Long story short: I recently acquired a Super CD-ROM2 system (along with a PC Engine Core Grafx II). I know, I didn’t really need the Core Grafx II, but it was a package deal.
Anyway, here are some Glamour Shots® of said systems:
Now I need some CD games. Any suggestions?
Although the PC Engine was home to many odd–and oddly endearing–games during its wildly successful run, few if any were wackier than Gekisha Boy (aka Gekibo, Photo Boy and/or Photograph Boy).
That wackiness is evident from the get-go, as players are immediately tasked with filling the shoes of a green-around-the-gills photographer who has to hit the streets to look for outrageous snapshots that can be taken back to his tough-as-nails newspaper editor.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, consider this: While you keep one eye out for those aforementioned photographic opportunities–which include delightfully detailed (words which can be used to describe all of the game’s graphics) flashers in trench coats and Michael Jackson look-alikes–you have to keep the other eye out for a myriad of dangers–such as bouncing balls, skateboards and other random projectiles–that stand in your way of the perfect shot.
They stand in your way of making it to the next stage, too–since you lose valuable film every time you get hit by said projectiles. (That’s important because the more well-taken photos you turn in, the more points you receive from your boss and the more likely you are to advance to the next level.)
Controls in Gekisha Boy are about as tight as they can be–with the d-pad handling the movement of your character and the aiming of his camera, and the action buttons corresponding to your camera’s shutter and your ability to jump.
Unfortunately, the well-tuned controls don’t make the game a walk in the park–it’s more like a walk down a darkened alley in the bad part of town. As such, expect to repeat each level many times before you succeed–especially as the game progresses.
Considering the sights you’ll see along the way, though, you’ll likely enjoy every hair-pulling minute of it.
While reading two reviews (one at thebrothersduomazov.com and another at unlimitedzigworks.com) of the much-maligned Astralius over the weekend, I remembered that, once upon a time, the game was supposed to see a North American release.
In fact, the title was shown off at both the winter and summer Consumer Electronics Shows that were held in 1991.
Following the former, the editors of TurboPlay magazine waxed poetic (in their February/March 1991 issue, see below) about Astralius, writing that it would “give both Y’s games a serious run for the top honor” and “should prove to be one of the toughest games made as well.”
Following the latter, TurboPlay‘s editors promised (in their August/September 1991 issue) that the title would hit the streets stateside “by Christmas.” Of course, a few sentences later they shared that developer IGS was “working the bugs out of its attempts to translate this RPG to the TurboGrafx-16.” (Click on the two scans below to read the rest of what they had to say about the title.)
I’m guessing the folks at IGS never quite eradicated said bugs–or, by the time they did, releasing the game no longer made sense economically (or otherwise)?
Boot up a copy of Namco(t)’s World Court Tennis and choose the title’s (in)famous “Quest” mode and you’ll come face to face with what could very well be the worst example of translated text in all of videogamedom.
Don’t believe me? Decide for yourself.
“I’ve been waiting for you. I’m a king of tennis kingdom. Would you do me a favor?
“My country has been peaceful. Everyone loved tennis. But it’s all over. Evil tennis king appeared. He took treasures of the royals. And snatched the tennis courts. People can’t play tennis and are complaining.
“Beat the king of tennis and bring back peace.”
I’m not sure which line I like better: “I’m a king of tennis kingdom” or “Evil tennis king has appeared.” Both deserve points for abruptness and awkwardness, don’t you think?
See also: ‘Let’s play tennis on the PC Engine!‘
In honor of this weekend’s French Open finals (vamos Rafa!), I thought I’d post mini-reviews of three of the PC Engine’s four tennis games.
1. Pro Tennis World Court (Namco, 1988)–One of the earliest PC Engine releases, if I’m not mistaken, Pro Tennis World Court deserves a few minutes of your time simply because it was the first (and last?) tennis game to include an RPG mode.
2. Final Match Tennis (Human, 1991)–Pro Tennis World Court may be unique, but in truth it isn’t a very good game. Final Match Tennis, on the other hand, is a *great* game. It’s as pick-up-and-play as you can get (each player has just two shots; typically a flat shot and a slice or a flat and a topspin shot) and it’s super fast–faster than any other tennis game I’ve played, in fact. Check it out if you like arcade-style sports games. (Oh, and if you’d rather control female tennis players, pick up a copy of 1992’s Human Sports Festival.)
3. Power Tennis (Hudson, 1993)–Well, this is a disappointment, isn’t it? Sure, it looks OK in screenshots, but in motion the game is a complete mess–with sloppy controls and (overly) challenging opponents. My suggestion: Take a pass on this sucker unless it’s absolutely free.
What’s the fourth PC Engine tennis game? Micro World’s Davis Cup Tennis. For some odd reason, I’ve never played it–or even contemplated playing it. The Brothers Duomazov‘s IvaNEC has me reconsidering that stance, though.
I’ve been playing this little game for some time over on my other blog, and while writing up my last post (about Exile: Wicked Phenomenon‘s cover art) I thought, “Why not play it here, too?”
How does one play this game? Well, I post the cover art for a particular game–in this case, the Japanese and North American versions of Exile 2–and then I pontificate about which one I prefer. In a perfect world, said pontification prompts passersby to share their preferences, too.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the art that appeared on the cover of the Japanese version of Exile 2:
And here is the art that appeared on the cover of the North American version of the game (called Exile: Wicked Phenomenon):
I know I heaped a bit of praise onto Working Designs’ daring cover art in my last post, but I actually prefer the image that appears on the Japanese iteration of the game. It gives off a Castlevania kind of vibe, for starters, and it also seems to be a better fit with the title’s “Syrian assassin” storyline.
The following ad–for Working Designs’ Exile: Wicked Phenomenon–appeared in a number of issues of TurboPlay magazine in the early 1990s.
Turbo fans whose memories have yet to fail them will recall that the image also appeared on the cover of said game, which was released in North America 1993.
Anyway, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it piece of art among gamers–a fact not lost on Working Designs’ Victor Ireland, who at some point told the folks at Hardcare Gaming 101:
“The Exile 2 cover is polarizing. People love it or hate it. It’s basically aping a style of diorama that was really popular to advertise games in Japan. NCS/MASAYA did quite a bit of it, and I wanted to bring that to the US as well. So, I chose Exile 2 as the game to try this on.
“When we ran the ad, EGM or Gamepro (I can’t remember) sent us a survey they did months later with their readers that had that ad listed as the ‘most remembered’ ad from the whole magazine, which, I think, justified the experiment. We tried it again for Vasteel, but the results weren’t that great, so we only used part of one of the space scenes on the back cover of the jewel case.”
Personally, I think the image is pretty cool. It’s certainly more interesting than most of the dreck that was passed off as TurboGrafx-16 cover “art” back in the day.