Friday, 16 October 2020

Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle-dama (SNES)


When looking out for more obscure material for this blog, it sometimes pops up in some strange places. In this case, for example, there's a file on textfiles.com from 1992 which lists the anime airing at that time on Japanese TV, including the times and channels, along with a short description of most of the shows. Most amusingly, Dragonball Z is described as "arcade-style beat em up", but another one that stood out to me was the description to a show I've never seen and had never previously heard of: Tsuyoshi  Shikkari Shinasai, described as "family anime with The Slap". A little bit of searching revealed that the show itself didn't look interesting at all, but that it did have a SNES game.

 


The game itself is so generic that you could almost consider it the platonic ideal of competitive puzzle games. Coloured orbs fall from the 'bove in pairs, and if three of the same colour touch, they disappear. The main tactic is to set up chains so that lots of junk blocks fill up your opponent's pit. The one unique mechanical touch is that the junk blocks take the form of the regular orbs trapped in transparent cubes. The cubes disappear when orbs are cleared next to them. As a result, any character that dumps junk blocks all in the same colour is at a massive disadvantage, since if three of the same coloured orbs get freed from junk blocks together, they'll also match up, and they'll free the ones next to them, and so on. This kind of thing can instantly change the tide of a match and destroy an opponent in one go.

 


The presentation of the game is unique in its blandness, though, which is a direct result of the license: all the characters are friendly, middle class suburbanites in jumpers. Plus a dog. It's kind of funny that some people in the west have this stereotype of all Japanese cartoons being crazy, loud action shows, when here we have an anime license that looks like it could be based on some kind of animated adaptation of a cosy BBC sitcom. 

 


There isn't really anything else to say about Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai. Mechanically, it's so generic that the only reason you'd ever want to choose it over literally any other competitive puzzle game is if you're a big fan of the source material, and I can't imagine there's many readers of this blog that fit that description.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Other Stuff Monthly #17


 So, I recently remembered a promotional pack of some weird cards that came with a comic I bought as a kid. The cards had awesome fantasy artwork, and a whole bunch of scratch off panels. After a small amount of investigation, I found the thing for which I was looking: Steve Jackson's Battle Cards, a trading card game that had the incredible bad luck to launch a few months before Magic The Gathering came along and pretty much redefined what a trading card game was. Though Battle Cards did have some strange properties that meant it probably wouldn't have lasted long even without that apocalyptic event.

 


The big problem is that it's a trading card game in which each card can only be used once. It's those scratch-off panels, you see: the ones along the bottom of the card and down the sides represent parts of the character's body. To play, two players each take a character card from their collection, and take turns declaring which of their opponent's body parts they're attacking. The opponent scratches off the panel representing that part, and reveals either nothing (showing that the attack missed) or a drop of blood (showing that it hit). After receiving their second wound, and every wound after that, a player must scratch off one of the life panels along the top of the card. There's three of them, and one of them hides a skull and crossbones, which, when revealed indicates death.

 


Having bought a bunch of packs of Battle Cards from ebay, I played a few rounds with my Dungeons and Dragons group. Despite the mechanics of the game relying entirely on luck, we had a pretty fun time. I think it really relies on the atmosphere; as a silly thing to unwind after a D&D session, it's a lot of fun, but it's not something you could ever play seriously. Especially when you take into account that the actual point of the game has been inaccessible since 1994.

 


The point of the game was to collect the special foil treasure cards. You see, these cards weren't available in the packs themselves. When you defeat another player, you actually take their defeated card, and scratch off the "purse" panel in the top right corner of the card. Then, you have to get a trading post card, and scratch off two of the panels on that card, of your choice. If you revealed a number and the name of the treasure, you could then send the trading post card, along with a bunch of other cards whos purses added up to the number shown on the trading post, and they'd send you the treasure you reveald on the trading post.

 


I can see where the designers were coming from with this gimmick: Pogs were very popular, and that was a game often played for keeps. What Battle Cards did was provide an endgame to aim for when playing for keeps, as opposed to just amassing a gigantic stack of cards. On the other hand, I can't see the scratch-off element as being anything other than a cynical attempt at forcing people to endlessly buy cards by making each one single use. It didn't work, of course, the game was such a massive flop that there's still plenty of unopened booster packs for sale online for next-to-nothing. And like I said, if you pick up a few packs, it's a fun and silly way to pass a few minutes with your friends. Plus, the art on all the cards is great, and each one also has a massive wall of lore text on the back!

