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Video Game / Bubsy

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What could paws-sibly go wrong?

Ah, Bubsy the Bobcat. A series of Platform Games released in the early-to mid-nineties by Accolade, starring a Mascot with Attitude designed to capitalize on the popularity of a certain hedgehog. Bubsy can jump up to about twice his height, and can glide to slow himself down when he falls by holding out his arms like an airplane. He is, however, vulnerable to fall damage.

Five games were released in the series, along with a pilot for an animated series that never materialized. The list of games is as follows:

  • Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind (1992, multiple systems)
  • Bubsy II (1994, multiple systems)
  • Bubsy in: Fractured Furry Tales (1994, Atari Jaguar)
  • Bubsy is 3D in Furbitten Planet (1996, PlayStation)
  • Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back (2017, PS4, PC)
  • Bubsy: Paws on Fire (2019, PS4, PC, Switch)

The 2D games received mixed reviews from critics, but they sold fairly well. The franchise (such as it was) became a poster child for the Polygon Ceiling with the failed Bubsy 3D, after which Bubsy became a bit of a punchline and went dormant.


Until 2015, when a Greenlight campaign to emulate the first two games on Steam began. It succeeded in December 2015, under the compilation title of Bubsy Two-Fur.

Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back was released on October 31, 2017. The announcement trailer can be found here and the launch trailer here. On October 30th, 2018, another Bubsy game was announced, Bubsy: Paws on Fire. Unlike previous Bubsy games, this one is a running game in the same style as BIT.TRIP (and is actually from the same developer, Choice Provisions); it features many playable characters besides Bubsy himself, including a Woolie in a flying saucer, as well as Virgil the Vole and Arnold the Armadillo from the failed TV pilot.


Bubsy tropes:

