System: PC Engine CD-ROM2
Developer: NEC Avenue
Publisher: NEC Avenue
Release date: 1993
Most platformers follow in Super Mario Bros' hugely successful footsteps and scroll horizontally. Well, Fukio Mitsuji's arcade classic--technically the first sequel to Bubble Bobble--turns that tried-and-true tradition on its head and scrolls vertically, much like those odd overworld sections of Kid Icarus that caused you to pull out your hair by the handful. (Or was that just me?) As much as I like that mythological Famicom Disk System title, though, it has nothing on Rainbow Islands, what with its titular arcs of light--which can be used as weapons and as platforms--shimmering, Wizard of Oz-esque soundtrack (i.e., the main theme sounds an awful lot like "Over the Rainbow") and varied assortment of enemies and environments.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts