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Video Game / Aero the Acro-Bat

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The first game's title screen.

Aero the Acro-Bat is a 1993 Platform Game, created by Iguana Entertainment and published by Sunsoft (who adopted the character as mascot for a while). It was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis, and was later ported to the Game Boy Advance.

The title character is an acrobatic bat who works in a circus and has to defend it from an evil clown. The game was successful enough to get a 1994 sequel, Aero the Acro-Bat 2, and a 1994 Spin-Off focusing on one of the antagonists, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel.


Tropes present:

  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Boardin' Zone and Ektor's Engine from the second game.
  • Band Land: Disco Fever in the second game. There are killer cymbals, xylophones and amplifiers, musical notes that either harm you or serve as moving platforms, Disco Dan enemies and a "Simon Says" Mini-Game involving a piano at the end of each act.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Played with. Aero, the protagonist, is a bat, and he is pretty heroic overall. However, he is still a Mascot with Attitude, and he does a rather morally questionable thing at the end of the first game. The Big Bad, Edgar Ektor, is left teetering at the edge of a building, and Aero pushes him over instead of saving him. Edgar survives, but only because his sidekick, Zero, catches him before he hits the ground.
  • Boss Bonanza: Dr. Dis Industries in the second game, is the only zone in the game to feature a boss at the end of each act, aside from having its own boss act.
  • Advertisement:
  • Boss-Only Level: The majority of the bosses are fought in their own level act.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S":
    • Aero has an A (with little bat wings) plastered on his chest. This becomes a common theme in the sequel and the spinoff, in which The Flying Pepperonis (three other acrobats like Aero named Ace, Flappy and Shade) and Ektor himself also bear their respective initials on their chests. Boris the Beast, the boss of Fort Redstar, wears a belt with a "B" on the buckle.
    • Ektor's Engine has a giant E plastered on its locomotive.
  • Cool Train: Ektor's Engine, the final level from the second game. A massive train full of Spikes of Doom, cannons and a giant skull on its front.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Considering that the main character is a circus performer and the Big Bad is a Monster Clown, it should come across as no surprise that this game contains some examples of this. For example, see Circus 2 and the boss theme (the latter of which is a creepy-circus-themed remix of Flight of the Bumblebee.)
  • Darker and Edgier: In spite of the above, the first game being set at the World of Amusement Circus and Funpark along with the adjoining forest gives it a relatively upbeat mood. This abruptly changes in Ektor's Museum of Horrors and continues straight into the second game, which has a much darker and more melancholy tone and features concepts such as Batasha being Boris the Beast's slave and Dr. Dis creating a hideous mutant clone of Aero. The unsettling factory setting of Dr. Dis Industries followed by the hellish Performer's Dungeon and the revelation that Plan B is Ektor's plot to imprison all circus performers in the world puts the ribbon on it.
  • Decoy Damsel: Batasha from the second game. She pretends to be a Damsel in Distress, and is revealed to be working for Edgar Ektor. Her job was to lure Aero through various dangerous locations, with the final one being Ektor's Engine.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Edgar Ektor's reason for being evil in the Game Boy Advance remake of the first game: the circus kicked him out (for hurting the animals, no less!), so he kidnapped everyone in the circus years later.
  • Double Jump: His second jump is a diagonal spin attack.
  • Evil Doppelgänger: Alter Aero, the main boss of Dr. Dis Industries. He's a bigger, stronger clone of Aero who wears red shades.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Edgar Ektor, if the end of level Bonus Stage in the second game is any indication.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel in both games, and Dr. Dis in the second. Zero supplies Ektor with a number of weapons, including Mr. Bubbles, the flying machine from the first game's final boss battle, and the Ektor Engine in the second. Dr. Dis, meanwhile, has an entire army of mechanical creations guarding his laboratory, directly battles Aero with one of his inventions at the end of all three acts in Dr. Dis Industries, and even has a "genetic engineering device" that creates Alter Aero with, as he puts it, "a flick of the switch and the press of a button."
  • Guide Dang It!: The Bonus Pickups, which allow the player access to the current world's Bonus Act, are in both games. They are generally hidden in some very out of the way places, but special mention goes to the one in Bell Castle Act 3 of Aero the Acro-Bat 2. The entire Bell Castle world consistently features fake walls hiding passages to side rooms, but the one where the Bonus Pickup is sits partway up an otherwise empty shaft navigated by having Aero bounce on a springy bed at the bottom with absolutely no hint it is there, so the only way you will ever find it is by randomly pressing into the wall as you fall back down.
