Thursday, 8 January 2015

Bishin Densetsu Zoku (SNES)

Bishin Densetsu Zoku is a game set in Japan,'s distant future of 2010. As far as I can tell (without being able to actually read any of the plot), it's about a boyfriend and girlfriend (either of whom can be selected for play, though the boy is a better fighter) on a fun futuristic roadtrip, who have their date ruined by a bunch of mean goons. Unlike most games with futuristic roadtrips as the main centrepiece of their plots, Bishin doesn't focus on vehicular combat: though the bulk of the game is driving, and there are enemy drivers who can be defeated through aggressive, repeated ramming, the main business of fighting foes takes place in short beat em up sections.

Along with the game's hybrid structure, the other cool idea it has is the passage of time. Every stage has a time limit, but rather than just be a generic number of seconds counting down to zero, each stage starts at a time of day, and the destination must be reached before a certain time. These times also provide contiunity: stage one starts at 9am, and the end must be reached before midday. Stage two goes from midday to 4pm, and the third stage from 4 till 8, with the sun gradually setting as time passes. Time passes at a rate of roughly one game minute for every two real-world seconds. When the player crashes their car, a short beat em up section starts, in which the player must defeat a small group of enemies (who, oddly seem to be almost exclusively female) as the clock still runs.

Unfortunately, despite having all these cool and interesting ideas crammed into it, their execution lets Bshin Densetsu Zoku down. The driving sections are not linear, having the player find their own way from point A to point B on the map. The problem lies in the fact that not only do all the roads look exactly the same, without even Outrun-esque roadside objects to break the monotony, but the on-screen minimap doesn't display the layout of the roads. The result of this is long, frustrating minutes driving round in circles, often finding yourself back at the start of the stage with scarce time remaining.

The beat em up sections aren't much better, either. Though they don't have any massive flaws like the driving sections, they're just kind of bland: the player doesn't have many attacks, there's only one small background per stage (though the boss fights get their own backgrounds, too), and the enemies all look the same, even between different stages.

It's really a shame that this game's not very fun to play, as the concept is cool, and it does have a lot of good ideas, they're just executed poorly. As it stands, I have to say that playing Bishin Densetsu Zoku quickly starts to feel like a frustrating chore, and it's not really worth bothering with.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for digging up all these obscure games. I found out about your website very recently and already found a few interesting titles that I had never heard of before.