Saturday, 13 October 2012

Recalhorn (Arcade)

In Recalhorn, you play as a boy with a horn (of the musical kind, rather than the anatomical) who wanders through a pleasant land being attacked by animals, birds and insects. The horn acts as a weapon, shooting out a little musical note to incapacitate enemies when blown.
Not all the local wildlife want the boy dead, though: a few animals have been locked in cages, and when rescued by the boy, show their gratitude by offering themselves up as summonable steeds, each with their own abilities.
Since the game is a lot harder than it looks, I've only managed to get a few stages in, and only befreinded three of the animals: the monkey, the seal and the lion.
The monkey is the first animal you meet, and its special abilities are very high jumps, and the ability to cling onto platforms and ropes. Next is the seal, who can swim and attacks by sliding across the ground on its belly, and the lion has no special movement abilities like the other two, but is invincible during its attack animation.
This game was actually never released, which is strange, as it's a great game, and the production values seem pretty high. It's actually odd that it was considered for the arcades in the first place, since a lot of elements in it seem like they belong in a console game. The two biggest examples are the fact that extra lives are gained by collecting one hundred of an item, rather than through obtaining certain score milestones (I know there are arcade games that do the 100 items thing, but I associate it more with console games, at least), and, something that might be unique among arcade games: the fact that it has a pause menu for choosing which animal friend to summon. The game would have been a great addition to the early libraries of the Saturn or Playstation. It really is a terrible waste that it's only playable through emulation. Maybe someday there'll be a push to get it dug up and finally released on modern systems, like Westone's Aquario of the Clockwork.
Anyway, as you might have picked up, I like this game a lot. It looks beautiful, sounds pretty good (but if Taito have ever made a game that doesn't have a good soundtrack, I don't know about it), and plays great.
As well as the main animal steeds gimmick, the other thing that's stood out to me is the almost Bubble Bobble-esque little tricks and secrets for finding extra points items: rustling certain bushes, finding different routes through stages and at the end of each stage, there's a large bush with unblossomed flowers. Those flowers bloom when you touch them, and the quicker you can make them bloom, the more points they give you. This reminds me a lot of those little invisible points bonuses at the end of the stages in the first Sonic game.

In conclusion, this game is very good.and you should play it. The end!

1 comment:

  1. Nice write-up. This game's always fascinated me- the only reason I can come up with for it not getting released is that, as you say, it's a lot closer to a console-style platformer than an arcade one. Maybe that put the test location audience off?

    Either that or the difficulty- I didn't get too far into this game either.