Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #17: Obocchama-kun (PC Engine)

Game: Obocchama-kun
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Pack-In-Video
Publisher: Namcot
System: PC Engine (HuCard)
Release date: 1991

My first reaction upon playing this bizarre, Namcot-published platformer was, "oh, hell no." For starters, it's kind of ugly. Not Superman 64 ugly, mind you, but it's definitely uglier than your typical 16-bit game. That's due, in large part, to the game's homely protagonist--who bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Munster--as well as its garish use of color.

The thing is, after a while you get over the hideousness of it all (or at least I did) and that's when you realize this Pack-In-Video-developed title's actually pretty fun. Even better, it's interesting. It certainly isn't the kind of me-too, mascot-centric platformer that clogged store shelves--and brought the genre to its knees--back in the 1990s.

That's evident from the start of the very first level, when a seizure-inducing scene introduces each of the stage's featured enemies. Also setting this game apart from the platforming pack: the heavily browed Obocchama-kun doesn't just grab power-ups like the protagonists in other, more predictable examples of the genre; rather, he beckons them by jumping onto what looks like a giant turtle shell and striking a decidedly Elvis-esque pose.

Sometimes those poses produce power-ups and sometimes they summon allies--such as a blue-coifed bodybuilder, a crying teen who throws what appears to be hairbrushes and a helicopter-piloting Russian--that assist you through the stage at hand. Obocchama-kun's bosses, including one that can only be called a chicken choker, are a similarly eccentric bunch.

The game's sometimes-slippery controls can make those encounters and the stages that lead to them tougher than they would be otherwise, but even that quibble doesn't keep it from being an enjoyably odd experience.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts


Viewtiful_Justin said...

Sounds slightly psychotic and fun enough to keep playing past the weirdness. I'll have to hunt down some video of this one later...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Justin -- yeah, psychotic is a good way to describe this one, I think :) It's fun, too, though, and definitely worth checking out, IMO, if you're up for a unique platformer.

BTW, here's a rather humorous video review of the game --

Viewtiful_Justin said...

"I fucking died...I always wanted to know what was down there..." HYSTERICAL! It's like it's being narrated by one of several personalities.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Yeah, that review is hilarious :) Also, it features the only gameplay video of the title I can find on the 'net. Anyway, you should give the game a try at some point. I think you might like it.