Review Quickies Vol. 9: Obscure Edition

海腹川背・旬 〜セカンドエディション〜 完全版
(Umihara Kawase Shun: Second Edition Kanzenban)

(DS, 2009)

+ fantastic music
+ excellent, fun platforming
+ includes original Super Famicom game and PlayStation version of Umihara Kawase Shun
– extremely short

I highly enjoyed my time with this extremely obscure platformer that has only ever been released in Japan. It’s kinda like Bionic Commando in that you have a fishing line you fire out to grapple onto the environment in order to traverse it to the exit of a “field,” the term for level or stage in Umihara Kawase. The main thing that differentiates the platforming from Bionic Commando is that the fishing line incorporates physics into how you use it and it is paramount that you learn how to use it to your advantage. Fun game that I recommend to platforming fans provided you find it for a good price since it can be pretty expensive.

RATING: 5 out of 6 / 7.5 out of 10

Cave Story
(DS, 2010)

+ pretty good music
+ fairly fun action with a handful of weapons to use
– story/characters are flat and uninteresting
– extremely easy

I don’t really have much to add to the points made above. It’s OK, but suffers from being an “indie darling” and is therefore highly overrated just like many other indie games such as Super Meat Boy, VVVVVV, Flower, Everyday Shooter, Braid, etc. I have grown tired of these artsy-fartsy indie dung heaps over the course of this generation getting praise they don’t deserve, but I’m sure it’ll continue to happen with the likes of Journey and Sound Shapes. YAWN.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.5 out of 10

Mega Man Zero
(DS via Mega Man Zero Collection, 2010)

+ interesting adventure styIe take on the traditional Mega Man formula
+ many different weapons at your disposal
– story is one note affair with Zero playing the largely silent savior role

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 7.0 out of 10

Gargoyle’s Quest
(GB, 1990)

+ very detailed graphics for an early Game Boy game
+ excellent music
+ interesting take on combining side-scrolling action with RPG elements
– some framerate issues throughout the game
– early stages can be much harder than later ones thanks to starting with low health

RATING: 5 out of 6 / 8.0 out of 10

クロノアビーチバレー 最強チーム決定戦!
(Klonoa Beach Volley: Saikyou Team Ketteisen!)

(PS, 2002)

+ nice graphics that were a big step up from the original Klonoa on PlayStation
+ decent volleyball action
– mechanics are a little too simplistic to hold your interest for long
– few play modes

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.0 out of 10

(PS2, 2000)

+ fairly fun methodical combat styIe gameplay similar to Demon’s Souls
+ lots of different useful weapons, armor, and other items to upgrade with some even having their own magic abilities called “Palmira actions”
– soundtrack is bizarre
– a few nonsensical puzzles
– framerate can stutter without much going on
– awful voice acting

Despite all of the minuses above, I still enjoyed it enough to see it through even though I admit that most of the game’s aspects are mediocre or just bad.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.0 out of 10