The Cheetahmen was a franchise created by the now-defunct Game developing company Active Enterprises, Ltd. that attempted to compete with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers franchises. The Cheetahmen debuted in 1991 on the Nintendo Entertainment System unlicensed multi-cart Action 52 cardtridge, the card was extremely expensive (US$199), with around "less than $4 for each game", the game, due to its high price and poor marketing, was a financial disaster, today, it is by many players considered one of the worst games ever made due to its extremely unfinished, poorly made, and unoriginal gameplay, the card is currently a highly sought-after collector piece, going around for $500-1000 on the Internet.
An updated version of Action 52 was released on the Sega Genesis in 1992 developed by Farsight Technologies, a Super Nintendo version was also advertised in some magazines but never released, it was announced that the Cheetahmen would get their own stand-alone sequel in 1993 (sometimes reported as 1994) titled Cheetahmen II, but for unknown reasons, it was cancelled in the middle of its development, the original 1993-94 working version of the game remains lost, and only 6 of 10 playable levels are accessible to the public.
"Cheetahmen III" was announced for an extremely short time for Active Enterprises' never-released gaming console "Action Gamemaster", and it's doubtful about if it even existed, more likely a publicity stunt for the future of the Cheetahmen franchise.
Cheetahmen II was scheduled to be released sometime in either 1993 or 1994, for unknown reasons, its development stopped, and the game was never officially released, there are some claims that the game was never even completed, this can be an explanation for why the game always crashed and/or stopped at Level 6.
Around 1996, more than 1.500 copies of the game were found in an undisclosed Warehouse, and these cardtridges became extremely rare collector items, going for around U$ 2.500-10.000 USD on the internet (in comparision to Action 52's $500-1000 price), however, several free ROMs for PCs can be easily found on the internet. The game was absolutely the same as the first seen in Action 52, the sole visible changes are new levels. The same music, sprites, and bugs were prevalent on the version, and it was even more buggy and unplayable than Action 52 due to it being in an "next-to-nothing" unfinished state.
All known copies of the game are reused Action 52 cartridges with a small gold sticker reading "Cheetamen II", while some do not had any stickers at all, making impossible to differ between Action 52 and Cheetahmen II cardtridges.
it is impossible to get to the levels in which one plays Cheetahman Aries without altering the ROM image or experiencing a glitch that very rarely starts the game on these two levels, A patch fixing all the game breaking bugs was made freely available by romhacking.net member PacoChan in July 2011. Subsequently, a "fixed" version of the game titled Cheetahmen II: The Lost Levels was being "developed" by the original Cheetahmen creator Greg Pabich. The new version of the game was to be released for the price of $60, on an actual NES cartridge intended to fix the glitches found in the original game. To fund the game, Pabich started a controversial Kickstarter program in which donors would be given rewards depending on the amount of money pledged. The program started on August 6, 2012 and finished with success in September 6, 2012. To tie in with the project, a short video was filmed with The Angry Video Game Nerd, Pat the NES Punk, The Game Chasers, and Pabich himself advertising the game.
However, Pabich's version of the game seemed to use PacoChan's patch without his permission. Although they removed some graphical modifications found in PacoChan's version, they forgot to remove some not so obvious changes. For example, PacoChan fixed some spelling errors in the intro, although not all of them. Greg Pabich's version contains exactly the same fixes and mistakes.
A lot of controversy was ensued during Pabich's campaign, Pabich had already done several projects attempting to "ressurect" the Cheetahmen for "its fans", even being accused of the project being a scam, due to him releasing a "Patched NES" version that had been already released for free on the internet (that is actually a simple 0 budget hack, and not a fix), and abusing of the Angry Video Game Nerd's fan base for his own gains, needing more than 65 thousand dollars to "hack" the game (that is de-facto impossible to fix due to its source code being lost) that is already free, as a response, the Angry Video Game Nerd pulled his support on the campaign in August 2012 and deleted the campaign video where he appears with Pabich promoting to "fix" the game.