Friday, December 09, 2011

Second Chances: Jigoku Meguri

Unlike the previous games that have been written about in these "Second Chances" posts, I can't seem to remember when I first played Jigoku Meguri, a Taito-made platformer that was released for the PC Engine in 1990, or why that first experience with the title was such a turn-off.

All I recall is that it didn't impress me. I think it had something to do with its odd protagonist--a bald and somewhat paunchy monk who defeats foes by tossing what appears to be giant prayer beads at them.

Regardless, I played Jigoku Meguri--also known as Bonze Adventure in some regions and Hell Explorer in others--once or twice via emulation and then turned my back on (and turned my nose up at) it for good.

Or at least that's what I did until a few months ago. What caused me to give it a second (possibly third) chance? While considering which games I should include in this Halloween-themed post, I remembered that Jigoku Meguri was set in hell and thought it might make a good fit.

Not wanting to recommend a game I couldn't stand, I gave it another shot--and found myself enjoying it quite a bit. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't believe I'd ever deemed it unworthy of my time and attention (not to mention affections).

As for why I enjoyed it so much: Simply put, barraging this game's baddies with giant prayer beads is a blast. It reminds me of the frenzied fulfillment I feel while playing Bubble Bobble--and barraging that game's baddies with bubbles--to tell you truth.

In fact, launching huge green, purple and red beads across the screen is so addictive that I usually find myself hitting my PC Engine controller's action button at warp speed even when no enemies are nearby.

There are other reasons to like Jigoku Meguri, of course--its graphics are colorful and expressive, for instance, and it's difficult enough that most folks won't be able to beat it on the game on their first (or, likely, second or third) try--but for me its main draw is and always will be the aforementioned, addictive-as-crack bead-throwing mechanism.

See also: Previous 'Second Chances' posts


Viewtiful_Justin said...

Must. Play. Strange. Game.

Bryan Ochalla said...

It's actually not as strange as you're probably imagining it is, Justin, but it's strange enough. I mean, throwing giant prayer beads at enemies? Yeah. Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you think of it :)

Motherplayer said...

Hey I know this game. I played it on my taito legends collection. It was pretty hard and don't even think about making a joke about that last line.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, yes, Motherplayer, it is on the Taito Legends compilation. Haven't played the arcade original in quite some time, so I can't say how it compares to the PCE version, but I think they're pretty similar.

As for making fun of you saying the game is "hard": I wouldn't dream of it :P

Eduardo Shiroma said...

It seems that most of the fun of the game is throwing prayer beads to the head of the enemies, and it's even better when you have a turbo controller pad! Hahaha!

I'm curious. I'll play it on the emulator some time.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Actually, that's about it! I mean, there are other things to like about it, but throwing the prayer beads is what brings me back to it again and again. (The same can be said of another Taito arcade-to-PCE conversion, by the way: Mizubaku Daibouken.)

As for the game being better with a turbo controller: That may be true for some, but I actually like playing it with turbo set to "off." I really like spamming the action button, for some strange reason :)

Anyway, yes, give it a try via whatever means necessary. And then report back to me what you think about it!

RetroKingSimon said...

Another one I've never played but like the look of, thanks for bringing it to my attention! :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're very welcome, Simon! A suggestion for you: Try playing this one *and* Mizubaku Daibouken (also by Taito, also for the PC Enegine). I think you'll be amazed by how similar the two games are, although their graphics differ quite a bit.