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Battle Outrun (Master System)


 Contrary to what you might think, unoriginality can actually be a powerful tool in creating a great game, using the core concept of an existing game and adding your own twists and ideas to make something new and exciting. Kid Chameleon did it to Super Mario Brothers 3, and Mortal Kombat did it to Street Fighter II, for just two examples. Battle Outrun is unfortunately an unsuccessful attempt to do it to Chase HQ.

 


In case any of you aren't familiar with Chase HW, it was an arcade game released by Taito in 1988 (a year before Battle Outrun), and subsequentally ported to pretty much every active home system at the time. In it, you play as a cop engaged in ar chases with criminals, who you have to catch by ramming their car with yours until they stop. Battle Outrun has you playing as a bounty hunter engaged in ar chases with criminals, who you have to catch by ramming their car with yours until they stop,

 


The only idea that Battle Outrun really adds to the Chase HQ concept is an item shop that appears once a stage, offering upgrades for your car, which are absolutely necessary if you want to make it past even the first stage. Tire and engine are pretty obvious, while upgrading your body reduces the amount of speed you lose when you collide with cars and other objects, and the totally useless chassis upgrades affect how far you fly when you drive over the ramps that appear a couple of times per stage.

 


The other thing Battle Outrun adds is frustration. Like in pretty much any racing game that takes place on city streets, there are many civilian cars acting as obstacles in your path. More than any other such game, the civilian cars in this gme feel like they were programmed with a sense of deliberate malice. They'll often deliberately drive right in front of you, or between you and the criminal you're trying to ram, or they'll get in front of you and stay in front of you, so you hit them repeatedly and lose five-to-ten precious seconds. Even when you've upgraded your body and engine a couple of times, this is still incredibly annoying, and feels totally unfair, too.

 


Despite what I said in the opening paragraph of this review, though, the biggest problem Battle Outrun has is its similarity to Chase HQ. Taito's game even got a port to the Master System in 1990, with better graphics, more speed, and obviously, a more streamlined and fun design. So play that instead, and just don't bother with Battle Outrun.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Railroad Baron (NES)


 Also known as Tetsudou-Oh, Railroad Baron is a board game, that's definitely in the same genre as Monopoly, with a little bit of Ticket to Ride thrown in, too. The aim the the game is to move your train around Europe by rolling the dice, making money as you go. Each player get randomly assigned a destination at the start of the game, then again whenever they reach a destination. When one player has finished a certain number of journeys (the default is seven), or when one of the players runs out of money, the game ends and scores are totted up.

 


The scores are based on how much money you have at the end of the game, how many stations you control (you control a station if you were the last player to pass through it) and how many railways you own (if you control two adjacent stations, then you can choose to buy the railway between them). If the game ends because of a player going bankrupt, that player automatically scores zero.

 


Each railway is made up of three empty spaces of track between stations, and it costs money to move over them. But if you own the track that another player is moving over, that money comes to you. So, be strategic with the railways you buy, and you'll probably win. There is another element of chaos, though: after each move where you don't reach your destination, a random event occurs. You might win the lottery, get to bet on a horse race, or have some railways blocked off for a ew turns by an earthquake. You might even be given a free railway! Most annoying of all, you might get teleported to another part of the map, or have your destination changed at random.

 


Anyway, that's an explantion of how Railroad Baron plays, but is it actually any good? Eh, it depends. The split between luck and strategy is about 75/25 in luck's favour, which isn't great. I don't expect you to be able to subject any other human players, but the CPU players are decent enough: they aren't the telepathic superplayers that you might find in a lot of tabletop-themed videogames, but they do act like they're trying to win rather than acting totally randomly, too. Basically, if you have some way of playing this on a handheld, whether through emulation or a handheld Famiclone, it's not a terrible way to keep your hands busy through thirty-to-fourty minutes of TV watching.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Fire Dragon Fist Master Xiaomei (PC)


 Sometimes, you can just happen to see screenshots or a short video of a game, and instantly need to play it, and that was the case when the trailer for Fire Dragon Fist Master Xiaomei appared in my Youtube recommendations. It looks to be a high-quality single-plane beat em up that's true to its genre, and which is obviously playing on nostalgia while updating the aesthetic just a little bit, and still adding a couple of its own ideas.

