Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now: Rainbow Islands Putty's Party (WonderSwan)

You didn't think I'd get through this series without including a WonderSwan game, did you? Well, even if you did, I'm proving you wrong with this gloriously WonderSwan-centric post.

Now, I know the word on the street about this game is that it isn't all that good, but I bought it earlier this year because, well, it's mother-trucking Rainbow Islands.

As I don't yet own a WonderSwan system, though, I can't tell you if the word on the street about Rainbow Islands Putty's Party is accurate or not. Actually, I gave the game a go via emulation prior to picking it up, but I only spent enough time with it to know it wasn't a complete turd.

I do remember thinking the pink-haired protagonist was a bit slow, though, so it'll be interesting to find out if my opinion of Putty's Party ends up mirroring that of its naysayers or if I have an altogether more positive experience with it.

Sigh. I really need to set aside a few bucks for a WonderSwan system (or better yet, a SwanCrystal system) in 2013, don't I?

See also: Previous '12 import games I bought in 2012 but didn't tell you about until now' posts


Espiga said...

It's a little bit ironic that a game that's so colorful and even has rainbow in the title ended up on a black + white handheld.

It also reminds me that I still need to pick up both a SwanCrystal and a Neo Geo Pocket Color. X_X said...

Ha! I agree, Espiga :) Really, it's too bad they didn't wait a bit and make the thing for the WS Color--or at least remake it in color after that system was released. As it is, I have to imagine a good part of the charm is missing from the game :|

As for needing to pick up a SwanCrystal and NGPC: I'm with you there, especially when it comes to the first part of the equation. That's not to say I'm completely uninterested in the NGPC (I've heard nothing but praise for it), but I am less interested in it than I am in the SwanCrystal, at least.

Espiga said...

I remember seeing the episode of Gamecenter CX that featured the original Rainbow Islands on Famicom, and it looked cute, yet difficult.

It's a shame that the lack of color in the Wonderswan game puts a damper on the charm, since the character on the cover is significantly more adorable than the one in the Famicom version. said...

Oh, the original Rainbow Islands definitely is difficult--despite its cuteness. You've never played it, Espiga? If so, find a way to play it ... and soon! It's one of my favorite games. Play the arcade original (or the PC Engine CD port) if you can, though, as those versions are significantly better than the Famicom port you mentioned.

Espiga said...

I've not played it before, though it's 100% my own fault for that. I don't really follow platformers particularly closely, so it remained off my radar for quite a while.

I don't really like to use MAME, as I can never get it to work well for me, but maybe I'll check out the PC Engine port when I have time. It's been a while since my PCE Duo-R has gotten any action. said...

Another, cheaper, option for you would be to buy one of the many Taito Legends releases that are out there, Espiga. I know one of the PS2 ones (first one, I think) includes this game, and I think some of the others (Xbox and/or PSP) include it as well. I suggest that because the PCE CD version can be pretty pricey.

Espiga said...

Hm, I actually have a copy of Taito Legends that I picked up a long time ago and then never played thanks to an ever-expanding backlog. It may be time to break it out pretty soon! said...

That's great! Hopefully it's the one that has Rainbow Islands on it. Anyway, should that be the case, and should you finally play the game sometime soon, be sure to let me know what you think of it, OK?

Espiga said...

Good news! I dug out my copy of Taito Legends, and it has Rainbow Islands on it. I randomly had the game and never knew it! Not bad for something I picked up for an old Galaga ripoff called Phoenix. said...

Espiga: For some dumb reason your latest comment isn't coming through/being posted. Sorry about that. I was able to see it via e-mail, though, so I'll respond to it anyway.

That's great that your copy of Taito Legends is the one that features Rainbow Islands! Now you just have to give it a go :) Hope you like it even half as much as I do!

Espiga said...

My previous post was sent using my phone, rather than my PC (which I'm currently using). Perhaps Disqus has silly mobile coding?

Another possibility is that I linked to an imgur URL that contained a picture of me focusing the camera on my Taito Legends case where it mentioned Rainbow Islands. Maybe there's some sort of anti-spam thing that prevents posts with hyperlinks from appearing?

Anyway, about the game!

