Octurbo: Godzilla

The King of All Monsters (well, besides Ghidorah) will be the one to see us off this Octurbo. Similar to, I suspect, a great number of people who grew up in the past four decades, I maintain a healthy respect for Toho's legendary lizard kaiju. He's one of those ubiquitous cultural icons like the Marvel/DC superheroes or James Bond where everyone has an idea of what a Godzilla movie is, even if they aren't invested enough to watch them all and know the mythos back to front. Beyond Godzilla, Mothra, Mecha-Godzilla and maybe Gamera, people tend to get stuck with the rest of the menagerie that challenges Godzilla on a frequent basis. Myself? I seem to have absorbed a lot of the lore and details about the various kaiju of Godzilla despite the fact that I've barely seen more than a handful of the movies, and most of those had Joel and the robots talking over them.

Godzilla (or Godzilla: Battle Legends as sites seem to call it, despite the fact that the Japanese subtitle Bakutou Retsuden means something else entirely) for the TurboGrafx-CD did the sensible thing and just made their Godzilla game a standard one-vs-one fighter. As you might expect from monsters weighing several thousand tons apiece, it can be a fairly sluggish and unresponsive affair. I'll go into the mechanics a little more later. It does have a fairly sizeable cast of kaiju, however, and it looks and sounds pretty decent for a 16-bit game. It also has some amazing attention to detail for movie fans that I didn't even notice until putting up these images. Given the general caliber of Godzilla games up to this point, it might well be the best of a mediocre bunch. I know, I'm damning it with faint praise, but if you were a fan of Godzilla back in the early 90s this was probably the game to go for.

GRAAAAAAHHHH And Such

Oh no! Godzilla's going to crush that car like a Beetle!
Welcome to the Brawl! Smash Bros? Get that weak mess out of here. How much does Pit weigh? 80lbs soaking wet?
'Cause they're big in Japan, tonight. Very big. Colossal, even.
I still don't know how I feel about dog snout Godzilla.
Welcome to Godzilla! Put your feet up on the smashed Tokyo Tower and we'll begin.
See, I figured the two player versus mode would be more the "normal game" for a fighter, but let's go single-player for now.
Godzilla does the unusual thing of presenting two possible fights each round, letting the player choose their preferred opponent. The first two opponents are Anguirus (who is sort of an Ankylosaur) and Rodan. I guess they wanted to throw us a softball for the first round.
I'm going with Rodan, because pterodactyls are cool.
Rodan's an annoyingly dexterous opponent, and can pick you up and slam you if you let him. Godzilla's repertoire is less effective against flying opponents, but he can jump, so if needs must you can try and swat him down.
Once on the ground, Rodan ain't so hot. Godzilla's Atomic Breath is your standard down-forwards+attack motion. The green energy bars underneath the health bars let you sustain certain special attacks like Godzilla's Atomic Breath for continuous damage, but that bar drains quick and refills slowly.
That was not the easy fight I anticipated for a first round brawl. Then again, I suck at fighters. Them and shoot 'em ups: totally useless.
This is one of a handful of fighter games where the score actually matters. All will become clear later. What's amusing is that it makes the Godzilla roar every time a point bonus pops up, and because these games always draw it out when adding to your overall total it plays the same noise continually as it does so. Hard to take it seriously after that.
The second stage immediately gives you the Morton's fork of Gigan or Ghidorah.
I mean, I guess Gigan. I don't think I'm quite ready for a three-headed space dragon.
I really like these interstitial screens. Just a neat, movie-reminiscent way of presenting each battle.
So, two things: Ghidorah's found someone else to fight in the background (it's Gamera, I think) and Godzilla looks different. The game is such a stickler for detail that it changes Godzilla's sprite to however he looked when he first fought this stage's kaiju. This is his 1968 incarnation (the Rodan fight featured his 1964 incarnation).
As for Gigan, he has a particularly powerful grapple. That's the benefit of having a buzzsaw in your abdomen. Besides that, he's fairly limited. He has a beam weapon, but it drains his energy bar super fast.
The grapple works both ways, Gigan. If you get grabbed, you can occasionally take control if the opponent hesitates too long. This bite is Godzilla's standard grapple attack, and it's strong to boot.
Oh yeah, I neglected to mention Gigan's fire breath. I guess he has everything.
Besides a prayer of beating me. Booya!
I'm... hesitant to fight Hedorah. I don't want to end up with a thousand status effects.
Megalon ain't much better, but I might as follow up buzzsaw-guts with drill-arms.
These also feel like boxing promos too, now I think about it.
The Stag Beetle From Hell is a fairly durable opponent, but all that armor makes him the slowest opponent yet. Besides his drill arms, he doesn't have a whole lot in his repertoire.
I mean, he's still kicking my ass, but what opponent hasn't so far.
Yowch! Maybe "frying my ass" would be more accurate.
I don't recognize the fighters in the background, but one of them appears to be Ultraman? That can't be right. By the way, this cutesier version of Godzilla is from 1973.
I mean, I could fight Mecha-Godzilla, but the other opponent is more interesting than a metal version of myself.
So instead, we're going to fight Biollante, the giant plant.
Biollante's an unusual fight, in that the giant rose creature is firmly rooted to the ground. Instead, he attacks via his more mobile tendrils.
There doesn't seem to be an easy way to avoid getting grappled constantly. (Before I forget, this is 1989 Godzilla.)
However, Biollante can't move, so he's pretty much a sitting duck. He can block you like this, but it requires all four of his tendrils and is something of a stalemate.
Once defeated, he just disintegrates like a Final Fantasy boss.
Another opportunity to fight Ghidorah. Like Godzilla, Ghidorah has two versions: His Showa period incarnation and his Heisei period incarnation. I'd advise you look up what "Showa" and "Heisei" are, but they're essentially how Japan handles their calendars and has something to do with their Imperial lineage. The switch over was in 1989, after Hirohito died.
Sorry, I'm still too intimidated to fight a giant space dragon. I also have no idea who this is.
Battra? Sure, all right.
Oh weird, it's like a little caterpillar guy. I wonder if he's related to Mothra? (Who seems to be conspicuously absent.) (Additionally, this is the most recent Godzilla on the roster, his 1992 incarnation.)
Battra's more maneuverable than he looks, and has a Psycho Crusher type screen-sweeper attack that I kept not screencapping in time.
Plus he fires lightning from his antenna, because what bug monster doesn't?
So here's the deal with the score. The more you earn, the better the final battle. Because I suck and barely survived each fight, I can only take on the consolation prize.
What did I tell you about boxing promos? This game knows what it's doing.
Ah, Super XII. I'll tell you now that the other four end bosses are: Mecha-Godzilla II (same as the first, but can fly for some reason), Mecha-King Ghidorah (so that actually makes three Ghidorah incarnations), Battra Imago (the adult version of Battra) and Super Mecha-Godzilla (the most overpowered character in the game).
Super XII is this little guy. A tiny UFO.
I mean, look at this. They send a frisbee to fight the mighty Godzilla?
Of course, it's packed with so many missiles and rockets that it's a damn terror. The fact that its so small makes it hard to hit too. I imagine this being a cheap opponent in multiplayer.
Oh, whoops. I seem to have finished Godzilla. Well, I did get the crappiest ending.
I don't know what adjective I'd use to describe the minimal story, but it certainly wasn't "broad".
Before we call this, here's the Versus mode. As you can see, you have to beat each opponent in the single player before they become unlocked. You'll also note that Biollante isn't here. Given his four independent tendrils, I guess it'd be hard to program that for a player.

That's Godzilla, and that's Octurbo for another year. Thank you so much everyone who has been reading and commenting on these. We're now deep into Giant Bomb's absurd Extra Life charity stream schedule, so I'm going to have to cut it off at an even twenty four days (and these chumps are only doing twenty four hours? Pfft). There might be a bonus or two later in the month, though, so watch this space.

Until then, thanks for checking out Octurbo this year and... keep it Turbo? I might have to workshop a proper sign-off quote for Year 3...

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Octurbo: Riot Zone

Are you prepared to enter... the Riot Zone? That's what this game probably didn't ask players rhetorically in its advertising, but I'm doing so on their behalf. Riot Zone (JP: Crest of Wolf) is one of a small handful of brawlers on the TGCD, a genre that seems oddly under-represented given how ubiquitous they were everywhere else in the early 90s. It's also based on an Arcade game, but isn't quite a complete conversion: Y'see, the developers Westone teamed up with Hudson to produce their Sega-published Arcade game Riot City on the TurboGrafx-CD. Because Sega owned the rights to all the character and location names, all those aspects had to be changed. The rest of the game is identical, save for the new redbook CD audio score.

This practice wasn't new for Westone and Hudson. Best known for the Wonder Boy series, Westone originally produced Arcade and console versions of the Wonder Boy games for Sega and found ways to sidestep any litigation issues with their subsequent publishing deals with Hudson, eventually leading to Adventure Island (Hudson's take on the first Wonder Boy) and The Dynastic Hero (Hudson's take on the fifth Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy in Monster World. It's also another TG-CD game, so I might have to cover that next time).

I mean, I say this game is based on Riot City, but perhaps I should cut out the middleman and just say that this game is based on Capcom's Final Fight. It's kind of shameless, even. That said, at least they didn't steal the plot from Final Fight (they stole it from Streets of Rage instead). But hey, we came here to Riot, not to get all angry about things.

