Like the musical career of Mr David Hasslehoff, it appears The Ottifants were big in Germany but largely ignored by the rest of the world.
It’s the only Sega Megadrive game to have been developed by Graftgold (Versions also appeared for the Master System and GameGear). The company included well known developers from the Spectrum and C64 era including Steve Turner, Andrew Braybrook and Dominic Robinson, but it was never a good sign when your company is releasing an incredibly average 2D platformer for a system made famous by Sonic The Hedgehog.
The fact that it was licensed from a German TV show which never arrived in the UK etc meant that this was an easily dismissed game – to the point that it was only apparently released in Europe and Brasil.
Bit of a shame for a company which released the likes of Paradroid, Uridium, and various ports such as the Amiga and Atari ST ports of Rainbow Islands. And they’d also produced a decent platformer for those computer systems (and the Master System) in the shape of Fire and Ice…
Instead their SNES game Empire Soccer 94 went unpublished, and after Virocop, International MotoX and the PC/PSOne Rainbow Islands, the company folded in 1998.
Looking at the current eBay listings for The Ottifants, it appears that at some point it was released in a ‘Classic Mega Drive’ box. Some Australian sellers are also offering a version as part of a Sega Gold Collection. Thus devaluing the words ‘Classic’ and ‘Gold’ to mean ‘a completely average game which would only be worth playing if the numerous better Megadrive platforms had all never existed. And the Super Nintendo also didn’t exist. Or the Amiga. Or the Atari ST’
Ironically, the Mega Drive actually did have some great licensed platformers – Quackshot, Mickey Mouse – World of Illusion and The Lion King all spring to mind, depending on what difficulty level you fancy (Lion King = easy, World of Illusion = pretty challenging).