Game: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Developer: Alfa System
Release date: 1989
I’m pretty sure I’ve told this story a number of times before, but I’m going to share it again just in case my memory is failing me (it certainly wouldn’t be the first time): Monster Lair was the game that prompted me to buy the TurboGrafx-16 CD attachment way back when. I’d never played–or even heard of–the arcade original, so that wasn’t what attracted me to this platformer-shooter hybrid. No, what attracted me to it was its bright, beautifully drawn graphics–especially its so-cute-they-could-make-you-puke enemies and bosses. There’s more to Monster Lair than fetching foes, though; there’s also a rockin’ Red Book soundtrack and a whole lotta challenging levels (14, to be exact). All that said, I wouldn’t buy this game expecting it to become your favorite PC Engine title, but I would expect it to be well worth whatever you pay for it (which, at this point, should be less than $20).
See also: Previous PCE Reviews
On the hand, I love that the most recent issue–the fourth, for those of you who are counting–PC Engine Gamer is available, free of charge, to anyone who has access to the Internet. On the other hand, I don’t love that this online magazine isn’t “bathroom friendly,” if you get my drift.
That’s not to suggest I’ll be passing on this issue (below) because of the above-mentioned negative. After all, it includes lengthy reviews of Monster Lair and Rastan Saga II, a rather WTF-esque “fight to the death” between Golden Axe‘s Tyris Flare and Fantasy Zone‘s Opa Opa, and a “final countdown” that features the 10 best smart bombs in all of shoot ’em up-dom.
Which is to say that this 26-page issue is well worth a few minutes of your time (read it here) if you’re at all interested in the system I like to call NEC’s little white wonder.
First, there were four–games at the top of my “to buy” list, that is. After I bought Mizubaku Daibouken, the list shrank to three. Then I bought Rainbow Islands and Gekisha Boy and it was down to two and then one.
Well, the list is no more thanks to my recent acquisition of Parasol Stars.
Which, I guess, begs the question asked in this post’s headline: So, now what? The answer, of course, is to add more games to my “to buy” list.
As of now, that list includes a few cheap-ish HuCards (Don Doko Don, The New Zealand Story and PC Denjin), a considerably more expensive HuCard (Coryoon) and a similarly pricey Arcade CD-ROM release (Madou Monogatari).
Although I’d love to run out and buy the last two games mentioned above as soon as possible, the more likely scenario involves me buying Don Doko Don, The New Zealand Story and PC Denjin over the next few months and then waiting until the end of the year to buy Madou Monogatari and Coryoon.
In the meantime, I’ll busy myself with the brazenly plucky Parasol Stars.
Note: check out this Flickr set for more photos of my PC Engine collection.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone created a “console wars”-themed boxing game? (Don’t worry, you can disagree with me.) I’d especially like it if such a game allowed players to choose handhelds as well as consoles as their pixelated–or polygonal–pugilists.
Although I’d probably pick underdogs–the PC Engine, Saturn and Dreamcast, especially–most of the time, every once in a while I’d pick the tank-like NES, which in my mind would play a bit like King Hippo.
Game: Mizubaku Daibouken
Release date: 1992
One way to translate the Japanese title of this game into English, or so I’ve been told, is to call it Water Bomb Adventure. That’s certainly an apt way to describe this quirky little platformer, which stars a platypus–yeah, I know the folks at Taito say he’s a hippopotomus, but there’s no way the paunchy protagonist is anything other than an Ornithorhynchus anatinus–who throws, you guessed it, giant balls of water at innumerable foes as he waddles through levels pulled from the pages of Platformers for Dummies. His journey–to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, naturally–begins easily enough, with straightforward stages filled to the brim with enemies who put up little to no resistance, but it rapidly rachets up in intensity. That’s OK, though, because the Parasol Stars-esque sights you’ll see and the hummable tunes you’ll hear along the way help make it all worthwhile–assuming, of course, you didn’t drop too much cash to procure your copy of the game (an unfortunately all-too-common occurrence given its Bubble Bobble connection).
See also: Previous PCE Reviews