Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Pub + Dev: Konami | December 1991 | 8 MEGS
Pub and Dev: Konami | December 1991 | 8 MEGS

In the early days of the Super Nintendo, games like Super Mario World, F-Zero, ActRaiser, Final Fantasy II and Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts help set the foundation for what would be one epic gaming library. Such a list would be incomplete without citing Super Castlevania IV. Its intensely atmospheric levels, striking music and satisfying gameplay etched an indelible mark on all those who have played it. Nearly 25 years since its release, it still resonates with gamers all over the world to this very day. That speaks volumes to the game’s greatness.

And now, with Halloween nearly upon us, let’s look back at the game that was, is and forever will be one of the cornerstones of the SNES library.


Heads are gonna roll...
Heads are gonna roll…

Confession time: I never played this game back in the day sans a quick go or two at a friend’s house. Yup. The ghoulish feel definitely did appeal to me, but my tastes back then were quite different (I enjoyed playing mostly the ‘underdog’ titles) and of course, my bro pretty much made all the buying decisions as well as 90% of the renting choices. He was an RPG buff and 2-player guy, so with this being 1-player, we never bothered to rent it. As I returned to my old SNES roots in January of 2006, this game was right at the top of my list to buy and beat. What a sweet opportunity at gaming redemption it was. I got my copy on April 8, 2006. Driving home on the freeway, windows rolled down, the radio blaring, I couldn’t wait to finally right a 15 year wrong. Later that night I began my journey to slay Dracula and his minions of the night. At long last I had quelled my 15 year long folly. And it was bloody sweet.


The classic franchise begins
The classic franchise begins

My brother Kevin and I, as children born of the early ’80s, grew up on a steadfast diet of good ol’ hearty 8-bit Nintendo adventures. When our esteemed fun-loving uncle moved in with us in the mid-late ’80s, life couldn’t have been more swell. My parents rarely bought us Nintendo video games. Rather it was our benevolent Uncle Jimmy who helped us procure much of our 18-game collection, over a 5+ year span of 1986-1991.

Castlevania was a game I’d seen in Nintendo Power Magazine, and one we rented. There was something about the cover art that captivated my imagination. Being a fan of monsters and such, Dracula’s vile mug immediately intrigued me. I wanted badly to be that barbaric chap there on the box, armed with my trusty magical whip and broad sword, thwarting the evils of Dracula and his cronies. Our childhood friend Tommy had a huge NES collection — I’m talking around 100! Nowadays such a collection is not as impressive, but back in ’89 it was mind-blowing (with carts going $50+ a pop). Lucky rich bastard. Anyway, I vividly remember seeing Castlevania in his collection. We’d play it here and there. Never got too far but I enjoyed the atmospheric music and concept very much. As the series grew and evolved, it become a juggernaut of a franchise beloved by countless gamers who are still talking about it and playing its various games to this very day. No doubt Konami hit the jackpot with this one!

1986 for the Japanese version and right, who knew?
1986 for the Japanese version and yeah, who knew?
The most different Castlevania game in the NES trilogy
The most different game of the NES trilogy
Widely regarded by many as one of the very best NES games
Regarded by many as one of the best NES games
#57 on EGM's Top 100 Games List (Issue #100, November 1997)
#57 on EGM’s Top 100 (Issue #100, November 1997)
It was time for a 16-bit rebirth
It was time for a 16-bit rebirth

With the Super Nintendo lying in the wings, it was only inevitable to see a souped up 16-bit version. And sure enough, on Halloween 1991, Dracula was once more unleashed. The game came out stateside a little over a month later. Did it live up to expectations? Only the individual can discern that, but the consensus answer is a RESOUNDING YES.

By the way, did you know that Super Castlevania IV is actually a remake of the original?  It still centers around one, Simon Belmont and the year 1691, just one year prior to the infamous Salem Witch Trials. And now, kick your feet up and make yourself comfortable. Let’s usher in Super Castlevania IV with severed, blood dripping arms…




“Come on, old-timer! Let’s go!”

"Get in here old man! I AIN'T GOT 'TIL JUDGMENT DAY!"
“Get in here old man! I AIN’T GOT ‘TIL JUDGMENT DAY!”


“Thank you.”

“Anything for a fellow pilgrim. We’re all on a quest. Sometimes we need help getting where we want to be.”



“Reverend Jackson P. Sayer of Dumont County. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

"How far you going, Mr. Sayer?"
“How far you going, Mr. Sayer?”


“God’s country… Promise Land. Where are you heading, Mr. uh?”

“… Loomis. Haddonfield.”

"Car trouble?"
“Car trouble?”




"... Sort of..."
“… Sort of…”


"... You're hunting it ain't ya?
“… You’re hunting it ain’t ya?”




"YEAH you're hunting it all right. JUST LIKE ME"
“YEAH you’re hunting it all right. JUST LIKE ME”
"What are you hunting Mr. Sayer?"
“What are you hunting, Mr. Sayer?”
"Apocalypse, End of the World, Armageddon.
“Apocalypse, End of the World, Armageddon.

It’s always got a face and a name.”


“I’ve been hunting the bastard for 30 years, give or take. Come close a time or two.”



“You can’t kill damnation, mister. IT DON’T DIE LIKE A MAN DIES.”

“I know that, Mr. Sayer.”


OH you’re a pilgrim all right! Yeah, I saw it on your face back there in the dust. I saw it clear as breasts and blue suede shoes.”

“You’re sharp, Reverend.”

“Speaking of which, let me tell you a story about a fellow pilgrim of ours; one that my great grandfather used to tell me….

