Until a guy by the name Mike Etler started selling this game in his store, Videogame Connections, this game game was totally unknown among NES gamers and
collectors, though it was announced silently at the CES in 1993 as available for wholesale distributors.
The game was developed by Active Enterprises, famous for their Action52 cartridge, released for the NES and Genesis. The Action52 featured the first Cheetahmen
game, a totally unplayable platformer, but none the less, Active Enterprises had planned a sequel.
Before Active closed down, they had a completed Cheetahmen II, as complete as a Active Enterprises product could get, and shipped it to the manufacturer. Happy
to receive the order, the manufacturer made around 1000 carts, atleast that's how the rumor goes. It seemed that Active had ordered a lot more Action52 plastic
cartridge casings than they were also to sell Action52 games.
Therefore, to keep production costs down, the Action52 plastic cases were used to host the Cheetahmen II board (game). As the cases probably already had Action52
stickers on them, a small gold sticker was placed on the back of the cartridge, indicating that this was a Cheetahmen II and not an Action52. Funny part about
the sticker is that they spelled the title wrong, the gold sticker says "CHEETAMEN II"
But around the time the Cheetahmen II carts were manufactured, Active Enterprises realized that they were unable to pay for the carts. So Hercules, Apollo and
Aries, the three Cheetahmen and their new game cartridge, box and manual was put on hold in a warehouse belonging to the manufacturer.
Around 1997, Mike Etler of Videogame Connections managed to get a old of the old Cheetahmen II stock very cheap. The game was sold for no more than US$10, but
today a shrinkwrapped can go for US$300 on ebay... if only I had bought a few extras back then. Shortly after Etler offered the game to collectors, his entire
stock was gone. Rumors say that atleast one person bought around 100 pieces.
The game is crap, except the catchy tunes and nice intro hehehe. It's totally unplayable.. you'll most likely end up being very pissed off after trying to beat the first stage. But from a collectors point
of view, Cheetahmen II is a gem. It shows how the videogame used to be, everyone trying their luck, Active Enterprises just wasn't one of the lucky ones, but you
can't blame them for not having a lot of ideas, such as Cheetahmen merchandise, dolls, cartoons of Disney quality (yeah right), and not forgetting the "Game Master",
a portable 16bit videogame system, which by the way had Cheetahmen III on its release list.
There's still much mystery surrounding Active Enterprises, like who ran the company. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just "a guy coding games in his garage", but I sure
would like to find the guy who wasted a part of his life writing these games :-)
Cheetahmen II was, as stated, never officially released = true rarity! Good luck hunting down a copy.