To those of you who are a bit confused as to why I'm devoting a "Second Chances" post to a game I've previously--and frequently--praised, both here and on Twitter, here's the deal: the version of Don Doko Don that I've so often celebrated was the PC Engine conversion released in 1990.
On the other hand, the Famicom port of this Taito-made single-screen platformer--which is a lot like Bubble Bobble, but with hammer-weilding garden gnomes instead of bubble-blowing dinosaurs--has long left me feeling a little cold, and mainly because, at first glance, it's a lot less easy on the eyes (and the ears, too) than either the aforementioned PC Engine release or the arcade original.
I've warmed up to it in recent days, though, although I'm not entirely sure why. Actually, that's not completely accurate. What I mean is that I know why I've come around to it--I now rather like its aesthetic, with the possible exception of the protagonist sprites--but I'm not sure why I currently find something appealing that I used to consider fairly disappointing.
Maybe I just opened my heart to its minimalist charms, or maybe I realized that the PC Engine version isn't as grand (in terms of its appearance) as I earlier considered it to be--or maybe it's a bit of both?
One complaint I will level against this iteration of Don Doko Don: a handful of its enemy sprites are larger than, say, their PC Engine equivalents, which wouldn't bother me normally, but in this case the increase in size seems to throw off the balance on some of its stages. For example, baddies who, in other versions of the game, eventually would work their way toward the bottom of the screen tend to get stuck near the top in the Famicom port, and the resulting mass often causes the player to put him- or herself into more perilous positions than would otherwise be required.
This isn't even close to a deal-breaker, of course, but it is a minor source of aggravation--or it has proven to be one for me--and, as such, I thought I should mention it here.
Despite the above-mentioned quibble, I now consider myself to be a pretty big fan of the Famicom conversion of this great single-screen platformer--to the point that I'm planning to pick up a copy of it once I have the funds.
Here's hoping that once I get my grubby little hands on one, its instruction manual is at least as nice--and full of adorable illustrations--as its PC Engine counterpart, if not a bit nicer.
See also: previous 'Second Chances' posts