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
While doing a bit of research for a post on my other gaming blog (yes, I have more than one), I discovered that the folks at Atlus–responsible for the Etrian Odyssey, Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series–developed, along with the able crew at Red Company, the original PC Genjin (aka Bonk’s Adventure).
I knew they were responsible for Dungeon Explorer and Mesopotamia (aka Somer Assault), but I had no clue until today that they had a hand in developing PC Genjin too. (They had nothing to do with the game’s arguably superior sequel, though; that was all Red Company.)
A few weeks ago, I posted the article–pulled from an old issue of Super Gaming magazine–that served as my introduction to Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru. Today I’m posting the article–pulled from an old issue of Turbo Play magazine–that solidified my obsession with the titular Manjimaru and his magnanimous team.
I’m pretty sure the following sentence was the one that grabbed me by the short and curlies, so to speak: “In the course of the game, you will cover over 20,000 screens of overhead maps, fight 300 types of enemies and 48 boss characters, enjoy more than 90 minutes of incredible animation, listen to three hours of speech [and] hear 24 CD music tracks and over 80 different PSG (machine generated) music tracks.”
See also: ‘My introduction to Tengai Makyo II‘
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‘
I’m not sure why, but I have a distinct memory of buying, in late 1991, an issue of Super Gaming magazine from the Electronics Boutique in our local mall and then flipping through said magazine while walking around the mall with my parents and older brother.
At some point during that leisurely stroll, I stumbled upon the following preview:
I’m not sure I’ve wanted a game as much as I wanted Tengai Makyo II in the moments–and days and weeks and months and years–following that discovery.
Sadly, Hudson’s mammoth RPG never made it stateside, despite the promises of many game publishers and magazine writers. Thankfully, a rather detailed walkthrough of the game can be found at gamefaqs.com, so if I ever get the PC Engine CD-ROM2 attachment–and a copy of Tengai Makyo II–I’ll finally be able to give it a go.