… his name was Simon Belmont…”

Note: Click on the video below as it goes along with the text to follow. However, if you’re reading this on your smart phone, it doesn’t work as clicking on the link takes you to the source.




























“Those fools should have never revived the dark demon! But they did JUST THAT on one foul and malicious night — the night HE CAME HOME!


It doesn’t matter where you go, Mr. Loomis. It can be Dumont County or Haddonfield; evil’s all the same — always got a face and a name. In Transylvania, a small peaceful country out in medieval Europe, there lies a legend that says once every 100 years, when the power of Christ wanes, the forces of evil revive through the prayers of those with wicked hearts. That corrupted evil manifests itself in the form of the one and only, Count DRACULA.


And with each revival, his dark power grows stronger. His goal is to turn all humanity into creatures of darkness, to be ruled under his iron fist. He has appeared in this world many times, and there are many people who fear that in his next appearance, he may well be unstoppable.


There is one group that has always been around to see that Dracula is defeated: the Belmont family. For generations the Belmonts have passed along the secrets and skills of vampire-hunting to the eldest child of the family. While many of the Belmonts have lived peaceful lives without encountering the Duke of Darkness, they remain ever vigilant. There are occasional skirmishes with lesser monsters, but the Belmont clan would always emerge victorious.


100 years have passed since the last battle between Dracula and the Belmonts. Tensions mount as Transylvanians reported mysterious sightings of odd creatures appearing under the cover of darkness. Some folks believed it was an omen while many others were convinced it was nothing more than a mere bout of paranoia. Despite the divided ties, the good citizens remained united and a curfew was invoked for precautionary reasons. Children were encouraged to stay out no later than 5 PM.


With the curfew in full effect, weeks passed without incidence. Then tragedy struck when a farmer slept walked into town at the witching hour. The next morning, shrill screams of horror echoed across the land when only the farmer’s entrails were found lying on the cobbled road by the clock tower. But rather than fleeing, the people banded together in this time of great need. On the night of Easter, a grand carnival was held in town to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.


Meanwhile, on the outskirts of town inside an old abbey, a heathenistic group held a ceremony attempting to revive the Duke of Darkness. As they carried out their ritual, dark thunderclouds descended over the countryside. The sinister group stirred itself into a frenzy of mysterious chanting and pagan dancing when a single thunderbolt struck the abbey. The ground shook violently under their feet as the abbey walls shattered. Once more, the almighty Dracula LIVES!


The time has come for the young successor Simon Belmont to call forth the powers of good to aid him in his battle. Armed with his mystical whip, his courage and the centuries-old knowledge of Belmont family training, he sets forth on his mission. The mist clears… but the battle before Simon Belmont is only beginning…”



Remember the haunting howling of the wolves here? EPIC!


When a problem comes along, you must whip it
When a problem comes along, you must whip it

Simon Belmont indeed knows how to whip it well. Never before have players enjoy this much whipping prowess, as Simon can direct his whip in eight directions. In addition, his new and improved whip can be swung in a circular motion. This whip wave isn’t as powerful as a straight strike, but has its uses and certainly is very pleasing to employ. Also the whip can latch onto anchors and be used as a swing to cross open spaces. Simon can jump better than ever as well. He can also squat and move at the same time allowing him to pass through low ledges. Now you can jump onto stairs by holding up, and jump off them by holding down + jump. These little touches go a long ways to making the game play like the kind of game we have always dreamed of.

"R" to use. No more Up + Attack nonsense. Nice!
“R” to use. No more Up + Attack nonsense. Nice!

The same 5 sub weapons (only one can be carried at a time) from the NES games return. But thanks to Simon’s newfound whip skills, these sub weapons aren’t nearly as critical as before. The stop watch serves its purpose of freezing annoying winged baddies from knocking you off into an abyss f’rinstance, and the boomerang remains a game changer.


On a chilly and ominous night, Simon Belmont begins his quest
You begin your quest on a chilly, ominous night
I thought I saw that skull somewhere...
I thought I saw that skull somewhere…
The roaring classic Castlevania music hits... what a freakin' rush
The classic Castlevania theme hits. What a rush







Once inside, players must contend with savage skeletons and swooping bats. What a memorable romp this is, especially how in the beginning the iron gates rise from the depths of Hell! And of course, the classic Castlevania sound roaring.

Love the whip's versatility
Love the whip’s versatility

Ah, Simon has never been better with the whip. Picking off enemies from a safe distance is utterly satisfying, and you gotta love how their bones go flying every which direction!

You ain't nobody's whipping boy

Letting the whip just hang at your side acts as a shield of sorts from such projectiles. Simply hold on to the attack button. As for the whip wave, move the D-Pad accordingly as you continue holding down the attack button. Works like a dream.

You hafta get up PRETTY DAMN early to fool me... [10 AM? -Ed.]
You hafta get up early to fool me… [10 AM? -Ed.]
[Step on a crack. Break your momma's back! Er, damn you  -Ed.]
Step on a crack. Break your momma’s back!

As Pee Wee once said, some night huh?
As Pee Wee once said, some night huh?







Once inside, you quickly realize this isn’t your average stable… beware the vicious nest of vipers clinging to the ceiling above you. They patiently lie in waiting for unsuspecting fools.

DIE MR. ED!  [Heeey -Ed.]
DIE MR. ED! [Heeey -Ed.]
Told you this wasn’t your average stable! These wretched creatures, oddly dubbed Mr. Hed, float after you often in packs. Sure, we’ve all heard of the Headless Horseman, but this is nuts!