Highway to the DragonZone

Probably Vancouver, but I'll take your word for it.
These are our heroes, Hawk and Tony. They're loose cannon cops who play by their own rules. I mean, I'd imagine.
Is... is that code? "Red Owl has left the Nest"?
"Yeah, whear is it?!" "Hush, Tony. We'll find out the whears and wais soon enough."
All right, fine, it is New York. You can't fake that level of linguistic authenticity.
The DragonZone, right? I mean that sounds like a dangerous zone, as zones go. I'd prefer him in jail. Or the morgue!
Guys, maybe we shouldn't have elected Dr Wily's chubby older brother as Police Chief. I mean clearly he's on the take.
Is that a cigar or a particularly thick fountain pen? I can't unsee the pen now.
"You aren't my real dad!" "Actually, Hawk, your mom and I..."
Words to live by.
Tony's all for it. He's got a whole season of Sherlock waiting on his DVR.
Hawk won't take "Stay outta the DragonZone" for the sensible answer it is. He won't need his gun where he's going: deep into enemy gang territory. Fortunately, they don't have guns either. It's New York, after all.
I'm still not sure if DragonZone refers to a place or to the criminal organization. Maybe it's both. Maybe it's just a mini-mall in Chinatown.
"This close to Halloween? The monsters!"
DragonZone. I have to go to there.
"C'mon. Let's just watch wacky old BeneDragon CumberZone solve some crimes instead. I got hours of this stuff."
Nah, Tony can't leave a bro hanging in the wind.
Besides, it's a two-player game. He's contractually obliged.
If you can't trust a man with stars tattooed on his mohawk'd head, then who can ya trust?
Game - no matter what happens next, you and me? We're cool.
Beat that, Predator.
Welcome to Riot Zone! Sorry, I had to grab as much of that intro as possible. The rest of the game ain't as fun, trust me.
I probably should pick Tony. Instead, I went with Not Cody. I prefer faster characters.
Sure, let's borrow from Sunset Riders too. Why not. 8000 Points can pay for a lot of Chinese take-out, and all I gotta do is take out some Chinese punks. (Apologies to the Chinese. On behalf of the game, I mean.)
Wow. That's overt. I guess this New York floats on an island just like Metro City.
Standard "bad guys have names and health bars" set up. Can we assume you've played either a Final Fight and/or a Streets of Rage game? It'll expedite this whole thing.
Rather than destructible objects in the environment, food drops randomly from fallen foes. This wet chicken on the ground restores a not-insignificant amount of health. Hey, 5 second rule, man.
Sorry Thin Liz, but the Boys Are Back in Town. Drown your troubles in a Whiskey in the Jar if you must.
From Thin to Fats, these bare-chested brawlers from the 1930s are your standard Abobo/Andore "big guys". They're not actually that much tougher than these regular goons, though.
I took down Pretty Boy with Hawk's special twister move. These specials drain health every time you use them, but they're good crowd control. I read that Tony's special involves breakdancing. Probably should've picked that guy, huh.
Right away, we're on a moving elevator with enemies dropping in. I tell ya, these games are obsessed with elevator fights. At least they aren't all wearing stealth camouflage.
King Kool might be the death of me. The enemies are relentless during this elevator sequence, and none of them appear to want to drop their lunch after dying.
As was the case in Double Dragon, your best move is often the flying kick, performed by jumping forward and hitting the attack button in mid-air (pressing both at the same time activates the special attack). However, if you jump straight up and hit attack, you do an elbow drop instead. Now you're talking!
The elevator eventually makes its way to the roof. I have no idea what I'm doing up here.
Oh shit! But Not Cody, you've still got so much to live for! Like that probably dead girlfriend of yours.
Nah, turns out I just had to leap down a few floors to find where Mr. Lee is hiding. With his two healthbars, he's quite firmly in boss territory. However, he bugs out as soon as his first bar is gone.
Which leads to you leaping down several floors after him. Man, those are some giant clown pants.
Miss Chan is waiting down here, and then the two double-team you for the rest of the fight.
Focusing on one to remove them is paramount, because they have co-operation attacks. Little too claws for comfort, am I right? But seriously I just died.
Putting on his best strut, Not Cody celebrates the successful capture (or death, whatever) of some vicious criminals that just so happened to not be white. Way to go, Not Cody.
"Put a knife in them, they're done." Wait, when did I get a knife? That could've been useful. Or is it just for symbolic use only?
Anyway, Round 2 beckons and we're somehow in an even scummier looking area of the slums. DragonZone could use sprucing up.
Not Cody wants us to continue, but I think that first stage was enough for me.

Riot Zone isn't terrible, honestly, and you could probably ascertain as much from watching Jeff play it during Vinny's moment of triumph. I mean, sure, it's a brazen Final Fight knock-off, but given the slim pickings for Turbo-CD brawlers, it's not too bad as far as Hobson's (Hudson's?) choices go. It moves at a leisurely pace and enemies drop a lot of food items (well, when they feel like it) so it doesn't quite make the mistake of bringing an Arcade brawler to consoles and forgetting to ease off the quarter-munching difficulty. That might just be the limitations of the hardware though, reducing the number of simultaneous enemies on the screen and making sure everything isn't flitting by at 60fps. Ah, early 90s console ports.

Anyway, we never did see the DragonZone, but perhaps we'll see something equally dangerous in the next (and final!) episode of Octurbo-CD. Until then, I'm going to finish my laundry and then jab a knife through a picture of that laundry. "To Do" lists are for chumps.

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Octurbo: Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra

We're rapidly approaching Halloween, and what better way to celebrate this spooky time with a visit to the Isles of TERRO-, oh wait, Terra. I guess that just means "Earth", doesn't it? Well, never mind that, because while Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra might not have any big scares it's certainly disquieting in that psychological way all modern horror stuff seems to be inching towards, possibly menacingly.

Might and Magic is, of course, the venerable CRPG series from New World Computing, which closely followed its main rival Wizardry with its traditional four-directional dungeon crawling, a vast number of sequels and spin-offs and a certain weird sci-fi edge to it that set both series apart from more traditional fantasy fare and perhaps led to its mega-popularity overseas. III actually goes back to an era when CRPGs were still largely inscrutable to those not prepared to read a 10,000 word novella of a manual, and coupled with its bizarre imagery and even more bizarre soundtrack, it's something of a discombobulating experience. It's not even some strange Japanese-developed console conversion either: New World Computing put this version together themselves (and got Hudson to publish it). It's functionally identical to the 1991 PC original, excepting the redbook audio which... I dunno, maybe you want to skip to the end and hit the Soundcloud link now, so you can enjoy the whole soundtrack while you read this.

The history of Might and Magic III requires a little too much text to fit into this brief pre-amble, so I'd recommend finding a spare hour to consume HardcoreGaming101's (yep, them again) retrospective on the series. Essentially, though, you're an adventuring party on the Isles of Terra (a group of islands floating in space) looking for artifacts to help a good diety, Corak, defeat his rival evil deity, Sheltem. Same ol', same ol'.

A Room... With A Moose Rat!

I know Corak the Mysterious! He had a great stint on Mad Men, and appeared in one of the Marvel movies. I forget which one. Maybe one of the Thors?
Unlike Corak, I hadn't heard of this guy before this game. I checked IMDB, and he had a guest role in Law & Order and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Gotta say, name doesn't ring a bell.
That would be us. So glad we have such a central and well-defined role as "a bunch of randos looking around the place".
This is Sheltem, he's kind of a skeleton-man God dude who was the vague antagonist of the first two games, and is for this one too. He's also the Guardian of the Isles of Terra, a group of islands apparently hanging over the Void. I don't really fancy my chances if some evil God who is on our case is also the one in charge of everything around here.
Welcome to Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra! Prepare to be horribly confused!
The game actually comes with a fairly tough default party. They have higher than usual stats (most generated stats don't go past 18), so the best thing to do is simply rename everyone and give them new portraits if you want a new group.
This is Fountainhead! It's the starting town, though not exactly a safe haven. The game is cool enough to give you a permanently visible mini-map, which is more than most games do.
These bizarre face fountains look like something right out of Dark Seed. Unsettling. I'm definitely not drinking any green ooze that's pouring out of their mouths.
You start right next to the exit, but... well, going that way is not a great idea just yet. Let's explore first.
The town is not a peaceful one. I suspect these bubblemen crawled out of the fountains, as if they didn't already produce enough nightmare fuel already.
The game has a rather strict day/night schedule, and many places won't be available to you unless you feel like waiting it out. The game does provide a "stand around like an idiot for x hours" button if you don't feel like waiting in real-time. This guild, incidentally, is the Thieve's Guild. Hence the after dark opening hours.
Many of the enemies in Fountainhead are mercifully behind trapped doors. You can bash these doors down if you want, though it tends to hurt the guys in front.
Entering any of the stores takes you to a separate screen with these little animations. The trainer is a particularly idiosyncratic feature unique to Might and Magic (as far as I know).
Not only do you have to pay to level up, you can only do so here. Going to the trainer is also the only way you can find out how much XP you need for the next level. Might and Magic III does NOT like surfacing useful information to the player if it can help it. I suppose it's going for an immersion thing, but I'd sorta like to know this stuff.
The in-game menu is largely icon-driven, which can be something of a mixed blessing. It's easy enough to ascertain what the "break down door" or "camp for the night" buttons are, but what would a new player make of that top middle symbol? Or the bottom right?
That's inconvenient. What if I wanted to get my drink on in the afternoon?
There is of course the Inn, which appears to be open at all hours. I haven't fought anything besides that Bubble Man yet, so I think I can hold out a little longer.
You're given a not-inconsiderable budget for the travails to come, but because I have no idea what any of my classes use nor how much more effective the items he's selling are compared to what I'm already wearing, it's something of a wash. Also, that seems like way too many menu options for a store. My team seems to have plenty of armor and weapons already, so I'm just going to slowly back out of here.
Oh, he just... wrote that on a wall. I guess that's one way to get a message out. I do wonder what someone might do with something called an Ultimate Power Orb. That's gotta corrupt anyone, even King Righteous.
I'm... just going to leave you guys to your soup. Bon appetit?
I forget what banks even do in games where you have to reload anyway if you get wiped out. Does money have weight? I don't trust this guy, that's for sure. (For fun, try giving some money to the bank in South Park: The Stick of Truth. Not a lot of money, mind you.)
Would I?!
This is a moose rat. Unlike the bubble man, these things hit hard and take a lot of whacks to bring down. I think they were added to the starting town to teach new players the value of humility.
Finally, a goal to pursue. I have no idea where to look for silver skulls, and this guy won't tell me. I guess I'll start by killing anyone silver. Watch out, Silver Surfer!
Deciding to leave the town to see what I can find. The map is conveniently filled in already, showing us where all the impassable walls and forests are.
There's also thousands of goblins out here. These aren't so much an issue as the Orc Warriors though, who seem a little too tough for me right now.
As evinced by this troubling scenario.
Well, we all got eaten by a dragon. That'll teach us to take three steps outside of the starting town.
I had the mental wherewithal to save it first, at least, but I'm still not quite sure where I can go quite yet without meeting an unfortunate demise. Maybe I really do need better gear. Or there's a dungeon in Fountainhead somewhere that's a little more survivable. Either way, I think I'll call it a day.

That's Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra, or at least the first half hour of it. I actually consider myself fortunate to have gotten that far, given how infamously tough those moose rats are on new parties. I, and a few others around here (including CRPG nut @arbitrarywater, to whom I owe a credit for recommending this one), are big fans of the later Might and Magic games (with the possible exception of IX). Even though III has dated terribly with its obtuseness, it was worth looking at Isles of Terra to see what kind of early advances it made to Might and Magic, and to CRPGs in general.

Here's a fun story tidbit about this game to see you off: At the end, the heroes were meant to follow an escaping Sheltem to the world of Xeen (the setting for games IV and V) via a "seedship", or an inter-dimensional spaceship. They got lost on the way there, however, and would eventually end up in Might and Magic VII, sparking off the events of that game. In other words, the player's adventuring party in this game would eventually become the powerful star-faring NPCs of M&M VII (a game I would very much recommend, even today, and previously Brief Jaunted a little while ago). Like I said from the offset, this is a weeeird series.

  • Might and Magic III soundtrack (I actually had to upload it to Soundcloud in the end, since YouTube and the internet failed me. The tracks are unlabeled, but I'd recommend 06. It's the theme to Fountainhead, the starting town, and is completely nuts. 07's something else, too, and 09's actually pretty good.)

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Octurbo: Kaizou Choujin Schbibinman 3

While on this whirlwind tour of ours, I figured it was prudent to check in with our favorite Mega Man clones on the TurboGrafx, the Schbibinmen. Well, Schbibinman and Schbibinwoman. During last year's Octurbo, I looked at the one Kaizou Choujin Schbibinman game that ever got an English localization -- that would be the second one, renamed Shockman in the US -- and it just so happens that the third game, Kaizou Choujin Schbibinman 3: Ikai no Princess, came out on the PC Engine CD-ROM2 and falls within the purview of this feature. This series shares a lot in common with other transforming superhero games (like Valis), though also does not take itself particularly seriously. It's more marching along a linear path hitting things, essentially, but with a few twists and turns along the way.

I'll just quickly lay out the premise: Tasuke and Kyapiko (the dark-haired hero and blonde heroine, respectively, who are named Arnold and Sonya in the Shockman localization) are high school kids who also happen to be androids designed by a professor named Doc. When the situation calls for it, they are able to transform into Schbibinman: Armored heroes capable of taking down entire armies of other robots. The situation seems to call for it a lot.

I Think I Know Precisely What I Mean, When I Say it's a Schbibinman Day!

All right, this is not what I remember this series being like. This is some Dark Crystal shit.
Ah, this would be the eponymous (almost said titular) "Ikai no Princess", or princess from another world. And this would be the another world she's in. Where's Mike Aruba?
This very JRPG-y corridor scrolls down to reveal...
A giant black crystal. Y'all thought I was just whistlin' dixie with that Dark Crystal reference, didn't ya?
Welcome to Kaizou Choujin Schbibinman 3! I guess we'll check in on purple crystal lady later.
The goofy intro explains that Doc here ain't exactly Dr. Light, accidentally shocking his two (hopefully not anatomically correct) androids while in their... I dunno, rest tubes.
And then they chase him through the streets, what fun. Gonna get a cool can of Oni after this.
After the events of the second game Tasuke and Kyapiko are maxing and relaxing on the beach.
Helps that they tied up Doc, so he can't summon them for anything.
But then we're suddenly watching this crazy alien ship travelling through hyperspace.
It's the lady from the intro again. She and her companions are travelling to Earth, but apparently didn't account for our gravity. Or atmosphere. I dunno, we're a weird planet.
I just thought this screencap was cool. The ship is oddly biological, like the one from Farscape.
The sudden appearance of the spaceship in the sky is somewhat conspicuous, and so our heroes decide to curtail their vacation to go see what its deal is. Man, if it's not one thing it's something else.
As with the previous game, the player can choose between the two heroes. I'm not sure there's any meaningful difference.
Throwing ourselves into the fray, what's immediately apparent is that this game ain't fucking around. Enemies fly in from every direction fairly frequently. I have a lot of health, fortunately, and it doesn't seem like health refill items are all that rare either.
In fact, here's one of them now. The enemies drop two types of items in this game: the reddish health refill items that look like cans of Pepsi, and the greyish canisters that you can see in the corner of most of these screenshots. The purpose of those is to give the player extra continues if they collect 100 of them. So for as relentless as the game's enemies can get, there's plenty of safety nets.
The first mid-boss, this knight guy seems peeved that no-one thought to build him any legs.
His tactics basically rely on poking you in the head with his sword. It's not the toughest boss, though a frontal assault is out of the question with that shield.
Eventually, you see the spaceship you're after flying overhead. I think the scale might be a little off, though.
Next mid-boss is this sprinting robot with a giant missile launcher on its back. It's pathetically slow though.
After taking enough damage, its head falls off. Hmm...
Haaaa heck yeah! Eat it!
Eventually, the spaceship scoops us up and we're in what greatly resembles the Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic 2.
Elevators and everything. This ship seems a hell of a lot bigger on the inside. Hey, what are the bets that there'll be an elevator sequence where I have to fight a bunch of dudes as it moves?
You'd think they'd make windows on a spaceship sturdier than this.
This is a mean trick. The blocks on the bottom are entirely harmless, and take several swings to destroy. However, by doing so, you're bringing down the flamethrower guns on top of them down to your level. You can't get past them until they're all gone, either.
Called it. Man, does my sword have to sparkle every time?
These are weird. They're just floating blue lights that swarm you in patterns, but you can also blow them up.
They even attack you on the elevators.
Well, this seems like a boss door if ever there was one.
Yep, this is another mid-boss. This is starting to feel like a Treasure game for the Genesis. Anyway, he does the whole death blossom thing with his missiles, but they're easy enough to avoid if you stay out of that targeting reticle.
My sword was somewhat less easy to avoid, from his perspective.
Ah, robotic lava fish. And what purpose do these serve on a spaceship, exactly?
Talking of mysterious spaceship functionality, what does this big crystal do? Maybe it's powering the whole ship? It seems super valuable.
Well then, might as well smash it up.
I'm dropped out of a hatch after everything starts smoking. Hey, that's a nice sunset!
One of the purple dudes from the intro doesn't seem too happy that I broke everything. In my defense, a lot of it was in my way and I can't jump too high.
This guy's a martial artist, but not a particularly good one. He'll jump over you, land, and throw a punch. You have ample opportunities to hit him before he can retaliate.
He's also secretly an android, which would be a big deal were I not one also.
A better one, turns out.
Making our escape on this hoverboard thing. It's not one of those cases where you move with the platform, though.
Rather, you have to keep switching them as these flying turrets surround you. It's not as bad as it looks, and you don't die if you fall off.
You eventually make your way to this tiny tiny spaceship.
But it's immediately eaten by flying gremlins (what?) and you're turfed off unceremoniously.
And dropped onto this snowy plain. I guess we made it all the way to the mountains?
What?
Oh what even is this? This really is a Treasure game.
The giant snowman doesn't make much of an effort to swat you, though the hitboxes are a little off. It also explodes, which makes me wonder what's in this snow.
And then suddenly there's another sub-boss. This one just flies around and is a bugger to hit.
I really can't take much more of this snow business.
As evinced by my rapidly diminishing health bar. Well, I think we've shown off enough. I believe I managed to pass 50 screenshots today.

There's something simple and fun to Schbibinman 3, back when you could simply refer to a game's genre as "Action" and have it apply better than any other label. I mean, it's not a brawler or a platformer, but kind of all of the above. The Treasure comparison seems particularly apt as well, as this game more closely resembles a non-shooter version of Gunstar Heroes or Alien Soldier than anything else. It's also wildly disjointed, moving from one unusual scenario to the next without so much as a transitional cutscene.

I've heard tell that this sequel isn't as good as its immediate predecessor (Shockman, as discussed) nor its eventual Satellaview follow-up Kaizou Choujin Schbibinman Zero. Even as the unpopular middle child of the franchise, though, it's certainly not terrible, and it has some impressive production values (music and cutscenes, as well as its graphics in general) for a game made in 1992.

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Octurbo: Dragon Half

This was something of a curiosity pick. Back when I was a wee littl'un in the mid-to-late 90s (well, all right, a teenager), I had a pal who would introduce me to new animes every now and again (he also introduced me to South Park; his folks had cable and he had recorded it on VHS and brought it over). Back then the pickings were slim, usually the result of whatever Manga Entertainment (which is somewhat misleading title for a company that only put out anime OVAs and movies) and a few smaller localization companies with publishers could license to VHS tape. Evangelion, Akira, City Hunter, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, the 1983 Golgo 13 movie and Ninja Scroll were particularly memorable, and I still have some affection for all of them today. A slightly odder tape was for a little series called Dragon Half, which were two half-hour OVAs based on a much longer manga serial.

Dragon Half tells the tale of Mink, a girl from a small village who has a major crush on singer, actor and royal knight Dick Saucer (yep). Unfortunately, because dragons killed Dick Saucer's parents, he is also a vengeful dragon hunter and Mink just so happens to be the titular dragon half: the result of a dragon mother and a human father. Mink learns of a legendary potion that can turn her into a full human being, giving her a chance with Saucer. She and her two friends Rufa the elf and Pia the dwarf (and Pia's pet fairy mouse, Mappy) leave the village to search for the potion.

The anime just so happens to be a parody too, and a particularly insane one. Like someone crossed Final Fantasy with Looney Tunes. It probably hasn't aged too well, and boy howdy does it have some adolescent Team Ninja-esque depictions of its female characters, but it really opened my eyes to the sort of wacky anime parody humor that would eventually become more widespread with stuff like Excel Saga, Cromartie High, Magical Witch Punie-Chan or Bobobo. I usually put links at the end, but here are the OVAs in question: Episode 1 and Episode 2. It'll be easier to follow what's going in these screenshots if you get a sense of what the show is like.

Though I wanted to see what a video game adaptation of Dragon Half would be like (among other things, the anime and manga makes a lot of video game references and jokes), I also wanted to give something back to all the anime fans on the site. For all my mocking of the ubiquitous anime cutscenes in these TurboGrafx-CD games, I am a fan of the format, though not a particularly obsessive one. I suppose I'm the Daywalker equivalent of an Otaku, in that I go outside occasionally (sorry! I'll be good).

Dragon Pink is Something Completely Different. This is Not a H-Game, I Swear

Cute MGM logo joke. Unlike most parody animes, Dragon Half very much errs on the side of western humor. I wasn't kidding about the Looney Tunes comparison.
The intro gravely intones the events up to this point in the manga (I believe in 1993 it was about two-thirds the way through the story, and considerably further ahead than the OVAs got). This tall fellow is Azetodeth, the legendary demon king and the antagonist of the manga. In the anime, there's a joke that his scenes were cut for time.
Azetodeth's lieutenant Titan (who also happens to be a dragon, and Mink's materal grandfather) destroyed the only item able to seal away Azetodeth: A magical gourd prison.
But because this is a fantasy story, the shards of the gourd split into three mystical treasures. It becomes Mink's task mid-way through the manga to track them down and reform the gourd.
Once the intro's done being serious, we get these little interviews with the various cast members of the manga to bring new people up to speed.
This is Princess Vina, Mink's main rival for Dick Saucer's affections and a secret slime half (like a dragon half, but far less imposing). She's pretty much the B-Ko of this franchise. Wait, does it help if I use an obscure anime to refer to another obscure anime? (The guys behind her are Rosario, a failed wizard who uses dirty tricks; King Siva, the bald monarch and Vina's father; and Migu, Azetodeth's middle child who was summoned by Vina and is under her control>)
She reveals the reason why Migu's under her command: She took a polaroid of him in his teddy bear jammies.
This is Pia and Mappy. She's also conducting interviews.
Though, uh, Mink's parents aren't around to comment. A running gag is that Mink's dad Rouce is a lazy lecherous asshole and is frequently beaten up by Mana, Mink's Imperial Red Dragon mother.
Pia's father Mario (yes, that Mario) just faints constantly instead.
Oh lordy, what are you wearing Mink? Mink can't seem to get an interview with Dick Saucer's cousin Sonic (yes, that Sonic).
Bufu's around, but...
Well, Bufu doesn't really say anything. She's one of a group of four elemental minor antagonists, and Bufu represents "Air".
After some brief technical difficulties, the party is ready to resume their quest for the Pido Potion and the three treasures needed to reform the gourd.
Man, those are some determined-looking heroines.
Oh, and before I forget, this is "The Mighty" Damaramu. He wasn't always a head on a tiny mechanical body.
Welcome to Dragon Half! Man, that was a lot more exposition than usual. I haven't even said what kind of game this is.
If you guessed "Dokapon knock-off", congratulations. You must've Googled it while I was spending all that time setting this game up.
Dokapon, for the uninitiated, is a cross between a board game and an RPG. Characters fight monsters, earn XP and gold, and can go to shops to buy better equipment and healing items. The player determines how far they can move at the start of each round (it's a regular dice roll, but they present it with these cards).
This is the store screen. I have no idea what any of this means. Obviously, I don't imagine I'll do so well at this game.
As well as Mink's group, there's Mana's group (which contains Rouce, Mario and Rufa's father Link) (Yes, that Link). She was fortunate enough to win a free item from this square. The yellow squares have random effects, either causing something good or bad to happen to those who end their turn on them.
The red squares are combat. I bumped into Navel-09, a gynoid who was programmed very badly.
Rufa's ostensibly a magic-user, but she's effectively useless at it. Her only means of attack is being overly sexually aggressive. (I swear this isn't a H-Game.)
The player has some choice over who in the player's party gets to attack next, but it doesn't seem to affect a whole lot because the HP total is shared. This time, Mappy is the one sent out.
Being a fairy mouse, Mappy is a lot stronger than he looks.
I believe this was Vina's party. Those yellow spaces, man. Risky business.
Mana's party lucks out on a free Inn visit. I'd assume that restores their HP, since those two letters are the only thing I can make out.
Well, that doesn't seem fair. No "GFB Industries" logo on this one.
Mink's party had the misfortune of bumping into Damaramu. I have no idea what he does, but he follows the party around from now on.
The last of the four parties is the one comprised of those elemental antagonists I mentioned earlier, who I believe is lead by Melami Flare, the fire-based one. Anyway, they all just got eaten by that thing.
Fire, earth, water and air, in that order.
And here they are again fighting a mimic.
To expand on the combat some more: It's largely random. The opponent and party takes turns attacking, and the long bar underneath the portrait decides how much damage they do; you have to try to stop it at peak power as it whizzes up and down. If you've ever played that Megaton Punch mini-game from Kirby Super Star, you know the deal.
Anyway, this lot knock the poor thing out. Each battle grants XP, though I didn't see anyone level up. Or maybe I did. I can't read this stuff.
Meanwhile, Vina's party comes across Broud, a villain from the manga. Broud is a plant creature that is limited in what it can do, being rooted to the ground and all. It got sat on by Vina in their first encounter.
This is the result of a particularly low offensive power bar meeting a high defensive power bar. Though you usually get off a weaker attack, if the disparity is too great the attacking character just falls flat on their face and does no damage.
As you can see, Mink's party is forever followed by Damaramu. Can't seem to shake the guy.
Here's Vina's party in full again. It's the same group that was with her during her interview, so I won't reiterate.
They have the misfortune of bumping into this minor villain from the manga. Her name is Petit Cathy.
All right, before I leave (because I have no idea what I'm doing), here's Mana's party just so we're all covered. Rouce is the greatest swordsman in the kingdom but refuses to lift a finger to help; Link is a lot like his daughter, in that his magical skills are somewhat to be desired; and Mario can barely stay conscious. I guess dwarves don't have good circulation in this world.

I guess this one was a bit of a whiff, though if I knew what the hell the game was saying I think I'd be way into it. I'm not kidding about being a fan of this manga/anime, as goofy as it all is, and I find the Dokapon series to be fairly interesting from the outside looking in, though I imagine it's one of those board games that can last a while. I dig all of its presentation too, for sure. Especially the jokey RPG battles.

Well, if I can't take the occasional Octurbo entry to indulge my curiosity every once in a while, then I'm just going to end up going nuts. Thanks for bearing through this with me. And check out those OVAs if you have a spare minute, I still like 'em (the jokes pick up in episode 2).

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Octurbo: Cosmic Fantasy 2

Cosmic Fantasy is yet another Telenet Japan (one of the bigger companies pushing out games for the TurboGrafx-CD, and developers of the Valis games) franchise that the West only saw bits and pieces of. Specifically, this one game. Cosmic Fantasy 2 is also a Working Designs joint, who were US publishers/translators who were very selective with the games they chose to localize. They're best known for some early Sega CD games as well as Lunar, Alundra, Vanguard Bandits and a bunch of other fifth-generation JRPGs after FFVII sent demand through the roof. Telenet Japan and Working Designs also collaborated on Exile, a game we've previously covered. There are at least four other Cosmic Fantasy games for the PC Engine CD-ROM2 that never saw a localization, including a weird non-interactive spin-off that splices together all the cutscenes from the first two games and plays them without any gameplay parts in-between getting in the way (does Kojima know about this format?). Though I believe each entry is detached in the way most JRPG franchises are, they all seem to focus on that Star Ocean/Wizardry concept of a "primitive" fantasy setting that is juxtaposed with more overt science fiction elements. For instance, the spear-wielding rural hero of this game, Van, is depicted in something like a Starfleet uniform (or maybe something from Outlaw Star) on the US box art. (That's not the US boxart up there, by the way, I just think the Japan one is better. It has a sentient cat!)

