Saturday, 3 October 2015

Yuu Maze (Famicom Disk System)

Yuu Maze is the name it's known by in ROMsets and the like, but in-game, it also uses the name Youmais. It's also a port of the arcade game Raimais, so that makes three names. I'm sure many of you will be familiar with Raimais, since it appears in the excellent PS2 compilation Taito Legends Volume 2 (in my opinion, the greatest retro compilation ever released), but for those who aren't, it's like a very fast, futuristic version of Pac-Man, with various different kinds of enemies, a bunch of power-ups and lots of different mazes.

Yuu Maze is still worth talking about on its own though, since it's not a 100% straight port. Obviously, the graphics take a hit in the move from arcade to FDS, but there's also a few small design changes. The first you'll come across is that the stages now have two portals in each of them: you go into one, and emerge from the other. Then there's the fact that while Raimais had four different doors to go into between stages (each one leading to a different next stage, of course), Yuu Maze only has two. The third big difference is the hidden portals that are found in some stages.

In Raimais, it was pretty rare to find these hidden portals, and they led to secret boss stages. The problem with this, though, was that the bossfights were so tactically different to the regular stages that they were very difficult, and their sporadic nature made them hard to practice. In Yuu Maze, these hidden portals are a lot more common, and instead of leading to bossfights, they lead to timed bonus stages, giving the player sixty seconds to collect all the dots or kill all the enemies. Destroying enemies works in the same way as in Raimais though: there are power-ups that grant the player a laser or a temporary one-hit shield, so you can shoot the enemies or sacrifice the shield and ram them. There's also mines in some stages, which go off a few seconds after the player goes over them, killing anyone narby when they do.

There's also an edit mode, which allows you to make a little five stage course. It's about as complex as you'd expect from a console game released in 1988, but it's a nice little thing, that totally gels well with the simple structure of the game. Raimais is a criminally overlooked game in Taito's back catalogue, and Yuu Maze is a decent enough variant on it. I recommend playing either one of them, or both. Yuu Maze is a lot easier though, being very generous with the extra lives, compared to its inspiration.

1 comment:

  1. PLAYED since MY childhood in electronic game fun park. And I come to ground in 03/1981 . Tor Ferrara