Garfield Caught in the Act was Sega’s attempt to return to licensed games. Earlier they had success with Disney licenses such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. For some reason Sega stopped their efforts in the licensed game realm. That is until Virgin Interactive had critical success with their version of Aladdin for the Sega Genesis. This caused Sega to go for more licensed games, this time Garfield. Now, for some reason, the lazy overweight, lasagna loving, feline was ripe for licensing in games. The mid 1990’s was the first time he was a popular choice for action games.

Sega knew how to handle licensed games

Sega would only have one iffy cartoon licensed release themselves on the Genesis. For the most part they would show support for their Game Gear as well.

Taking chances was not something Sega would do with their licensed games. From Quackshot Starring Donald Duck to Mickey Mouse games, Sega would keep to the 2D side scrolling adventure style. This formula works quite well on 16-bit hardware. Graphics can be tuned to capture the license quite well. Considering most cartoons are action based of some sort it is almost a natural fit.

The base game is the same

The Sega Genesis and Sega Game Gear versions of Garfield feature a similar storyline. Garfield is watching television and Odie scares him. This causes Garfield to jump and fall on the television, breaking it. Working together they attempt to reassemble the television and have extra parts. They throw the extra parts away to hide them from Jon.

This causes an electronic monster named Glitch to come to life. He transports Garfield into the television. Garfield must complete various levels based around different television channels.

Yeah, it is remarkably similar in story to Gex on 3DO. I still love the premise though as it opens so much variety to developers.

Garfield Caught in the Act is different on Game Gear

The Sega Genesis version features various visual changes to Garfield depending on the level. From fangs to different hats, it is a nice touch that adds to the atmosphere a bit.

The Sega Game Gear version was handled by Novatrade International and is slightly different from the Sega Genesis version. First, there are no unique visual cues for Garfield during the levels. Between level bonus stages only contain one type as well.

The Sega Game Gear version of Garfield Caught in the Act features two unique levels. Those two exclusive levels were made available on the Sega Channel exclusive – Garfield The Lost Levels. A third unique level, from the PC port, was included on the Sega Channel exclusive version as well.

Caught in the Act is better than most licensed games

Garfield Caught in the Act is still better than probably 70% of the licensed games we saw during this period. It is not perfect, it is no Aladdin by Virgin Interactive, but it has its own charm. Garfield has tons of animations on both the Sega Genesis and Sega Game Gear. The story is still original and lends itself well to the varied levels on offer here.

If you want to grab a copy of Garfield Caught in the Act you have a few choices available. eBay and Amazon both have many of them in stock and ready to ship. To get the full experience you would need the PC, Sega Game Gear, and Sega Genesis versions. Unfortunately, the most complete version, the Sega Channel exclusive, is lost to time itself.

This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.