Weird Gaming: Milo and Otis

The story behind the little known Japanese game.
April 23, 2008

The year was 1986 and the movie Koneko Monogatari took cinemas in Japan by storm. It was shot over a period of four years by zoologist Masanori Hata and consisted of over 400,000 feet worth of footage. The story was about the adventures of an orange tabby cat and his best friend a pug dog. In 1989 the movie was reedited and given a narrative by Dudley Moore to make it more appealing to western audiences. Retiled The Adventures of Milo and Otis the film has gone on to become a cult classic. Little does anyone know that back in 1986 Pony Canon made a game based on the movie, and like most games based on movies, it stunk. But not only that, it was a weird.

Box art and Famicom Disk System

This is a hard review to write, its going to be short as there is not much that can be said about this game. Also, I couldn't find any decent screen shots of this on the web so I had to take my own and they are not very good so please bare with me.

The game, Koneko Monogatari: The Adventures of Chatran, was released in 1986 as I already said, for the Famicom Disk System. The first thing you see is the game telling you to flip the disk to side B.

Right away looking at the title screen you know its bad

The game is a standard left to right side scrolling adventure, Milo can run and jump and well, that's really it. Looking at the screen the game was clearly modeled after Super Mario Bros.

That's even the fish from Mario!

So maybe its not so bad after all. The levels are set by months, and consist of a day and night fashion. Not only that but as you progress and the timer counts down, the sun/moon will move across
the sky and transcend from one time of day to the next.

This is by far the coolest effect in the game

So what exactly makes Chatran a worthy candidate for weird games? For starters you play as a cat. Alright, good, cats are cool, they are stealthy, quick, agile hunters, good hero for a game right? Wrong. Because Milo is the wimpiest cat EVER! The villains you will face off in this game are field mice, birds, insects, and fish. All of which are natural prey to cats and all of which will kill you in one hit. At first you think since the game resembles Mario so much you can pounce on your enemies, but you'll soon find out that that is suicide.

Do cants even have a concept of suicide?

There are only two ways to fight. You climb up trees and by jumping down on the branches causing fruit to fall on your enemies. It's a hard shot to make and almost never works. The second form, and this is where the games weirdness factor shines. By jumping up from below the tree branches an egg appears and you eat it. Then you can…poop…on…your enemies. No, I am serious, just look.

Look, it even splatters when it hits the ground!

Sometimes you can find a jar of milk and this turns Milo invincible for a time, the sad thing is, every time I get this, there are no enemies around until after it wears off.

surprisingly, milk is not the most useless power up

So if the Movie is called The Adventures of Milo AND Otis, where the heck is Otis? Why isn't he the Luigi in this obvious Mario clone? Because he is a power up! Yeah, how cool is that? You collect a bunch of eggs with letters on them that spell out HELP and then Otis shows up and demolishes everything in his path! Sadly, this also includes Milo.

Otis is the sinlge worse power up in gaming history

I will admit it, I have never passed level 2 of this game. It's not from lack of trying, I just can't. It's hard, there are enemies coming at you from every direction. Even insects that constantly burrow up from the ground and they go so fast and you walk so slow that unless you jump, and sometimes you just can't, so you are doomed to die.

One enemy has spawned and another is on his way

And then there is this jump, it's just too long, I never make it across, and I wonder if there is even a game after it or if thats it, game over, and you win.

Orange tabbys cant jump

Thats it, thats all I can say. This is game is defiantly weird, in both good and bad ways. The sad thing is, I want to like this game, I really do, but I cant because it just isn't that good. But I cant say its bad either. And it's defiantly not average. What it boils down to is that the bad and good of this game even out to the point where all I can say is that yes this game was made, and that's that. Its not good, bad, or average, its just there. If you see it, play it, dont play, in the end it won't make any real difference. If you are a cat lover like me and want to play a game where you're a cat pick up Puss N Boots, Felix the Cat, or any of the various Hello Kitty games, but skip Chatran. The movie is classic, but the game is not.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see ya next time.

If you wait long enough at the title screen Milo acts all cute. Awwww.
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