  • Accordion Man: This would happen to Bubsy in the first game if he fell from a high distance without gliding.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Hansel and Gretel in Fractured Furry Tales. Sure there are a few versions that make them seem a little more... questionable, but this is one of the very few that makes them outright villains. As opposed to the original story, where they only killed the wicked witch after she tried to kill them first, here they apparently kidnapped the witch and locked her in a cage for no reason, and they try to kill Bubsy too when he shows up... by throwing apples at him. Also, it turns out the witch is actually Mother Goose.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Woolies, especially Professor Nylon.
  • Alliterative Name: In Bubsy 3D, the level "Catatomic Catastrophe".
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Given 3D's infamous reputation and near-unplayability, many thought the lavish praise it got from PSExtreme Magazine on the cover was fake. It wasn't.
  • Amusing Injuries: Bubsy gets these often.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Bubsy is a type of cat, and therefore instantly drowns if he touches water.
  • Animated Actors: Bubsy is an animated actor in a cartoon world starring in his own games that are also movies. Movie-like game titles allude to Bubsy being not only a character in the game, but also starring in the game as an actor. The titles of stages are often parodies of epic movies, with different stages representing different movie genres. Bubsy has even threatened to walk off the set multiple times. In the intro to "Rock around the Croc", Bubsy says, "Next time, I get a stunt cat." In the intro to "No Time to Paws", Bubsy says, "Oh, I can give up show business?" In the ending to the first game, Bubsy leaves the set, and drives off in a limo.
  • Aside Glance: In the title screen of Bubsy II, Bubsy is facing his back towards the audience, but then turns his head to look directly at the player, does something with his hand, and rolls his eyes and gives a thumbs up, wiggles, and says "I like it" before looking back at what he was looking at.
  • A Winner Is You:
    • Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind has a particularly infuriating one: "I win! I win! Well... I guess you helped out a bit too."
    • The Woolies Strike Back ends with a 5-second shot of Bubsy escaping from the exploding Wooly spaceship with his beloved yarn ball, and then goes to the credits.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Woolies win if you don't collect everything in Bubsy 3D. If you do, they still win anyway. You're destined to lose from the word "go".
  • Band Land: Musicland in Bubsy II.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: In Bubsy 3D, even though you defeat Polly and Esther, the story has them defeat Bubsy and capture him. At least, that's how the Woolies see it.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Wooly queens, Polly and Esther, in Claws Encounters, Bubsy 3D, and The Woolies Strike Back.
    • Oinker P. Hamm in Bubsy II and Paws on Fire.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: If you didn't press any buttons, Bubsy would eventually knock on the TV screen and yell at you.
    • In Bubsy 3D, he starts messing with your TV settings.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most of Bubsy's lines in the first two games imply he's a struggling actor who can't catch a break. Given what happened to his series, it's oddly prescient.
    • In the second game, his sidekick Arnold the Armadillo took this role.
    • In Bubsy 3D, the end-of-level animations have Bubsy getting hurt in some way.
  • Cameo: Supporting characters of the Bubsy cartoon appear in Bubsy II. Bubsy's niece and nephew appear on the title screen, and appear in the ending with Arnold the Armadillo.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Bubsy 3D ended with him stranded in prehistoric times, which The Woolies Strike Back ignores.
  • Catchphrase: "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?."
    • Also the name of the pilot episode itself.
    • Since the release of Bubsy 3D, the most common answer to that is "This."
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: You start with nine lives in the first game. You will lose them fast if you don't know what you're doing, and sometimes even if you do.
  • Circling Birdies: This happens if Bubsy hits a wall after running into it too fast. (This is one of the very few injuries you can inflict on Bubsy that is not fatal to him.)
  • Combat Tentacles: The first boss in The Woolies Strike Back can use its tentacles to attack by spinning it like a drill and dive into Bubsy.
  • Covers Always Lie: The North American release of Bubsy 3D featured a positive critic quote on the front cover from EGM. In reality, the quote came from a preview in Electronic Gaming Monthly - their review of the actual game when it came out was a 3.25 out of 10.
    • Averted with the PAL region covers, however; not only does it lack these, or any review blurbs, but the back of the case doesn't even have descriptive text to try and sell people on the game, only having screenshots to show for it.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Bubsy, his nephew Terry, and his niece Terri all have them.
  • Deadly Lunge: Bubsy now has a pounce move in The Woolies Strike Back, which he can use to cross long distances, break walls and attack enemies.
  • Difficulty Spike: Every third chapter in the first game threw every obstacle at you that it could, and doesn't ease up.
  • Downer Ending: In Bubsy 3D, both endings involve Bubsy stranded, lost in space if you failed to collect everything and lost in time if you did. Either way the Woolies continue their campaign.
