We have a big fat three CD-ROM games this time: two arcade ports and one original title from the folks who gave us Valis II. As I mentioned earlier, Super Albatross, despite being a golf game, has a lot of similarities to Valis II. The other two CD games are Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, which is pretty straightforward port of the arcade game, and Juuouki AKA Altered Beast. This port of Altered Beast is pretty terrible -- the graphics are ugly and it controls are sluggish. However Hudson did add a semi-animated intro with sound and music. By semi-animated I mean that it simply uses pans and zooms of static artwork.
Tacking on a PC-Engine exclusive intro onto a port would be a pretty common tactic throughout the console's lifespan. The unusual thing about the PC-Engine Altered Beast is that it was released on both CD-ROM and HuCard a week apart. The two versions are almost identical, except for the HuCard missing the intro and some voice/music samples. Off the top of my head, I can't think of another game that got released in both formats simultaneously.
We have several arcade ports this time, of games originally from Capcom, Namco, Jaleco and Data East. Side Arms and Ordyne are both horizontal shoot-em-ups. Bloody Wolf, probably the best game this episode, is a radically altered version of Data East's Mercs clone. F-1 Dream is an archaic-looking racing game which has been altered quite a bit as well. The biggest weaknesses of Side Arms and Bloody Wolf is that, despite having been originally designed for two players, only a single player mode is available on the PC Engine ports. Takeda Shingen is not the same game as Shingen the Ruler for the FC/NES, but is a horribly botched port of a beat-em-up from Jaleco.
The rest are all original titles, most of which aren't very good. The most offensively terrible is Rock On, a bizarre and amateurishly made horizontal shooter from Big Club/Manjyudo. The last game we saw from these guys which a weird Space Harrier clone. Aside from being extremely dull, stealing one boss directly from R-Type, and having waaayy too many power-ups floating around, Rock On is notable for its utterly insane Engrish-y opening text scroll.
Boring, pointless dungeon crawler. Only of interest to those to love to draw huge maps on graph paper. Excellent graphics/animation of moving through the dungeon, however.
|Power League II|
Power League II
Sequel to Power League/World Class Baseball. Neither this nor any of the other Power League sequels got a US release. Standard baseball game.
This is actually a good billiards game with lots of game options, modes, etc. It's from Naxat, so the graphics and music are pretty darned solid.
A port of a MSX/FM7 adventure game based on the popular Rumiko Takahashi manga. We encountered the Famicom version in an earlier episode of Chrontendo. Luckily the PC Engine port has a quality English translation available, so if you're interested in adventure games for this console, this is one of the very few English options.
Super Momotaro Dentetsu
A big game in Japan, I'm sure. Hudson moves it's popular railway board game to the PC Engine for the second entry in the series. Though in 2015 Nintendo got the last laugh, as it appears future entries the series will be published by them, due to the collapse of Konami.
Not a real game, but instead an extremely basic drawing program. Three hardware accessories were available - a drawing tablet/stylus, a printer, and a scanner of some sort. The game and the accessories are somewhat rare and expensive now.
We are going to switch over to the Famicom/NES next, but when we do return to the PC Engine, we'll reach up to early December 1989, and get to see some mahjong games, a golf game, and one of the ever-popular business simulation games.
In the very near future, though, we'll have a small update to the Video Nasties series on the Dr. Sparkle After Dark channel.