Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Diary Entry #40: Famicom-to-NES Pin Converter = Instant New Game Collection

             Years ago, I bought a cheap, nondescript Famicom to NES pin converter. For some reason, the actual unit doesn't have enough space between the plastic casing and the pins to fit into a front loading NES. I'm not even sure if it's compatible with a NTSC NES, but with my recent acquisition of a top-loading Nintendo, which both fits the converter and has no lockout chip, I now have access to the massive Famicom library. This post will cover my great albeit small Famicom collection.

             Before I even got the converter, I bought a nice boxed copy of Takeshi no Chosenjou for a little under ten dollars. While the game's impossible to play without a walkthrough, I still adore it's aesthetic: forcing the player to intentionally lose in Pachinko, divorce their wife, quit their job, beat up the elderly, get drunk, and so on all in one action-adventure. Forget claims of Suda51 being punk and Hideo Kojima being post-modern, Beat Takeshi and Taito's 1986 classic is more punk and post-modern than you'll ever be.

             Click to enlarge the cute character designs from the manual. I'm a big fan of whatever that ape man thing is next to the skeleton. 

             I'm a huge fan of the original Fist of the North Star anime, so when I discovered Hokuto no Ken 3 was a Dragon Quest clone that re-tells the the entire series, I quickly snatched it up. For years I was unable to figure out how to proceed due to the language barrier until I discovered a Thai gaming site posted a walkthrough on Facebook. Despite having to put the entire text through a translator, it was more than enough for me to get through the entire game. 

My final rating: B+

Final objective rating: F-

It's an awful game with absolutely no effort put into its design, yet fans of the series will definitely get a kick out of it.

             Paris-Dakar Rally Special is an incredibly dumb game that quickly grows on you. It's got adventure, platforming, shooting, swimming, and rafting, something that few racing titles will ever have. The game's not particularly well made, but who cares? For a stupid good time, grab it.

             I heard that Youkai Club was a Castlevania clone, and with the under five dollar eBay price, who can say no? It's got some booty hit detection and jump mechanics that surprisingly don't ruin the game. I'm inclined to say it's hard to hate any horror-themed NES game, although I'm not a fan of Werewolf: The Last Warrior or Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. Perhaps I'll play Werewolf tomorrow.

             Dragon Buster II is a straight-up clone of the AD&D Intellivision game. Like in that title, you wander around dungeons with corridors that only become visible as you explore them, enemies can be heard before you get to the rooms, and arrows are a limited commodity that must be collected. The world map even borrows the graphic designs of the original. Regardless, Dragon Buster II is almost as great as its inspiration. My friend Justin played this for nearly two hours before we cut him off.


             A game that's always piqued my interest, Famicom Jump is an earlyish action-RPG that remixes the traditional JRPG elements into something fresh and fun. Various anime characters can be added to your "party", which disappears whenever you get into battle. Whichever party member you select as your leader goes into battle alone against two or three enemies, although there are frequent one-on-one boss battles. Need to play more of this for sure.


             Oops! Evidently the back of this cartridge is far more interesting than the front. One of Jaleco's sumo wrestling games. It's a button-masher to the bone, and while there's not too much depth, it's got a lot of spunk. I'm always looking for spunk in my Famicom games.

             This game rules! Jaleco Wrestling Game I Haven't Looked Up The Title For is a classic, outclassing every 2D NES/Game Boy/Super NES wrestling title I've ever played. Fire Pro Wrestling X or whatever for SNES is probably better, but it doesn't have an adorable chibi Abdullah the Butcher elbow-dropping fools all over the place. Accept no imitators, get this game!

             I've come across Challenger before on a bootleg plug-and-play. I didn't really know the full history though: it was initially intended to be a port of Hudson's ZX Spectrum classic Stop the Express and quickly turned into a whole other beast. The initial level is faithful to the Spectrum original, but then the game goes into a large Zelda-esque map. You go into caves and jump on geysers to collect keys before being booted back to the overworld. Pretty basic for a REAL-TIME ACTION ADVENTURE as the game's opening screen boasts, but it's a ton of fun.

             My last Famicom game is probably my worst. A weird platformer where you have to control two characters at once, it's as strange and cumbersome as it sounds. To make matters worse, there's no clear objectives, with random items popping out of nowhere and most trails leading to dead ends. It's probably one of the hardest games I now own for all the wrong reasons, which is still pretty awesome. 

             In addition to these, I've been on a huge PC gaming kick. I've played the original Pajama Sam trilogy, which I might discuss on my next post. Another great game is Orion Burger, made by some strange German people who managed to get some top-tier voice actors. Most importantly, I played through Shingen the Ruler, perhaps Hot B's finest hour. Right now, I'm going to head back to Sherlock Holmes vs. some guy named Lupin. All will be revealed in due time!

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