Besides the curious theme combo, Cosmic Fantasy 2 seems like your run of the mill JRPG. Battles are turn-based and happen randomly whenever you're in a dangerous area, and the player is limited in what they can do until they level up a bit and learn new skills and magic. What's strange, and the Wikipedia entry for this game corroborates this, is that every enemy in the game just hits you with regular attacks. They have no spells, no status effects, no criticals and no area of effect attacks that hit the whole group. Each enemy just targets one member of the party and hits them, for an amount of damage generally defined by the strength of the monster and the defense of the party member. So it's perhaps not the most tactically challenging RPG out there. Still, though, you didn't see too many RPGs from 1992 with fully voiced anime cutscenes, so perhaps the care and craft that went into this game was put towards its presentation rather than its gameplay. But hey, let's not throw shade before we've had a chance to see the thing.

Please, If It's Sci-Fi Fantasy, It Should Be Spelled With a "Ph". That's More Science-y.

"Yep, that's a great idea for a planet. We'll go with that."
Yowza. Not what I would name an island.
This is Van, our hero. Currently he's running around and jumping while holding a spear like an idiot. He's got kind of a Reid Herschel from Tales of Eternia vibe, always going out hunting so he can eat steaks every night.
The womenfolk are out picking "berries". Look like coconuts to me, but then this is some fantasy world so fuck it, they're berries.
This exasperated young lady is Laura, Van's best friend and obvious love interest.
Laura chastizes Van for running around being an idiot when there's harvesting work to be done.
But guess what? Van's a loud, brash anime protagonist. He doesn't have time to picking Not-Coconuts.
Welcome to Cosmic Fantasy 2!
Yep, standard JRPG starting town. Rural setting, check. Chickens, check.
What the f-
Alright, so maybe it's not that standard a starting town. I think there might be gas fumes seeping up through the ground.
There's your usual stores too. The game doesn't surface any information about how much better or worse the equipment is compared to what you have currently. All "description" does is tell you what it is.
Stranger? Don't I live here? I think from the passive aggression that there's some history here. (No, it's just the game being dumb, but I like to inject a little drama where apropos.)
After Van leaves town, he automatically marches to this giant tree for reasons that'll become clear. It weirds me out when you can walk over forest spaces on the world map. Feels like I should be blocked by all these trees.
Wait, is this Yggdrasil?
Nah, just some tree Van carved his and Laura's names into as a kid. How sweet. I'm sure this isn't leading up to anything tragic.
Van's shaken from his sepia-toned flashback by a loud noise. Gadzooks and such.
Noooo! Laura! Creepy uncle! Passive-aggressive Innkeeper girl! The weapon shop guy with the tiny head! All those well-established and beloved characters, up in smoke!
I'll save yo- Ah, my mistake. I guess it was another village. It's not like I could easily tell which direction the smoke was coming from with that cutscene, you know.
The torched town is actually this one. This also explains why I wasn't allowed to move around the world map until after that tree cutscene: it's because this town never had a "not burned" state.
That's a great name for a wizard. A+ for effort.
This is horrible. All these burned-out husks of buildings. (Is there anything here I can steal?)
The Mayor, who is miraculously still alive, tells Van that the army led by Galam and Wizda that destroyed this town were after a princess that has been hiding out on Clan Island incognito.
To Van's credit, he figures out that they mean Laura, even before the mayor adds the fact that the princess is supposed to be wearing a gigantic priceless locket that might as well be a big sign saying "yo, this girl's probably royalty with bling like this".
And as soon a we get to our home village, we're accosted by the game's first random encounter.
The hobgoblin in particular is a tough bastard. As stated during the pre-amble, all monsters will do in this game is hit you. All you can do is hit them, for right now. All these early battles are breathlessly exciting, in other words.
I did go up a level. After my very first battle, even. I have no problems with expediting this early grinding process.
Wow, there's even random encounters in town now. The Plasma Slime is the weakest enemy, as per Wizardry/Dragon Quest tradition, though it's made out of plasma because that's science-fiction-y. The goblins aren't particularly science-fiction-y, unless you count their remarkable similarity to Saibamen. Good thing I'm not Yamcha! [/anime].
I don't even know what these things are. Jello shots?
Why, thank you, obvious boss. Your little goons didn't really leave me any recourse.
Oh hell. So because this guy and your guy can only ever exchange hits (though I can use healing herbs too), getting massacred like this isn't the way to win this fight.
Instead, I'm going to have to grind some more. Fortunately, you level up pretty quickly. I'm talking like every three or four battles. Plus, I can spend the money I make on more herbs.
Ah, that's way more manageable. The guy eventually goes down after a thrilling fight of "Captain took 8 points of damage, Van received 7 points of damage, Captain took 8 points of damage, Van received 7 points of damage, Capt-"
"Laura's gone. I guess we forgot to tell her not to always wear that big locket that basically tells the world who she is."
Fortunately, we get to Galam's Galleon in time to see Laura off. Send me a postcard!
Oh no, it's Wizda! Wizda looks very cold. I don't necessarily mean, like, dispassionate and cruel, just how Wizda's huddled up for warmth and is bright blue. Maybe could've worn something warmer than a big cloak?
I... I can't tell if Wizda's a man or a lady. Even the voiceovers don't make it clear. I guess he/she's like Flea, then?
Aw heck, did I need to grind more?
Nope, I was just supposed to get my ass kicked.
Look, excuse me Princess, but that blue wizard person knocked me on my ass in one hit. Give me a few hours to grind some levels and I'll get back to you.
I liked this shot of an unconscious Van being left by the harbor as lightning strikes. Reminds me of the cinematic for Link's Awakening.
Oh what is this Bush League "lying over the covers and there's a shadow even" malarkey? This Octurbo is ov-errr.

You know, it probably doesn't do a JRPG any favors to only play through the first half hour like this. I mean, most of them start pretty much the same way anyway. All the same, I think there are flashes here of the sort of game Cosmic Fantasy 2 might blossom into (though absolutely nothing regarding the game's sci-fi elements). It's fair to say that I have a soft spot for JRPGs like this, even when they get grindy and repetitive. Working Designs is a fantastic translation team too when they aren't making dumb pop culture jokes that become instantly dated, so I'm always curious to try out more games they worked on.

So as I end another edition of Octurbo, I'll leave you all with this to ponder: What's your Cosmic Fantasy? Wait, no, don't answer that. Abort, abort! We're done!

  • Cosmic Fantasy 2 full soundtrack (it seems the guy who uploaded this just burned the whole CD. That's totally something you can do, since most CD players recognize TGCD games as audio CDs with the exception of the first track, which is where the game's data is stored and should always be skipped over. Playing the first track leads to an error message that essentially says "yo, don't play this part, it'll probably ruin the disc and/or player". Sounds like they got a few audio-only cutscenes in there too.).
  • Cosmic Fantasy 2 ending song (in English)

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Octurbo: Motteke Tamago

It's probably redundant by now to say that this is another weird game. If you took all of the text from Octurbo-CD so far and put it into one of those fancy infographic word clouds, the biggest words would be "weird", "strange" and "what am I even doing" by a considerable margin. Motteke Tamago is weird inside and outside, though, as its gameplay and its release history are equally unusual. Released as late as 1997, way into the 32-bit fifth generation, it is actually the penultimate game for the PC Engine (officially, at least), and was originally given away for free on the cover CD for the Tokuma Shoten magazine "Super PC Engine Fan Deluxe". Apparently, it was meant to be released a lot sooner during the PC Engine's heyday, but was never published for whatever reason.

Motteke Tamago (which means something like "Take It Egg", which makes sense given you're grabbing eggs) is a multiplayer grid maze game superficially similar to Hudson's Bomberman. The player is a duck who has to run around a grid maze picking up eggs which then follow the duck. As long as the player keeps moving, the eggs will eventually hatch into ducklings who then make their own way to the player's coop at the corner of the screen. The opposing ducks (which can be human or CPU controlled, and there can be up to three of them) are also trying to do the same thing. The player can also create these little fried egg blocks to trap other ducks, and perform a dash (which requires a charge up) to blast through blocks (and other ducks) in their way. In practice it sounds straightforward enough, kinda, but there's many complications that can have beneficial or adverse effects on the player's chances of winning. Let's see how many I can show off...

Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck, Abstruse

Welcome to Motteke Tamago! We're spared from any duck anime intros, thankfully. I don't even know what that would be like. "A Quack on Titan"?
As Nerduck explains, you select the number of human players first and then CPU. Each duck here is represented by which quadrant they start in (4P is bottom right, for instance), so you can choose wherever you want to start.
This screen is a little more unusual. We'll revisit it later, but it's essentially recording your single player progress.
And this is what the game looks like. The game tosses a few eggs around, each within reach of the four corners to start you off gently. I'm the white duck with the blue apron, and I want to return ducklings to that top left white coop. It is highly possible that I've misconstrued things and that the ducklings can be deposited in any of these other coops.
These bushes, when flashing (they look pink in these screenshots for some reason), hide power-ups, and you have to take a moment to shake them out of the bush before you can collect them. This is essentially the equivalent of blowing up blocks in Bomberman to look for power-ups. You can see one of the power-ups to the right, and that one in particular makes the eggs following you hatch sooner. I think. Honestly, the speed at which these games move makes it hard to figure out anything.
The end of my first game, there's a protracted score tallying progress. If you've ever played Mario Party (or heard Jeff grouse (heh, bird puns) about how arbitrary the scoring can be), it's a little like that. You're given points for how many chicks you return to the roost, how many you get of your color, how many pink ones you get, how often you get smoked by opponents, etc. etc. It's not something you can easily keep track of in-game.
Each player has a stock of lives, though there's very few scenarios in which you can lose one. The most common means of transitory demise is the "flaming duck" power-up, which makes you temporarily deadly to other ducks if you touch them. Losing lives doesn't really do much besides lose you points at the end.
Yeah, I didn't do so hot the first time around. I mean, I also had no idea what I was doing. I know, I know, that's a wuss defense.
Turns out if you pause the game, you can actually see how well everyone's doing. There are the four basic chick colors (which correspond to the players' ducks and will earn more if they match). There's also pink chicks, which are worth more, and black chicks, which are worth a lot more or a lot less depending on circumstances. It sounds like a lot to keep track of, but it's fairly explicable after a while.
I got trounced again. The two ducks in the middle charged at each other, which means being dropped into an Andy Capp-style "fighting cloud" (if you've seen too many cartoons like I have, you'll know what I mean). I'm not sure how a winner is decided, but the loser stays stunned for several crucial seconds. You generally want to be stunned as infrequently as possible.
I'm determined to win this first board. It's a matter of pride. Plus, I sorta know what I'm doing now. Sorta.
We run into a major complication when this asshole shows up. I'll explain him later. Importantly...
...I manage to procure the most ducklings! While there's plenty of weird bonuses that can mess with the total scores and bring about upsets, generally speaking getting the most ducklings is a fairly good indicator that you've won.
Finally! Human wins! Take that, robot ducks.
If you spend too long on the winning score screen, this fellow pops up to remind you to stop gloating and get on with it.
Some more weirdness now. This little guy with the shades is the occasional result of a chick hatching. It'll go nuts, run around the screen depositing bonus eggs while some crazy music plays. Eventually it shakes itself out of its Cool Guy reverie, look a bit confused and then continue back to the coop as per normal.
You'll notice the yellow duck has a golden egg. Swan chicks hatch from those, and while they look like black chicks (which give you a penalty, for some oddly duck-racist reason), they provide huge bonuses. It's worth fighting over a golden egg if you find one.
I'll return to this progress screen to show you how it's updating itself. A circle means that a human player has beaten the map. A cross means that the player has played the map, but lost. Each of the ten stages in each world are simply re-configurations using the same background and obstacles.
This is World 2. There's a bit more of an urban setting here, and there's a complication in those little gray blocks on the sides of the screen. They pop up and down at intervals, blocking your way. We also see that giant manic rooster make a return.
What that guy does is march across the map for a minute, dropping those little fried egg blocks everywhere he goes. You can't get past them unless you charge, and the charge can only remove a handful at a time. Eventually the big rooster decides to take a nap in front of one of the coops at random, blocking it completely and pretty much dooming that player. He's a butt.
I'll show off World 3 as well, while I'm here. The little pressure plate traps at the top and bottom create a small chain of fried egg blocks somewhere at random.
I am rocking this match. I was fortunate enough to grab a few speed power-ups early on, and those things are worth their weight in golden eggs. Being the fastest means getting to all the eggs first.
Booya! Well, I don't think I'll be topping that decisive victory, so let's call it here. I think I've pretty much shown everything off, besides a few of the power-ups (and I'm still not entirely copacetic on what they all do anyway).

That's Motteke Tamago, and it seems pretty darn cool. There's been a resurgence of late of great local multplayer games, and Motteke Tamago seems like ideal reboot material to join in on that bandwagon. The game's an odd combination of Bomberman and ChuChu Rocket, where it's all about resource procurement and management and keeping a fairly critical eye on proceedings to ensure no-one's getting a leg up over you. You can also decide to mess with other ducks, stealing their eggs and knocking them down or screwing them over in other ways. Actually, I guess it reminded me of that battle game in Diddy Kong Racing where you're collecting/stealing pteranodon eggs in those planes. Man, was Diddy Kong Racing a great kart racer.

Anyway, since I'm already reminiscing about other games, that's probably a good time to bring today's Octurbo to a close. This doesn't seem like the most attainable game, seeing as it was a bonus disc on a fairly obscure magazine that was already late to the party as far as where PC Engine's lifespan was at in 1997. Here's hoping Naxat Soft (or Kaga Create, as they're now known) see the sound financial sense in re-releasing an incredibly obscure game that was given away in Japan for free. Aww, I just made myself sad. At least there's always Motteke Tamago Ganbare Kamonohashi.

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Octurbo: Star Parodier

I believe this will be the last shoot 'em up I cover for this edition of Octurbo. There's only so much you can do with a screenshot LP of a shoot 'em up, given how functionally similar many of them are and the speed at which they move. The PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 is absurdly well represented in this genre, more so than any other of the core 16-bit consoles and I'm not sure why that is exactly, as the least technologically sophisticated console the TG-16 suffered the most from trying to keep multiple sprites on the screen at once and employing the various parallax scrolling techniques that are usually more prominent in these fast-paced games. I guess they just found a home here (and eventually in other marginalized consoles like the Saturn and Dreamcast).

Star Parodier is actually part of Hudson's Star Soldier franchise of sci-fi shoot 'em ups, and is to that series (and Hudson games in general) what Parodius is to Gradius (and Konami games in general). The big and really only main difference between the two franchises is that Star Soldier is a vertically-aligned affair, but beyond that Star Parodier kind of follows its better-known nutty inspiration to the letter, throwing all sorts of weird shit at the player and giving them a number of unusual spaceships to play as, each with their own idiosyncrasies. While the graphics are a little out there, the gameplay sticks close to the format of its more serious brethren, adopting similar power-ups and other systems. The game was actually developed by Kaneko, known for many prestigious contributions to gaming such as Gals Panic, rather than Hudson Soft themselves.

An interesting coincidence is that because this game belonged to Hudson it ended up being included with the rest of Hudson's library when it was sold off to another company after Hudson went out of business. That purchasing company just so happened to be Konami.

But hey, there's plenty more weirdness to get into today, and what better way than through screenshots (don't say video)? Seeing is believing, after all. Time is money, and what goes up must come down. A stitch in time sa- I'm just going to start this thing already.

"Satire Soldier" Would've Been a Better Name, But Then I Can Be Too Much of a Back Seat Punner At Times

I'm not sure where this game fits into the Star Soldier chronology, even if one were to entertain the notion that the game is canonical in any way. Parodier came about after Final Soldier and Super Star Soldier, perhaps the two best known games, but I think this might cutscene might be talking about the first game.
Anyway, the big antagonist Mother Brain (she gets around, it seems) has taken up shop on this planet filled with theme parks and other weirdness. Anime Lady implores the nearby friendly planet to lend assistance.
Of course, it's not Earth, but Planet Bomber. I love that the Bomber screen "translates" the anime lady into a cutesy Hudson character.
The Bomberman war council, which is to say the five Bombers from the multiplayer game huddled around a table with tiny coffees (this game is already too adorable), decide on a plan of action.
The Bombermen get busy to work designing and producing a few ships to send over. The Paro-Ceaser is your standard "normal" spaceship option for boring people.
Alternatively, you use this giant Bomberman. Hey, if you're rescuing a nearby planet, you might as well get some free advertising out of it.
The third and final ship option is a gigantic anthropomorphic PC Engine. I'm sure there's a Pimp My Ride joke to be made here about playing your console on your console.
As a final cute detail, the big PC Engine is given a HuCard of Super Star Soldier. Maybe it's a tactical suite for the battles to come?
Off the trio go! I'm not quite sure if the scale is accurate here, but no time for quibbles! We got animes to save!
Welcome to Star Parodier! I'm starting to suspect that this might not be a serious game.
There is only one choice as far as I'm concerned. You'll notice that there is a shared default weapon and three different upgrade paths for each of the three ships.
The power-ups look different for each ship as well. The PC Engine gets these little HuCards. Did I mention this game was adorable? The red-colored ones simply boost the strength of the default machine gun weapon.
As you can see, I'm now firing from multiple directions. You'll also find various upgrades for accessories besides the main weapon, such as shields and extra bombs. Also, when you shoot those little red enemies at the bottom right, they just put up little white flags.
I've got these little homing (sorry, "homming") missile dealies and am now being circled by two TurboGrafx controllers, which work as defensive options.
Grabbing a blue HuCard lets me fire powerful CD-ROMs at enemies. Look at me! I'm a defective PSP!
This is the first stage's mid-boss, a Ferris wheel connected to a clock with little bunny girls in each gondola. The only difficult part of this battle is avoiding being hit by the gondolas themselves (the remaining ones speed up each time you destroy one).
With the insane output I have now, this barrage of Bullet Bill wannabes aren't much of a concern. Man, those little Daruma guys are everywhere.
I grabbed all three HuCard types with this screenshot. It's Default (Red), CD-ROM (Blue) and Homing (Yellow). Ideally, you want to grab one of a certain color and stick with it: picking up multiple instances of the same color increases your firepower, whereas grabbing a different colored power-up drops you back to level 1 of that weapon's upgrade path. This four-way CD spread shot is as powerful as this upgrade path will get, so I'm ignoring any HuCards that pop up.
You actually see the first stage's boss several times in the level, but because it's just a disembodied roller coaster train it's easy to mistake it as, well, a regular roller coaster train. It's a little unpredictable in its patterns, leaving and entering the screen at different points while firing missiles, but I've got shields for days at this point.
This game seems surprisingly easy so far, as someone who sucks at this genre who survived that first stage without a scratch. Maybe it just has a particularly gentle difficulty curve. The goofy cartooniness would suggest that this skews a little younger with its audience.
After each stage you get these fun little title cards relating to the stage/boss you just beat. I guess there's no hard feelings?
Stage 2 is Tetris Land. I kind of want that background for my wallpaper. As in, room wallpaper, not desktop. I've also accidentally fired off one of my smart bombs, so I might as well show you all what it looks like.
Man, I hope they got permission from Alexey Pajitnov for this stage.
I've covered most of what I want to say about this game, but I just took this screenshot because I love the look of that bulbous tank.
Stage 2's mid-boss is this weird little Balloon Fighter clown. He attacks by dropping signs on you. I don't know what the signs say, except perhaps "Happy Birthday" (he'd prefer "Death From Above", but I guess he's stuck).
D'aww, don't cry little guy. Your attacks were just incredibly easy to avoid, is all.
The boss of Stage 2 are these triangles. Seems even more out there than the roller coaster train, I know. But...
...this boss is a shape-shifter. A tangram, to be precise (though it doesn't use the traditional tangram pieces). First form is this UFO, which fires large homing shots.
We then have this, uh... I'm going to give Kaneko the benefit of the doubt and say "rocket ship". All it does is try to follow you around and... poke you.
Third form is this fish which spits out lots of smaller fish.
I didn't grab the fourth form, which was a scorpion, since it decided to stick itself at the corner of the screen. Anyway, it finally gives up after this.
And that's Stage 2. Man, the PC Engine is a jerk.
As we start on this lovely river stage with kappas closing in fast, I think we'd better call it while we're still ahead.