  • Fake Difficulty: Discussed in this JonTron. For those who don't feel like watching, in the first two games, your field of vision is very limited, making it hard to tell where you should go and what's just offscreen trying to kill you.
    • Some Call Me Johnny also delved into other problems: Level design not built around Bubsy's abilities, platforming sections that are hard due to Bubsy's obscene speed not matching the platforming, frailty combined with the above problems leading to the multiple deaths, sprite sizes being too huge causing said accidents to happen, and inconsistent ideals about how to play the game. It's hard to be slow and methodical with a character as fast as Sonic. Likewise, he couldn't (and he tried) play it safe with level design created with the intent of murdering the bobcat.
  • Falling Damage: The first two games have falling damage, which can be neutralized by gliding.
  • Fan Sequel: Arcane Kids' Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits The James Turrell Retrospective is a surrealist send-up of one, but it does star the long-lost cat, and uses him as a vehicle for some seriously high-minded parody.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Bubsy regularly stares at and makes comments to the player, and is aware of being in a game and on a movie set.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The premise of Fractured Furry Tales is that Bubsy goes around "humbling" the bad guys from storybooks like Jack and the Beanstalk and Alice in Wonderland.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The plot of Bubsy 2 revolves around the WOMPUM — the World Origination and Matter Projection Unification Machine.
  • Goomba Springboard: A very useful tactic to rank up a ton of points and clear large gaps (and the whole stage if you're so inclined).
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: In Bubsy II, Bubsy falls to his death by standing in midair, staring at the audience, looking down, back at the audience, opening an umbrella, and falling. In Bubsy 3D, Bubsy stops in midair, stares at the audience, waves goodbye, and then falls.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Bubsy wears a white shirt with a red exclamation mark. Bubsy's nephew Terry wears a red shirt and no pants.
  • Have a Nice Death: Death animations are situational and attempt to evoke the cartoony style of Looney Tunes. In Bubsy 3D, this is taken further, with an animation for falling into bottomless pits, and cutscenes for falling into water and green goop. And more.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Bubsy spews these a lot, though he's adamant that he didn't write them.
  • Idle Animation: Bubsy will smirk at the screen, tap his foot, and eventually knock on the TV. In Bubsy 3D, he messes with your television settings and more.
  • I'm Melting!: One of Bubsy's death animations is melting into a puddle.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: In the intro for "Claws for Alarm", Bubsy says, "Is there a veterinarian in the audience!?" In Bubsy II, one of Bubsy's death quotes is "Is there a doctor in the house?" The trailer for The Woolies Strike Back goes with "Is there a veterinarian in the house?".
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Woolies becoming this as of The Woolies Strike Back. After being victorious in Bubsy 3D, Bubsy destroys their fleet and ruins their galactic conquest.
  • Large Ham: The narrator in Super Bubsy. Also Bubsy himself.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: One of Bubsy's death animations in 3D.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Bubsy has a death animation for every kind of obstacle, sometimes multiple ones. Most of them are Bubsy smiling, then falling down, but the rest can be rather funny. It's probably the main reason why most players didn't throw their controllers through the television.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Bubsy was one of many, and is also one of the most infamous.
  • Medium Awareness: In Bubsy 3D, "Now, what would a platform game be without platforms? Hmm, I wonder if there's any extra lives up there," and "Oh look, an arrow, aren't these game designers wonderful?"
  • Mickey Mousing: The soundtrack to Bubsy 2, which was actually pretty ahead of its time. The music would speed up or slow down depending on Bubsy's movement, and would frequently switch melodies depending on where you were in the level. The music instrumentation even got sparser if you were standing still for a long time.
  • Multiple Endings: In Bubsy 3D. If you beat the game without collecting everything, Bubsy's rocket ship doesn't have enough power to make it to Earth, and he ends up stranded in space. This allows the victorious Woolies to continue their galactic conquest. If you do find everything, Bubsy's rocket ship has too much power, and he accidentally puts himself in Pre-Historic times. This allows the victorious Woolies to continue their galactic conquest.
  • Multiple Head Case: There are two different two-headed Woolies, Queens Polly and Esther and the General, though interestingly their respective cases of polycephaly seem to be quite different. Polly and Esther are almost always treated as if they're two different individuals who happen to share the same body, making them more like Conjoined Twins, while the Woolie General's heads always speak in unison and he always refers to himself in singular pronouns, implying that his two heads share the same brain.
  • Narrator: Super Bubsy added one to explain the story and introduce the levels. Bubsy's chatter was kept.
  • No Indoor Voice: In Bubsy 3D Bubsy screeches virtually every single one of his lines.