I just got home and I had a couple minutes to spend with the game, and my first impression that it's a good game, but not really a great one.

The visuals are just fine, but as someone raised on a healthy diet of Rockman titles, the jump and shoot buttons feel reversed, and the character seems to go pretty crazy once you get on a rainbow, as he swings up along the side very quickly, and it feels difficult to control him in that state.

That being said, it's definitely a cute game, and it's pretty challenging. Either that, or I suck. But I only got to the 3rd island in that number of credits. I self-impose a limit of 3 credits per game on these type of things , since anyone can spam virtual quarters to see the end. said...

I have a feeling the issue is commenting from a phone, Espiga, as a few other people have mentioned that. Strange that that would be an issue these days.

As for the jump and shoot buttons being reversed in Rainbow Islands: yes, I've had that issue with the Taito Legends version, too. Strangely, the game doesn't allow you to change input preferences. I don't know if in the controls were 'correct' in the arcade original, but I have a feeling they were, as it just feels weird here.

I've played this version of Rainbow Islands so many times that I'm used to climbing the rainbows, but I can see where it may be a bit strange if you're not used to it. I would recommend giving it another try or two in the hopes that this will be overcome, as the game really is a good one and worth your time, I think.

How do you feel about Bubble Bubble and even Parasol Stars, by the way? Do you tend to like those games, or not?

Zigfried said...

I love Rainbow Islands, although I avoided this one (despite the awesome cover art) simply because I avoid black & white games on principle. That's part of why I dug the Wonderswan... got a few of the cool B/W Square Gameboy games in color versions. =D

By the way, if either of you ever feel a burning need to borrow a Wonderswan, just let me know. (Not gonna sell it, but it's just sitting around unused right now...) said...

Hey there, Zig! Long time, no see (or hear, I guess). Anyway, welcome back :)

I can totally understand passing on this one. I always thought I'd pass on it, too, but when I saw an OK deal on eBay I couldn't pass it up. Hopefully I won't regret it once I finally get a WonderSwan :P

Also, I agree with you about the WS being cool for getting colorized Square games. There seem to be a few other colorized gems for the system, too--based on the reviews I've read.

I may take you up on your offer to borrow your WS at some point, BTW, as I'm not at all sure when I'll finally give in and buy one for myself.

Espiga said...

I'll probably come to like the game more once I get a feel for how the character controls, but like I said, it was just my first impression of it.

As for Bubble Bobble, I've only ever played it on NES. I've never played the original on arcade, and I've never played Parasol Stars either. Unfortunately, I'm somewhat too young for that era of the arcade scene. I was born in '85, so by the time I was able to regularly enjoy arcades, Street Fighter II had already changed the landscape.

I did, however, enjoy what I had played of Bubble Bobble, though I don't think I ever finished it. I don't own a copy of the game, but I recall playing it at a neighbor's house a few times, which probably contributes to why I never cleared it. said...

You really should try the arcade version of Bubble Bobble sometime. Yes, it's very similar to the NES version, and, yes, it's quite an old game, but its gameplay holds up remarkably well, I think. Of course, you're talking to someone who loves even the most antiquated of retro games, so maybe take what I say with a grain of salt :P

Espiga said...

I also enjoy outdated retro games, so salt isn't necessary. =P

This disc has Bubble Bobble on it as well, so I can (and likely will) be giving it a run, though I've not really dug very deeply into Taito Legends... Thanks in no small part to my addiction to my Wii U. said...

Ah, so you're addicted to the Wii U, eh? I don't know why, but that surprises me. Of course, I don't know you all that well yet, so I'm not sure why it surprises me...

Anyway, what is it that's most attracting you to the Wii U at the moment? The GamePad? Miiverse? Any particular games?

I'm looking forward to getting one myself, but probably not until late summer at the earliest, as I have waaaaay too many 3DS games that need to be played right now, and even more will be released in the next few months.

Espiga said...

The Wii U had an incredibly strong lineup, one of the strongest since the hallowed Dreamcast launch.

What I like most about the Wii U, though, is that it's basically a giant DS, with your TV being the top screen. And finally, two analog sticks!

I've got 4 games at the moment. NintendoLand (which came with the system because I bought the big, black and sexy version), Mario U, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, and Ninja Gaiden 3. Of them, Mario U is my least favorite, while Warriors Orochi is the one I've liked the most. said...

Oh, yes, that's something I really like about the Wii U, too, Espiga -- that it's basically a giant DS, I mean.

Very interesting that Warriors Orochi is your favorite title so far. I'm guessing you're generally a fan of this series?

Why the lack of interest in Mario U, if you don't mind me asking? Too similar to every other NSMB game for you, or is it something else?

Espiga said...

It was actually my first time playing one of the Musou games.... Don't tell Zig! Perhaps that's got a little something to do with the fact that a lot of the complaints that people lob at the series seemed a bit empty. I was enjoying myself quite a bit.

With Mario U, it just feels lazy. The level design is a little bit tighter than the previous NSMB games, but very few of them actually explore anything new. With NSMB games, it just feels like Nintendo's going through the motions at this point and not actually putting any heart into what they're making. Once the 'Wow, it's HD Mario" factor wears off, you're left with a platformer that's just kinda.. There. It does everything that all the other NSMB games do, and outside of one level in particular, none of them stand out.

Anyway, I finally finished Rainbow Islands, though I had to throw my "3 credits only" rule to the wind. I also didn't get the big diamonds, so I only got to see up to the dragon boss. The game is good, but incredibly frustrating. It's a game that requires you to take your time to chart out a specific course of action... Except you can't do that because the strangely clipping water will appear and rock your world. But, the boss fights definitely make up for the lack of enjoyment I got out of the stages. I liked how each boss had a different pattern and gimmick to it; a rarity in the early days of gaming. Also, some of them were very tough, but it never felt like it was simply being a quarter muncher like the road to each boss did. In particular, I enjoyed the fight against the boss of the Breakout-themed area. I suppose the next one to tackle will be Bubble Bobble! said...

I understand where you're coming from with NSMBU. Although I enjoyed NSMBW quite a bit, it didn't keep me from wishing Nintendo would make a 'real' 2D Mario game sooner rather than later. I also liked what little I played of NSMBU at Seattle's Wii U Experience event, but it also didn't keep me from longing for a new take on the series.

Sadly, I think one or more NSMB games are going to have to flop for that to happen. I do think that will happen at some point, though, as Nintendo's clearly milking this cow a little too much these days.

As for you completing Rainbow Islands: congrats! I wouldn't feel bad about having to use more than three continues, by the way. The latter stages of the game can be pretty brutal, and I think you'd have to be an arcade king to beat them with so few continues.

Personally, I really like the stages that lead up to every boss encounter. Yes, many of them are challenging (if not maddening), but that doesn't really bother me, as they always feel doable--if you're good enough. Unsurprisingly, I'm not often good enough, but I usually feel like that's my fault, not the game's.

That said, I completely understand if you don't like those sections for various reasons. It's good to hear you like the bosses, though--and they really are pretty great, aren't they?

Parasol Stars has some pretty great bosses, too, by the way. The gameplay isn't really like that of Bubble Bubble or Rainbow Islands, more like Don Doko Don, etc. If that sounds OK to you, you should give it a try at some point. Most folks think it's the 'worst' of the three games, although few would suggest it's anything even close to bad, I'm sure. Me, I think it's pretty damn great, especially after you come to understand the importance of the game's miracle icons.

Espiga said...

The NSMB games are a bit of an anomaly, I think. When they were first released, we hadn't seen a sidescrolling Mario since the SNES... Unless you count the remakes that came out on GBA. (Which I don't) Now, we got 2 of them in the same year, plus Super Mario 3D Land. When NSMB first came out on DS, it was a refreshing return to old-style Mario. Now the "New" moniker just seems like a laughable misnomer.

As for the stages feeling doable, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. There were several times during my playthrough that I felt that my deaths simply weren't my fault. At one time, I had made a rainbow and the top of the rainbow just barely clipped the top of the platform I was trying to reach. Upon walking up it, I managed to get stuck in the platform; I became a lame duck for the various baddies to pick apart at their leisure. They didn't waste much time. The hit detection also seemed a bit wonky, but I try not to hold it against older games, as a game with good hit detection was rare in that era. That didn't make it any less bothersome when I was already frustrated, only to die because of getting clipped by a shot that I thought I had dodged, but it's at least more understandable than the backwards controls and the slippery characters.

I don't want to sound too negative though; overall, I'm glad I experienced the game, even if I'm not completely enamored by it, so thank you for the suggestion. I did like it, and I think the awesome boss fights had a lot to do with it.

I don't recall seeing Parasol Stars on that Taito Legends disc. Maybe I overlooked it, but it may be more difficult for me to check that one out.. Unless there's a non-arcade version you can recommend. said...

So, where do you see the NSMB, or even just the SMB, series going from here? Do you think Nintendo will just continue stamping out NSMB series until gamers at large reject them, or do you think they'll switch things up? I certainly hope it's the latter, but I'm not at all confident of that.

As for Rainbow Islands: it's OK if we respectfully disagree with each other. In the end, I'm just glad you tried it--regardless of whether or not you love, like or hate it in the end.

You won't find Parasol Stars on any Taito Legends discs, by the way. That's because it was only released for the PC Engine/TG-16 (well, that and the Amiga, I think). So, you could either go nab yourself the HuCard or play the ROM via emulation, if you're up for such things.

Definitely for the PCE/TG-16 version, though. The Amiga version doesn't look completely terrible, but it also doesn't look as good as the PCE/TG-16 original.

Espiga said...

Much like yourself, I'd love for Nintendo to crank back the development of Mario games a wee (Wii?) bit in favor of more original titles. My favorite Marios tend to be the ones that do things a little differently anyway. For example, Super Mario RPG by Squaresoft and the Paper Mario series by Intelligent Systems. I think Retro Studios (Metroid Prime and Donkey Kong Country Returns) would be able to make a very original take on the Mario series while still being respectful of its roots.

That being said, it's pretty unlikely. Nintendo posted its first loss ever as a company in the previous fiscal year, and so they're likely feeling pressure to turn that around... And what better way to do so with an influx of games that are both cheap to make and have a ton of brand power? I fear that's ultimately just going to hurt Mario's brand credibility though, since, as you said, Nintendo's milking the cow a bit TOO much at this point.

I don't have anything that's Amiga-compatible, and I hate playing things on emulators with the fury of a thousand suns, so it looks like I'll have to pick it up for my Duo-R at some point. Thanks for the suggestion! said...

Yeah, I really want some new kind of 2D Mario game at this point. For me, something akin to Yoshi's Island would be ideal -- although I know many folks don't consider that to be a 'real' Mario game. Anyway, I want something that similarly strays from the typical Mario formula but also is recognizably 'Mario,' if that makes sense.

As for Parasol Stars: If you're able to play TG-16 on your system, you may want to go with the US version of the game, as the Japanese version can be pretty pricey. Actually, I wouldn't call the TG-16 cheap either, but it's usually not $60-100 like the PCE version.

Espiga said...

I would approve of a Yoshi's Island sequel. Yoshi's Story was cute, but it wasn't nearly as interesting or as tightly made as Yoshi's Island was... I'd even approve of a return of crying Mario, who never annoyed me as much as it seemed to do to others.

On that note, I've heard some rumors floating about of a Wii U game in the works called Yoshi's Land that may be related to Yoshi's Island. My fingers are crossed for it to be what NSMBU wasn't. said...

Actually, I wasn't really talking about a Yoshi's Island sequel, although I'd certainly welcome such a game. What I meant was that I'd like for Nintendo to similarly go off Mario's beaten path, so to speak, and take a 2D Mario-centric platformer into new territory. I'm not even sure what such a game would look or play like, but I have faith that Nintendo could produce it if it wanted to.

I've always liked Yoshi's Story more than most folks, by the way, although I agree with you that it is not in any way in the same league as Yoshi's Island. (Also, I don't really mind crying Mario either.)

Oh, and I've heard these rumors about Yoshi's Land for Wii U, too. I really hope they're proven to be true, and sooner rather than later.

You know what else I'd love? Another game like Kirby's Epic Yarn. I know some hated it because it was too easy, but I found it to be an absolutely magical experience.