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I know what you're expecting. You're expecting lots of really funny "chocolate bar' jokes, aren't you? Well, tough. I don't know any. Except one about a Mars Bar and Mick Jagger out of the Rolling Stones, but you're almost certainly too young to either understand the gag or know who the Rolling Stones were, so I'm not going to bother with that one. No, in an eccentrically contrary kind of way, I'm unexpectedly going to tell you all about Aero The Acro-Bat, the exciting and glamorous new platform game from your friends and mine at Sunsoft.

Aero the bat had had a great idea. He'd been born into a species whose name was an absolute godsend when it came to cheesy puns, and he was going to make the most of it. Without even waiting to get a job as an accountant first, he ran straight off to join the circus. But something had gone horribly wrong at the circus. All of the clowns and elephants and jugglers and fire-eaters had turned bad (almost certainly as a result of excessive artificial additive intake brought on by eating too much candy-floss) and instead of helping our hero to learn his trade as good chums should, they forced him to perform increasingly difficult tasks just to stay alive. "Collect keys to unlock the doors, Aero!", they sneered. "Jump through 25 flaming hoops!", they hooted derisively. "Jump off a 200-foot platform and land in this small tub of water!", they challenged.

Aero was sad. After a battle with two huge ringmasters on stilts, he escaped and ran off to join the funfair instead. But it was worse. Deadly rides with spikes and traps all over them were everywhere, and the funfair was full of nasty fairground employees who wouldn't fall down and die until he'd hit them lots and lots of times with his magical spinny attack. So he ran away again and went to live in the woods. But still, life was hard. Evil woodland pixies stuffed him into barrels and shoved him down hills, or chucked him off bridges with elastic rope tied to his ankles. Aero couldn't stand it any more. So he killed himself. The end.

By Sunsoft





GRAPHICS: Strangely empty-looking much of the time, but it keeps things clear and unconfused, so that's all right. 7

SOUNDS: Nothing very exciting, but some nice calliope tunes and the odd squeak. 6

PLAYABILITY: Too many stages per world makes it seem to drag a bit visually, but there's lots of variation in the actual gameplay. 7

LASTABILITY: Nine lives seems generous, but with no continues you won't finish it in a day. 8

OVERALL: Congratulations! You're the SNES' one thousandth platform game! You win a slightly more generous mark than you really deserve, by virtue of being sneakily lovable, albeit in a "so-average-it-hurts" kind of a way. Hurrah!