Those damn annoying Medusa Heads are back to wreck havoc and generally shorten your life expectancy, maybe in more ways than one. But thankfully they’re not too bad in this game. Watch out for those loose floorboards!

He's no Skeletor
He’s no Skeletor

Your first boss encounter comes in the form of Rowdain and his “little” pet. I love pet and rider boss fights. You get to kill two for the price of one *evil grin*

There goes his ride
There goes his ride

Time to dance

Rowdain is a very easy boss fight, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. He’ll try to impale you with his evil lance. In many action games from this era, bosses flash white or red when damaged. Here they flash a weird green-red-ish color. He also twitches in pain with every whip shot. Keep your distance or he’ll lunge at you with his lance. It’s a very simple boss fight. Sure, the boss fights are short and of the whip-whip-whip until they’re dead in 15 seconds sort. But it’s still a blast and doesn’t take anything away from the greatness of the game.

Love the heartbeat sound

At the conclusion of each successful boss fight a Magic Crystal (sometimes called the Ball of Light) magically falls from the Heavens. Grab it to restore vitality to 100% and prepare for the next challenge.

1 down, 10 more to go
1 down, 10 more to go








Deep in this dark and twisted forest lies a haunted cemetery where its guests are just DYING for you to stay a while.

Hope you don't hate spiders
Hope you don’t hate spiders
Candlevania, M I RITE?  *crickets*
Candlevania, M I RITE? *crickets*

Whip as many candles as you can. They provide hearts (used to determine the amount you can utilize your sub weapon), replenishment, money, sub weapons and so on. Sure they make the place look festive, but a romantic dinner this ain’t. The only date you got here is the one Drac wishes to carve on your tombstone!

Ate My Neighbors
Remember the grunts they made?
These suckers move alarmingly fast
These suckers move alarmingly fast
The bushmen are one of my faves
The bushmen are one of my faves
They're no match for SF Bushman though
They’re no match for SF Bushman though. R.I.P.







After the forest make your way through a swamp and this subterranean river.


Cross this creaky old bridge and you’ll soon come face to face with the one and only…

... Medusa!
… Medusa!

Boy, if looks could ki — [Don’t even try it mister -Ed.]

Snakes here, snakes there, snakes everywhere
Snakes here, snakes there, snakes everywhere

She’ll lob snakes at you. It’s another easy but cool little boss fight.


Cross this stream after defeating Medusa to pass level two. It’s kind of strange that beating Medusa doesn’t lead you straight into the next level, but I actually kind of like it.


You hear something rustling in the distance...
You hear something rustling in the distance…

Now Simon must venture through this cold, creepy cavern. They say that caves are the unknown wonders of the world. And some believe some caves weren’t meant for man to cross. Such as this one…


A flock of bloodthirsty bats come swooping after you as a giant golem meanders just ahead. The golem is easily my favorite regular bad guy — it’s so much fun to kill him. It never gets old to see him breaking down into smaller versions of himself.

Whipped into shape
Whipped into shape

You see!? He splits into many smaller versions as you whip him like a sorry government mule. It’s always the little things, eh?

Talk about being cut down to size
Talk about being cut down to size
Perfect place to use the whip wave
Perfect place to use the whip wave

Gotta love how this pillar of bones is oddly positioned here. I love when game programmers place baddies in the weirdest spots; it just kind of gives a game a certain pulse to it.

Always fun finding secret rooms
It’s always fun uncovering secret rooms

Keep an eye out for hidden rooms. Whip the blocks and wait in case a top one drops. It’s really cool how these blocks shatter when you whip them.

Like my pops used to say: "Don't question it, just take it!"
Don’t question it, just take it!


It’s one of gaming’s longest and greatest mysteries… why is food like burgers and fine pork chops just lying out in the wide open? Or, as in this case, buried deep within a cave behind some heavy rocks no less. But perhaps it’s just an answer mankind was never meant to know.

Ah, the classic collapsing bridge
Ah, the classic collapsing bridge


Their color change warns you of incoming fire, so get that whip ready.

They apparently failed to attend Kindergarten
They apparently failed to attend Kindergarten
The little water bubbles Simon kicks up is a great touch
The water bubbles Simon kicks up is a nice touch
Mermen defend the moat by spitting streams of poison
They defend the moat by spewing streams of poison
The path now turns upwards as Simon must scale the Tower of Fear
Head north as Simon must scale the Tower of Fear
One (er, two?) of the most memorable bosses from the game
One (er, two?) of the most memorable bosses
Beware the poisonous gas [I got your poisonous gas right here -Ed.]
Beware of the poisonous gas
The cross works very well here
The cross works very well here
One head down, one head to go!
One head down, one head to go!


For some reason I just love that wooden staircase
For some reason I just love that wooden staircase

Dracula’s domain includes many towers and castles. Level four takes travelers to the Outer Keep, a place of unspeakable horrors and wonders. Face multiple bosses and experience some of Super Nintendo’s most graphically brilliant moments!


Watch out for twisted Japanese horror movie-esque monsters popping inexplicably out of the castle walls. What malpractice!

Here even skeletons will reach for you from the cracks in the wall
Skeletons even pop out in the cracks of the wall
The first of two bosses here in Drac's Outer Keep
The first of two bosses here in Drac’s Outer Keep

The peculiarly named Puweyxil is your first test here. A giant skull with a long serpentine tongue filled with acid. Never before has the term “Crackin’ skulls!”
been more appropriate.

Who could ever forget this rotating room of doom?  Better hang on for dear life!

Who could ever forget this rotating room of doom? Better hang on for dear life!

