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Space Ace (SNES)

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Space Ace (SNES)
Space-ace---23517.jpg
An example of an "arcade-accurate" conversion gone very wrong.
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Release: 1994
Developer(s): Absolute Entertainment
Publisher(s): Cinematronics

Space Ace is a Laserdisc-based disc arcade game released in 1983, which featured animation by Don Bluth, who is known for his work with Walt Disney Animation Studios, as well has his own original films, including The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Anastasia, and Titan A.E., in which the latter two, Anastasia and Titan A.E. are now both owned by Disney due to their recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019. The original was very popular and critically praised with ports to other platforms being released even to this day.

In 1994, Absolute Entertainment released a port of the game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Though most versions of the game were well received, this port was critically panned.

Plot and Gameplay

On an expedition in outer space, the villainous Commander Borf attacks our musclebound hero Ace with the Infanto Ray. A weapon that transforms him into an adolescent version of himself, and kidnaps his girlfriend Kimberly. It's up to Ace as his younger incarnation, Dexter, to go after Borf, rescue Kimberly and stop him using the Infanto Ray to conquer Earth.

Since the SNES had limited storage, it ended up being an isometric platformer similar in style to those in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, including SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Labyrinth and Sonic 3D Blast with levels based on the scenes from the arcade game.

Why It Cannot Win

  1. One-hit deaths, just like the arcade.
  2. Bad graphics that came off as visually off-putting and just disappointing, even if you ignore the arcade game.
  3. Stiff and awkward controls. There's a delay between jumping in a game where there's no room for error.
  4. The game plays out on an isometric plane, but it all looks like a typical 2D sidescroller, so it's hard to tell where you can and can't go. You may fall off ledges for no reason at all.
  5. Horrible hit detection. Sometimes, it counts as a hit, even though you weren't near the enemy's hitbox.
  6. The game doesn't even use the original Space Ace music except for the main theme.
  7. Terrible maneuverability. In the Space Maze level, sometimes you can never go through the portals that take you to the next level. In Barren Wasteland, the level stops at the end with no direction and you have to take a random jump to the left to continue.
  8. If you die, you respawn at the beginning of the stage you were on when you died (just like in Silver Surfer).
  9. The space maze levels are agonizing to complete, since with the above-mentioned bad maneuverability, there is no mini-map to see where you currently are, and there are even portals that trick you into thinking of going into the exit portals!
  10. Oddly enough, the main character you play as (Ace) sounds like he's in pain while jumping.
  11. One very cryptic segment involves you having to jump to the right side of the screen to avoid some enemies coming at you.
  12. There are no continues whatsoever. Once you get a game over, you have to restart from the very beginning.

Reception

GamePro panned this version, commenting that "The awkward controls and horrible, pixelated graphics combine for one of the most unplayable video games in recent memory." Even recommending that fans of the original try the Sega CD version instead.

In an interview with TubeFilter, JonTron said: "I think I can safely say out of all the games I’ve played, Space Ace is the one that gives me the most PTSD. I really don’t like that game."

Videos

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