After much blood, sweat, tears, screaming, crying and general unpleasantness, Chronturbo Episode 3 is finally here. This is the first "new look" episode in the Chrontendo family: the first step in an overall makeover for the series. Any changes will be (at least initially) limited to superficial things. Eventually, we see some updates to Chrontendo and Chronsega, as well.
As always, the connoisseur may download impeccable 60 frames/second h.264 versions on Archive.org, or stream the 30 frames/second version on Youtube. Naturally, various flicker effects are lost in the 30 fps version.
So what's changed in Chronturbo Episode 3? There are new opening and closing sequences, for one. The little introductory sequences for each game are also redone, though they remain relatively unchanged. I've added new graphics when a caption appears onscreen. Also, there is the aforementioned auto-ducking. Well, it's not literally auto-ducking, but I am adjusting the game sounds to be louder when I'm not talking, so the music can be better heard. A number of games this episode have some pretty decent music, so its best that we should be able to hear it.
Chronturbo 3 is the first "full" episode of Chronturbo, with 16 games released from January through March 1989. As I mentioned earlier, the pace of releases for the PC Engine starts to pick up dramatically in 1989. Furthermore, NEC was able to do what Sega could not with its Master System: induce third party publishers to release game for the system. This episode features a mere four games from console creators NEC and Hudson. The rest are from outside companies, include seven publishers releasing their first game for the console: Irem, Data East, Sunsoft, Pack-in-Video, Face, Aicom, and Taito.
Still, the two best games end up being from Hudson.
|This raises interesting questions about the food supply in underground dungeons.
It's a cool hack and slash game, and feels like a distant ancestor to Diablo. The music, in particular, stands out as catchy and memorable. DE is probably the first really good game from Atlus to be released in the West. What a shame that the US version had such amateurish looking cover art.
|Why, NEC? Why!?!?
By early 1989, military tactics games were quite common on the Famicom. We've already seen one such game, Gaia no Monshou, in Chronturbo Episode 2. Much better is Hudson's take on the genre, Nectaris/Military Madness. It closely resembles Daisenryaku and Famicom Wars in its conception. On top of the basic "move your units around kill stuff" gameplay, Hudson threw in a plot about a radical group on the moon threatening to nuke Earth, as well as an in-game manual.
|Why did I feel a sudden twinge of solitary sadness creep over me?
Other Good Games:
|It's not great, but it's miles better than Tiger Heli.
|Hanii takes a bit of inspiration from R-Type here.
|We have a lot of aggressive tigers this episode.
The first Capcom-developed game on the PC Engine, SonSon II is a cute little action platformer in the Wonder Boy in Monster Land mode. I've already discussed it in some detail.
Space Adventure Cobra: Kokuryuuou no Densetsu
|The most modestly clad woman in the whole game.
|This screen shot depicts the mental image most people got when they thought of NYC back in the '80s.
The Bad Games:
|The cars in F-1 Pilot feature hilariously over-sized side mirrors.
Only five games from Chronturbo 3 were given US releases. Due to what must have been a serious clerical error, one of those games ended up being Deep Blue. I'm sure this game has its defenders due to its unusual play mechanics. It plays unlike most other games in the genre. Deep Blue overwhelms you with enemies but gives you a rechargeable health bar. In theory this sounds very intriguing, but actual game is so boring and repetitive that it approaches kusoge levels of badness.
Ganbare! Golf Boys
|The main advantage PC Engine golf games have over Famicom golf games is the extra shades of green.
The first PC Engine golf game is a bit better than Ganbare! Golf Boys. It also happens to be the system debut from Data East. There's nothing here we haven't already seen on countless Famicom golf games, but at least the music is pretty nice.
Shiryou Sensen/War of the Dead
|Another game where the cover art makes it look 1000% cooler than it really is.
|Before you judge, please remember that graphics aren't everything.
|The entire game looks exactly like this screen shot.
Kaizou Chounin Shubibinman
|Hey kid! Behind you!
P-47: The Freedom Fighter
A port of a Jaleco arcade game, released by Pack-in-Video on the PC Engine. P-47 is about the most uninspired, generic shoot-em-up you could imagine.
What's next on the schedule? Let's see... oh, yes! It's Chrontendo 45. And then, we will probably move on to Chronsega 8, which will see some major changes to that series.
Until then, don't forget to check out Chronturbo 3 at Archive or Youtube!