Star Parodier isn't too bad, but it seems a little too easy and much of the insanity doesn't match up to Parodius. If anything, they're playing it way too safe (as in, lazy), with what seems to be a lot of stage ideas borrowed from Parodius and TwinBee. Seems kinda fitting that this game would default to Konami eventually.

This was, to the chagrin of any serious Star Soldier fan, the only CD Star Soldier game in the 16-bit era. The series would see a single N64 sequel (Star Solder: Vanishing Earth) and a few remakes for modern consoles. Konami being Konami doesn't seem to want to do much with any of its older properties these days, and I'm not sure the noble shoot 'em up has much market penetration these days anyway.

Still, this goofy little game did become available to the US and Europe eventually, via the Wii's Virtual Console. It's not terrible, and a lot easier than most games in this genre if you're someone like me who gets shot down so often that it becomes discouraging. Then again, you could also just play Eric Pope's new dream music shoot 'em up instead if you're in the market for one of these.

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Octurbo: Ys IV: Dawn of Ys

Couldn't dance around Ys forever. One of the greatest action RPG franchises ever made and still seeing new entries, Ys has been criminally underrepresented in the West until fairly recently (it's established a firm foothold on Steam, and I'd recommend trying Oath in Felghana or Origin). Each game in the core series features the red-haired swordsman Adol, who travels to some other region in Not-Europe to sort out their problems. He's essentially the fantasy anime equivalent of Winston Wolfe.

I wanted to cover Ys IV: Dawn of Ys in particular for two reasons: First, I've already played Ys III: Wanderers From Ys (quite a bit, even) and this is the only other Ys game released on the PC Engine CD-ROM (Ys V: Kefin, The Lost City of Sand was a 1995 SNES game and Ys VI, best known as Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, was a PS2 game that came way later). Second, Ys IV: Dawn of Ys is unique for being an entirely different take on Ys IV: Mask of the Sun, despite sharing a numeral and the same setting. There's actually four different versions of Ys IV all told, each very different. This HardcoreGaming101 article on the Ys series goes into more detail, but suffice it to say this is a very curious point in the Ys series' history.

Ys IV, or at least this Ys IV, sees Adol make his way to Celceta on a new adventure, after a temporary layover in the town of Minea in Esteria (from Ys I and II) continuing right after the events of Ys III. Though there's a bit of a serial storyline going on between each game, it's fairly unimportant: Each new game introduces you to a brand new region with new people to meet fairly quickly after starting. The only constants are usually just Adol himself and his large, gregarious friend Dogi. Ys IV also goes back to classic Ys combat, which is to say that you run into monsters at an angle and they die. Not the most sophisticated combat engine, but it works better than it sounds.

If Iron Galaxy Created This Series, Would It Be Called "D Ys-y"?

The game starts with this cool sinking island animation. Though my memories of the first two games are fairly dim, I believe the island is the legendary floating continent of Ys (for which the series is named) and the tower is the Tower of Darm, the enormous dungeon that makes up most of the first game.
And here's Darm, the big antagonist from Ys II.
We join him in a fight against this glowing blue hero, but who could that be?
Well, I mean, it's Adol. I already said he's in all these games.
These are Feena and Reah (I forget which is which). They're two amnesiac girls you bump into in Esteria, who just so happen to be the lost Goddesses of Ys. They're the ones responsible for Adol's blue forcefield right now.
I feel like I probably should've put "spoilers for Ys I and II" somewhere. My bad.
Anyway, Adol destroys Darm and peace is restored to the land of Esteria. That's mostly how Ys I and II went. Also these animated cutscenes look pretty good! I hope they persist.
Welcome to Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys! I wonder if it's going to tie into the first two games in any way?
Adol's coming back to Esteria after the events of Ys III, with his best friend Dogi. Dogi's psyched to be heading back, but of course Adol doesn't voice his excitement one way or the other. He's one of those silent protagonist types (well, usually).
Meeting Dogi's pal Goban, who played a pivotal role in Ys I and II, we're escorted back to Minea as a late title card drops. Wait, didn't we already get a title screen?
Damn right, little girl. I can see why Dogi wanted to come back, we're practically rock stars around this town. I'm using an English fan translation for the text boxes, but all of the important dialogue is voiced (in Japanese, naturally).
You can visit all the shopkeepers from the first game, but they've got nothing to sell you. It's peacetime! Makes you wonder how they're making a living these days.
This is Sara. She's a fortuneteller you meet in Ys I who sends you off on the quest to recover the Books of Ys, the first stage of entering the Tower of Darm. She also got killed mid-way through that game. I guess she got better?
Anyway, she hasn't given up the day job of telling Adol where to go next, and so we're given some vague premonition of demons in the forested land of Celceta. I don't know why this translation spelled it with an S, given that the recent remake is called "Memories of Celceta". I guess the translation must pre-date it.
Dogi and Goban are busy getting blasted when I enter the bar after meeting everyone in town. They're not just getting spry on "frothy milk", either: this isn't a Nintendo game.
This is Lilia. She shows up the next morning to wake up a hungover Goban to see Adol. We rescued her in II and she's kind of had a giant crush on Adol since then. But Adol ain't here! He departed sometime earlier, on the way to Celceta.
Meanwhile, something gross and weird is happening in a cave somewhere.
Monster Mash here doesn't last long before melting. Presumably, he's some evil deity trying to be brought back by his minions, just not quite in solid form just yet. I suspect this is one of things we'll discover later into the game.
We now get a second intro, animated this time, that does the usual JRPG intro thing of flashing through scenes and characters in the game. These three just scream "recurring bosses" to me.
And, of course, the antagonist is some handsome androgynous guy. I actually know that his name is Eldeel, because it came up a lot in Memories of Celceta's promotional stuff. Man, I want to play Memories of Celceta.
I'm finally given control again, as I wake up on the ship that brought me to Promalock. This town is right next to the forests of Celceta, and will be the first of a few hub towns.
I've still got the Cleria gear from the previous game, which is all absurdly powerful and I'm absolutely certain I'll be allowed to keep it. Absolutely.
This isn't foreboding at all.
Anyway, there's not much to do in town, so why not go out and beat some stuff up. You can't be hurt by any of these low-level creatures, so this is really the game letting you discover on your own how combat works. If you run at a monster in a straight line, you'll bounce off and both you and the monster will take damage. Run at them at an angle, however, and only the monster takes damage. This is the key to Ys's combat, and each game has different levels of leniency for how precise these angled attacks need to be. Fortunately, Dawn of Ys is super lenient.
We were given a side-quest of sorts by a couple back in town. The husband got drunk and depressed because he dropped this super valuable crystal bottle while outside.
Dude's sleeping off a bender (certainly is a lot of alcohol abuse in this game so far) but his wife assures me that they'll be using this money to start a store and that I'll be rewarded at some point. I'll believe it when I see it.
Getting a little further into the forest, we bump into this fair maiden getting accosted. It's Adol to the rescu-
Nope, she took care of it. This is Karna, and she's a badass.
We also meet Leo, the captain of the local Romun forces. The Romuns, like their similarly named historical counterparts, are something of an ubiquitous presence on this continent, and are almost always presented as minor antagonists. In the sense that they're mostly jerk bureaucrats rather than out and out demonic villains.
Anyway, I'm not about to argue with this cannon, so I decide to let myself get arrested for the crime of assaulting those two soldiers Karna beat up.
Well, here we are in chokey. I suspect this is a foregone conclusion, but let me just check my inventory real quick...
Goddammit. It'll be a while until see those again.
This is Duren, he's got kind of a roguish ne'er-do-well vibe to him. A Han Solo, if you will.
The first thing he does when we wake him up is run around the cell several times. Gotta keep in shape, I guess.
We are eventually rescued by Karna, the girl we met earlier. She feels a little bad for letting us take the rap, I'm guessing. Duren comes too, and immediately starts hitting on her, because of course he does. He is informed, tersely, that his rescue was entirely incidental.
While those two do the Leia and Han thing, we manage to grab some stuff from the armory. It's all super low-level, obviously, but it's better than nothing.
We have one more tutorial fight before we can leave (which Duren immediately bails on). Though you get attacked by six soldiers, Karna will eventually defeat all of them after enough time has passed: The player can get as involved as they want to with their new weaker equipment. Just another cool way the game finds to ease the player into its combat system.

