When you think about expensive Super Famicom games, you probably think of the likes of Rendering Ranger: R2, Umihara Kawase, etc. You're probably not thinking about Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban, but it is, in fact, one of the most expensive SFC games available. There are currently three copies on eBay, with the cheapest being $153. What the heck is this game all about? I'm glad you asked. Let's take a closer look at this obscure oddity The bad news is... a dark force has come to take over Earth The good news is... a Lord and Prince are here to save the day The REALLY bad news is... they are both STUPID! [AI YAH! -Ed.]
I remember back in the day when EGM issue #66 came out, January 1995, there was a half page preview on a weird looking action game for the Super Famicom. It struck my fancy and it was just something that never left me. Finally, nearly 16 years later, I got a chance to play Tonosama. To me, one of gaming's greatest pleasures is crossing Game X off the X Year Curiosity list. There's something really cool about finally playing that game you had studied a half page preview on some 15+ years ago. Games which you thought back then you would never ever EVER play. Such is the advantage of being older, having more resources and know-how. It seemed like a silly game from EGM's description, and boy were they spot on. Tonosama is one funky little strange game!
THE STORY GOES...
In video games, peace never lasts too long... [Same with life -Ed.]
Be careful what you wish for -- you just might get it all!
And here's where things start to get a "little" bit weird...
"B-b-but it's almost time for IRON CHEF!"
And the wacky adventure begins -- OFF WE GO!
Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban is a one or two player overhead action game. It's filled with little cultural items and oddities throughout, and the two "heroes" you can play as certainly are not your average video game good guys, so to speak. In fact their names are Baka-dono, which means Lord Stupid, and Baka-ouji, which means Prince Stupid. I'm not making this up. This comes from the actual game translation believe it or not. It gives you a good idea of the slapstick value heading into this game
Mario and Luigi they are not!
Lord Stupid and Prince Stupid play differently. Fanboy has a close range attack while the Prince's roses act as projectiles. In a two player game, it's nice to have the Prince attacking from afar with Baka-dono striking up front. Unfortunately, there is a bit of slowdown, even in the one player game as the screen can get fairly hectic from time to time with all the enemy sprites rushing in and out. These two also have some special moves you can work out. I personally prefer Baka-dono
The Prince is a better jumper than Baka-dono by the way
I'll explain TGR in a bit
As always, save your bombs for the big bosses
See the yellow % at the bottom there and the 20% icon on the bridge? That's your TGR. When you press 'X' you transform to your father's muscle bound ways. Every hit you take or deliver drops your %. Once it hits 0 you go back to being Baka-dono or Baka-ouji, d'oh. Slain enemies may leave behind food, scrolls (magic) or TGR points. The fathers are VERY strong. Another good thing is, as the father, your own health never decreases, only the % points. It's funky, but it sure is fun!
Nothing better than seeing lots of % icons once you've transformed
PICK YOUR NOS -- STAGE, GOOD SIR!
Tonosama allows you to select which stage you want to tackle first and next. I always like games that allow you to pick and choose. It always takes me back to Mega Man 2, and I just like the player-friendly option! You can start off with the final boss blue triangle first, but if so, you'll have to run the gauntlet of the purple triangle bosses, with NO scrolls or TGR, mind! So I really do not recommend tackling the blue triangle first. Plus, with the cool and crazy locales, you don't want to miss a thing!
Call me Boss again, toots [Oh this is going downhill fast -Ed.]
STAGE ONE - DAY OF THE LIVING FAT
That big guy there is sort of a mini-boss. His little cronies will try to bum rush you. Later on Baka-dono comes face to face with some angry swordsmen
Your first mid-boss encounter (of many) occurs on this cool little red bridge. Baka-dono then calls on his father for some needed assistance
Ye standard semi-tricky jumping bits are ever present in Tonosama. As you make your way through this deadly dojo, sumo wrestlers parade around trying to slap you down!
And here is your very first boss fight -- a ref and two grandmaster sumo wrestlers! It's your lucky day -- you get to maim three for the price of one. Watch out for their rolling attacks and make sure you take out the annoying referee who cowardly stays back, tossing projectiles at ya
I'm having an E. Honda and Samurai Shodown NIPPON! flashback!
