Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #48: Barunba (PC Engine)

Game: Barunba
Genre: Shoot 'em up
Developer: Namco/Zap Corp
Publisher: Namcot
System: PC Engine
Release date: 1990

There are a number of reasons to like this odd, side-scrolling shmup: Its box art is lovely (as is its manual), its bosses are huge and its gameplay offers up a few surprises that help it stand out from the pack. Sadly, there are many more reasons to dislike it--most of which have to do with the aforementioned gameplay. (Two that don't: The great majority of the game's enemies and backdrops are at best boring and at worst ugly, while its sound effects are the definition of "grating.") Specifically, although the globe-shaped ship gamers control while playing Barunba impresses with its rotatable weaponry, the rather cumbersome rotation aspect actually gets in the way more often than not. As such, most folks are likely to keep their guns aimed straight ahead as much as possible. Also, although each of the game's five stages are surprisingly extensive (e.g., long), most of them become a drag well before you reach the end. So, with three bullet points in favor of Barunba and four against it, what's my final verdict on this Namcot-published HuCard? I'd say it's a curiously unique but disappointingly flawed game that's worth playing only if you find it on the cheap or if you're fairly obsessed with the shoot 'em up genre.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts


RetroKingSimon said...

I haven't played this properly yet but I did add it to my 'to review' list the last time you mentioned it. I liked the look of it from my brief play but it remains to be seen it I'll feel that way in a few weeks! :P

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Simon! There's certainly nothing wrong with liking this game. There are some positive aspects to it, after all. In the end, I just think its uniqueness doesn't get it anywhere. Worse, I think the game ends up being fairly boring. That said, it's far from terrible, in my opinion. Anyway, I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on it at some point :)

RetroKingSimon said...

Cheers! :) I have an Engine shmup review in progress but this one will be next! :P

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, that's great to hear, Simon. Hmmmm, I wonder which PCE shmup you're reviewing? I'll look forward to it regardless :)