 


I have good news: it's exactly what it looks to be! Beat em ups are a genre that have been unfortunately conspicuous by their absence in both western and Japanese indie scenes (with very few exceptions, like Streets of Rage Remake, and Tifa Tan X, a game you should not go and look up if you're in polite company), but FDFM Xiaomei is definitely seeking to make up for lost time. It's obviously very inspired by the progenitor of the genre, Spartan X (or Kung Fu, if you prefer), even having the same little row of boxes showing how many stages you've beaten and have yet to beat.

 


Like Spartan X, this game sees you walk from left to right in various old-timey chinese locales, punching and kicking various enemies, the most populous of whom being the big bald guys with their arms up in the air. But there's also creepy little doll things, birds, snakes, butterflies, sword-throwing guys, kyonshi, and more out to get you, too. And this being an old-fashioned game with old-fashioned values, every enemy type has its own specific behaviour and tactics. 

 


There's bosses too, who are all unique, like the guy who throws his giant head at you, the sad ghost who thanks you for killing her, and at the end of stage four, a cool multi-sprite dragon than summons lightning, and along who's back you can walk, if you like. Best of all, you fight every boss with the same moveset and the same stats as you start the game with. In 2020, Streets of Rage 4 brought back real belt-scroller beat em ups, but right under our noses, Fire Dragon Fist Master Xiaomei had brought back real single plane beat em ups in 2019, and none of us even noticed!

 


It's definitely a revival that I'm very happy to see, and I hope it continues for a long time. If you agree, the best way to ensure that, as far as I can see is to go and buy this game, as well as SoR4 (if, for some insane reason you don't have that one already). There's even a physical release, for those willing to go to all the effort of importing from Japan (and who still have an optical drive on their PC). I highly recommend this game, it's honestly like an arcade perfect home port of a game that never existed. There's plenty of PC shooting games you could give that accolade to, now there's finally a beat em up to join them!

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

I Love Bikes! Street Racer Soul - Rider's Spirits (SNES)


 Also known as Bike Daisuki! Hashiriya Tamashii - Rider's Spirits, this game might look like one of many Mario Kart wannabes with super deformed characters and mode 7 tracks, and it pretty much is that. That is, except for one little detail: it's much more boring than most other games in this subgenre. 

 


You pick one of eight motorcyclists, including an army man, some  fairly generic girls, a character with cat ears on their helmet, a leather-clad gay stereotype, and some even more generic male motorcross guys and another one I can't remember, you race around the tracks in a grand prix arrangement with points being awarded depending on your finishing position. Of course, the CPU riders will always finish in the same order, so if you don't perform perfectly in every race, you aren't going to win the championship. 

 


There's three sets of tracks: amateur, novice, and pro. Oddly, amateur comes before novice. Unfortunately, there's no way to see the novice or pro tracks without getting first place in amateur, not even in time trial mode! After several hours of trying, the best I've been able to manage is second. So if there's a lack of variety in the screenshots, that's why. 

 


Anyway, other than the slightly wacky SD characters, this game's a lot more subdued than its genremates, and it's not a decision that works in its favour. The worst thing is the items. Firstly, there's no items to collect on the tracks, instead you can get one item per lap by going through the pit stop (though thankfully, you don't actually have to stop there). Then, when you actually use the item, it just shoots straght upwards, to descend, usually unseen and without any satusfaction, on one of the other racers. Other than that, it's a game that generally just feels slow, fiddly, and awkward at all times.

 


Obviously, I don't recommend I Love Bikes! etc, etc. Don't play it, it's rubbish. It has a translation patch, and I do kind of feel bad for the people who went out of their way to make that, but at the same time, i'm not insulting their work. It's the game itself that's bad, their translation is fine.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Dragonball Z Gekitou Tenkaichi Budokai (NES)


 Most of the Famicom Dragonball Z games are RPG, which never really seemed like a good fit, in my opinion, so when I found out that the final Famicom DBZ game was a fighting game released as late as 1992, that really caught my attention. Then when I learned that it was also part of some gimmicky barcode trading card nonsense, I wanted to play it even more! Of course, actually playing such a thing on real hardware would cost a ton, not only for the peripheral itself, but also for the cards required to use it. Luckily, there's a romhack out there that just lets you pick which character you want to be ingame, as opposed to having to swipe the barcode on the character's trading card.

