son Justin Siller, who was inspired by mixed themes from the 70s and 80s.[10] Some of the enemies, items and in-levels that Siller proposed never made it in the finished game. The concept included a mission objective feature, which was not added in the original release. However it was implemented and modified in the Game Boy Advance version.[11] Originally Aero was going to be released for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, but by this time 16-bit consoles were on the market, so the NES version was cancelled.[12] Much of the game's work took place at Orange County, California.[13] Both the SNES and Genesis versions were being worked on simultaneously, but the Genesis version was released earlier as the SNES version reached its final stages of development.[14]

Plans were made by Sunsoft to port the game to Atari Jaguar sometime in 1994, but this version was never released.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

After the success of the sequels, Siller left Sunsoft and joined Universal Interactive. Universal bought the rights of Siller's character and were intent on making Aero their mascot. He had intended to start up a sequel to the second game titled "Aero the Acrobat 3D" to be released on PlayStation to complete the series as a trilogy, but this concept never reached development, as Universal turned their attention to Crash Bandicoot.[23] Following the success of that game, Crash was their official mascot instead of Aero. With no success in starting a new Acro-Bat game, Siller bought back Aero as he left Universal.[24] While Siller worked at Capcom, the USA Bill Gardner wanted to make use of Aero, but the Japanese HQ denied that request in accordance to Siller's contract.[12]

By summer 2002, Siller had to relocate to Texas. He did not have the funds to form his own studio, but was able to hire Atomic Planet to port his original game to the Game Boy Advance. Metro 3D found the game very promising for marketing[25] and Siller directed the port during its development.[26] In addition Siller wanted to port the two sequels Aero the Acro-Bat 2 and Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel on Game Boy Advance in near future[4] and compile them in a collection called "A-Z Force", but he cancelled those plans in favor of designing original games.[27]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
GBASega GenesisSNESWii
EGMN/A7.6/10[32]8.3/10[33]N/A
GamePro3.75/5[34]4.25/5[35]4.13[8]N/A
IGN7.9/10[36]N/AN/A7.5/10[37]
Nintendo LifeN/AN/AN/A6/10[38]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings67.08%[28]58.75%[29]72.00%[30]N/A
Metacritic71%[31]N/AN/AN/A
Award
PublicationAward
Electronic Gaming Monthly1993 Best New Character[25]

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the SNES version an 8.3 out of 10[33] and the Genesis version a 7.6 out of 10. They criticized the absence of the exceptionally good music of the SNES version but held it to still be an excellent game with its large, challenging levels.[32] They also awarded Aero the Acro-Bat Best New Character of 1993.[39] NintendoLife gave the Virtual Console release of the Super NES version a 6 out of 10.[38]

Four reviewers in GameFan gave the Genesis version 93, 97, 87, and 90[40] Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine gave both the Genesis and SNES versions 8 out of 10.[41]

Conversely, Digital Press gave the game only 3 out of 10.[42]

Promotion[edit]

The Sunsoft exhibit at CES

Promotional artwork of the game was showcased at 1993 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Nevada[43] as well as the prototype version at the 1993 Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago,[44] where it stood out well above other exhibits.[45] Aero the Acro-Bat was made Sunsoft's new mascot.[14] By late 1993, Sunsoft was giving away free copies of the SNES or Sega Genesis version of the game to the first 100 people that sent them a 3x5 postcard to their address.[46]

Saban Entertainment announced that an animated TV series based on the video game would be out by 1995, but that upcoming show was cancelled in favor of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.[24]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: アクロバットキッズ Hepburn: Akurobatto kizzu

