Tag Archives: Pack-in Video

Three more PC Engine games I want to like, but can’t

A few weeks ago, I published a post about three Namcot-made PC Engine games that I want to like but can’t. Well, here are three more such games–although, in this case, only one of them was produced by the folks responsible for Pac-Man.

1. Batman (1990)

Why I want to like it: It’s a Batman game. Duh! Also, I rather like the look of the Batman sprite and the top-down view of the action–a welcome change from all of the side-scrolling efforts (like this one and this one) that flooded the market following the success of Tim Burton’s 1989 film.

Why I can’t: It’s pretty darn boring. It starts off well enough, but after a few levels your eyes glaze over (or at least mine did) due to this Sunsoft-developed title’s dreary, repetitive environs and yawn-inducing gameplay.

2. Deep Blue (1989)

Why I want to like it: Well, there’s the game’s box art, for starters, which intriguingly shows a fish-shaped ship firing at a gigantic octopus. And then there are its in-game graphics, which are–in screenshots, at least–similarly intriguing thanks to their gritty, somewhat-realistic sheen.

Why I can’t: Unfortunately, those gritty, somewhat-realistic graphics are awfully repetitive in action. That’s the least of this Pack-in-Video-made title’s problems, though. Much more offensive than its graphics is its gameplay, which pits your slow, underpowered fish-sub against hordes of speedy, zig-zagging gill-breathers that are nearly impossible to avoid.

3. Marchen Maze (1990)

Why I want to like it: Anyone who has been visiting this blog for more than a day or so likely knows I’m a sucker for cute games. Well, this Alice in Wonderland-esque release definitely fits into that category thanks to its bubble-blowing, pigtailed protagonist and a cast of “baddies” that include sunglasses-wearing mushrooms and pink, wind-up-toy penguins.

Why I can’t: This game may be cute, but it’s no cakewalk. In fact, it’s frustratingly–and often cheaply–challenging. You’re constantly being barraged with bullets and other obstacles that send you over the brink (each stage is a platform that floats in space) and eat up one of your precious lives.

It should be noted that none of the above-mentioned games are terrible. On the contrary, each of them contain one or two or even three elements (such as graphics, music or overall concept) that make me think they could be completely enjoyable–if only they didn’t contain a number of flaws, too.

See also: ‘Three PC Engine games I want to like, but can’t

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PCE Review #4: Obocchama Kun

Game: Obocchama Kun
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Pack-in Video
Publisher: Namcot
Format: HuCard
Release date: 1991

My first reaction upon playing this bizarre, Namcot-published platformer was, “Oh, hell no.” For starters, it’s kind of ugly. Not Superman 64 ugly, mind you, but it’s definitely uglier than your typical 16-bit game. That’s due, in large part, to the game’s homely protagonist–who bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Munster–as well as its garish use of color. The thing is, after a while you get over the hideousness of it all (or at least I did) and that’s when you realize that this Pack-in Video-developed title’s actually pretty fun. Even better, it’s interesting. It certainly isn’t the kind of me-too, mascot-centric platformer that clogged store shelves–and brought the genre to its knees–back in the 1990s. That’s evident from the start of the very first level, when a seizure-inducing scene introduces each of the stage’s featured enemies. Also setting this game apart from the platforming pack: The heavily browed Obocchama Kun doesn’t just grab power-ups like the protagonists in other, more predictable examples of the genre; rather, he beckons them by jumping onto what looks like a giant turtle shell and striking a decidedly Elvis-esque pose. Sometimes those poses produce power-ups and sometimes they summon allies–such as a blue-coifed bodybuilder, a crying teen who throws what appears to be hairbrushes and a helicopter-piloting Russian–that assist you through the stage at hand. Obocchama Kun‘s bosses–including what can only be called a chicken choker–are a similarly eccentric bunch. The game’s sometimes-slippery controls can make those encounters–and the stages that lead up to them–a bit more challenging than they would be otherwise, but even that quibble doesn’t keep it from being an enjoyably odd experience.

See also: Previous PCE Reviews

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