Game: Obocchama Kun
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 up to them a bit more challenging 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