Game: PC Genjin
Developer: Atlus/Red Company
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Release date: 1989
Most folks know this game, renamed Bonk’s Adventure before it was released in North America, for its hard-headed protagonist–who bravely served as the PC Engine’s entry in what I like to call the “Great Gaming Mascot Pageant” of the late 1980s and early 1990s. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course–that is the game’s main claim to fame, after all–but in my opinion it deserves to be known for much more than being a somewhat-competitive contemporary of Mario and Sonic. For instance, there’s the fact that PC Genjin began life as a comic (in the pages of Gekkan PC Engine magazine). I don’t know why, but I’ve always found that kind of cool. Then there’s the fact that it was developed by the abler-than-able folks at Atlus and Red Company (makers of Gate/Lords of Thunder and the Tengai Makyou titles). There’s also the fact that PC Genjin is, simply put, a fun and unique game–something that can’t be said about too many of the mascot-focused platformers released during the 16-bit era. The main reasons I find it to be fun and unique: For starters, the protagonist attacks his prehistoric foes by bashing them with his head. (He can do this while standing on the ground or while in the air, by the way; with the latter move resulting in a devilish dive-bomb.) Also, jumping and then rapidly pushing that same action button on the PC Engine’s pad causes PC Genjin to spin wildly and hover or float, if for just a second or two, above the ground. Finally, I’ve always appreciated the primitive nature of this title’s graphics. Considering most “mascot games,” including this game’s superior-in-many-ways sequel, are awfully slick in that area, PC Genjin‘s primordial departure from the norm could and should be seen by PC Engine and platformer fans as a pixelated breath of fresh air.
See also: Previous PCE Reviews
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
Here’s something I didn’t know about Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair before my copy of the game arrived a few days ago: In lieu of a traditional instructional manual, it comes with a 10-inch-by-14-inch piece of paper that’s been folded into a square.
The front side of said piece of paper is a poster:
The back side, on the other hand, contains all of the instructional stuff:
Click on either of the images above to get a better look at them.
My recent purchase of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair prompted me to recall my fondness for the art that graced the cover of the North American version of the game. (Honestly, it was one of the few pieces of TurboGrafx-16 box art that I liked.)
Here’s a scan of the game’s North American cover art, in case it’s been a while since you’ve seen it:
And here’s the Japanese version’s cover art:
I have to say, I think I prefer the art used for the North American release. Which one do you prefer?
See also: ‘Which box art is better? (Exile 2 edition)‘
I recently ordered–though online import game shop wolfgames.com, which is having a going-out-of-business sale–a heavily discounted copy of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair (aka Monster Lair in the States).
While flipping through the game’s manual a few minutes ago (it arrived earlier today), a small piece of paper slipped out of it and fell onto the floor.
This is what I found when I unfolded it:
I can’t read a word of Japanese, so I have no idea what the note says. That hasn’t stopped me from obsessing about it, of course.
Was the author of this note a previous owner of the game? Did he or she like it, or hate it? Is he or she warning me that this copy of Wonder Boy III is cursed?
Those are the kinds of questions that are going through my head at the moment.
I’m not going to start my playthrough of the Tengai Makyo trilogy with Tengai Makyo: Fuun Kabukiden; I’m going to start it with Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru.
Why? Well, I’m still waiting for my copy of Tengai Makyo: Fuun Kabukiden to arrive, for starters. Also, I booted up my copy of Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru yesterday (you know, to make sure it works) and it sucked me in like a Dyson sucks up dirt.
Specifically, the following tune sucked me in like a Dyson sucks up dirt. (I know, it’s a weird analogy.)
Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than great tunes (and great graphics) to get me through this game, as I’m already finding the multitude of menu options to be more than a little intimidating. (The title’s sole FAQ doesn’t delve into such details.)
See also: ‘Don’t call me a Tengai Makyo virgin‘ and ‘My introduction to Tengai Makyo II‘
Actually, feel free to continue calling me a Tengai Makyo virgin until my copies of Tengai Makyo: Ziria, Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru and Tengai Makyo: Fuun Kabukiden arrive in the mail later this week (or early next).
Yep, I ordered all three (plus the promo-only spinoff, Denden no Den) a few days ago–despite the fact that I don’t know a lick of Japanese. Thankfully, translated walkthroughs exist for each of the titles. (You can find them here, here and here, respectively.)
Anyway, as soon as they arrive I plan to take the advice of IvaNEC (of The Brothers Duomazov fame) and start with Tengai Makyo: Fuun Kabukiden and then work my way backwards through the trilogy.
See also: ‘My introduction to Tengai Makyo II‘