Monthly Archives: October 2011

You don’t look a day over 20, PC Engine

The PC Engine is celebrating its 24th birthday today.

For those of you who are a bit mathematically challenged, that means the sleek little system was “born” on Oct. 30, 1987.

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but in case I haven’t: I’ve been interested in (some would say obsessed with) this console ever since I laid eyes on it in an early issue of either Electronic Gaming Monthly or GamePro magazine.

Although I acquired a TurboGrafx-16 shortly after it was released, I didn’t add a PC Engine to my collection until two years ago.

It should go without saying that the system is now one of my most-treasured pieces of gaming paraphernalia.

Anyway, please join me in raising an imaginary glass of bubbly to the “little white wonder,” as I like to call the PC Engine, for surviving its awkward teen years and for blossoming into the beautiful 24-year-old we know and love today.

Also, join me in playing a few of its most noteworthy games. Some of the ones I’m planning to spend time with this afternoon: Air Zonk (aka PC Denjin), Bomberman ’94Final Match Tennis and Parasol Stars.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

PCE Review #10: Street Fighter II’ Champion Edition

Game: Street Fighter II’ Champion Edition
Genre: Fighting
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: NEC Home Electronics
Format: HuCard
Release date: 1993

Nowadays, this port is the definition of “meh-worthy,” thanks in large part to Capcom’s milking of the Street Fighter franchise. Back in the day, though, it was a marvel, as it proved, once and for all, that NEC’s pint-sized–and basically 8-bit–PC Engine could compete graphically with its 16-bit competitors (those being the Mega Drive and Super Famicom, of course). Admittedly, the music and sound effects took a pretty big hit in the transition from arcade to (20-Megabit) HuCard, but everything else is pretty much spot-on–it even includes the barrel-breaking bonus stage that was cut from the Super Fami version of the game. All that said, I rarely play Street Fighter II’ Champion Edition. In part, that’s because I’m not the world’s biggest fan of one-on-one fighting games, but it’s also because I have yet to pick up the six-button controller that was released alongside this title and is a required purchase if you want to get any enjoyment out of it at all.

See also: Previous PCE Reviews

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

China Warrior + Takahashi Meijin + a quartet of turtles = one awesome PC Engine commercial

True story: I’ve never played Hudson’s China Warrior (The Kung Fu in Japan).

I’m actually planning to right that wrong soon, but until that day arrives I’ll have to content myself by watching and re-watching the following commercial, which features, at one point, Takahashi Meijin and a quartet of toy turtles.

Hopefully it’s made clear to folks who understand Japanese why the “16 shots per second” star is shown, in a commercial that’s supposed to prompt gamers to run out and buy a side-scrolling brawler, sitting atop said reptiles?

See also: Other posts about PC Engine commercials

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Barunba the game may suck, but Barunba the manual does not

I’ve voiced my dissatisfaction with the gameplay featured in Namcot’s horizontal shmup, Barunba, before (in this post, for example), but what I haven’t expressed previously, as far as I’m aware, is my fondness for that much-maligned HuCard’s instruction manual.

That fondness begins, of course, with said instruction manual’s cover image (below, right), which shows Barunba‘s always-grinning protagonist gunning his way through a plethora of what appear to be crimson-tinged baddies.

I have to admit, I originally thought the protagonist was piloting his bubble-shaped ship through the innards of another human being, a la Psygnosis’ Microcosm. (I didn’t realize the red blobs in the background were the exteriors of a couple of creatures rather than their interiors, obviously.)

Anyway, the manual’s first two pages can be seen below. I’m guessing they detail the main character’s (and his ship’s) colorful back story, or something like that.

The next pages, on the other hand, seem to describe the many components of the game’s globe-shaped ship.

Barunba‘s main madman is exposed in the next set of pages. Who’s that brute behind him? It’s unlikely I’ll ever find out, as I find the game as boring as unadorned oatmeal.

Speaking of boring, you may as well skip the manual’s next few pages. Thankfully, they’re the only yawn-inducing ones.

You know, if Barunba‘s in-game sprites even partially resembled the illustrations shared on the following pages it would be a far more interesting experience, in my opinion. But would it be a more enjoyable one? Probably not.

Alas, these are the manual’s last few pages. They wrap things up on a high note, though, thanks in large part to that image on the right, which shows the game’s protagonist (what is his name, anyway?) battling a boss who looks as though he could be related to Metroid‘s Ridley.

So, there you have it: Ample evidence that just because a game sucks its instruction manual doesn’t have to follow suit.

