Japanese Showcase: Super Famicom
Date: April 01, 2008
Japan. The nation that is the undisputed king of video gaming and where most games released in America originate from. However, despite the fact we get many games each year, many more are either passed over by companies for release in the U.S. or run into problems with licensing and approval for release here. This leaves a vast number of awesome games across the Pacific, with little likelihood of English speaking gamers getting the opportunity to play them. Most of these games are never heard of by gamers here or only heard of in passing. The Japanese Showcase series of articles (this being the first), will introduce you to a number of fun little gems that I've come across. Keep in mind though that these are just a small sampling of what all is out there.
Many gamers are intimidated by the fact that the games are in Japanese, and believe they would not be able to enjoy them. This, however, is not true. Japanese can be a severe barrier for RPGs, strategy games and some adventures, but there are many out there that don't require any Japanese knowledge to enjoy the gameplay and fun. Today's article takes a look at several Super Famicom (the Japanese Super Nintendo) action games that doesn't require you to know a single bit of Japanese to play.
Otoboke is a fun little bomberman-clone. The cute, vibrant graphics and light-hearted music makes this a must-play for Bomberman fans. The game features a 1 or 2 player adventure mode, or a VS mode where up to 4 people may join in on the fun.
Battle Zeque Den is a nifty little side-scrolling beat-em-up in the same vein as such classics as Final Fight. Take control of one of three female characters and adventure through fantasy locales, battling the evils of the land.
BS Kaizou Tyoujin Shubibinman Zero
Shubibinman had it's start on the old Turbografx-16 system, where three games were released (one of which came out in the United States with the name Shockman). A series that takes several elements from the popular Megaman games, it wasn't until the Stellaview add-on for the Super Famicom that a new Shubibinman game was released. Featuring a boy and girl android (or in robotic suits, forget which), you battle against evil in this cute game. Two player mode is especially interesting in that you can chain specials between the two characters.
The Super Famicom got an odd series of games called Go Go Ackman. Comprised of 3 games (the first one having been fan-translated), you take control of a character who is a servant of Satan and must collect souls for him. Featuring some unique characters and plenty of wackiness, this is a fun platform action game series.
Melfand Stories is a cute adventure game in a fantasy world. Take control of a swordsman, spearman, wizardess, or a female thief and wander across the lands fighting of creatures like lizardmen and birds with your weapons and spells. The cute, vibrant graphics mixed with fun gameplay and a good variety of enemies, makes this a fun fantasy beat-em-up similar to Capcom's Knights of the Round.
Nangoku Syonen Papuwa Kun
An interesting Enix title, Papuwa is an excellent side-scroller platform game with great character designs and wacky enemies. Some interesting features in the game setup is that the character can have several bars of life and gain experience from enemies for levels. It's worth a play if just to see the crazy stuff like fish with legs, flying umbrella legs, and all the other weird enemies the game has to offer. There was a fan translation in progress for the game, but I haven't heard anything about it in a while.
New Yatterman - Nanndai Kanndai Yajirobe
Yet another strange game. In New Yatterman, you can take control of one of two teams featuring people and robotic animals. Then you go from place to place and play in a split screen, trying to find the treasure before the other and reaching the goal. The gameplay is sort-of Spy vs. Spy like and is an interesting play for those that want something different.
Rushing Beat Ran - Fukusei Toshi
A Final Fight clone all the way, the Rushing Beat series features the same type of beat-em-up gameplay. The Super Famicom got 3 different Rushing Beat games, of which this was the last and features the most playable characters. If you like Final Fight, you'll like this.
The Great Battle series is comprised of 5 games on the SNES, all of which play differently. I'm just mentioning one of them here, an excellent action game in space. Each of the Great Battle games stars characters from various series and this game has 3 of which you can swap between and play as. Give them a try for some amusement as all 5 games are pretty decent.
Super Tekyu Fight is another Bomberman-like clone. Take control of one of the four characters commonly seen in the previously mentioned Great Battle series to fight in various worlds. This differs from Bomberman in that you don't set bombs, but you carry a ball and chain with which you destroy blocks to gain powerups and to defeat enemies. A fun twist on the old Bomberman formula.
Ushio and Tora features two characters of the same name. One a human who uses a spear as a weapon, and one a monster who uses his claws as a weapon. It's the usual side-scrolling action formula, but it's good for wasting some time on.
Kishin Douji Zenki - Rettou Raiden
The Super Famicom was privileged to get a series of 3 Zenki games, which are apparently based off an anime. This names just the first of them, an excellent side-scroller with great bosses and the ability for Zenki to transform into a larger version of himself. For something different, you can also try the second game which is more of a puzzle game, or the third which features both platform action (starring the girl) and cinematic battles (starring Zenki).
That does it for this first Japanese Showcase. Perhaps you've found something you'd like to give a try and stay tuned for the next article with even more Japanese gaming goodness for you to discover and enjoy.
Date Originally Posted: 02/12/05