Simon goes on an acid trip
Simon goes on an acid trip

And then you have this spectacular spinning corridor. Ooooh, ahhhh. It still impresses to this day, and I could only imagine how TRULY mind-blowing it must have been to experience this back in December 1991.




Talk about having a rocky day...
Talk about having a rocky day…


Level 5 is a very short romp though one of Dracula’s courtyards. There is no boss to contend with here. It’s merely a race against the clock. Beware of the harpy.

Who said the wave went out of style?
Who said the wave went out of style?
Vintage Vania, baby
Vintage Vania, baby

I love this little scene. It just reminds me so much of the NES Castlevania games. While flashy colors and trippy Mode-7 can be great, this goes to show you how even the most basic colors can be effective to setting an atmospheric tone.







As you gaze up at the statues, you see some form of ill-play has plagued the region. Remaining ever vigilant, you push on ahead, ready for any and all challenges…


You now find yourself in the hallowed halls of one of Drac’s castles. Fine statues and chandeliers decorate the place, but you quickly discover your average hall this ain’t!


Ghastly apparitions haunt these halls
Ghastly apparitions haunt these halls
Love whipping them from below
Love whipping enemies from below

I dig the soft green tiles found within these hallowed halls. The cool thing about the graphics is that they don’t give you the reality of a castle, but rather the impression of one. Video games shouldn’t be about mimicking reality in my view. They’re a form of escapism. And Super Castlevania IV does a great job of that.







Cross spiked-filled gaps by quickly hopping from one narrow block to the next. To make matters more dire, these blocks crack if you stand on them for more than a split second. Make haste!

Life's unfair... for them
So satisfying!

Ahh, one of the simple pleasures of this game: to take a dump while whip waving two lowly skeleton guards into a pile of scrap. If this ain’t fun [and relieving -Ed.] then quite frankly I don’t know what is.







Remember the annoying red resurrecting skeleton from the NES games? He’s baaack!

Don't be a fool, the house always wins
The house always wins

“Well Simon, which hand is the ball in? Come on, I ain’t got all day now. Well actually, I do. But still — come on now!”







If these ghostly dancing partners ever sign up for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, they’re a shoe-in for the title. Simply because they’ve been partners for eternity!

Very clever, Konami. Very clever
Paula Abghoul and Fred Askare. Cute, Konami
Send them back to their sorry graves
Send them back to their sorry graves!


Knights are double tough,
Knights are double tough bastards

Making your way past the hallowed halls and into the library, Simon must deal with all sorts of unholy knights. They require multiple strikes to kill.

Wouldn't it be cool to have a stopwatch in real life?
Be nice to have a stopwatch in real life, eh?

These winged-demons make crossing through this bit rather perilous. If you have the stopwatch sub weapon, now is a perfect time to use it.


Oversized floating books serve as your means of transportation in this slightly tricky bit, thanks mostly to the red resurrecting skeleton standing guard there.

Now that's one creepy looking portrait!
Now that’s one creepy looking portrait!

A chill runs down your spine as you step foot into this ominous hallway. You feel as if you’re being watched, and that one wrong step could be your very last…

Play this on a stormy night with no lights
The perfect Halloween game ^_^

SURPRISE! The spooky woman in the portrait springs to life, holding you hostage in her iron grip. Meanwhile, a flock of ravenous bats come swooping for ya as an unholy knight heaves a bloody ax with your name written on it. Great stuff.

I love bizarre and creepy enemies like the old witch in the portrait there. These type of strange creatures really adds an extra bit of mystery and atmosphere to a game. It makes Super Castlevania IV the perfect game to play on a stormy night with the lights turned off.

The ax sub weapon works well here
The ax sub weapon works well here

YIKES! Check out the size of this sucker. What a nasty bugger.

Be ready to squat, or say hello to the Grim Reaper
Be ready to duck or say hello to the Grim Reaper
Break in case of stupidity
Break in case of stupidity

The guardian of this level is Sir Grakul, a giant knight who was peacefully resting until you came along…

Great entrance. Now it's a duel to the death!
Great entrance. Now it’s a duel to the death!
Compensating, hmmm?
Compensating, hmmm?

Sir Grakul attacks with a giant ax and sword. Though he’s a rather simplistic design and more akin to a level 1 or 2 boss, he’s still a blast to slay. Send him to an eternal slumber.


Drac's dungeons are crawling with venom-filled spiders
Venomous spiders litter Drac’s dungeons
As do deadly spiked platforms
As do deadly spiked platforms
Vicious plantlife sprout up as do skeletons dwelling in the darkness
Skeletons dwell within the darkness







Tricky bit this is! Thank God for an energy bar and no one-hit wonders eh?

Gotta love those 2-for-1 specials
Gotta love those 2-for-1 specials
With the Triple Shot, the Cross makes short work of him
The triple shot cross is almost too unfair
Ah, that weird Castlevania flash
Ah, that weird Super Castlevania IV flash


Love this level. So freakin' atmospheric
Love this level. So freakin’ atmospheric

All whom have traveled to the Treasury have been driven mad by the endless gold pieces and treasure chests, as well as all the vengeful spirits that fill this place of unspeakable horrors.







Trespassers couldn’t believe the wealth of gold and jewelry that laid before them. Alas, Simon cares not for riches but only to thwart the evil plans of the Duke of Darkness.


Earn yourself a pork chop if you leap on one of these treasure chests 255 times. Weird but true.







At times Super Castlevania IV is about deliberate pacing, but other times you must high-tail it. This part is the latter, as the riches-filled platforms give way immediately following contact.

