Time to dig up another half-forgotten gem (well, semi-precious rock, maybe) from the TG-16 sedimentary with Cratermaze. It's funny, after so many of these Octurbo games I'm starting to see a lot of connections to those that have come before. For instance, the action maze gameplay of Cratermaze is very similar to Batman's, and it takes Keith Courage's route of taking a fairly well-established anime from its native Japan (that would be Doraemon in this case, the robotic time-travelling cat. The game was originally called Doraemon: Meikyuu Daisakusen, which I believe means "Doraemon: Operation Labyrinth") and giving it an inexplicable whitewashing for the US release. It's not even like they westernized him into Garfield or Heathcliff or whatever; if anything, Opi and his friends are easily as anime as Doraemon. Maybe it would've taken too much text to explain what Doraemon and his deal is to an American audience?
Honestly, I would probably have a lot more to say about Cratermaze if we hadn't already seen a number of games like it. Still, I'm running out of TG-16 stuff that aren't shooters or straight ports here.
Quatermaze and the Pit
Cratermaze isn't a fascinating game on its own, but at the same time it's indicative of what much of the TurboGrafx-16 library was about: full of games that would've probably been skipped over for a US localization had they been on the SNES or Genesis where there were more quality games to choose from, but because the PC Engine library was so limited they just had to make do with anything that didn't abjectly suck (or have too much text to translate in a cost-efficient manner, which is probably why we barely got any JRPGs on a system rife with the things). A Heiankyo Alien game starring Doraemon would've gone over fairly well with the kids in Japan I'd imagine, but trying to bring it over by changing all the characters just reeks of desperation. Did the US really need Cratermaze? Couldn't they have just localized the Batman game instead? At least you wouldn't have to switch him out for "Flying Rat Boy-san". (I know, I know, different publishers.)
Still, at least I got to make that sweet Quatermass pun. I'll take what I can get in this economy. The... joke economy.