Tag Archives: Rainbow Islands

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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Two down, two to go

Two months ago, I typed up a post (this one) in which I mentioned the four games at the top of my to-buy list: Gekisha Boy, Mizubaku Daibouken (aka Liquid Kids), Parasol Stars and Rainbow Islands.

Actually, the point of that post was to declare that I had acquired Mizubaku Daibouken, so I guess I should have said that it mentioned the three games at the top of my to-buy list.

Whatever. The point of this post: To gush about the fact that I’ve finally picked up a copy of Rainbow Islands.

Of all the games on the above-mentioned to-buy list, Rainbow Islands is, by far, my favorite. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite games of all time–regardless of platform.

Unfortunately, my love for the game has yet to translate into anything approaching mastery of it. (Sad-but-true story: I can’t seem to get past the fifth stage.)

I’ll do my best to improve between now and when I (finally) buy the last two games on my famed to-buy list: Gekisha Boy and Parasol Stars.

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One down, three to go …

It’s been a while since I last bought a PC Engine game. In fact, I don’t think I’ve added to my (still small) HuCard and CD collection since early this summer.

Well, the drought ended yesterday afternoon when a well-cared-for copy of Mizubaku Daibouken (aka Liquid Kids) arrived on my doorstep. I’ve wanted the PC Engine port of this Taito platformer for a while, but I held off on buying it until a few weeks ago because of high price it tends to command on eBay.

PC Engine 'Mizubaku Daibouken' (aka 'Liquid Kids')

What changed a few weeks ago? I found a cheap-ish copy, that’s what. Actually, I wouldn’t call it cheap, but it certainly was cheaper than the other complete copies of the game that have appeared on the popular auction site in the last year or so.

Anyway, now that I’ve checked that game off of my to-buy list I can turn my obsession–er, attention–toward the other titles included on said list, namely, Gekisha Boy, Parasol Stars and Rainbow Islands.

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The PC Engine’s five fruitiest games

Here’s an admission you won’t come across on just any gaming blog: I love fruity games.

Now, when I say “fruity games,” I’m not talking about Cho Aniki or its ilk; I’m talking about games that are packed with so much actual fruit they should accompany every Edible Arrangements® order.

Anyway, the PC Engine was home to a good number of “fruity” games during its lifetime, with the following five being my favorites:

Coryoon–Naxat’s crazy cute ’em up would be well worth the price of admission even if fruit didn’t pop out of defeated enemies like they were the world’s healthiest piñatas (see screenshot below) thanks to its crisp, colorful graphics, cheerful music and tight controls. Plus, it stars a baby dragon!

Monster Lair (aka Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair)–Is there anything more satisfying than coming across certain pieces of fruit in this game and then shooting them until they erupt into even more pieces of fruit? OK, so I’m sure there are many more satisfying experiences in all of video game-dom, but I’m not sure there are in this particular title.

The New Zealand Story–I have to admit, the fruit in Taito’s cute-but-challenging platformer pales in comparison to its cool bosses, inflatable ducks and laser guns. Still, the apples, grapes and melons (no, not those kinds of melons) eradicated enemies leave behind serve to make this already sweet game even sweeter.

Parasol Stars–Like its predecessors, Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands, Parasol Stars (below) throws more than just fruit at players; it throws jewelry, pastries and vegetables at them, too. Is that more enticing and exciting than the title’s frantic gameplay? Actually, sometimes it is.

Rainbow Islands–What does Rainbow Islands offer gamers that Parasol Stars doesn’t? Rainbows, for starters. Oh, and stars! That’s not to say it’s a prissy pushover–in fact, it packs quite a punch in terms of bosses, enemies and levels. Just think of the fruit–and treats and veggies–you collect along the way as sweet rewards for your troubles.

Honorable mention: Don Doko Don, PC Genjin and PC Genjin 2.

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Something old or something new?

Well, it’s that time of year again–the time of year when I waste way too much time pondering how I’m going to spend the birthday and Christmas money I receive from my parents.

So, what am I hoping to buy with this presumed windfall? Here are the top three possibilities:

1. A slew of PC Engine platformers–Specifically: Gekisha Boy (right), Mizubaku Daibouken, Parasol Stars and Rainbow Islands. How much can four old PC Engine games cost, you ask? Quite a bit if you’re anal retentive (like yours truly) and you only buy games that come with boxes and instruction manuals.

2. A red Twin Famicom–My desire for Sharp’s toaster-esque console–its eject button causes cartridges to pop out of the system like toast pops out of the aforementioned appliance–seems to bloom and fade like the blossoms of a cherry tree. Apparently it’s blooming again, as I can’t stop thinking about the damn thing.

3. A PS3–Surprise, surprise: I’m actually open to buying something current. Of course, the problem with this choice is that it’s the most costly. That said, it would be awfully nice to (finally) be able to play games like 3D Dot Game Heroes, Demon’s Souls, Katamari Forever, LittleBigPlanet and Valkyria Chronicles.

I honestly have no idea which of the above options I’ll blow my money on at the end of the year, but you can bet your butt I’ll post all the gory details here.

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