STAGE TWO - THE CURSED VILLAGE
This is one of my favorite stages in Tonosama, just because it has a creepy, ominous feel to it all. Things look so bleak and depressing! Along the way you'll be ambushed by jumping monkeys, ravenous crows and sprinting, shuriken-throwing ninja demons
Be patient with this waterfall boulders-falling-down bit. Can get a little tight there toward the end. Near the end of the stage you'll run into some zombies -- the coolest regular enemy in the game for my money. I love the way they stagger about, and when you kill them, they'll burn up for a couple seconds before biting the dust! It's simply a great enemy design and adds to the foreboding atmosphere of this groovy little stage
This demon dude is a total bad-ass. Aim for his face!
Disgusting... a bit reminiscent of Jason Vorhees, eh?
[I'm baffled. This game is weirder than EVEN YOU! -Ed.]
STAGE THREE - FREE MILLY
What can I say... the enemy roster goes from weird to weirder. I love that water bit even though the dashing baldies can be fairly frustrating. It's just a beautiful little bit and one of the more memorable moments in the game
Careful you don't slip and drown! Poor Baka-dono doesn't know how to swim (nor does his father, for that matter). Thankfully you just lose a little health and not a life. Mr. Fatso there serves as the mid-boss of this level. He swings and chucks some sort of slingshot
Next up you come to this little beach area where vicious spear-tossing madmen (!) do their damnedest to make sure you don't advance any further. Then, you shall find three of them stabbing an innocent dolphin that's been washed ashore! It's sick and perverted yet makes you say, "Wow, that was totally cool!" Kill the savages and rescue the dolphin. Free Milly!
Milly the dolphin thanks you and gives you a ride to Ganryuujima Island. When necessary, jump from one dolphin friend to the next. It's your standard force-scrolling section in nearly every action game. I really like this one, though. It's actually kind of fun and more than just tolerable while you wait for the next regular action bit to present itself
After you reach the island, you make your way through this creepy cave. The zombies return from the Cursed Village, and after crossing that bridge, you come face to face with a most peculiar... ALIEN!? Sure looks like it... but what's an alien doing there blocking the bridge passage? Bizarre, but deliciously imaginative and thought-provoking!
This boss is pretty tough. Use your magic or TGR
Don't be a hero Baka-dono! Use that last magic attack!
Now we can make our way to the blue triangle, Baka-dono!
You can pick from two, I'll show the first one
Just copy the Zangief dude (wearing bunny ears?!) and you'll win!
It helps to either have a Super Famicom controller (to know which color button is which) or to do a quick Google image search. Your reward is increased TGR beyond even 100%!
[Dunno why but I could go for some HVG Tea now... -Ed.]
In all seriousness folks, I love this boss. It's a fun, simple fight and he just looks like a hoot to pound and punch at! But he is not the final boss of the game, just of this first zone. After defeating him, you'll be transported to the next area where more levels await. Just when you thought things were already bizarre enough, prepare for more wacky strangeness that only the Japanese can seem to muster!
[What program am I watching here?! -Ed.]
TO THE SECOND ZONE!
Let's hit up China first...
STAGE FIVE - MR. VAMPIRE
YES! You get to kill, believe it or not, Chinese Hopping Vampires! Oh goodness, when I first saw them buggers hopping about, I nearly fell out of my chair in disbelief. Anyone who ever saw the 1985 classic MR. VAMPIRE will surely appreciate this. It's touches like this that help make Tonosama something that will stick in your memory vault for a long time to come. Later, there's a semi-tricky jumping spot to work out
That mid-boss dude is TOUGH, believe that. After defeating him, the stones give way, falling to the abyss below. Don't just stand there looking aloof -- get a move on it!
Transformed into your dead, overly muscular father, a mad flock of hopping vampires and mutant locusts quickly come your way. Now if THAT sentence doesn't perfectly sum up the weirdness and awesomeness of Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban, I don't know what will! A little later on you'll even run into some Bruce Lee wannabe's! Is this great or what?!
You even face off against giant turtles (Gamera, anyone?) and bamboo-shooting pandas! Killing giant panda bears and spazzy Bruce Lee clones left and right? I AM SO THERE!
Baka-dono: It ain't QUITE midnight yet, playa!
Although, midnight's getting awfully close!