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat - UK Review". Super Play 13. No. 13. Future Publishing. November 1993. p. 48.
  2. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat flies onto SNES and Genesis". Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  3. ^ "Zum Schonsten fest, Die Tollsten Spiele". December 1993. p. 81. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Metro 3D Ships Aero". nin.vgf.com. VGF, Inc. June 25, 2002. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Halverson, Dave (May 2002). "Aero the Acro-Bat - Advance Notice". Play. No. 5. Imagine Publishing. p. 71. One of the very best 16-bit platformers has made its way to the GBA
  6. ^ a b c d "IGN's Review of Aero the Acrobat (GBA)". Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  7. ^ a b Ken Horowitz (July 3, 2007). "Interview: David Siller (Designer of Aero the Acrobat)". sega-16.com. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Music, Boss (November 1993). "ProReview: Aero the Acro-Bat (SNES)". GamePro. No. 51. IDG. p. 104.
  9. ^ Strangman, Rob (August 14, 2014). Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman (2nd ed.). SCAR Productions. p. 391. ISBN 978-1-3121-0483-9. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  10. ^ Ken Horowitz (February 11, 2016). "Interview: Justin Siller (Designer of Aero the Acrobat)". sega-16.com. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Robert Seddon (November 10, 2010). "Aero The Acro-Bat [SNES GEN MD – Beta / Concept]". unseen64.net. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Sunsoft Famicom and NES". famicomworld.com. June 14, 2014. Archived from the original on 2018-04-12. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Takahasi, Dean (August 1, 1993). "The Game-Making Game Is Big Business". LA Times. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Aero the Acro-Bat - Sunsoft". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Vol. 6 no. 49. Sendai Publishing. August 1993. p. 96.
  15. ^ "News - Jaguar bares its claws - Complete Atari Jaguar thirdparty release schedule". Edge. No. 5. Future plc. February 1994. pp. 10–11.
  16. ^ "News - Update - Around the corner... - Expected Release Dates". ST Format. No. 56. Future plc. March 1994. p. 48. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  17. ^ "News - Update - New Jaguar Development System Released - Expected Release Dates". ST Format. No. 57. Future plc. April 1994. p. 50. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  18. ^ "Warpzone - Demnächst für Eure Konsolen". Video Games (in German). No. 30. Future-Verlag. May 1994. p. 79. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  19. ^ "Update Games News - Atari ooze confidence at ECTS - Jaguar Developers". ST Format. No. 59. Future plc. June 1994. pp. 56–57. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  20. ^ "Warpzone - Jaguar - Angekündigte Jaguar-Spiele". Video Games. No. 32. Future-Verlag. July 1994. p. 32. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  21. ^ "Jaguar - Una máquina felina para un mercado voraz - Compañías y juegos". Hobby Consolas (in Spanish). No. 41 Hi-Tech. Axel Springer SE. February 1995. pp. 26–27.
  22. ^ bmx (March 12, 2015). "Earthworm Jim on Jaguar:question was asked, answer was given :-)". AtariAge. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  23. ^ "Aero the Acrobat 3: A3RO". Unseen64.net. February 8, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  24. ^ a b "Missing Mascots 2: More Gaming Superstars Who Went AWOL". 1up.com. IGN Entertainment Games. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Aero the Acrobat coming to the GBA". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Aero makes an Advance". Nintendo Power. No. 155. April 2002. p. 18.
  27. ^ Frank Cifaldi (August 22, 2005). "Playing Catch-Up: David Siller". gamasutra.com. UBM. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  28. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat for GBA - GameRankings". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  29. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat for Sega Genesis - GameRankings". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  30. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat for SNES - GameRankings". GameRankings. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  31. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat (GBA) reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  32. ^ a b "Review Crew: Aero the Acro-Bat (Genesis)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 54. Sendai Publishing. January 1994. p. 46.
  33. ^ a b "Review Crew: Aero the Acro-Bat (SNES)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 53. Sendai Publishing. December 1993. p. 44.
  34. ^ Pong Sifu (June 20, 2002). "Aero the Acro-Bat (GBA) - GamePro". GamePro. Archived from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  35. ^ Music, Boss (October 1993). "ProReview: Aero the Acro-Bat (Genesis)". GamePro. No. 51. IDG. p. 64.
  36. ^ Craig Harris (June 24, 2002). "Aero the Acro-Bat GBA Review". IGN. Ziff Davis LLC. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  37. ^ Lucas M. Thomas (July 26, 2010). "Aero the Acro-Bat Wii Review". IGN. Ziff Davis LLC. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  38. ^ a b van Duyn, Marcel (August 6, 2010). "Aero the Acro-Bat Review". NintendoLife. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  39. ^ "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1994. p. 18. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  40. ^ "Viewpoint". GameFan. Vol. 1 no. 11. October 1993. p. 11.
  41. ^ Andy Eddy (November 1993). "Game Reviews". Video Games: The Ultimate Gaming Magazine. No. 58. p. 67.
  42. ^ Ragan, Jess (March 1994). "Random Reviews". Digital Press. p. 21.
  43. ^ "1993 Winter CES". January 1993. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  44. ^ Paul G. (January 1994). "Acro-batics". Mean Machines. Vol. 6 no. 15. EMAP. p. 113.
  45. ^ "Sunsoft (Estados Unidos)". Superjuegos. No. 20. December 1993. p. 8.
  46. ^ "Aero the Acro-Bat - Backstory". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Vol. 6 no. 53. Sendai Publishing. December 1993. p. 322.

External links[edit]