Samurai Pizza Cats was sort of a guilty pleasure of mine back when it was aired. I'd always find it on TV when I was on vacation with my family, or on a day off from school. For reasons beyond my understanding, I always found myself changing the channel whenever a family member came in the room simply because I didn't feel like explaining what I was watching. The series revolved around the lives of three anthropomorphic cats in armor, reduced to SD Gundam-scale. They protected the charmingly bizarre city of Litle Tokyo from a self-destructive mouse/fox guy called the Big Cheese, and his armies of birds and weird-ass robots. Three cats in armor get shot out of a revolver (suiting up into MORE armor along the way) and cut things into pieces, sometimes with the aid of even more armor. It all seemed to me like a ploy to sell toys, but I honestly don't remember any merchandising beyond a couple bendy figures. The real fun came from the dialogue, though. It can only be described as violent sarcasm. It brings to mind the Goemon games' humor that alternated between pathetic punning and self-mockery. Usually one followed by the other. There were also a handful of extras who seemed to wallow in self-hatred for their own lack of purpose, especially the mom-and-son creatures that were always gaping up at the heroes as they flew overhead.

     There's a difference between the humor in the show and the humor in the game. The game's humor is unintentional, and therefore funnier. The opening sequence introduces you to the Rescue Team, a quartet of mindless cats who were the Cats' useless backup team. As the opening shows, they've learned the English alphabet fairly well, but have a ways to go in their kiddie workbooks. the fat guy informs us proudly that HE IS STRONG! The ever-helpful BAT-C will FLY YOU! In a desperate attempt to justify his presence, SPRI comments that SCUBA GEAR HELPS. And of course, MEOW offers to let you CALL ME TO DRILL! With all due respect, the only one of these dorks you actually need to get much of anywhere is BAT-C since none of the cat-ninjas can exactly jump very well. Sometimes Fat Guy can break a rock or shoot cannonballs out of his back, but he can't bust the smaller, flimsier blocks in some areas. That's when you CALL OTHER GUY TO DRILL. But don't listen to Spri. He's the Aquaman of the team, and Scuba gear isn't nearly as helpful as he would lead you to believe.

     As the game opens, you have to run around a given area, slashing things and using your various talents to make it to the penguin robot at the end of the level. Yes, it is the same one from the opening, and yes it looks a lot smaller, but Nintendo couldn't program the SPC's robot into a mere 8-bits. If you can't beat the penguin, you've either never played Nintendo before and are operating a sandwich instead of the controller, or you're in the middle of a seizure and are too stupid to know it. In either case, seek professional help and abstain from using electricity. After this, a long cinema scene. In Japanese. In SD.

     Assuming you're not in protective custody at this point, the stage select is now available. The game programmers obviously don't trust you with such a large decision, however, as they've labeled the parts of the city as Level 1, 2, 3 and 4. And there's more weird bosses and incomprehensible cutscenes. One is a flying saucer with a pig nose that shoot little copies of itself at you and can't be hit. Another is a hopping guy in a robe. The enemies roaming the streets are interesting, though. Bad Birds (you'll know what they are when they walk sideways at you with a kabuto in hand) sometimes remember they can fly and do so, making them freaking hard to hit. There's also some things I think were just upsettingly weird though, like these smiling faces that pointed at you with floating hands and rained lightning from above. There's even a guy shampooing his hair as an attack. Not that any of them is exactly difficult. In fact, the whole game is rather unbalanced. Enemies may take about five whacks to kill, but they also usually don't even fight back very well. Most bosses can be easily beaten by hitting attack constantly and jumping when they're too close. Even if they do hit you, you'll find it takes a LOT to finally kill your character off. I got stuck in one area once, with one of the exploding police officers. I let myself get caught in the blast, expecting to start the level over. Nope. So, I spent about ten minutes running on and off the screen, making him reappear, then getting hit. Geez.

Behind the Scenes at Samurai Pizza Cats:

Jerry Atrik: I have a plan to defeat the Samurai Pizza Cats, honorable Big Cheese.

Big Cheese: Yeah, I bet it's just plain great. Let's get this over with.

Jerry: We'll attack with a GIANT ROBOT.

Big: Brilliant. Nobody would ever expect us to be so utterly retarded as to try the same plan FIFTY THREE TIMES.

Jerry: And if that doesn't work, I can have the Bad Birds do karate moves at them.

Big: What a great plan. I'm glad I thought of it. Let's celebrate by eating raw sea animals and watching Sailor Moon reruns. NOW WORLD IS MINE!

Oh yeah. In case you couldn't tell, Big Cheese is actually a fox or something. I have no idea where the hell they got started calling him a mouse.