Tough bastard. Thanks Baka-dono. Time to switch over to Baka-ouji
STAGE SIX - OPERATION DUMBO DEATH
This might be the most bizarre moment in the entire game. As the little boat carries you along, creepy ladies fly across the screen and some yoga dude is zapping away nonstop. To boot, yes, you can kill the chickens! Very weird but very fun stuff. After reaching land, you'll find a bevy of those yoga laser spewing henchmen. Careful they don't turn on you!
Some half-naked dudes start bouncing your way. Later you come to what appears to be the Taj Mahal with wild bulls and curry plate-chucking (!) Indians. Ah, I wonder what the game designers were smoking when they sat down to make this game?
This is my second favorite mid-boss in the game. Love this guy
You bad guy. Me good guy. We fight, right...
[At this point, NOTHING in this game shocks me -Ed.]
That's one nasty looking elephant trunk!
The caretaker will try to whip you, but focus on killing the elephant. Doing so takes out Indian boy as well. Tonosama'sbosses flash just like bosses used to in the good old days
I'm a big fan of boss fights where you battle both animal and owner
The elephant explodes (yes) and the caretaker is severely humbled!
[Uh, no comment. Let us just move on, then... -Ed.]
STAGE SEVEN - DOWN WITH THE KING!
Here you'll be attacked from all sides by fencers and, yes, what looks to be broom-riding witches and cherubi. I mean really, why not? Did you expect anything less, at this point?
This mini-boss thinks he's all rough and tough, but once you rid of his external, you'll find a rather limp and sorry guy on the inside. Not so big and bad now, are we?
He's literally red with embarrassment [Pack yer things -Ed.]
Hmmm, who knows. First Dhalsim, now this. Hmmmm....
This dining hall is absolutely loaded with goodies! However, in the room above, just like in pretty much every RPG, beware of treasure chests masquerading as the real McCoy...
Baka-ouji: Uh oh, I get a bad feeling they don't wanna be friends!
Nice try, Prince Stupid! Points for effort
Great job, you've pissed him off now!
"ONLY CAUSE I KNOWS HOW TO BACK IT UP!"
Let's see what you're made of, Prince!
STAGE EIGHT - ABRA KADABRA
Never underestimate your opponent I've come to learn. NEVER
Abra deals out a lot of fiery attacks, but the only way to harm him is to send that drum back at him. It will take 12 hits to kill him. Be patient while you wait for the drum cans and dodge all the various fire tricks he dishes out
The Fire Dragon is relentless and follows you for a bit
Does this remind anyone else of Metal Slug? [Me! -Ed.]
LONG LIVE THE PRINCE! *clap clap clap*
Are you ready? THIS IS IT!
STAGE NINE - MAYHEM ON MARS
SWING HARD ALWAYS, 'coz never know when you might hit it!
You get to kill astronauts on Mars. I know. Never was there a finer seven-word sentence in all of mankind than that. Later, you encounter aliens IN LOVE (!?!!?) and rabbits scurrying around with hammers. The reason for the latter is the Japanese believe, apparently, that sometimes you can see a rabbit and a hammer in the moon. Go figure!
This is just an awesome mid-boss fight. It attacks with its eyes and even its head which is detachable from its body! Your goal is to permanently detach it, and what a fun ole time you'll have as you weaken this abomination and see it flash more and more red by the strikes. Ahhh, the simple pleasures of taking down a gruesome boss
[Indeed, the world needs more TGIF... Tanners, Urkel... *sniff* -Ed.]
Take the teleporter to this space station-like area. You can see Earth down below
Another deadly mid-boss. Go and stay behind it if you want to cheat and save your life
THE FINAL BOSS!
He's a really tough bastard, the git!
Me thinks he might be overcompensating for something....
NO FEAR! FIGHT TO THE BITTER END! MAKE HIM FLASH RED!
STAGE TEN - THE ALIEN ASSAULT
OK I fibbed. Here's the final boss. And a dandy one it is, too!
The epic final battle with the world's fate is about to begin...
It's always effective, trust me, even against hostile aliens!
This will separate the boys from the men, believe that!
Ooh, check out 'em spooky eyes! [I'm not against flashing... -Ed.]
Jump and pray is the best way to avoid this assault!
He starts teleporting as he weakens... you're almost there!
A very cool and satisfying moment indeed
Ah, the Alien perishes and what we have left here is actually, according to the in-game text, a monkey!
