Written: 11.12.06 Acquired: 10.3.06 Status: Cart only Price: $20
It is true that "chain" can be hard. INTEC knew this because they didn't stray far away from a much tried-and-true formula. If you cross female ninja's with Bomberman... this is the game you'd get
But, is it any good?
HOW TO PLAY
Instead of bombs you drop spiked capsules
2 seconds later, the capsule shatters, releasing 4 shurikens; North-South-West-East (if not blocked by an obstacle)
OK, so it's pretty much like Bomberman's bombs right? Not so fast....
If a shuriken connects, it stuns the player for 2 seconds, but they're not yet eliminated
ONLY during a stunned state can the chain attack finish 'em off
"Y" for chain, "B" for laying spikes
So it's a little different, not much, but it is. Gone are the sad "Dangit I accidentally killed myself in the 1st three seconds" syndrome. Plus, the chain attack is ace. It can be manipulated to curve around corners and, when prolonged, is quite an amazing sight not to mention really fun to control. More on this later...
PLAYING BY YOURSELF IS NO FUN...
The 1st world was very ho-hum and left a rather negative taste in my mouth. It was just... bland
I forced myself through, hoping things would pick up a bit. And it did at the 1st boss
Shurikens hitting it does no damage. You have to first connect with the shuriken(s) and THEN send the chain ball at it. For regular enemies, shuriken is enough. For the tougher regulars, the ole shuriken-chain combo is called for
.... YES IT IS... SORTA
World 2 was a lot more interesting with more puzzles to solve instead of just laying spike capsules and high-tailing it. They're not yet mind-bending but it's still early. Here is the first "puzzle" you'll encounter:
To beat a stage you must clear every bad guy. Here, 3 unbreakable blocks halt your progress
Use your chain to pull 'em out 1 at a time
Now with 1 block left, you're able to push through it and unleash ARMAGEDDON
Like I said, not taxing but a lot more satisfying than the wide open. Later on, with teleports coming into play, the puzzles get rather perplexing
The next snow stage is very nice. I love little details like that creepy, possessed-looking volcano face launching fireballs without mercy... awesome. Watch the shadows of these on-coming flame balls and ski-daddle!
By the way, the volcano baddie reminds me of GAROKK from X-Men fame... in his rocky prison form
THE BIGGER THEY ARE...
... the harder you fall! The haunted theme is the best. Contend with bats, vampires, ghoulish skeletons and super quick wolf-men. Check out this 2 by 2 screen level!
Feeling quite satisfied with the 1-player mode now, which went from meh to hey that's not-so-bad, the 4-player battle mode is the meat of any Bomberman clone. The 1-player mode was never anything more than a bonus, a frill, a silk hankerchief in the breastpocket of the game's velvet regalia
Power-up's are always important to these games. Otoboke has some of the coolest you'll find anywhere. A list of some:
Drop more spiked capsules at a time
Spiked capsules made invisible when dropped
Spiked capsules exploding after 1 second rather than 2
Chain can PUSH spiked capsules around (very very evil powerup!)
Chain can break blocks, not just your shurikens
Etc. Everyone starts with a full-screen chain and shurikens which also travel the full length of the screen, not to mention the ability to drop two spiked capsules right off the bat. This makes it a bit more chaotic than Bomberman from the get-go at least
The powerup's are important but the battle zones make or break a game of this nature. So let's get right to it
Your standard 1st stage. The snowmen are unbreakable and can be used defensively as shurikens cut through them not. The snowmen are pushable and your chain can pull them toward you. All but two battle zones have these movable barriers in some shape or form
Each player has their own island waiting to be raided. The cool thing here is, unless you use the bridge points, chains cannot stretch across islands, eliminating "cheap kills." The Super Famicom barriers are a nice touch as well
What would a game of this nature be without a roof/tunnel stage? Can you locate the green player? Not here you can, since she is taking shelter under one of the roof tops. This stage is full of Japanese culture -- from the roofing style to the TANUKI statues
What else more could make it complete? Of course, the stage with multiple exit points. The green player enjoys a blend-in advantage (see far right)
The green bars restrict certain movement
#6 is unique because all spike capsules dropped are invisible! Note the return of the Tanuki. The green pool is aesthetically pleasing in a mystical, mythical fashion
It's the super power war zone. Each player begins with 5 spikes and there are no obstacles! Only the strongest will survive here!
(You can't fall through, by the way)
On 1st glance you wouldn't know the gimmick for #8. However, play for a bit and arrows are soon revealed. Directs where shurikens travel? Nope. Directs where your CHAIN can go. A nice variation on top of a nice variation. The Super Famicom barriers return
TAKE A SPIKE, PAL
When the clock runs down to 30 seconds, spikes crop up. If touched, you're stunned a la shurikens. Also, you lose if you fall through the holes
THE TIMES.... THEY'RE A'CHAINING....
Check out some of the gnarly things you can do with that ole chain ball...
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?
Nothing is quite as sweet as lurking about the screen, waiting for others to do the dirty work. And when you find a dazed opponent, sending the chain ball twisting and curving some twenty feet away... makes for great enemies and Ooooh-I'll-get-you-next-round! battles!
The feeling of surviving by the skin of your teeth as the chain comes your way JUST as you recover from your slumber is equally a great high, and on the flipside, morally deflating
CAN I GET FRIES WITH THAT?
Otoboke lacks the finishing touches and isn't nearly as customizable as the Bombermen games. There's no option for CPU AI -- the default is quite laughably horrible. There's no tag team option. Thankfully the rest is status quo -- pick between 2-4 players (from a character choice of four females), 1-5 wins and one of the any eight colosseums
WAITER, THIS SODA'S A LITTLE FLAT
Some negative marks:
Graphically weaker than the SNES Bomberman games, which were no visual tour-de-force's themselves. The music can get annoying at times. Control is a bit "stickier" than the BM games (due to, well, see below)
And my biggest grip: you can't readjust your position when "waiting." You know how you drop a bomb in BM, go hide in a safe corner and can face NSWE to ready yourself for your next movement? Here if you go in facing east, you can't turn west without moving out of your safe position. Maybe hard to understand in text, but you'll see what I mean if you play it. This forces you to have greater wherewithall to compensate for a flaw that shouldn't be there in the 1st place
I like Spark World quite a bit, but it was a blatantly shameless clone. At least Otoboke tried to be a little different, and as such, is a more commendable effort
Despite the bad marks listed above, I like Otoboke Ninja Colosseum very much. Obviously it's NAGA (not as good as) Bomberman, but hey -- what is?