Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #36: PC Genjin (PC Engine)

Game: PC Genjin
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Atlus/Red Company
Publisher: Hudson Soft
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1989

Most folks know this game, renamed Bonk's Adventure before it was released in North America, for its hard-headed protagonist--who bravely served as the PC Engine's entry in what I like to call the "Great Gaming Mascot Pageant" of the late 1980s and early 1990s. There's nothing wrong with that, of course--that is the game's main claim to fame, after all--but in my opinion it deserves to be known for much more than being a somewhat-competitive contemporary of Mario and Sonic. For instance, there's the fact that PC Genjin began life as a comic (in the pages of Gekkan PC Engine magazine). I don't know why, but I've always found that kind of cool. Then there's the fact that it was developed by the abler-than-able folks at Atlus and Red Company (makers of Gate/Lords of Thunder, the Tengai Makyou titles and even Sega's Tempo). There's also the fact that PC Genjin is, simply put, a fun and unique game--something that can't be said about too many of the mascot-focused platformers released during the 16-bit era. The main reasons I find it to be fun and unique: For starters, the protagonist attacks his prehistoric foes by bashing them with his head. (He can do this while standing on the ground or while in the air, by the way; with the latter move resulting in a devilish dive-bomb.) Also, jumping and then rapidly pushing that same action button on the PC Engine's pad causes PC Genjin to spin wildly and hover or float, if for just a second or two, above the ground. Finally, I've always appreciated the primitive nature of this title's graphics. Considering most "mascot games," including this game's superior-in-many-ways sequel, are awfully slick in that area, PC Genjin's primordial departure from the norm could and should be seen by both PC Engine and platformer fans as a pixelated breath of fresh air.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts


Darwin said...

So many great memories playing that game. Still fire it up every now and then.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, that's great to know, Darwin! Do you tend to play PC Genjin or Bonk's Adventure, if you don't mind me asking? (Basically, do you have a PCE or a TG-16?)

Also, what do you think of the sequels? Do you prefer the original, or do you prefer the second or even third game in the series?

Alex said...

Yeah I still like that game, but I can't stay with the same game for too long.

Bryan Ochalla said...

That makes sense, Alex. Do you like the sequels, too?

Darwin said...

Ah, I've long since sold my TG-16 (and TurboDuo - regret!), so I'm resorting to emulation.

I remember playing Bonk's Revenge, but generally I just fire up the original. I should give it a go though. Curious now :)

Darwin said...

Oh yeah, I was thinking about getting the PS2 remake. I saw it once when I was in Japan, but it was $30/US and I couldn't convince myself to get it. But later I went back, it was gone. :/

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, I understand that regret, Darwin. I sold my TG-16 *and* TurboDuo long ago, too (to buy an import Saturn, no less!) and still regret it. Oh, well, at least I had them once -- and selling them meant I got to own and enjoy the Saturn, too.

As for Bonk's Revenge, yes, give it a go again sometime soon. It's a good game, too. I can't say I like part 3 all that much, though.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, and RE: the PS2 remake -- you know what's sad? I own it, but I've never played it, as I don't have a Japanese PS2. I'm just holding on to the game until I get one :)

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I feel like they weren't trying so hard with Bonk, which is nice. Like...sometimes those mascots were trying WAY too hard to be cool...and Bonk? Not so much. He just WAS cool.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, yes, I agree Justin. Almost all of Bonk's contemporaries at the time were supposed to be "cool" or "rad" or something similar, while Bonk was just a caveman. It worked in his favor, I think.