Sure as heck doesn't look like a monkey but hey, what do I know?
Don't worry, the Earth folks are the friendliest bunch around...
Escorting the monkey, the two of you are magically whisked off back to planet Earth. You have saved the entire universe from a dreadful fate and also have handed over the single most precious discovery in the history of civilization. Congratulations, Baka!
Man, who knew Baka-dono and Baka-ouji had it in them, eh!
A fittingly odd photograph to end a wildly odd game!
Tonosama features a healthy heap of boss flashing and excessive explosions galore. Watch in sheer joy as mid bosses and end level guardians flash red and white alike! There's a certain TMNT II: The Arcade Game nostalgic feeling about seeing big bosses flash red as they weaken, and the more they suffer damage, the more they blink... until at long last... KA-BOOM! I always think of my ol' pal Rocksteady whenever I see bosses flashing. There's something real pure and 1990 about it, and Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban definitely conjures memories of days gone by! Also, when you are transformed into your muscular father, every punch dealt causes the screen to erupt in a massive explosion. It doesn't take much for the screen to start resembling something you would see on the 4th of July! It's all very over-the-top campy fun, and as you can easily tell, the game doesn't take itself seriously. Tonosama never set out to be the definitive game of the action genre, but it does bring with it a most welcomed breath of fresh air
You know what else, and this might just be me, but other than the very obvious choice of Pocky & Rocky, you know what games Tonosama remind me of? Prikura Daisakusen and Psychic Assassin Taromaru. Prikura is an isometric shooter with smart bombs, huge flashing bosses, a funky, crazy atmosphere and also an option to turn into a big steroid-pumped protagonist. Tonosama also produces shades of Taromaru for me in the sense that both games feature an impressive amount of (mid/mini) bosses, a very distinctively peculiar atmosphere (though Taromaru is more on the creepy side for sure) and some of the bosses from Tonosama simply remind me of some of the bosses from Taromaru. But again, maybe that's just me. Oh and don't forget both games go for a pretty penny. To me, Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban is a weird but delectable mixture of Pocky & Rocky,Prikura Daisakusen, Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru and Cho Aniki
I've played a few strange games in my career. Some were good while others relied more on gimmick to get by and leave an impression. Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban might be the weirdest game I have ever played, and as it turns out, it's much more than a mere gimmick. Not only does the bizarreness of it all hook you in -- you can't help but want to see what outlandish enemies lie just around the corner -- but the game itself is actually quite fun to work your way through. There's more to Tonosama than a coat of weirdness. Behind the eclectic exterior lies a rock solid action game. It's made even better with the two player mode where you and a friend can really complement each other with Baka-dono's close combat skills and Baka-ouji's "mastery" of long distance warfare. Yes, there are bits of slowdown here and there; sometimes there's just too much going on at once, but nothing too crippling. If you're like me, you'll be too busy anyway laughing and shaking your head at all the on-screen silliness rather than denouncing the game for its semi-periodic slowdown. The slowdown never really costs you much, either. The game's on the easy side, with plenty of lives and continues, so you'll always wear a (twisted) smile playing this one
The game's soundtrack fits it nicely, with themes appropriate to each unique world. I really liked the sound effects, too. Adds to the charm of the game, of which it has plenty. The graphics are the weakest part of the game; they're not quite up to early 1995 SNES standards. Still, the game has plenty of cool looking enemies for you to slay along the way. What draws you in though is the game's personality and its insanely self-deprecating lunacy. And that is ALSO exactly what will bring you back to it again and again. It's not a classic, it never set out to be the very best action game on your Super Nintendo, but it succeeds at being a highly memorable, offbeat and highly playable two-player action romp of mega-weird proportions. I mean, where else can you kill hopping vampires, astronauts on Mars, giant bamboo-eating panda bears, rotting zombies, aliens, ninjas, knights and Bruce Lee wannabe's while transforming into a large steroid-injected muscle maniac who JUST happens to be the spirit of your deceased father? There's only one, folks, and its name is Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban. It's not $150 good, and it's not as good as Pocky & Rocky, but it's a uniquely solid game that true diehard SNES fans will want to play!
Graphics: 7 Sound: 8.5 Gameplay: 8 Longevity: 7
With its many bizarre locales and enemies, Tonosama leaves a lasting impression!