And now… The Cheetahmen

Joel Couture
Senior Editor
 
August 9th, 2012

Somehow, for some reason, there is a Kickstarter to bring back Cheetahmen II; arguably the worst NES game ever made.

For the uninitiated, The Cheetahmen is a game that was part of a multi-game cart that came out for the NES called Action 52. Whether on purpose or by accident, it contains the worst games ever created for the system; compiling a rich tapestry of utter garbage. Calling most of these games “playable” is far too kind, but there was one game among them that looked like it took more than five minutes to code. That game was The Cheetahmen.

Vince Perri, the man financing the operation, was so convinced that The Cheetahmen was going to take off that he got people right to work on the sequel. He had plans for action figures and cartoons, and had already bundled a comic book in with the Action 52 . He was ready to take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads with his creation. Through a rare stroke of good sense, though, all copies of Cheetahmen II were placed inside a box and put into a warehouse, where they were quietly sold. They were never to be seen again.

For good reason, too. While much better than its predecessor (Not much of an accomplishment), it was still a buggy, awful mess. There were enemies who simply didn’t show up in the background, lethal jumps with no rhyme or reason to them, and enemies that flew at angles that made them impossible to hit. Worst of all, there was a game breaking bug after you beat the third boss; one that made it impossible to progress any further. Once you beat the fourth boss, the game just locked you in that screen until you got annoyed and reset the game. Ingenious gamers found a way to get beyond this by restarting their NES systems so many times that it caused the game to load data from a different section of the code, but without a willingness to reset your system a few hundred times the average player would never see the later levels.

Pop-Fiction

Copies of the game have trickled out, here and there. As you can see in the video above, the Angry Video Game Nerd managed to track down a copy, likely paying the thousands of dollars for these games command on ebay now-a-days. Prized for both their rarity and for how incredibly terrible it is, it is out of the hands of anyone unwilling to play them on an emulator.

Were out of our hands, that is.

Greg Pabich, a retired businessman, is looking to change all of that. Having somehow come into possession of a prototype cartridge of the first game, he set out to create a copy of the game that contained all of the extra stuff he found in the prototype. Releasing the game with a soundtrack, t-shirt, and a comic book, he created what could only be called the ‘definitive’ Cheetahmen experience.

Having done that, he’s now set his sights on giving Cheetahmen II the same treatment, and has created a Kickstarter to do it. Before you start rolling your eyes you need to know that through great personal effort and expense, he’s acquired the rights to the game as well as hired its original programmer, Mario Gonzalez, to fix the ROM.  Generous people who fund this game can look forward to copies of it as well as shirts, comics books, posters, and signed memorabilia from the people responsible for keeping this game alive.

If you have any inclination toward video game history, or just have a love for bad games, then I think you owe it to yourself to support this endeavor. I think it’s amazing that someone can put so much passion into reviving such an awful game, and I really can’t wait to hold an actual, physical copy of one of the most notorious games in all of video games history.

If you’re curious about more of the game’s history, as well as Greg Pabich’s work, hit up cheetahmengames.com. You will not walk away as the same person.

 

META

A horror-obsessed gamer, Joel is still spending his days looking for something to scare himself as much as Fatal Frame. Even so, he has ridiculous action games and obscure gems to keep him happy in the meantime. A self-proclaimed aficionado of terrible retro games, he's always looking for a rotten game he hasn't played yet, and may be willing to exchange information for candy.

Specialty: Horror