 


It's a pretty impressive roster, too, with thirty slots. That is, nineteen characters, seven of whom have multiple forms, since this is Dragonball Z, after all. That's still thirty different character sprites, though, which is impressive for a Famicom game! They're taken from the fight against Raditz, all the way up to the fight against Perfect Cell, too, if you're wondering. Now, since this is a game built entirely around a gimmick, and really the whole point of it is to have kids in early 90s Japan going to each others' houses to make their card collections fight each other, there's not much in the way of single player stuff, and definitely no story mode.

 


You can play a tournament mode, though, by picking the eight-man tournament option, and, after selecting your own character, pressing B on the controller, which will have the CPU pick seven random fighters to fill the rest of the spaces. The problem is that the CPU-generated fighters are all incredibly weak, and you'll be able to beat any of them within a few hits. Sometimes just a single hit is enough! After you've beaten three opponents and won the tournament, you get to see your character's face in the middle of a fancy winners' certificate screen! Then, Freeza turns up and demands a fight. As big as the gap was between you and your previous CPU opponents, there's a similar gap between this bossfight Freeza and you. I've fought him a bunch of times, and never beaten him, and in fact, most of those fights were over in less than ten seconds.

 


That's really all there is to Gekitou Tenkaichi Budokai. Unless through some strange cosmic happenstance you suddenly find yourself in the body of a Japanese child in 1992, and that child doesn't yet have a sixteen-bit console, but does have the expensive peripheral for playing this game, then I'm sure you'll hve a lot of fun with your new friends. If that incredibly unlikely thing doesn't happen, though, this really is just a gimmick of a game, and there are many much better Dragonball Z fighitng games. In fact, I'm pretty sure there were probably already better ones on the Super Famicom and Mega Drive in 1992, even.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Brave Pinball (PC)


 

 Okay, I'll start this review with an apology: there's no screenshots other than the title screen because every time I took a screenshot in-game, the game would pause, and the screenshot would just show the pause menu. Every time, no matter what I did. After over an hour of trying different solutions, I gave up. So unfortunately, you'll have to deal with an unillustrated review, just this once.

I bought Brave Pinball a few weeks ago, as I was browsing the summer sale on DLSite, and the concept of an RPG-themed pinball game seemed pretty cute and fun. I especially like the little synergy between the main character and the concept of pinball: his swords are kind of shaped like pinball flippers, and the flippers in the game are kind of shaped like swords. Also, there isn't actually a ball in the game, as you're instead chucking a tiny version of the main character around the table to hit things with his swords.

The over-arching goal of the game, alongside the traditional pinball goal of scoring points, is to collect sixteen "pieces" of something. What the something is is a surprise. Pieces are collected in various ways: random drops from enemies in each area, reaching score thresholds, beating bosses, and so on. So, to get them all, you have to be able to explore the massive table and all its sub-tables, as well as just scoring points. Luckily, you don't have to get every piece in a single game, it's more of a long-term goal.

There's one massive flaw to the game, though, that really hampered my enjoyment of it: there's no way of nudging the ball/knight a little in the right direction. In a normal pinball game, this would be frustrating enough, as it'd cause you to lose balls down the middle with no hope of saving them far too often, but, as previously mentioned, Brave Pinball has an exploration element to it. So what this means is that you can struggle your way up the table a few areas, and in a second or two, find yourself all the way back down to the starting area. There's also little technical problems that a nudge action would have solved, like how the knight often gets stuck on objects for long, boring seconds at a time, or stuck in a loop bouncing between certain objects and the side of the table.

That's not the only flaw the game has, though. If you think back to my review of Dragon Beat: Legend of Pinball, you'll remember that (in my opinion, at least) an important part of pinball is that you should have constant stimulation: ideally, every time you hit the ball up the table, and every time it hits something, there should be a noise, a flashing light, some points scored, or all of the above. In Brave Pinball, not only do the enemies only score points when they're killed, rater than every time they take damage, but there are also these wooden windmill/waterwheel things littered around the board that just get in the way, scoring no points and often proving another hurdle in the way of the game's exploration gimmick.

