Tag Archives: HuCard review

HuCard Review: Gekisha Boy

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.

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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.


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HuCard Review: Bonk’s Adventure (aka PC Genjin)

I can’t speak to how he was received in his home country, but in North America Bonk–“PC Genjin” to the Japanese–will forever be remembered as the character that ended up with the bronze medal in the great gaming mascot wars of the 1990s.

That’s too bad, because Bonk had a lot going for him: He was cute, knew how to use his head (bad pun, I know) and never buckled under pressure–even when that pressure was applied by big, green (or pink) dinosaurs.

Regardless of his selling power (or lack thereof), Bonk’s first foray into the land of 16-bit platformers is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Sure, Bonk’s Adventure doesn’t offer the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog or the depth of Super Mario World, but it’s fun and fairly unique nonetheless.

How so? Well, Bonk saunters through various B.C.-inspired landscapes while bashing enemies–mostly the aforementioned dinosaurs and such–with his big noggin. Regarding the latter, Bonk can headbutt his foes or jump into the air and dive bomb them. Another of his signature moves is to leap into the air and spin wildly–which effectively enables him fly or float across chasms and gaps.

Aside from than all of that, er, bonking, though, Bonk’s Adventure plays a lot like an old-school, Super Mario-esque platformer. It sounds a lot like one, too, with music and sound effects that, while a bit on the “blip” and “bloop” side of the spectrum, ably get the job done.

Now, some will say that this game’s sequel, Bonk’s Revenge (aka PC Genjin 2), bests its predecessor in every way. I can’t say I disagree with such critics, but I also can’t (quite) say that I enjoy playing that title more than I do this one. As long as you own both, though, it doesn’t much matter which one is better, does it?


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