Developed in 1989 by VIC Tokai and released by Sega for the Sega Master System, Psycho Fox is often considered the Master System's answer to Super Mario Bros., as it takes more aspects from said game than the more famous Alex Kidd in Miracle World, while still being different enough to be considered a Cult Classic in some cases. The game was based on the NES title Kid Kool, but refines many of the problems present in said game.
The player controls a Kitsune who has the ability to transform into other animals (a monkey, a tiger and a hippo) in order to put an end to the turmoil that the evil Madfox Daimyojin has caused to the world.
Tropes in Psycho Fox:
- 1-Up: The player can obtain these by breaking certain eggs scattered across levels. The 1-ups appear in the form of ghost versions of the characters who constantly run to the right. If not collected in time, they run off-screen and cannot be obtained.
- Three-Quarters View: The bonus stages play in this view.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The hippo is the only character that can break certain walls that lead to alternate paths. To compensate, however, he is much slower than the other characters and cannot jump as high.
- Big Bad: Madfox Daimyojin. He is also the Final Boss.
- Bonus Stage: Collecting money bags during levels takes you to a bonus stage called Amida. The stages consist of five paths that the titular character can take; the more money bags you have collected in a level, the more paths you can take. The paths lead to different goodies, except for one, which leads to a pit and gives you no bonus.
- Chest Monster: Eggs sometimes contain enemies instead of useful items.
- Cut and Paste Environments: Zone 4 (Wind Zone) largely consists of the same graphics as Zone 1 (Mystical Mountains), but is set in the sky.
- Dolled-Up Installment: The Brazilian release was called Sapo Xulé: Os Invasores do Brejo, based on a Brazilian comic strip, which replaces the existing characters with characters from the comic.
- Ghost Leg Lottery: Features as a bonus game, where you don't see the whole board and place a bet on one of the starting foxes.
- The Goomba: "Pockly Guy".
- Green Hill Zone: Despite its name, Zone 1 (Mystical Mountains) fits this trope fairly well.
- Invincibility Power-Up: bottles of "Magic Medicine" appear inside eggs and the occasional enemy. unusually, you don't get the invincibility straight away but it must be activated via the pause menu.
- Level in the Clouds: Stage 4, Wind Zone, combines this setting with Palmtree Panic, having some coastal ground and bodies of water, but otherwise being heavy on cloud platforms and a significant height of the levels explorable thanks to them.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Once Psycho Fox finds Bird Fly, he can sic him on enemies this way.
- Ratchet Scrolling: done horizontally.
- Recurring Boss: All bosses except for the final one are used twice.
- Shifting Sand Land: Stage 3, Diabolical Desert. Some of the level takes place on sand, and other parts take place on stone. When your character is walking across sand, he will lose speed.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Zone 6 (Ice Zone)
- Smart Bomb: The Straw Effigy destroys all enemies on screen when activated.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: There are only three level tracks in the game. The fifth, sixth and seventh (final) level share the same theme, so the spooky underground cavern level at the end of the game has This cheery number playing in the background.
- Tyop on the Cover: Early releases of the game have "Psyco Fox" printed on the cartridge.
- Underground Level: There are two: Stage 5 (Underground Passageway) and Stage 7 (Underground Cavern).
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: a Power-Up called a "Psycho Stick" will allow Psycho Fox to transform into a monkey, a hippo or a tiger. All characters have different attributes. The fox is an all-rounder with no specific skills, the monkey can jump higher, the tiger runs faster than the others, and the hippo has the ability to break certain walls but cannot run or jump as high as the other animals.
- Warp Zone: These are normally invisible. The only way to tell where they are is to throw Birdfly (a weapon in the game) and see whether he lands or runs into what appears to be nothing. If so, Birdfly has to be repeatedly thrown at this space until the warp zone appears.