I admit I do feel a litle guilty giving such a damning review to a modern indie game, the developers of which obviously put a lot of love into, but I just can't recommend Brave Pinball. It's addictive, as most pinball games are, especially on PC when you can load them up and play a quick game to pass a few minutes, but unfortunately, the flaws are just insumountible. I do hope, though, that the devs go back to the drawing board and give it another try sometime, as the basic idea of an RPG-themed pinball game is really cool.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Other Stuff Monthly #16


 Back in early 2018, I backed a game on Kickstarter called Crypt. It was a fun little dice game about a bunch of scheming princes and princess who want the king's treasure, despite all being left out of his will. When the same people had another campaign in mid-2019 to fund their next game, Afternova, I naturally backed that one, too. Unfortunately, my copy arrived literally the day the Covid-19 lockdown started in the UK, so it sat unplayed on a shelf for a few months. But now I've had a couple of games of it, and it definitely lives up to its predecessor!

 


The game sees the players recruiting various space-faring engineers, to mine planets for different coloured minerals, which in turn are used to build spaceship parts. Some of the spaceship parts add new abilities, like more storage space to store minerals, or getting to draw extra cards at certain times,  while others are just worth victory points at the end of the game. 

 


The real hook of the game is that it can be difficult to recruit  all the engineers you need to mine the planet you want, so you can negotiate with other players, agreeing how to divvy up the planet's yield in exchange for the use of their engineers. So you have to balance out getting the minerals you need, while trying to keep your opponentsaway from all the ones they need. It obviously gets harder to negotiate towards the end of the game, as the game ends when one player finishes six spaceship parts, leaving everyone else one last turn to do score what they can.

 


Playtime is about half an hour, and it goes by pretty quickly. The whole game is a combination of negotiation and resource management (not just the literal resources of the negineers and minerals, but also the space needed to keep them, as you can only hold eight cards and four minerals at a time), and there's very little reliance on luck, so winning or losing does depend on who was the better player that game.

 


I've enjoyed every game I've played so far of Afternova, and it's pretty cheap as far as decent board games go, so I definitely recommend picking it up, as long as you have at least two other people with whom to play it. It's also got a ton of silly animal puns on the engineer cards, which is a nice bonus!

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Fantastic Children (GBA)

 On paper, Fantastic Children should be worthless shovelware garbage. It is, after all, a licensed GBA platformer based on an anime. I can't tell you much about the anime other than that it's apparently about a group of immortal 12 year olds, and it was created by Takashi Nakamura, whos distinctive character design style you're sure to recognise if you've seen the movie Catnapped. It does have an official english release though, and I might just give it a watch someday, as if the game really gives me vibes of those classic kids adventure anime from the 80s and early 90s, like Giant Gorg, Mysterious Cities of Gold, and The Secret of Blue Water.

 

Right from the start, it's obvious that this game is possibly the best-looking game on the system, with lavish, detailed backgrounds, and really amazing animation on the main character's sprite. As he runs, jumps, climbs, falls, and so on, you can really feels the weight of his body and the force of his movements, and those are all things you do a lot of, since most of the game is made up of Prince of Persia-style precision platforming. It's so far beyond the usual garish colours and blobby pre-rendered sprite you see all too often on the GBA.  

 

Like I said, the game is mostly PoP-style platforming, as you clamber around, exploring various environments, like jungles, abandoned buildings, quiet little seaside towns, and so on. The quality of the animation makes this a totally joyful experience, even if he practice of holding the jump button to grab and keep ahold of ledges, then pressing up to climb onto them takes a little bit of getting used to at first. What's  really unique about this game is the rare occasions when you meet enemies (well, there are wild animals that can hurt you right from the start, but they're more like hazards than enemies), as this is the only platform game that I can think of that has turn-based combat!

 

The way it works is that you and your opponent each has a hand of five attacks. There are specials that each do specific things, but mostly, you'll be using punches, kicks, and chops, which have a rock-paper-scissors dynamic going on: punches beat kicks, kicks beat chops, and chops beat punches. You can switch between your attacks as much as you like in the few seconds before they meet in the middle, at which point one of you takes damage (or both if you each used the same attack). Used attacks are discarded, and if the fight's still ongoing after five turns, you each get your full hands back and carry on. 

 

You can change the attacks in your hand via the pause menu, and you get more choices, including things like attacks that hit twice when they win, as well as the aforementioned specials, by beating enemies and opening treasure boxes. Certain kinds of enemies have specific hands too, so if you know you're going into an area where the enemies prefer kicks, you might want to build a punch-based hand, for example. It's a system more interesting than exciting, but it does solve the problem of having enemies without them getting in the way of the sheer kinetic joy of the platforming.

