Written: 12.1.12 Acquired: 7.10.10 Status: Cart only Price: $45
This franchise, known as Shockman in the US, had a one-off entry for the 16-bit SNES. Sadly, it never came out officially. It was released only through the Satellaview in Japan. But now thanks to time and technology, a couple of years back I was able to get this on an actual cart. Some call it Schbibinman or Tyoujin... not Choujin. However you wanna spell the title, what matters here is the game itself. And thankfully, Kaizou offers more than enough to make itself noteworthy Mega Man meets Mario meets Street Fighter?! Well, sort of...
EGM INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK -- GOOD LOOKING OUT!
Back in the day, EGM had a sweet import section they called International Outlook. Each month they would highlight a select small handful of Japanese games. It was in issue #61 that I first found out about this game... way back in summer of 1994. Right away I was intrigued and really wanted to play it badly. I figured it would only be a matter of time before it came out to the USA. Sadly, that never happened. Time went on and I forgot all about it. Fast forward to January 2006... I got back into all things SNES and did so with a vengeance. Buying games left and right, crossing want after want off the ole, er, want list... and basically reclaiming bits and pieces of my childhood. I remember searching for Shubibinman on the SFC scene... seeing whether or not it slipped under the radar. Imagine my horror when I realized it never came out. But thank God for repros, eh? It's a great opportunity for us to play the 'lost titles' of our youth! Nothing's sweeter!
Repros have opened a whole 'notha portal for diehard gaming fans
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
Perhaps the coolest thing about Kaizou is that it is a 2-player game. And unlike most other 16-bit 2-player games, this one added in a little twist. You can pull off techniques that you cannot otherwise do when playing alone. Our heroes, Raita and Azuki, can charge up for a super blast. If one of them hits the other with their super blast, then that gives the other player a split second to launch an all-out attack of epic melee proportions. It's quite awesome if ya ask me! Best of all, the charging only takes about a second, much less than, say, Mega Man. How nice! Raita channels Street Fighter while Azuki channels STAR WARS!
Raita's super special sends him screaming across. Is that Sonic?!
Azuki unleashes a barrage of deadly energy orbs. Sick!
I would have loved to seen this as an actual stage in the game, but sadly it is only used as a set piece for the intro
Those Power Rangers lookin' putties are the main line of defense
There is quite a bit of platforming to do which gives the game a nice mix between a platformer and a good ole beat 'em up. Lots of tiers for you to jump up on, or down off. NCS did an excellent job splicing these two genres because neither aspects ever feel out of place. The putty variant with the gun presents much more of a challenge and later stages like this one even have obstacles in the playing field. At times it almost feels like you're playing Super Mario Bros. with a little Mega Man and even Street Fighter thrown in!
"Hey buddy, you uh... you compensating for something there?"
I really enjoy the different bosses this game throws your way. Some are just people, like you'd see in a beat 'em up, while others are massive mechanical monstrosities, like you'd find in a platformer. It all goes back to NCS mixing in the two classic genres seamlessly. The strange and compelling octopus with snakes for tentacles boss fight comes to mind. Jumping from different platforms, avoiding the snakes' red bullets and pounding in the octopus' head is nothing short of sweet and satisfying
What also makes Kaizou so cool is its funky Japanese wackiness
The stages are somewhat short and there are only about 8 of them, but they vary in locale and look. MostBS games didn't have the most elaborate of graphics and it's the same case here. However, I do simply love the SNES look of most of its games. It's bright, cheery, and colorful enough to present me with a real gaming world, yet not so souped up that it destroys the illusion of playing a video game
I rather have good graphics and great gameplay than vice versa
You start out with four life bars and four continues. As you progress, you can level up and gain more life bars. The game also starts out in the city, before going underground and then finally to outer space. It's all quite a wild and fun-filled ride. It's not too difficult and can be beaten in well under an hour. But hey, not every game needs to be super long. Games like this, that only require 45 minutes or so, are a great break from the RPG norm. The SNES did it best, for my money! Gaming at its best, for me
This vile, repulsive boss would have made Konami mighty proud
OBSCURED AND LEFT FOR DEAD IN THE SHADOWS...
It's a shame this game was never released to US shores back in '94. Today, not too many people know about it... except for the most diehard of fans. It's not a blockbuster title or anything, but it is most certainly a fun addition to any Super Nintendo fan's library. Scenes like this only point to the oddity and charm of the game. I love all the different tiers you can navigate through, and the putty looking bad guys are endearing in their own right. I love charging up for Raita's HADOKEN-esque blast, letting it rip and seeing the baddies fly back in dramatic slow motion (the game does that on purpose for dramatic affect). Unfortunately, the game does slow down in the 2-player mode during some of the more intense portions, but who cares when it's so much fun? And not to knock on the "new" Super NES game being released in 2013, Nightmare Busters, but Kaizou is, in my opinion, an infinitely superior game, in all aspects. It's too bad this one isn't coming out officially anytime soon, if ever. Luckily, savvy fans don't have to sit idly by ;)
With its fun gameplay and bizarre sights, Kaizou is a winner. It never wears out its welcome and I find myself coming back to it randomly for the odd go-through. Everytime I have a blast. There's something simple and very charming about it that I really enjoy. The boss fights are varied, too. One boss launches needle rockets at varying heights, and you have to ascend to the top in order to knock some health off. Being able to duck, run and jump at will with no control issues is part of what makes it so fun. Another boss fight has you dodging explosions while hitching rides on precarious floating balloons. It's not all mindless button mashing. The platforming aspect of Kaizou really suits it well and makes it a cut above the norm, since there is some actual thinking and plotting to be done here! Oh shit... sorry, Raita. This is gonna sting you JUST a little bit...
Kaizou has a uniquely enticing blend. There's some Mario spliced in with a little Mega Man, some Street Fighter, even some Castlevania. It's all mixed in with a spot of humor (i.e. see the Super Aniki background which refers to NCS' Choaniki series) and some rockin' tunes, not unlike what you might hear from a Mega Man title. I highly recommend this game to all SNES fans. It's obscure, it's fun, it's wacky and it's a blast with 2. It's a true shame when drivel like Rise of the Robots (gimme Rise of the Raita instead!) gets put out and fun little games like this are lost to time and politics. Thankfully though, technology allows us to restore and experience otherwise lost gems. While Kaizou isn't a OMG-you-gotta-drop-everything-and-play-this-now!! kind of game, it is definitely one Super NES fans will want to seek out if they never have before. It's not perfect, but it's the perfect kind of game to play when you're hankering to get back to the basics. BS Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero, or however you want to spell it, is a quality 2-player affair
Graphics: 7 Sound: 8 Gameplay: 7.5 Longevity: 6.5
Like the idea of playing Mega Man in a Mario game? TA-DAAA!
When you think of all the great 3rd party developers that worked for the SNES, Konami... Capcom... and Squaresoft often come up. NCS was an underrated firm that made some of my favorite games. NCS held its own with some of the most fun games most Super Nintendo fans have never played or heard of...
And of course, the gem I covered last year which opened up a lot of eyes and I must say, not one person who played it told me that they didn't like it. Everyone who tried it only had great things to report. NCS knew how to make quality Super NES games!