Barbaric skeletons and ferocious long necks look to impede your quest
Ferocious long necks look to impede your quest
"Looks more like Fool's Gold to me!"
“Looks more like Fool’s Gold to me!”


Navigating on the giant gears can be a bit tough
Navigating on the giant gears can be a bit tough

You’re so close to Dracula’s keep, but before you can meet up with the Duke of Darkness you must survive this clock tower jaunt.

Tensions mount as you hang on for dear life
Tensions mount as you hang on for dear life
These Skeletal Knights are top-of-the-line in their breed
Skeletal Knights are top-of-the-line in their breed
I can't help but think of ole Doc here  [Dork -Ed.]
I can’t help but think of ole Doc here [Dork -Ed.]
Onto the next section of stage 10, it's the token collapsing bridge
It’s the token-but-classic collapsing bridge
Shame these guys only appear in this level
Shame these guys only appear in this level

You ever had a REALLY bad day? [I'M HAVIN' ONE RIGHT NOW! -Simon]
There are bad days and then really bad days
Now is definitely not the time to linger! A massive buzz saw gives chase, and of course, the stairs fall off as soon as you touch them.

Plus you must contend with these fools. Great
Plus you must contend with these fools. Great
Oddly satisfying bit this was
Oddly satisfying bit this was

I bet you remember this cool part too. These stairs just fall off as you barely catch the next flight. Good stuff.

"Let's see what you got, Birdman!"
“Let’s see what you got, Birdman!”

The evil bird-like Slogra is the first of three boss fights you must beat in order to face Dracula. This was the first boss to give me some trouble. He must have been pretty popular as Konami resurrected him for PlayStation’s Symphony of the Night.

Eventually you'll get to Death itself... good luck!
Eventually you’ll get to Death itself. Good luck!



Ol’ Drac can be a tough customer. He has a deadly wave of purple projectiles and can even conjure the powers of lightning. I guess being the Duke of Darkness has its perks, eh? He’s not so tough though if you know about the infamous pre-battle trick… and I hope you know what I’m talking about. Because if you don’t, where the hell have you been living for the past 25 years?!

There it is folks. The infamous cheat to easily knock off Dracula
The infamous cheat to easily knock off Dracula


Psst, that's the code to face Drac
Psst, that’s the code to face Drac

Konami sees to it that every gamer will find success with Super Castlevania IV. Included is a slightly cumbersome yet very handy password system.


Japanese cover of Akumajō Dracula
Japanese cover of Akumajō Dracula

There are some slight differences between the US version and the Japanese version (Akumajō Dracula). F’rinstance, in stage 8 the pools are filled with blood, but in the US version that color was changed to be green, becoming an acid-filled pool. Blood also no longer drips from the ceilings. There are some other small changes. Overall, nothing worth crying about, but it just reminds us of how conscious Nintendo was about keeping things PG in the early days of SNES.

Oops! That was a strange oversight *scratches head*
Oops! Strange oversight by NoA *scratches head*


Great game that continues Castlevania's top legacy
Epic game that furthers Castlevania‘s top legacy

Castlevania‘s debut on the PlayStation came in a BIG way in ’97 with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It’s considered by many as one of the finest action adventure games in not just 32-bit gaming history, but of all time. No longer was it about merely getting through 11 stages. It’s a massive backtracking adventure that helped form a new gaming phrase dubbed “Metroidvania.”

It also came out on Saturn (JP only) as Akumajou Dracula X
The Saturn version (Akumajou Dracula X)
An amazing game in a great series
An amazing game in a great series


Thanks Sega Saturn Magazine for this info
Thanks Sega Saturn Magazine for this info

Very few video game series stand the test of time, but Konami’s Castlevania series has managed to provide more than a few surprises over the years.

With Castlevania X: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation and now Saturn, the series has reached a new generation of gamers. However, Castlevania didn’t earn its impressive reputation over night. Since 1986, when the first game appeared, the Castlevania series has earned a loyal following. Almost everyone who has played any game in the series loves it, and anyone who hates the series probably hasn’t played it at all!

One of the most enthralling aspects of Castlevania is its story. So far, each game has fit perfectly within a century-spanning storyline.

Originally, Castlevania was planned as a Star Wars style epic, with three games set in the past, three set in the present, and three set in the future. However, it now looks like that idea has been scrapped, as more games take place in the past (although Castlevania Bloodlines was the most contemporary of the Castlevania titles, as it takes place in the early 1900s). To get SSM readers up to speed, here’s the complete Castlevania timeline to date with important characters and events included. Some of the entries don’t actually take place in a specific year, so we’ve used a bit of artistic license in the compilation of this trip through yesteryear…

  • 1421: Elizabeth Bartley
    Count Dracula’s niece, Elizabeth Bartley, was put to death after she was found guilty of being a vampire
  • 1431: Count Dracula
    Dracula was at the height of his power and fully terrorized the country of Transylvania
  • 1450: Sonia Belmont
    Sonia is the first female Belmont character in the Castlevania series. Sonia is also the main character in an upcoming Castlevania title for Game Boy. The game has no title yet, but apparently Alucard also makes an appearance. Sonia is 17 years old
  • 1492: Trevor Belmont
    Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES, 1990)

    Trevor is the originator of the Belmont “warrior chromosomes” and takes the center stage in Dracula’s Curse, the biggest and best of the 8-bit titles. Along his perilous journey to Dracula’s castle, one of three characters could join Trevor: Sypha Belnades, a sorcerer, Grant DaNasty, a thief, and Alucard, Dracula’s rebellious son (who appears again inSymphony of the Night). The Japanese version of Castlevania III was an easier game, and Sypha’s character was a woman
  • 1592: Christopher Belmont
    The Castlevania Adventure (Game Boy, 1990)

