Tag Archives: platformers

PCE Review #8: PC Genjin

Game: PC Genjin
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Atlus/Red Company
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Format: HuCard
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

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PCE Review #7: Hany on the Road

Game: Hany on the Road
Genre: Platformer
Developer: FACE
Publisher: FACE
Format: HuCard
Release date: 1990

The titular protagonist in this game and in Hany in the Sky–a bizarre shoot ’em up that was released in 1989–takes a lot of crap these days for looking like an anthropomorphic condom. Although understandable, such point-and-laugh attitudes cause a lot of people to overlook these  games in general and this unique platformer–honestly, I’ve never played anything like it–in particular. That’s a shame, especially when it comes to Hany on the Road, which has players race through a series of scrolling, multi-planed (or maybe I should say “multi-roaded,” given the game’s title) stages in order to … actually, I can’t remember why you’re supposed to race through this game. I’m guessing it’s so you can rescue the protagonist’s kidnapped girlfriend, Lemon? Whatever the reason, the journey is plenty pleasant thanks in large part to the game’s attractive, colorful and delightfully varied graphics (each level pretty much has its own look) as well as its jaunty soundtrack. Hany’s travels aren’t without their travails, however; there are times when “the little condom that could,” as I like to call him, feels a tad slippery, for instance, and there are other times when he’s a bit too speedy. Also, his lone method of attack–a backflip kick–can be difficult to time, which likely prompts most people to play the game as I do: By jumping over or otherwise avoiding the game’s baddies–a number of whom are depicted in the cover art above–rather than confronting them head-on.

See also: Previous PCE Reviews

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Wait, when did all of these PC Cocoron screenshots hit the web?

Like any PC Engine fan worth his or her salt, I’ve long had a fascination with that most mysterious of unreleased titles, Takeru’s PC Cocoron.

Until this past weekend, though, I was under the impression that the screenshots included in the magazine scan below were all that were released of this remake/sequel/whatever of a Famicom game with a similar name.

While reading videogameden.com’s review of the above-mentioned Famicom title, though, I noticed the following screenshot-filled magazine scan.

After a bit of Googling, I came across even more screenshots of this criminally-unreleased game at this site.

These scans and screens have been on the web for some time now, haven’t they? I don’t suppose this means copies of said game have been floating around the web for a while now, too?

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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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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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So, now what?

First, there were four–games at the top of my “to buy” list, that is. After I bought Mizubaku Daibouken, the list shrank to three. Then I bought Rainbow Islands and Gekisha Boy and it was down to two and then one.

Well, the list is no more thanks to my recent acquisition of Parasol Stars.

Which, I guess, begs the question asked in this post’s headline: So, now what? The answer, of course, is to add more games to my “to buy” list.

As of now, that list includes a few cheap-ish HuCards (Don Doko Don, The New Zealand Story and PC Denjin), a considerably more expensive HuCard (Coryoon) and a similarly pricey Arcade CD-ROM release (Madou Monogatari).

Although I’d love to run out and buy the last two games mentioned above as soon as possible, the more likely scenario involves me buying Don Doko Don, The New Zealand Story and PC Denjin over the next few months and then waiting until the end of the year to buy Madou Monogatari and Coryoon.

In the meantime, I’ll busy myself with the brazenly plucky Parasol Stars.

Note: check out this Flickr set for more photos of my PC Engine collection.

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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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