    • It's even worse in Performer's Dungeon, where the fake walls return with a notable difference. Not only are the Bonus Pickup (in Performer's Dungeon Act 2) and the stars and food items necessary to get 100% completion hidden behind them, their entrances are now only one tile high and thus require Aero's slide move to get inside. This means that, unlike those in Bell Castle, just pressing against the wall will not reveal the hidden passage. There is virtually no way to know the openings are there without being told in advance.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Batasha. The ending claims that after Edgar Ektor was defeated for the second time, she stopped working for him and decided to open up her own alternative circus.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Enemies and collectibles in both games have some pretty wonky collision from time to time.
  • Human Cannonball: The titular character on several occasions launches themselves out of a cannon to get somewhere, but it's the air-powered circus-type complete with 'FWHOOMP!' sound effect.
  • I Fell for Hours: One of the bonus stages is a long dive into a pool.
  • Idle Animation: In the first game, Aero bobs his head to the music or does a handstand when idle.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Far less blatant than most; for one, Aero didn't get any "hip" dialogue. This has probably contributed to why he is more fondly remembered than other anthropomorphic mascots of the time.
  • Monster Clown: Nearly every enemy in both games is some sort of evil clown. The most monstrous of all though is Edgar Ektor, the Big Bad of the series. And just to hammer it home, the guy looks like a skull with clown makeup!
  • Ms. Fanservice:
  • Nintendo Hard: Very much so in the first game, but there's very little Fake Difficulty. It really makes you work for it.
  • Power Up Letdown: The invincibility. You can't plow through enemies when you get it and, while you're impervious to them, you still die from touching spikes.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The GBA port of the first game reveals that Edgar's motivation is to destroy the circus as revenge for banning him from coming there when he was a kid (because of a near Deadly Prank that was entirely Edgar's fault.) The fact that he starts dressing up as a clown and declares "vengeance on the world of amusements" shows that even after 20 years, he hasn't changed a bit from the insufferable brat he was before.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Zero. He makes a lot of machines for Ektor and even saves him, but overall he seems more interested in a paycheck than actually being loyal. His own game shows he won’t hesitate to fight his employer if his home and girlfriend are on the line.
  • Punny Name: Aero, who's a bat, works in a circus as an acrobat.
  • Retcon: In the first game's instruction manual, Edgar Ektor is described as a disgruntled former clown seeking revenge on the World of Amusement Circus and Funpark. This is replaced in the second game by a new background in which he is an evil industrialist, and his original origin story is never mentioned again. The industrialist backstory is retained in the Game Boy Advance remake of the first game and expanded upon with additional context.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The GBA version implies that Edgar orchestrated his own parents' deaths in order to take over their company. We see a car burning and plummeting off a cliff, and the narration says that Edgar's family had a "strange disappearance."
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Boardin' Zone in the second game. He's on a snowboard for the whole thing.
  • Spelling Bonus: In the second game, collecting the letters "A", "E", "R" and "O", which are scattered across the levels, sends you to a bonus stage upon finishing the current act.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spikes instantly kill Aero (at least in the first game), while enemies hits remove one of his health icons.
  • Spin-Off: Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, an enemy from the first game, got his own game.
  • Start of Darkness: The GBA port adds an intro cutscene that explains Edgar Ektor's backstory. He was a spoiled rich kid who loved attending the circus, yet also loved pulling pranks. One day, he pulled a prank at the circus involving a falling weight... but it almost killed the circus' lion, so the ringmaster banned Edgar from returning to the circus. Edgar was so enraged by this that he plotted for 20 years to destroy the circus as revenge.
  • Temporary Platform: Plenty of levels in the first game involve you searching for star platforms. You need to jump on them and make them disappear before you can finish said levels.
  • Time Trial: In the first game, you can gain bonus points for beating the act within a set time. More points for doing it quickly.
  • Video Game Flight: When you collect a certain powerup, you get to hover in place or fly in any direction for a few seconds. Without it, there's only the diagonal spin for an attack.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The second game takes place immediately after the first, and Aero rescuing Aeriel was a prominent motivation for him at the beginning of the first, so what happened to her that she isn't mentioned at all in the second and Aero is seemingly pursuing Batasha instead?

Tropes present in the Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel spin-off:

  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Big Bad of the game is an evil lumberjack, but after beating him, you have to fight Edgar Ektor, who is the Big Bad of the whole series.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Overarching theme of the game; Zero initially leaves Edgar Ektor in order to help out his homeland that's being torn down by an evil lumberjack, and he finally turns completely against his former boss when it turns out that he and the lumberjack were working together.
  • Excuse Plot: You must stop the aformentioned evil lumberjack from destroying Zero's forest to print counterfeit money.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: If you fall into the wrong machine in the mountain tunnels or paper factory levels, you'll hear a loud rumbling noise followed by Zero's bones being spit out.