Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheetahmen: The Creation - A New Title from Active Enterprises?

Oh. My. God.

If you're a collector or fan of classic video games, you know the name Active Enterprises.  If not, at the least you've heard of their legacy - an awful little collection of games called Action 52.

In addition, many of you probably know that a sequel to the Cheetahmen game contained with Action 52 was found in a warehouse in very small numbers, then packaged and released for a very large profit.  Cheetahmen II is now among the most highly-valued cartridges on the NES.

Now, Active Enterprises is poised to strike again.  Cheetahmen: The Creation is a game developed but never released back in the 1990s when Active Enterprises truly thought they had the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their hands.  It seems they've seen fit to produce them, packaging them up in multicolored cartridges and selling off just 2000 of them, effectively creating yet another collector's item in the NES library.

On one hand - it's fantastic to see old, unreleased titles being given new life in an official capacity.  Reproductions are great and all, but we're collectors, we need the real thing.

On the other hand, there's the price - $500 for the special collector's edition and $200 for just the sealed game and comic book.

The price ensures this will only be picked up by completionists or collectors who have more money than sense.  The game is sure to be awful - Active Enterprises didn't release a single thing on the NES that actually worked.

Does anyone else feel that they're just trying to recreate the Cheetahmen II effect, but claiming the profit for themselves this time around?

Edit:  In my excitement, I forgot to supply the link.

Edit 2: Video Game Museum ran a great article clearing up all of the questions surrounding this game.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments!


  1. Is this really real?

    I want to play a dump of the cart.

  2. It's hard to say, sadly. It *looks* pretty real, and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, especially since so much has been surfacing lately regarding the Cheetahmen and Active Enterprises in general.

    I'm sure once it's released, someone will dump the game within a few hours, so I'm sure you'll get the chance.

    I've contacted them via the email address on the site, so I'll update if there's any more information.

  3. Perhaps the limited run lends to it's authenticity. If it were fake the market would dry up instantly and the producer would be stuck with a ton of carts (alla E.T.) that he'd have to get rid of.

    But then again, with a glitched out piece of shit like Cheetahmen, how could you tell a romhack from a legit game? Better coding gives away the hack? lol.

  4. I should add, a sealed copy of Cheetahmen II recently sold for an obscene $1.5k. So you could be right, with the recent unearthing of AE stuff this could be real.

  5. Well, if anything, these are newly created from old original code and not manufactured back in the '90s. AE's original Action 52/Cheetahmen II cartridges were shaped very differently, and they had massive circuit boards.

    There's also a visible CIC security chip, which the old unlicensed cartridges didn't use - instead, from what I understand, they just sort of jolted the lockout chip inside the NES in order to make it fail. Today, the chip's been reverse engineered and is pretty easy to come by, but back then you had to be a licensed developer to have one.

    These were definitely made very recently, I have no doubt. So the question, then, is whether or not this is actually original AE code that's finally being released or, like you said, a rom hack. Given Active Enterprises' defunct status, it's going to be pretty hard to tell.

  6. Sure thats not a mapper chip, Jerry?

    Or a Cyclone-CIC? The 10NES/CIC were reverse engineered within the last 5 years. Theres PIC (why can't these guys use AVR?) based SNES CIC replacements that auto-switch. Theres a 8 pin replacement (not drop-in) for the 10NES. It's entirely possible thats what that chip is.

    If it were $50 I'd pick one up just to dump it and scan it's PCB but $200 is little rich for my gills.

    Cool blog though. I like it alot. Hope to see you update it more frequently.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Apperantly, this Cheetahmen is a prototype Cheetahmen that appeared on a Action 52 proto.

  9. Thanks for the link - and Mark, nice article! Answered all of these questions and put an end to these rollercoaster comments.

    Next time, I'll try more research before posting.

  10. Thanks guys! It's been a fascinating process working with Greg Pabich to identify that prototype cartridge and the early version of Cheetahmen (aka "Action Gamer") on it.

    As far as the authenticity of this project goes, I've held in my hand a couple of the items that Greg has put together for the set. I have to hand it to him for being crazy/brave/rad enough to take on a new Cheetahmen release game project like this.


  11. I've had a bit of contact with him, as well. He's got a genuine passion for it, and I really want to see this work out for him.

    The Active Enterprises legacy is so fascinating that it's completely understandable. The Cheetahmen in particular - well, they're something of a running gag on this blog, but that comes from having grown up with a copy of Action 52. Honestly, if I were in his shoes, I'd probably be doing the same.

    As excited for the project as I am, there's still not much chance I'll be dropping $400 on this set, or even $200 on the cart, as much as I'd love to own it. But, we'll see.


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