Ah, 'tis the season to be obligated. To stand in long lines, sweating under multiple layers, waiting to buy a bunch of crap for a bunch of people you'd rather not have to speak with, dreading the stuffy holiday parties and piles of thank you notes you'll have to write for the bunch of crap you get from the bunch of people you'd rather not speak with, and if they play one more Christmas Carol you'll have no choice but to dropkick the nearest child and go set something on fire.
Peace on earth and good will toward men can no more be established by fiat of the calendar than good games be made by simply following a formula that made other good games.
Take James Pond 2: Codename Robocod. Everyone has loved a good sidescroller since the days of you-know-you, and Mickey's Castle of Illusion had recently proven they could be done in a pseudo non-linear fashion (this was before someone thought it would be a good idea to extend Mickey's butt-stomping romp to walking broomsticks), so why wouldn't this work for the James Pond franchise? And the only thing that could sell better than a run-n-jumper had to be one which took place at the North Pole! Only problem: James Pond is a fucking fish, people.
The worst part of it is that they already had a winning formula with the original James Pond! Being a secret agent, he went on a series of discrete, time-sensitive, goal-oriented missions with a jazzy soundtrack and smarmy grin. Being a FISH, he did this underwater, providing for an omni-directional side-scrolling experience the likes of which hadn't been seen since the oddly named 2-player Sega Master System port, Quartet. What was the so bad about this that they had to go and turn him into every other running jumping cat, bat, or ninja from the nth dimension, except in fucking Christmas land?
Oh well. Best way to get through stuffing a round peg into a square hole is to just relax and try not to think about it. It'll all be over soon, so you might as well try to enjoy yourself just a bit.