  • No Name Given: Despite being the penultimate boss of Bubsy 3D and the most prominent character in the intro and endings, the Woolie General has no official name.
  • Not in My Contract: "My contract does not mention pain!"
  • Obvious Beta: Bubsy 3D was given such a rushed development cycle, that it only got a finished alpha done that was shoved out the door in order to play catch up to Super Mario 64. The result was a clunky-to-play, sloppy-looking, and all-around embarrassing rush job that killed the franchise dead.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: The first game only. The sequels gave him an idiosyncratic health meter. This is taken to ridiculous levels in one stage, where he'll die by jumping onto a platform that's covered by an inch of water.
  • Overly Long Gag: Professor Nylon attempting to explain Bubsy's escape without getting interrupted by the crowd, which takes nearly a full minute of the two and a half minute-long ending cutscene.
  • Polygon Ceiling: The 2D games were made competently enough, but having to work with an extra dimension made Bubsy 3D a clear Obvious Beta. Almost every texture was a solid color, the levels were lifeless, Bubsy moved like a heavy tank with choppy animations, and the game was generally a chore to play for the most part.
  • Product Placement: In Bubsy II, you have the ability to buy Nerf Bazookas and shoot Nerf Balls at enemies.
  • Pun-Based Title:
  • Pungeon Master: In the intro to "C Sharp or B Flat", Bubsy says, "Go for Baroque". Bubsy also says, "Remember, I'm a trained purrfessional."
  • Punny Name: All of the Woolies in the game are named after types of material. The queens are named Polly and Esther, and their assistant is named Professor Nylon.
  • Quote Mine: The review on the front cover for Bubsy 3D goes beyond this as it sports a quote from a preview, not an actual review.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon seeing the level title "Eye of the Bobcat", Bubsy says: "That's it, I'm outta here, you can't make me...", and runs off the screen.
  • Self-Deprecation: The Woolies Strike Back has a verbosity setting that controls how often Bubsy spouts one-liners with a caption to give an idea on how often he will. At the maximum setting the caption just says Bubsy.
  • Sequel Hook: Bubsy 3D ended with this. With Bubsy Trapped in the Past, the Woolies plan to invade Earth and take all of the wool for themselves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the intro to "Night of the Bobcat", Bubsy says, "Hey I thought I saw Elvis back there."
    • In the intro to "The Good, the Bad and the Woolies", Bubsy says, "Well, it worked for Clint."
    • In the intro to "A Fistful of Yarn", Bubsy says, "Go ahead, make my day."
    • In Bubsy II, Bubsy says "I'll be back".
    • In Bubsy 3D, the intro to "Escape From WooL.A." shows Bubsy dressed as Snake Plissken.
    • At the end of Bubsy 3D, the Woolie leader says "Bubsy has left the planet", as Bubsy is dressed in an Elvis outfit.
    • At the end of Bubsy 3D, Bubsy says, "Hey, how did I end up in Triassic Park?"
  • Single-Use Shield: The first T-shirt you collect will grant you a shield that acts as your extra hit point in Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. Collecting other T-shirts when you have the shield will give you lives.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Especially in Bubsy 3D, carnival music, playing regardless of any fun, during menus, saving, loading, during levels, cutscenes, and when Bubsy is kidnapped by aliens in a cutscene before facing a Woolly Mammoth.
  • Space Pirates: The space level in Bubsy II has a distinct pirate theme to it, including treasure chests, hooks, and pirate-esque BGM.
  • Space Zone: The final level of the first game, which takes place on the Woolies' mothership.
  • Sphere Eyes: Bubsy has these.
  • Stealth Pun: Bubsy's catchphrase, given he doesn't stress the wordplay like he normally does. "What could paw-sibly go wrong?", to which Jim Sterling's memorable reply was, "Apparently most things, Mr. Bobcat."
  • Super Drowning Skills: In the first game and 3D, Bubsy will drown if even his toes touch water.
  • Tagalong Kid: Bubsy's nephew Terry, and niece Terri in the second game. They could be controlled by a second player.
  • Techno Babble: In Bubsy 3D, the Woolie scientist Professor Nylon attempts to explain how Bubsy constructed a rocket ship, harnessed the power of atoms, and traveled through time, while being interrupted by a rowdy audience.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: In Bubsy II, Bubsy's niece Terri wears eyeshadow and a blue skirt. Bubsy's nephew Terry wears a red shirt and no pants.
  • Third Is 3D: Not counting Fractured Furry Tales.
  • Uranus Is Showing: In Bubsy 3D, Bubsy's first words are, "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Uranus."
  • Vent Physics: Bubsy can ascend himself when he glides on top of the updrafts generated by air vents.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Bubsy is responsible for the Trope Namer, with it being his catchphrase. He also extensively says it in the unaired pilot, and the saying is even the pilot's title!
  • "What Now?" Ending: Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tails ends like this.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. "Woah, are you still playing this thing?" says Bubsy, before the final level.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: When Bubsy is referring to the punny level titles. In the intro to "Beavery Careful", Bubsy says, "Hey, I didn't write this stuff." One of the sound bytes heard before a level in Bubsy II is "Who wrote this stuff?!"


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