Anyway, Ys IV starts proper as soon as you leave the Romun fort, and I've probably spent enough time looking at this game. Blame all those protracted intro sequences. Like any Ys game, there's plenty to like about it, from its excellent music to its extremely fast-paced but still tactical combat (which will eventually also include spell-casting) to its solid story and characterization.

It seems like if you wanted to play this particular Ys game, you might be better off tracking down a PSP copy of Ys IV: Memories of Celceta, which is Falcom's own retelling of the events of Ys IV: Dawn of Ys and Ys IV: Mask of the Sun. It also builds on the combat engine of Ys Seven, another PSP entry which comes highly recommended, and does a much better job fleshing out the region of Celceta and its denizens. It's also available in English, unlike this game, though apparently there's also a fan-dub of the voiceovers in addition to the script translation I was using. I can't even begin to imagine what that's like. Anyway, thanks for checking Octurbo today, and take it easy. Or Ys-y. Both, do both.

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Octurbo: Strider Hiryu

Strider probably requires no introduction at this point, given how often Capcom's acrobatic side-scroller comes up in Giant Bomb content, especially when @gvaranini is around. Strider was a 1989 hit in the Arcades before being brought to a whole bunch of home consoles. The non-linear NES version is the only truly divergent one; the others, like the Genesis and this PC Engine CD-ROM2 version, try to be as close to the original Arcade game as possible. Obviously, the CD-ROM format makes that a bit easier in some way, but then there's only so much the TurboGrafx-CD's tech could squeeze out regardless of the vast amount of storage space that CDs offer. If anything, the PC Engine CD-ROM2 port is probably less technologically sophisticated than the Genesis version.

The reason for Strider Hiryu's inclusion, beyond me wanting to play more Strider, is that it was a title in the "Arcade Card" range for the Turbo-CD. The system actually saw two RAM expansions in its lifetime; the first, the "Super CD-ROM Card", was required for most games produced after 1992, which was when the TurboDuo launched with its improved internal RAM. Anyone with an older PC Engine CD/Turbo-CD had to purchase a new system card with additional RAM to play these new TurboDuo-focused games. The Arcade Card came a little later, and was meant to provide enough additional RAM to allow near-perfect Arcade conversions. It's a bit of a cheeky lie, since the core TurboGrafx-CD processors and graphics cards couldn't hope to keep up with the Arcade games of the early 90s, but that extra boost of RAM (and having the redbook music and voice samples of the CD format) still helped a little. There's more to cover too, but we'll get into it with the screenshots.

Here You Go Again With the Strider Talk

Now I get a good look at the bad guy, I suspect I know where Amped 3 found their villain.
These are the Striders, who fight to keep the world free of villainy. Except for that one guy who joined up to get a free laser sword.
I didn't quite capture this right, but Hiryu flashes across the screen and cuts Robey in twain. Mission over?
Welcome to Strider Hiryu! "Strider Hiryu" is what the game is called in Japan region. It's just Strider here, but they usually leave the Hiryu kanji in the title screen. (Hiryu means Flying Dragon, if you're wondering. There's one in Final Fantasy IV, if I recall.)
So this is the other reason I wanted to show off Strider today. The PC Engine CD-ROM port took a long time coming, almost five years after the original Arcade game, but they did manage to squeeze in an additional stage entirely exclusive to this version. What's cool is that the game lets you decide whether or not to add the new stage in, in case you wanted to make the Arcade experience more "genuine".
This is Russia, the first stage. Hiryu swoops in shortly after this shot on his robo-hangglider.
This thing. I'm not sure why it needs a lamp at the front seeing as the entire fortress is lit up with its spotlights, but maybe they just needed to put something there for ballast.
Hiryu's main weapon is his Cipher (i.e. plasma sword) which is also called a Falchion. I think that might be the name of his particular Cipher. Maybe it's like how you give your gun a name? "Falchion" is better than "Charlene" at least.
This is the other thing Strider's mostly known for: mid-air handstands. Strider's acrobatics is what helped to set it apart from the crowd, as Hiryu can literally hold onto any solid surface. It even pops up in boss fights, as we'll see momentarily.
In addition to his Falchion, Strider can find these little robot friends. They mostly follow along and add to his firepower, occasionally hitting enemies outside of the Falchion's range (one of Strider's bigger issues is that you can't attack up or down easily).
Man, I just love that anyone can do this. I'd be rolling down this incline face-first in his position.
Flat-top mocks us in Japanese before starting this stage's mid-boss fight. I don't know what he says, but it's probably Russian (via Japanese) for "Go home and be a family man!".
Of course, once the shirt comes off and the battle begins, it's over almost instantly. The Falchion can do an absurd amount of damage because of how quickly Hiryu is able to swing it. The trick with most boss fights is getting close enough to use it.
We get napalmed after blondie bites it, but there's a little gap here to hide from it. It's one of those cases where playing the game before really helps.
I just find Strider effortlessly cool, even today. I can't even imagine how badass this seemed in 1989. They can't hit you from up there, but you've got ample room to find a way up.
It's easy to miss, but another one of Strider's robotic little buddies is this crow. Useful for those floating drones, since they can hover over your head and be a mischief.
I don't have anything to say about this pic other than I somehow captured Hiryu's "haters gonna hate" walk perfectly.
These things are common enough in some Strider games: computers that just sit there and need destroying, but spit out lasers and other projectiles that make it harder to reach them.
Richard Dreyfus doesn't like our intrusion, so he does what any reasonable soldier would do.
Which is merge with the rest of Russian congress to form a giant centipede robot with a hammer and sickle. The literal dictionary definition of the word "perestroika".
Anyway, this is one of those bosses that tries to chase you around but is far too cumbersome for its own good. If you run up here, it eventually stops chasing you and circles back around. You can then actually leap on its back and start pummeling the head with your Falchion.
I don't know if these little Stage Cleared screens are in the Arcade version, but man is it satisfying to see your opponent just completely smashed to pieces like this.
The goon in charge somehow lives, and presumably screams something in Japanese about how the next boss will getcha. It's also a bit more apparent now that he's not human, what with the giant hole in his cranium.
Here it is, the bonus stage. It fits in between Hiryu's Mission to Moscow and the Arcade game's Stage 2, which is in Siberia. Seems a bit of a stretch to assume Hiryu would go to Moscow, then some desert presumably in Africa somewhere, and then back to Russia again. But hey, when you shoehorn in a stage, it's going to mess with continuity a little bit.
The desert stage isn't all that bad, for an insert. For instance, it establishes early on that you don't want to be on the sand for too long because of all these giant sandworms.
If you can't walk without rhythm, then the best thing to do is simply not touch the ground.
Ed Harris mocks you for a little while once you make your way up this hill.
And then he starts to spin around and does this. It's very peculiar.
Turns out he's secretly this giant antlion. What is it with me and antlions recently? He'll pull you down and there's no easy way to attack him here without getting hurt yourself (and you have a very minimal health bar).
However, and apropos of nothing, he'll occasionally leap right out of his hole to let you unload on him for a little while. It's certainly courteous of him.
Perhaps a little too courteous, even.
I like the attention to detail they gave this stage. This four-point star logo appears a lot on other stages. It'd be an easy detail to miss.
Remember that weird part of The Rock where Sean Connery has to recall a memorized sequence past all these completely incongruous flame traps while inside a vent? Dunno why I just thought of it.
This guy just drives right at you as soon as you drop down this cliff. I have no idea how he expects to stop that thing before he hits the wall. At any rate I just jumped over it and took out the gunner.
This smug dick mocks you, like every other boss, before leaping into his tank. At least it's not some weird bug robot this time.
The tank looks intimidating, and has various means to attack you but...
...standing at the bottom right negates all of them. Neither turret can turn around to hit you, and the missiles it fires overhead always stop short of that side of the screen.
Most vehicles have their blindspots, I guess.
Apparently unscathed, dude tells us that there's an even bigger tank in Hiryu's future. "You thought I was compensating for something, bucko?"
We also get mocked by the big bad too. Is he supposed to be a warlock? I'll admit that I forget a lot of the Strider lore.
Big Bad Grand Master also introduces a guy that any Strider fan should recognize. Solo is a very persistent cybernetic bounty hunter that shows up in every Strider game. He's usually flying a lot too, which is why I tend to think of him as this series' Ridley.
Anyway, now that Stage 2 (well, 3) begins proper and I have a pack of Siberian wolves running at me, might be time to call it a day. The rest of Strider is pretty much the same as the Arcade port, weird gravity rooms and all.

That's Strider Hiryu for the PC Engine CD-ROM2. Possibly due to how late it came out in the system's life cycle, it was never ported to the US TurboGrafx-CD. A shame, because it doesn't seem like a particularly bad port, and gives fans of the series that extra level to play with. Then again, they'd probably be happier with the Genesis home version all told.

Still, at least the soundtrack's pretty good. Thanks for checking in (it's been a hell of a day around here) and shout outs once again to Game Cop.

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