    Christopher Belmont was limited to just two Castlevania titles — both for the Game Boy

  • 1607: Christopher Belmont
    Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (Game Boy, 1992)

    Christopher’s son, Soleiyu, is kidnapped by Dracula. Christopher takes on Dracula again in the hopes of finding his son alive

  • 1692: Simon Belmont
    Castlevania (NES, 1987)
    Super Castlevania IV (Super NES, 1991)

    Simon Belmont took up the battle 100 years after Trevor defeated Count Dracula. Super Castlevania IV is actually a remake of the first 8-bit title and possibly one of the best games in the series
  • 1699: Simon Belmont
    Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES, 1988)

    Simon Belmont discovers he was cursed by Dracula to die a slow and agonizing death. To lift the curse, he must revive Dracula and then destroy him

  • 1792: Richter Belmont
    Dracula X (PC Engine, 1993)
    Castlevania: Dracula X (Super NES, 1995)

    Richter’s story is set long after Simon’s game. Dracula X introduced Maria, Richter’s sister-in-law. Although she is not of the Belmont vampire hunter bloodline, she has super powers nonetheless. Richter is 17 years old; Maria is 11
  • 1798: Alucard
    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation, 1997; Saturn, 1998)

    Alucard awakens from his self-imposed eternal slumber only to sense that Dracula is going to be revived. Alucard sets off to Dracula’s castle in the hopes of stopping his father once and for all. Symphony of the Night’s ending opens up a potential relationship between Maria and Alucard, which will (hopefully) be explained in future titles
  • 1892: Eric LeCarde is born in Segovia, Spain
  • 1895: John Morris is born in Texas, USA
  • 1897: Quincy Morris dies
    The latest Belmont descendant. Quincy dies moments after defeating Dracula. Watching in the shadows are his son (John) and his best friend (Eric)
  • 1917: Elizabeth Bartley is revived and rejuvenated
    Castlevania: Bloodlines (Megadrive, 1994)

    Drolta Tzuentes, an amateur witch, accidentally brings Elizabeth Bartley back to life. Bartley immediately makes plans to revive Count Dracula. John Morris, Quincy’s son and latest vampire killer in the Belmont bloodline, joins his friend Eric LeCarde. LeCarde’s girlfriend, Gwendolyn, was turned into a vampire by Bartley

That’s where the Castlevania timeline ends… for now. However, with an N64 title looming on the horizon, as well as potential PlayStation and Dreamcast games, this chilling saga is thankfully far from over!

(Special thanks once again to SEGA SATURN MAGAZINE, issue #34, August 1998, for that Castlevania timeline of terror!)



Super Castlevania IV was lavished with high praises and nearly everybody who played it fell in love with its ace soundtrack, visuals and gameplay. As you can see, the critics absolutely ate it up, as did the fans. It’s widely regarded as a top-tier Super Nintendo title, and rightfully so!

  • EGM: 9, 8, 8
  • Super Play: 91%
EGM's Top 100 Games List #20 (issue 100, November 1997)
EGM ranked it 20th best (issue 100, November 1997)



Super Castlevania IV lived up to the hype and then some. It’s got it all: incredible graphics, amazing sound and classic gameplay. Some might say it’s not nearly challenging enough and while I agree it leans on the easy side, I much rather have a game be slightly too easy than for it to be impossible. The last couple stages can be very grueling, but of course, your mileage may vary. Yes, the game does have some slowdown (see the boss fight with the Orphic Vipers) but honestly I didn’t find it nearly as bad as some were claiming. It didn’t take away much from the game at all. Speaking of the bosses, while they’re not Konami’s very best, they still are quite a treat to behold (and even more satisfying to slay).

The classic age-old rivalry wages on once more!
The classic age-old rivalry wages on once more!

I believe the very best video games are the ones that take you on a journey. Super Castlevania IV simply possesses an epic quest feel to it, and that’s what makes it special for me, nevermind the excellent graphics, sound and gameplay. You’re Simon Belmont with the sole goal of defeating Dracula. You trek through 11 wide-ranging and diverse stages ranging from haunted cemeteries, zombie-infested woods, creepy caverns and cursed castle halls to name but a few. It’s simple but so highly immersing. You latch onto the quest. It’s escapism at its best! Many of us play games to be swept away to a land of wonder, mystique and adventure — Super Castlevania IV certainly does that well. And it’s a shame there aren’t more epic games like this.

Simon says DIE!
Simon says DIE!

As mentioned earlier, the colors of the game give it a striking and surreal feel. It doesn’t give you the reality of a castle, but rather the impression of one. I don’t want my games to simulate life or be too realistic. I like digging into a fantasy adventure, get swept away and become totally enraptured with its atmosphere, action and world. From the very chilling moment you press start at the title screen and hear that wolf’s haunting howl, you knew you were in for a special treat. The kind that sadly, games all too often fail to achieve. Then, as you make your way across that introductory sequence, with that hulking skull looming in the distance, you pass through the massive drawbridge with the classic Castlevania music kicking in. Beautiful. The early stages may not impress much but the later levels really take it up a notch. I enjoyed the first couple levels but it wasn’t until stage 3 — the Creepy Caverns — that things suddenly clicked. From there, I never looked back.

