Ok, I've been able to tear myself away from overpriced beers long enough to cobble together Chrontendo 44. And what an episode it is! Head on over to Archive or Youtube to check it out. As always, the nice h.264 60 frames per second versions on Archive are considered optimal.
Episode 44 is a bit of an outlier. There are only 12 (gasp!) games covered, meaning all of April 1989. However, the remaining time is taken up by a lengthy bonus feature on the Game Boy. Yes, the Game Boy. In the past, I've said I will never do a Chrontendo Game Boy series, but since Nintendo's handheld debuted in April, I decided to do a quick overview of the 25 games released in 1989.
|Alright you bastards! Game Boy! Are you happy now?|
However, in the world of the Famicom, April 1989 has one very memorable game from Technos. Fresh off the massive success of Double Dragon in the arcades, Technos produced the newest Kunio-kun/Nekketsu game, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, aka River City Ransom.
Because River City Ransom is a highly regarded cult favorite, it's easy to overestimate the originality of Technos's concept. Back when you were some snot-nosed punk in 1990, the idea of a beat-em-up RPG must have blown your mind. But after having encountered one RPG-ish sidescrolling action game after another throughout the course of Chrontendo, RCR no longer feels quite as fresh. At it's core, RCR is not that much different than Chester Field.
What Technos did create was an experience that is much more enjoyable than all those other cruddy games. Combat, in particular, is much more engrossing, what with all of RCR's punches, kicks, blocks, throws, and chain-whippings. We all love such bits of dialog as "Mamaaa!" "Welcome to your worst nightmare!" and, best of all, "BARF!" Add in the great music and that fact that RCR is a much more polished experience than the sometimes brutally unfair Double Dragon, and you get a stone cold classic.
Holy Diver is a diamond in the rough. Upon first glance, it is simply another Castlevania clone. A few minutes into the game and you'll realize it's an exercise in sadism aimed directly squarely at the player. I understand that that the life of a video game developer can be very difficult, particularly in Japan: insanely long hours, extreme pressure to work quickly, abusive bosses, destroyed marriages, low pay.... I assume that one day Irem's employees decided to funnel all that rage and frustration into a game and direct it back at their own customers. "It's all your fault for buying these games! Every time a game sells well, they want us to make one that sells better. Now most nights I sleep under my desk. Why didn't I listen to my father and become an accountant!"
|A classic example of misdirected hostility.|
What else is good in Episode 44?
Dragon Spirit: The New Legend
|Dragons vs Aliens! At last!|
Aoki Ookami to Shiroki Mejika: Genghis Khan
The only videogame (that I know of) whose title refers to inter-species sexual relations. But hey, it's Japan, right? At least it doesn't involve tentacles. Anyway, Genghis Khan is Toei's second epic historical strategy game on the Famicom. It's really just Romance of the Three Kingdoms with Mongols instead of Chinese warlords. Also, it's way better than the other military simulation game this episode.
A Week of Garfield
|This screenshot should clear up any doubts you had about the quality of this game.|
Taboo: The Sixth Sense
|Did Rare literally just string together random words?|
|This picture might be NSFW. I'm not sure.|
|HA! HA! That is pretty funny, dude.|
Dragon Buster II: Yami no Fuuin
Namco's Dragon Buster was a pioneering game in the sidescrolling action genre. It received a Famciom port in early 1987, and now a console-exclusive sequel. Namco and Tose give it a very superficial Zelda-esque facelift, but it's still too repetitive to be of much interest.
Adventures of Lolo
A US-only compilation of levels from the previously released Eggerland games. As far as I know, there is nothing new here, aside from a spiffy opening animation. HAL must have liked the name, since all future games in the series, both American and Japanese, were released under the Adventures of Lolo moniker.
|You are armed human beings fighting pigs. This should not be so difficult!|
Keiba Simulation: Honmei
Four words: horse racing simulation game. Does this sound enticing? Probably not.
I've also added a little best game/worst game segment at then end of the episode, as per a suggestion made by a commenter. Next up on our schedule will be Chronturbo 3. 1989 is when the pace of releases for the PC Engine really starts picking up. Hell, in one month, June, there were more Japanese releases for the PC Engine than there were for the Famicom. We probably won't see that happen again for a while.
For now you can check out Chrontendo Episode 44 on Archive or Youtube.