Genre: Shoot ’em up
Developer: Namco/Zap Corp
Release date: 1990
There are a number of reasons to like this odd, side-scrolling shmup: Its box art is lovely (as is its manual), its bosses are huge and its gameplay offers up a few surprises that help it stand out from the pack. Sadly, there are many more reasons to dislike it–most of which have to do with the aforementioned gameplay. (Two that don’t: The great majority of the game’s enemies and backdrops are at best boring and at worst ugly, while its sound effects are the definition of “grating.”) Specifically, although the globe-shaped ship gamers control while playing Barunba impresses with its rotatable weaponry, the rather cumbersome rotation aspect actually gets in the way more often than not. As such, most folks are likely to keep their guns aimed straight ahead as much as possible. Also, although each of the game’s five stages are surprisingly extensive (e.g., long), most of them become a drag well before you reach the end. So, with three bullet points in favor of Barunba and four against it, what’s my final verdict on this Namcot-published HuCard? I’d say it’s a curiously unique but disappointingly flawed game that’s worth playing only if you find it on the cheap or if you’re fairly obsessed with the shoot ’em up genre.
See also: Previous PCE Reviews
Game: Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Developer: Alfa System
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
I’m sorry it’s been a while since I checked in. I just haven’t had much to say, I guess. Plus, most of my “game time” has been spent with the recently released Wii platformer, Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
That’s not to say I haven’t spent any time with my precious PC Engine. I played a bit of Mizubaku Daibouken over the weekend, for instance, and I played a bit of Parodius Da!, too.
Speaking of which, I’ve improved quite a bit when it comes to that Konami cute ’em up’s “special” stage. Not only can I finish it (something I couldn’t have said even a few weeks ago), but I can finish it on hard. Now if I could just do well enough to face one of its secret bosses…
See also: ‘Well, I’ll be …‘
I’ve been a fan of the Konami cute ’em up Parodius Da! for many years, but until a few minutes ago I didn’t know that the game’s special (omake) stage features a trio of secret bosses–all of which can be seen in the following video:
Of course, my lack of knowledge in this area likely stems from the fact that I absolutely suck at said omake stage.