Tag Archives: PCE Reviews

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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PCE Review #3: Wonder Boy III (Monster Lair)

Game: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Genre: Platformer/Shooter
Developer: Alfa System
Publisher: Hudson
Format: CD-ROM2
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

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PCE Review #2: Mizubaku Daibouken

Game: Mizubaku Daibouken
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
Format: HuCard
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

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PCE Review #1: Rainbow Islands

Game: Rainbow Islands
Genre: Platformer
Format: CD-ROM2
Developer: NEC Avenue
Publisher: NEC Avenue
Release date: 1993

Most platformers follow in Super Mario Bros’ hugely successful footsteps and scroll horizontally. Well, Fukio Mitsuji’s arcade classic–technically the first sequel to Bubble Bobble–turns that tried-and-true tradition on its head and scrolls vertically, much like those odd overworld sections of Kid Icarus that caused you to pull out your hair by the handful. (Or was that just me?) As much as I like that mythological Famicom Disk System title, though, it has nothing on Rainbow Islands, what with its titular arcs of light–which can be used as weapons and as platforms–shimmering, Wizard of Oz-esque soundtrack (i.e., the main theme sounds an awful lot like “Over the Rainbow“) and varied assortment of enemies and environments.

See also: Introducing: PCE Reviews

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Introducing: PCE Reviews

To all of you who are thinking that “PCE” stands for PC Engine: You’re wrong!

I mean, you’re right in most cases, but in this particular case those three little letters stand for something completely different: Punchy, Concise and (hopefully) Entertaining.

Anyway, yes, this means that I’m soon going to start publishing reviews of all of the games in my collection. Don’t expect them to be feature-length reviews that end with multi-star recommendations, though; rather, expect them to be short, but sweet, “repositories of information.” (Kind of like the reviews found at gamengai.com and videogameden.com.)

I’m going to post the first “PCE Review” within the next few days and then do my best to keep them coming at a good clip until I’ve finished going through my still-growing PC Engine collection.

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