Note: This post will soon be published on my general gaming blog as part of that site’s “Manual Stimulation” (ha ha) series. Don’t worry, any future installments that relate to the PC Engine will be published here first.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Taiko no Tatsujin amigurumi + PC Engine controller = one adorable photo

How’s this for a fluff post?

Actually, “fluff” takes on two meanings in this particular instance, as not only is this kind of a throw-away post (aka “a piece of pure fluff“), but it also focuses on something that’s literally fluffy: Yarn.

Specifically, it focuses on the adorable Taiko no Tatsujin amigurumi (below) that was stitched together by blogger Spelinnea.

I’m sharing this photo here, of course, because the crocheted Taiko drum (WadaDon) in question is holding a PC Engine Core Grafx controller.

To see more photos of this fuzzy PC Engine fan, check out this post on Spelinnea’s blog.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Halloween-ish HuCards (and CDs)

It’s that time of year again–i.e., the time of year when I spend way too much time searching for games that will put me in a Halloween mood.

Thankfully, a good number of such games were released for the PC Engine during its heyday. Here are the ones I’ll be playing (or be thinking of playing, at least) in the run-up to this year’s All Hallows’ Eve:

Cotton (Hudson Soft/Success, 1993)–There are two main reasons this cute shmup would earn a regular spot in my PC Engine Super CD-ROM2 system over the next few weeks if I still owned a copy of it: 1) It stars a broom-riding witch who has to fly through all sorts of dark and dreary environs in order to collect a bunch of missing gems, and 2) Said witch is obsessed with candy. Really, it’s the perfect game for such a spooky-and-sweet season.

Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (Konami, 1993)–I couldn’t very well create a list like this and not include on it a game that not only features Dracula’s name in its title but also features said vampire as its main villain, could I? I’d mention Dracula X here even if it didn’t involve that old bloodsucker, though–thanks in no small part to its Thriller-meets-Sleepy Hollow opening slavo.

Jigoku Meguri (Taito, 1990)–True story: I used to rather dislike this pixelated platformer, which follows a portly monk as he makes a perilous trek through hell. I changed my tune after giving it another try a month or so ago (expect to see a post about this epiphanic experience soon), though, and now consider it to be an appreciably dour counterpoint to a similar-yet-much-more-cheerful Taito-developed title: Mizubaku Daibouken.

Splatterhouse (Namcot, 1990)–The protagonist of this bloody beat ’em up looks like Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees. That alone makes me want to play it this time of year. The game’s grotesque baddies–like the chainsaw-weidling dude showcased in the screenshot above–and creepy soundtrack are just the blood-spattered icing on this ghoulishly rotten (in a good way) cake.

I’d add NEC Avenue’s Horror Story and Human’s Laplace no Ma, a supposedly terror-ific dungeon crawler, to this list, but I’ve never played the former (important if I’m to know whether or not it’ll put me in a Halloween mood) and I don’t understand the language (Japanese) that’s likely required to make it through the latter.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

PCE Review #9: Wonder Momo

Game: Wonder Momo
Genre: Beat ’em up
Developer: Namcot
Publisher: Namcot
Format: HuCard
Release date: 1989

This game’s cover art is cute, as are its title and between-stage screens. Also, its main theme is appreciably jaunty, with a Mega Man-esque quality to it. Oh, and I basically got it for free (the person from whom I bought my PC Engine threw six games, including this one, into the package before shipping it). Sadly, those are the only positive things I can say about this particular HuCard. I have plenty of negative things to say about it, though. For starters, let’s go back to those graphics I mentioned in the first sentence of this write-up. Although I’d be hard-pressed to call them terrible, I have no such problem calling them antiquated and boring–especially when it comes to Wonder Momo‘s yawn-enducing backgrounds. As bad as the game’s visuals are, though, they’re works of art compared to its gameplay, which consists of the titular Momo high-kicking and jump-kicking one ambling, odd-looking enemy after another until she’s beaten enough of them to be whisked off to the next, claustrophobic stage. Every once in a while, a tornado whirls its way onto the scene, and if Momo touches it she turns into, well, I guess she turns into Wonder Momo. Regardless, she puts on a helmut, a pair of boots and wields some sort of hula-hoop-like weapon–and winds up barely more powerful than she was as Regular Ol’ Momo. Toss all of the above complaints into a blender and what do you get? You guessed it: A crappy beat ’em up that only should be added to your collection if your aim is to own each and every HuCard. Everyone else should avoid it like a pixelated plague.

See also: Previous PCE Reviews

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized