Friday, August 01, 2014

PC Engine game recommendations for #PlatforMonth

Before we get to the PC Engine game recommendations that are promised in the header above, how about we deal the question that's sure to be on some of your minds: what in the heck is #PlatforMonth?

The answer, my dear readers, is that #PlatforMonth is yet another of Anne "apricotsushi" Lee's monthly game-alongs, with this one focusing on--you guessed it--platformers.

So why'd I decide to focus on must-play (in my opinion, naturally) PC Engine platformers in this post? Well, my original plan was to cover a whole slew of systems, but when I got to the PC Engine portion of said post I couldn't stop coming up with titles to recommend. So, I decided to devote an entire post to NEC's "little white wonder," as I like to call it.

Don't worry, I'm going to publish a second post that offers up platformer recommendations for other consoles and handhelds in a couple of days. For the time being, through, let's keep our minds trained on PC Engine run-and-jumpers.

Speaking of which, I know I could wrap up this post right here and now by suggesting you play all three of Red Company's PC Genjin--or Bonk, if you're a TurboGrafx-16 kind of guy or gal--titles, but I'd rather introduce folks to some new experiences this time around, such as:


Hany on the Road--Admittedly, this probably isn't the best place to begin a post like this one. After all, Hany on the Road isn't exactly a textbook example of the genre. Still, there's a lot of running and jumping to be done if you want to beat it, so why not include it here? As for how it plays: if you've played Capcom's ancient arcade game, Son Son, you've basically played this one, too--although I think Hany looks better and is more challenging than its archaic predecessor.


Jigoku Meguri--One lesson I learned some time ago is that the people who used to develop games for Taito know how to produce a top-tier platformer. This game--an arcade conversion, actually--is a prime example. At first, it appears to be your average side-scrolling, run-and-jump title--except for the fact that the shiny-headed protagonist is able to launch human-sized beads of various colors at his demonic foes. That simple action single-handed makes Jigoku Meguri a joy to play, by the way. There's just something fun about running around and tossing as many beads or marbles or whatever they're supposed to be at anything and everything in your way.


Mizubaku Daibouken--If you took Jigoku Meguri and exchanged its underworld setting for a bright and cheery one that wouldn't seem out of place in Rainbow Islands or Parasol Stars (two more Taito joints, coincidentally enough) and switched out its monk-like protagonist for the most adorable pixelated platypus you're ever likely to see, you'd have Mizubaku Daibouken (aka Liquid Kids outside of Japan). The only real difference: in the latter, the character you control tosses water bubbles at baddies rather than multi-hued prayer beads. If you've only got the budget or attention span for one of these two games, I say go for this one, although both are well worth your time if you've got money and mindshare to spare.


The New Zealand Story--One slight problem with the bulk of the titles discussed here so far is that a good number of them are ports of arcade games. That's rarely, if ever, a bad thing when it comes to Taito, though, so I say go with it. Of course, I'd say "go with it" in the case of this game even if it were a bit subpar, as it stars a cute-as-buttons kiwi bird who utilizes an array of weapons (including arrows, bombs and laser guns) and vehicles (balloons, blimps and even UFOs among them) to battle and/or avoid a menagerie of surprisingly relentless foes. Another of The New Zealand Story's positive attributes, in my opinion: its sometimes-perplexing, maze-like stages. Just do your best to ignore this iteration's ear-splitting soundtrack.


Obocchama-kun--Finally, an original effort! And I mean "original" in every possible way in the case of this odd-as-a-duck platformer, which focuses on the bratty star of Yoshinori Kobayashi's satirical manga from the 1980s. Like The New Zealand StoryObocchama-kun takes platformer fans to some strange and unique places--chief among them being the kooky cast of allies (my favorite being the crying teen who seemingly flings what appears to be hairbrushes at enemies) players can summon into action, although its eccentric bosses are pretty great, too. (For more on this HuCard, check out my "Great Gaymathon" review of it.)

You may have noticed that I've left a bunch of this system's single-screen platformers (aka Bubble Bobble clones) off this list. I made a concerted effort to do that, actually, as I could have filled this post with such games.

Should you prefer to play a single-screen platformer rather than a garden-variety one during #PlatforMonth, however, here are the PC Engine releases I'd most recommend: Don Doko Don, Parasol Stars, Pop'n Magic and Rainbow Islands.

13 comments:

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Oh geez, I missed Anne's last two months. Maybe I can make up for it with this one.


I have an odd fascination with Bravoman. It's not good, like, at all, but it's one of those titles from the early 1990s that doesn't give a damn about proper localization, and the title character is lovably weird. He's got a Plasticman meets Ultraman thing going on.


One of these days, I really ought to play Mr. Bones on the Sega Saturn. I'm a big Saturn fan, but I somehow missed that title after all these years.

thegaygamer.com said...

Don't feel too bad, Jess; I've missed a bunch of Anne's game-alongs, too :(


This one will be easy for me to take part in, though, as I'm always up for a good platformer. Also, platformers tend not to be the kinds of time sucks that RPGs and MonHun clones can be.


Anyway, about Bravoman: I've never played it! I guess I've just always found its look to be off-putting. Maybe I'll give it a go this month, though--just for you :)


I also don't believe I've played Mr. Bones. Sadly, I no longer have a Saturn, so I won't be playing that one this month... If you do, though, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

apricotsushi said...

What an awesome list! And it's great to see you participating in a Game-Along so early ;) Will you be playing any one game in particular, or just doing more recommendation posts like this? If it's just the latter, I certainly won't complain!

thegaygamer.com said...

I'm going to have to look up some videos of this game. I mean, I think I've heard of it before, but it only *just* rings a bell at the moment...

thegaygamer.com said...

Hey there, Anne! Thanks :) I'm going to do one more recommendation list, but I'm also going to play some games. At least two of them will be PC Engine games, but not games mentioned on this list (as I've played all of them a ton already). Bravoman is one of them and Dragon Egg is another. I'll likely play a few other PCE platformers, too, and maybe a 3DS on as well :)

michaelstearns said...

I would recommend the "Bootleg Sample" clip Sega sent out via direct mail. I have this disc! :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pgkyLUms58

thegaygamer.com said...

Wow. WOW. I just watched that clip, Michael, and, uh, it's ... certainly something? Interesting? Unique? I'm not sure I could see myself actually buying it, though--if I still owned a Saturn, of course :|

michaelstearns said...

Yes it's not something I actually recommend people buy (although the Japanese box art is kinda neat!), the version I own is a lowly ex-rental! No glorious collectible, just something to take out to.. ah.. impress people with. ;D

thegaygamer.com said...

And now I'm going to have to check out the Japanese box art :)

michaelstearns said...

http://www.segagagadomain.com/saturn7/mrbones-f.jpg :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, that *is* cool! Kind of 70s/trippy :)

RetroKingSimon said...

Liquid Kids and New Zealand Story rule! I haven't played the others yet but Hany on the Road has been on my list for some time :)

thegaygamer.com said...

If you like Liquid Kids, Simon, you'll like Jigoku Meguri, too. They're very, VERY similar games. I actually think you'd like Obocchama Kun, too!