Top 100 SNES Review: #41 – Sparkster (1994)

Oh No, Opossum!

It’s more fun pretending to be marsupial digging through a trashcan than this garbage heap of a side-scrolling game. 


Sydlexia’s Ranking: #41/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I don’t mean to come across as harsh, but I think this game really sucks. There is only one unique thing about Sparkster: a lighting-quick, rocket charge attack that propels you across stage at the speed of light to a quick death. The only reason to play is the very thing you shouldn’t do. Sparkster is really synonymous with Sisyphus, and you’ll feel like you’ve been rolling a rock uphill to only see it roll back with every level.

Sparkster SNES


For some reason, an evil possum has teamed up with a bunch of dogs and wolves to make an unholy alliance for world domination while kidnapping a pretty lady. Anthropomorphic Sparkster, with the help of modern engineering, says no.

Sparkster sour note
This might be the most kitsch game I have ever played: each level a trite, non-connected, useless event.


Sparkster is a side-scrolling game. That’s about all you can say about it: you start on one side and then end up at the other.

Nothing happens between beginning and end because Sparkster is a collection of elements that look like they belong in a video game, not the other way round. It is reminiscent of the 7up video game where Cool Spot collects red chips and shoots soda at enemies while trying to subliminally make us purchase soft drinks. Sparkster isn’t even ambition enough to have an ulterior motive, failing to have purpose with either genuine or concealed motives.

Sparkster 2
Occasionally, the lighting speed maneuver serendipitously slams into an enemy instead of a steam roller that instantly kills you.

Woah There!

Sparkster controls like a slippery eel coated in freshly-pressed olive oil on slick ice. The aforementioned rocket move only makes matters worse: you sling shot across the stage to be ripped to shreds. There is another barrel roll move that quickly moves you across stage, but it too leads to easy and early damage. Then there is the problem of not having an attack for enemies above or below, a constant source of frustration.

The game is always at odds with itself. It gives your plenty of moves that are never appropriate while not giving you skills for the actual problems you have.

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Random Machinations. 

To fill in the gaps between horrid side-scrolling action, Sparkster has a collection of one-off formats that are done just as poorly. Why confine the pointless when you can show how unambitious you are with multiple genres?  Ride an ostrich through the deciduous forest or fly through space to have a sock em bopper fight with two massive robots. Nihilism at its finest folks.

Sparkster more fun than this game
Breaking the fourth wall: Sparkster acting out how it feels to play this game (ramming your head into a wall)


I’d rather live in a trashcan.

Other People’s Takes: 

  • Every Game…Ever: “Basically, all Sparkster does is highlight just how special its predecessor was.”
  • Video Game Music Daily: This carefree, adventurous hero music is perfect for an opening stage, and fully embraces the feel of flying through the air at high speeds on one of the coolest means of transportation ever invented.”
  • Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk: “Although the SNES version has five continues, compared to two in the Genesis version, it’s still pretty tough. Particularly in the second stage where there are these giant wheels that will squash you flat if you so much as touch them. It’s really unforgiving.”

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