A classic every SNES fan must own
One of the great SNES classics of our time

While many prefer the newer style of play (the exploring, leveling up and backtracking), I still prefer this basic style. Just move forward, not worrying about having item X, conversing with side characters or any of that. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that type of game too, but when a game is this good and doesn’t need all that extracurricular activity, I can’t help but love it even more. The bosses have their energy bars, I have mine, and soon, one of us won’t. Simple as that. And sometimes the simplest things are among the best things. Not just in life but also in video games. I look back to that Saturday night of April 8, 2006, when at last I had finally began my quest to slay Dracula and his minions of the night, and a devilish grin crosses my face. I was damn near 15 years late to the party, but it was worth the wait. I wished I’d experienced this back in the early ’90s, but that’s OK. I had the luxury of playing it as an older, wiser and more appreciative gamer. Dracula may indeed revive every 100 years but damnit, every Halloween or so, I’ll send him BACK to his bloody grave!

Super Castlevania IV is a stirring classic and a must-own for any Super Nintendo fan, period.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Longevity: 8

Overall: 9.5

Double Gold Award
Double Gold Award




In Memory of Donald Pleasance and Carmen Filpi
In memory of Donald Pleasance and Carmen Filpi

“And so, that’s how the great Simon Belmont put an end to the Duke of Darkness… for now…”

“Very interesting story there, Mr. Sayer.”

“He was a great pilgrim, that Simon. We all have our own demons to conquer, just like he did. 300 years later Mr. Loomis, and things haven’t changed all that much…”

“I know that, Mr. Sayer.”

“Ah, Haddonfield. Here we are. It was my pleasure, fellow pilgrim! And good luck in your hunt.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Sayer. I’m gonna need all the luck I can get.”

“OH and Mr. Loomis — HAPPY HALLOWEEN…”


Magical Pop’n (SFC)

If Zelda were made into a platformer...
If Zelda were made into a platformer…

Back in 2006, when I repurchased a Super Nintendo and began my SNES resurrection, there were three Super Famicom platformers I was insanely curious about. I referred to them as the Big Three. It was DoReMi Fantasy, Majyuuou (AKA King of Demons) and Magical Pop’n. I was blessed enough to find a loose cartridge copy for just $25 (September 18, 2006). The game as you can imagine currently commands an arm and a leg. Timing is everything, eh?

Magical Pop’n is a platformer with traits that are more or less reminiscent of timeless classics like MetroidZelda, Castlevania, Mega Man, etc. Your main weapon is a sword. Sub weapons, each requiring a certain amount of stars per use, are available as well.

Here’s a look at the game’s first two levels.


Sensing something foul in Denmark, your quest begins atop this roof on a dark, rainy night.


A stroke of lightning reveals in the distance endless and ominous-looking hills.


Escape the frightful weather by way of chimney. Unfortunately for you, danger aplenty still lurks.


A healthy boost sends you sky high to the next floor.


As you navigate the mansion you uncover creepy dungeons.

Look out, U-Haul
Look out, U-Haul

Your first mid-boss encounter comes with this occult heathen.


After the mid-boss tangle, this dirty little goblin attempts to impede your expedition.

Who said church is boring?
Who said church is boring?


Level two takes place in the woods… on the surface, at least…

Where have I seen those before...
Wait, I’ve seen you before…

Our heroine enters a dank cave filled with critters of all shapes and sizes.


To meet the mid-boss of the cave and claim your next sub weapon, you must cross this bit.

Not as tricky as it looks
Not as tricky as it looks
That's one big mid-boss
That’s one big mid-boss
Be careful when it spazzs out
Be careful when it freaks out
Hmmm. Deja vu...
Hmmm. Deja vu…

Now you may claim your Bionic Commando-like extension grappler. Therein lies the beauty of Magical Pop’n. Each new sub weapon allows our female protagonist added firepower in her quest.


The grappler can be used an unlimited amount of times as it eats up zero stars, but it’s strictly used for swinging purposes. It certainly adds a hint of Bionic Commando to the proceedings, which isn’t a bad thing at all.


Fun, and tough
Not quite magical, but close

Magical Pop’n isn’t quite the 9+ out of 10 game I was hoping for, but it’s still very good. It presents a fairly decent challenge to boot. The game features six stages. Unfortunately there is no save/password system. Fortunately there is a debug menu cheat code that negates this. Pause the game and press Up, Down, X, Y, Left, Right, A, B, Up, Up. Unpause the game and it will activate the debug menu where you can tinker with lives, stars, the almighty God mode and a very handy level select. Gotta love codes like such! They go a long way in enhancing my enjoyment of a game as well as increase longevity.

Of the Big Three, DoReMi Fantasy is light years ahead, but I’d rank Magical Pop’n a respectable second place and Majyuuou a very close third. Having said that, Magical Pop’n is a fine platformer that conjures memories of classic franchises. It never reaches the level of greatness as those classic games, but coming from an obscure developer who only has four titles to their name (Polestar), this is an admirable effort. It probably isn’t worth the insane amount it goes for, but it’s certainly a noteworthy and memorable Super Famicom-exclusive title. Just don’t expect it to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Ghost Chaser Densei (SFC)

Flips, fists and fun
The best SNES beat ‘em up that never left Japan

The beat ‘em up genre is one of my all-time favorites. There’s something pure and satisfying about walking along, smashing bad guys and looking really macho while doing it. The SNES received its fair share of solid beat ‘em ups. To name just a few, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time, King of Dragons and Final Fight 3. But the best Super Famicom brawler to never leave Japan is hands down Ghost Chaser Densei. If you enjoy the genre and own a Super Nintendo, there’s really no excuse not to have this in your collection.

