Friday, 14 November 2014

Panic in Nakayoshi World (SNES)

This is a game I'd encountered way back when I first had access to emulation, before I even owned a computer, and was running a dreamSNES disc I'd got from one of the local software pirates in my village, with ROM discs burned by my friends. Panic in Nakayoshi World was on a disc sent to me by an internet friend, who described it as "this weird Bomberman-type game with Sailor Moon in it", which, to the untrained eye, seems like an accurate description. Definitely better than describing it as a puzzle game, which I've seen one person online do, at least.

But I recently got a physical copy of the game from ebay for a few pounds, and playing it again, I can see exactly what it is: it's Battle City with a pink and yellow makeover! (And long-time readers might remember when I reviewed Tank Force, the arcade-only sequel to Battle City, a couple of years ago.)

It has all the main features of Battle City: destructable blocks, enemies spawning from three points at the top of the map, a target at the bottom of the map that has to be defended from enemy fire. Your weapon is even powered up by collecting stars! But of course, instead of controlling a tank, you're controlling Sailor Moon or one of three other characters from comics being published in Nakayoshi magazine at the time, none of whom I'm familiar with. And instead of enemy tanks patrolling an occupied city, there are enemy rabbits and teddy bears patrolling cute fairytale forests and the like.

The one, singular problem I have with the game is that the addition of boss fights means losing a life can put the player at a massive disadvantage: since all power ups a lost on death, dying before a boss fight can be disastrous. At full power, bosses are easy, going down in a few seconds. With no power-ups, you have to play almost perfectly just to defeat them within the time limit. It's only a minor problem, and it's nowhere near as pronounced as it is in a lot of other games, but it's still mildly annoying.

Really, whether you like this game or not depends on two things: how much you like Battle City and how comfortable you are playing a game that is themed with such femininity (and that really shouldn't be a problem with anyone in this day and age, should it?) Panic in Nakayoshi World probably isn't as good as Tank Force, but it is still worth playing, and if you want to play it on real hardware, a copy shouldn't set you back too much.

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