 

I think that's all I really have to say about Fantastic Children. Of course, I very highly recommend that you go and play it as soon as possible, and don't worry about there being a language barrier, as while the story text is all in Japanese, all the menus and so on are in English. It should be counted alongside Ninja Cop, Gunstar Super Heroes, and all the other truly great GBA games that people still love to this day, it's honestly that good.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Pyramid Magic (Mega Drive)

 

 It's yet another puzzle platformer, even though every time I need to mention I'm not a fan of the genre. On the plus side, I have at least realsied that there are things to like bout them. For example, they definitely adhere to the idea of "purity" I've talked about in past reviews, as they're pretty much all made up of a small number of easily-identifiable parts that have a very specific purpose. 

 

This especially applies to Pyramid Magic, as it was a download title, and as you might imagine, a download title in 1991 really did have to be economical with the filesizes. So, every stage is made up of seven different kinds of thing (well, every stage I saw, at least): the blocks that make up the walls, floor, and ceiling, the blocks that you can pick up and move around, three kinds of boxes that have to be opened in order (the wooden box has the key for the red box, whih has the key for the green box,  which contains the magic... thing that banishes the ghost blocking the exit), and of course, the player character himself and the aforementioned exit-blocking ghost.

 

So obviously, the game centres around moving the stone blocks around so that you can get to the exit, making sure you open wach of the three boxes in order along the way. Your character is two blocks high, and can jump two blocks high. He can carry one block at a time, and can move and drop blocks in increments half a block wide. You can only crawl throgh one-block-high gaps if you walk into them while carrying a block, and if you fall off an edge while carrying a block, it'll crush you to death. There's your basic elements, nd of course, they're arranged in increasingly complex ways, and there's usually one specific solution to each stage you have to figure out.

 

Like I always say with these games, it's really not for me, but if you like them, maybe you'll like this one. However, due to the circumstances of this game's release, the presentation is significantly more spartan than you mighht be used to, but maybe the curiosity of those circumstances is compensation enough for you? And if you do play and enjoy Pyramid Magic, you'll also like Pyramid Magic II, which is essentially just more stages of the same game. Pyramid Magic III is a little different, adding a breakable urn to the mix, and I couldn't even figure out what the goal of the first stage in that one was.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban (SNES)

 At first sight, I'd assumed that this game was going to be a clone of Kiki Kaikai, which obviously got my interest right away. As it turns out, it's more of a top-down beat em up, like the arcade game Kyros. Well, with one of the characters, at least. There's two to pick from: a Japanese guy, and a White guy, both of whom give the impression of being effeminate dandies, which is an unusual choice for a pair of action game protagonists.

 

The Japanese guy is the melee character, attacking enemies with a harisen, while the white guy throws roses at them. From this point on, assume that I'm mostly talking about playing as the Japanese guy, because the white guy's attack is so slow and weak, that playing as him solo is almost impossible. He might make more sense in the context of co-operative play, though. As well as normal attacks, you also get screen-clearing magic bomb attacks, limited by needing to collect scrolls before using them. These magic attacks are done in the form of summons, with the white guy summoning maids and butlers, and the Japanese guy summoning ninja and, for some reason, bunny girls.

 

The final skill in the dandy pair's offensive repetoire comes in the form of transformation. Sometimes enemies will drop little percentages as items. Collecting them, obviously, increases the percentage on your player HUD, and when it's over 50%, you can transform your dandy into a gigantic musclebound freak who confidently strides around destroying normal enemies in single punches and bosses in only a few more. You even get a different victory splash screen if you finish a stage in this form!

 

Aside from the unique protagonists, the game's overall aesthetic is pretty interesting, too. The graphics are generally excellent, being both detailed and well-drawn, and after the first set of stages, all set in Japan, the game goes on a bit of a world tour, with stages in China, India, Europe, and Arabia, all with their own stereotypical enemies. So there's kyonshi and martial artists in China, levitating Yogi and an elephant (complete with impressive multi-sprite trunk!) in India, knights, witches, and cherubim in Europe, and so on. Though Arabia just seemed to be another Europe-style castle stage for some reason? That was a disappointment. Still, having gone into the game expecting only Japan, it was a nice surprise.

 

Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban is definitely a game worth playing, bringing some unusual twists to the beat em up genre, both mechanically and aesthetically, and though I haven't been able to play a co-op game, I'm pretty sure that the game was designed with that in mind, and would presumably play even better with a friend.