SANTA CLAUS SAVES THE EARTH / Telegames / Game Boy Advance
This is one of those games that's so bland I'm having a hard time coming up with anything at all to say about it. If it didn't slap a Santa outfit on the main character it would be completely lost in the diaspora of mediocre low-budget shovelware in the discount bins of Walmarts everywhere.
The backstory is that some evil fairy who doesn't pay much attention to world events suddenly decides that they can't stand the idea of Santa bringing gifts to children, so they imprison him in some magical lands that he has to work his way out of. I don't know how "saving the Earth" works into this, seems more like just saving Santa's own chubby ass, but anyway. This all works out as a series of platformer levels with that plasticy, bad-looking Donkey Kong Country style of rendered graphics.
It isn't a completely horrid game, just bland and slow and with little real challenge ... I'll be generous and presume it's "aimed for small children." Unusual for a 2D platformer, it cops the "collect-a-thon" style more common to 3D platformers, in that each level is non-linear and requires you to roam about looking for keys to open the exit. You also pick up Spree candies which I never really discerned the purpose of, and occasionally find weapons that last for a finite number of uses. There's various random enemies scattered about, from a neanderthal to a potato-headed gunslinger, and Santa can only jump and swing his bag awkwardly at them until he finds a weapon. Weapons include snowballs and a tomato-firing machine gun, but they have only a few uses per pickup, and you need them to bust open crates and such as well as for the enemies.
It isn't all bad, but certainly isn't worth tracking down, and the graphics and music are a bit of an eye and ear strain. It's like a less polished and more unexciting version of Daze Before Xmas for the Genesis, basically. Having to write down passwords to continue also might irritate you if you're playing it on the go.
Now I have a tomato machine gun. Ho ho ho.
* Gameplay Video