Saturday, 28 September 2013
It's a mostly standard single-plane beat em up, in which you travel from left to right, punching creatures along the way, and fighting a boss at the end. Every three stages there's a fight with an area boss, which is pretty cool as the sprites for these fights are double size.
There's also occasional motorbike stages, which, since you walk so slowly in the regular stages are a breath of fresh air. These stages play a lot like the motorbike stages in Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle: you ride along at a decent speed, jumping over pits and obstacles.
The walking stages that make up the bulk of the game aren't so fun. As I already mentioned, they're very slow, and there are further problems to be found in the controls, which have two strange and very pronounced quirks. The first one you're likely to notice is the bizarre way jumping works in this game.
Whether the second quirk is deliberate design or just bad programming is less clear, though. What it is, is that rather than changing direction instantly when you press left then right (or vice versa), you step backwards for a second, then turn round. This puts you at a disadvantage in boss fights, since you're unable to quickly turn to face your opponent, and, in fact, tapping the directions only makes the problem worse. This is pretty much unforgivable for players used to the quick reactions of later beat em ups (and even contempory ones, like Altered Beast).
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
THe educational element comes in the form of the language options. You can choose to have the story play out with English or Japanese voice acting, as well as English or Japanese subtitles, in any combination. You can also choose to immediately repeat scenes with different language options, and certain words and phrases in the subtitles will be highlighted, and these phrases can be selected, which will show the selected phrase in the opposite language.
Also, at certain points in the story, the player/viewer can choose which character the story should focus on or choose the next line a character might say, making it slightly ahead of Dinosaur Island in terms of interactivity, and the fact that there's an English language option makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable. There are also short "quizzes", in which the player will, for example be asked to identify ten things in the room, by clicking on
As for the story itself, it's not great. It really could be a low-budget mid-90s OAV, with a slightly awkward sounding English dub also typical of the era. There's a lot of "mystery" which really feels like an excuse to have not a lot happen. Come to think of it, the "language tutor" aspect of the software is also a pretty
IN conclusion, this isn't really a game, but it is kind of interesting, and it could be thought of as a weird pre-DVD example of a bilingual anime release. I wonder if this series (and the EMIT sister series) ever had a small western fandom for that reason? If there was such a fandom, it must have been tiny, since I've never heard people talking about either of them.
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
The game itself is simple one of shadow tag, as seen in the excellent Urusei Yatsura movie Only You: the idea isn't to tag your opponent's body, but to stamp on their shadow. Do it three times before your opponent does, or before the time (the matches only last a single minute, which goes by very quickly) runs out to win.
You can't just walk on to the shadow to score a point, but must press X to do a stomping action. Circle jumps and square does some kind of sliding tackle type thing that doesn't seem to serve any purpose, other than moving straight ahead very quickly.
There are numerous characters and arenas (arenae?) in the game, though they aren't specific to each other. There aren't any boss characters as far as I can tell. Some of the characters are typical cartoony humans, along with a robot (who bears a striking resemblens to Goriki from Kia Asamiya's Steam Detectives), a
The arenas are all completely different, offering different ratios of safe area and Dead or Alive-esque danger zones. The safe areas also have different features in them, such as conveyor belts, moving obstacles or even just that fact that one stage's safe area is a tiny, low friction square in the centre of the map. Another hazard comes in the form of little sombrero-clad cactus-men, who will stomp on the shadows of the unwary.
I like this game more than I had expected to. It is a lot of fun to play, though I can imagine it might not have a