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Video Game / Willy Wombat

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A top-down action game for the Sega Saturn released only in Japan, with all characters designed by Susumu Matsushita (the same designer for both Adventure Island and Motor Toon Grand Prix). The game stars the titular Batman-esque wombat who is a drifter in a post-apocalyptic world populated entirely by animals. The story itself is surprisingly hard to follow due to little set-up and the character interactions being rather random and surreal, though essentially a trio of police officers named Notes, Mail, and Tagdor are searching ancient ruins both to apprehend Willy and supposedly find powerful artifacts to help their city achieve "Eden". You control Willy as you explore the ruins and solve puzzles, whilst also engaging in some combat and eventually fight each of the police officers on your tail. Willy also encounters a mysterious and eccentric old man named Java who saves your game. The most stand-out element of the gameplay is the ability to control the camera unlike other top-down games at the time. Unusually, though the the game was only released in Japan, it utilizes a full English voice cast.


Surprisingly, this game actually had a large impact on the name of a famous video game mascot: Crash Bandicoot. Early on in development, Crash Bandicoot was originally named Willy Wombat, but Crash's creators, Naughty Dog had later discovered that the name itself was already taken by this game, which had soon led to the name change in due time. Sadly unlike Crash, Willy's game only received decent reviews and quickly faded into obscurity. The game has garnered a small but loyal cult following though, especially among Sega Saturn enthusiasts.


Willy Wombat contains the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: An especially absurd example. Willy is the only person in the game with a remotely normal name.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The game ends with Willy running off to find more adventures and Notes swearing he will continue to chase him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mail is dead, Notes still hasn’t gotten over her death, and the city they came from is descending into anarchy. The bright side is Java’s mad plan is stopped, the destruction of the ruins ensures its advanced tech can never be abused again, and Willy survives to continue helping others.
  • Blithe Spirit: Willy's main goal is to do this wherever he goes, helping people find their own "Eden".
  • Crapsaccharine World: The game has a cartoony and goofy artstyle, but it definitely does not sugarcoat the fact the world is in shambles and has some surprisingly dark villains. Also, Anyone Can Die.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Java, the old man who has been saving your game, turns out the be the Big Bad.
  • Expy: Willy bears more than passing resemblance to Batman in appearance, though in terms of personality they could not be more different with Willy being exceedingly jolly.
  • Game-Over Man: Depending in where you die, one of the police officers will appear to mock you or express disappointment.
  • Hero Antagonist: Mail and Notes, both are trying to catch Willy but have nothing but good intentions. Tagdor not so much.
  • Informed Species: Willy does not look remotely like a wombat.
  • Kill 'Em All: Everyone but Willy and Notes dies.
  • Off-Model: The instruction manual has a very different design for Mail: in game she is rather short and androgynous, whereas in the manual she is much taller and unmistakably female.
  • Righteous Rabbit: Mail is a rabbit officer who chases Willy due to thinking him a criminal, though overtime she starts to reconsider this and eventually questions who the real villain among them is.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: A vast majority of the game takes place in ancient ruins. Combined with Eternal Engine as you reach the end of the game.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Unlike Notes and Mail who both have redeeming qualities and want to catch Willy to bring him to justice, Tagdor is a violent and repulsive thug who just wants to kill Willy for fun.