MS-DOS Retrospective: Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure (1992)
Even though my state recently legalized marijuana, I decided long ago that I was done with the stuff. It made me too paranoid; I ate too many calories during my munchies-fueled feasts; and I spent too many moments staring at myself in the mirror asking myself: why? But I’d be a big fat liar if I pretended that Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventures didn’t make me wish that I lived as though I was a character in Pineapple Express.
Of course, this is probably fitting considering that this game feels like Binyah Binyah walking around Gullah Gullah Island having just dropped laboratory-grade acid.
I should be clear that all of this is positive, by the way. Most of the games from the DOS-era are fun to play in a haha isn’t it weird that we used to enjoy this sort of way—yeah, not the case with Cosmo. This game is actually fantastic.
Cosmo is a green alien with red suction cups for hands whose parents are taking him across multiple galaxies in order to take him to Disneyland for his birthday. (One might wonder if there truly is nowhere in any other galaxy that is more of premier location than Anaheim, California, but remember that this was 1992, guys.)
On their way to Orange County, Cosmo’s family rocket ship is struck by a comet, which hits them so hard that it sends them careening to a planet that is not in our solar system or even our galaxy, but manages to leave all three victims in one piece. Cosmo awakes from this slight setback and realizes immediately that his parents are missing. He decides that he must find them before they are eaten, which actually isn’t as big of a leap as it might sound because some of the monsters in this game are terrifying.
Cosmo’s journey spans the course of three separate games, all of which include ten different levels. It takes about five levels to realize that the planet that they crashed on is nothing but a massive green screen, because the transformation from level to level is absolutely insane. There’s a particular stretch where Cosmo goes from an outer space consisting of nothing but red and blue stars, to the inside of a futuristic ice cave, to what appears to be the background of a Led Zeppelin poster. This is either the most ecologically diverse planet ever, or whoever is in charge of it has devoted way too much of their funding towards the CGI program.
The game is easy even by DOS children’s game standards, but it is ridiculously fun. The levels and items are extremely aesthetically pleasing, and it plays like a slow-paced Super Mario Bros., except that Mario lived next to a nuclear waste repository for a long, long, long time.
VERDICT: Probably the only DOS game that I will in-all-seriousness recommend that you play, so enjoy it while it’s here.