It all began when I saw EGM previewing it
It all began when I saw EGM’s preview back in the day

On a side note, it’s funny — the preview mentions ghosts and spirits and the title has “ghost” in it, yet the game is seriously lacking any sort of ghoulish atmosphere. No biggie, but worth mentioning. I would have liked to seen a more macabre setting or tone.

Select from 1 of 3 characters — the well-balanced male, the strong robot or the quick token female. In most of these games I prefer the strong dude, but the main guy here is actually quite a hoot. What makes Ghost Chaser Densei different is the power meter system. Below your energy bar is another bar that depletes any time you perform a special move. But your health meter is not compromised in exchange! I wish more games from this genre would use this feature.


The power meter slowly regenerates, but if you stand still you strike this pose here and the power meter recharges at quite an alarming rate. So, if you ever wished that a beat ‘em up would allow you to do 360° spinning specials without penalizing your health, you will LOVE Ghost Chaser Densei. Some may call this system cheap, I call it lots of fun! Plus, there are MULTIPLE special moves at your disposal, giving this game far more range than others from the genre.



Here’s his running special… a deadly chain attack!


It culminates in this lovely and devastating uppercut swing!


In a grapple? With Mr. Roboto you can either do a regular jumping pile driver or hit “R” for his special move — it really shocks the competition.

That hits the mark
That hits the mark
Her running attack
Her running attack on display


In a tight pinch? Merely hit “R” for the swing-around  special! As long as your special meter has some juice, you’re good to go! Your health won’t be reduced.






The main character is the best choice. Knee ‘em twice, flip over and german suplex their ass! Streets of Rage you say? Hey, I never said the game was ORIGINAL — just loads of fun!

Talk about crashing the party!
Talk about crashing the party!
The 3rd Lee brother?!
The 3rd Lee brother?!
It ends with a nice leg sweep. Sweet
It ends with a nice leg sweep. Sweet
Running Hadoken
Running Hadoken for the win
Love this special move. So beautiful
Love this special move. So beautiful

It has the potential to connect multiple times, charring the victims to a crisp!

You can even block
You can even block

How many beat ‘em ups do you know that has blocking? This game’s got the lot!






Some roll out in eggs before hatching. One breed emits electricity. Fairly tough bastards they are. Hmmm, I’m starting to detect a real serious Street Fighter II vibe now…

Another breed breathes fire
Another breed breathes fire
Ah, the token charging fatty
Ah, the token charging fatty
Big, bald and bad to the bone
Big, bald and bad to the bone

These tough blokes are, as you might guess, the Andore of Ghost Chaser Densei.

The sweeping Hurricane Kick shows 'em who's boss
The sweeping hurricane kick shows who’s boss


War knights are nimble and hardened warriors trained to maim. Nothing that the flame kick can’t take care of, though!

Brilliant entrance
Brilliant entrance

Some enemy  entrances are memorable, like the eggs and this fella here.

[Better Sanjaya than Trump! -Ed.]
[Better Sanjaya than Trump! -Ed.]
And of course, you have your low tier chaps and the ol’ token female.


Nothing beats a good ol’ knife to the shin.

Bonus round. Don't nail the civilians!
Bonus round. Don’t nail the civilians!



The good news? The first boss isn’t much difficult at all. The bad news? It becomes a regular enemy after stage one. Rats.

Hell of a trident ya got there
Nice trident ya got there
Oh my...
Oh my…
The bosses get crazier and crazier
The bosses get crazier and crazier
Um, what?
Um, what?
Uh, let's move on...
Uhhh, let’s move on…
Now there's two of them. Great
Now there’s two of them. Just great…
There's a small bit of Japanese but no biggie
There is a small bit of Japanese but no biggie
Damn, hands in pockets even!
Damn, hands in pockets even!
The final boss is a bonafide badass
The final boss is a bonafide badass
Hey, this *was* the mid '90s after all
Hey, this *was* the mid ’90s after all
His second and true form. HOLY SH*T
His second and true form. HOLY SH*T
Now this is what I call a final boss!
Now this is what I call a final boss!
Too damn cool for words
Too damn cool for words
Go out in a blaze of glory!
Go out in a blaze of glory!
Love that lush effect in the background
Love that lush effect in the background


Nothing like cleaning a city of its thugs and goons
Nothing like cleaning a city of its thugs and goons

Ghost Chaser Densei is a top-notch beat ‘em up. Sure, it’s quite derivative in many ways: enemies, stages, the heroes, etc. But there are touches that help make it stand out. This includes the separate special move meter, the ability to block, and yes, even tag team special moves! Hell, when you’re knocked down, you even kip-up and take out whoever is in your way! Now that’s cool. It’s a shame that this game is still somewhat obscure within the SNES community. The move set is larger than the average beat ‘em up which makes it a blast to play. Definitely worth buying! After all, sometimes you’re just in the mood for a brawler from the halcyon days.

Mickey & Donald: Magical Adventure 3 (SFC)

If you liked Magical Quest...
Capcom ends the trilogy with a bang

Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse received much fanfare for its smooth gameplay, beautiful graphics and polished feel during the Super Nintendo’s infancy. It was yet another Capcom smash. In ’94 the sequel The Great Circus Mystery added a 2-player mode with Minnie. The next year gamers in Japan were graced by the last in the trilogy — MICKEY & DONALD: MAGICAL ADVENTURE 3.

Today we examine the game that sadly never was in the US (though Capcom ported the trilogy to GBA in 2005).

If you liked the first two, this will be no different. You still get suits with different abilities as you advance through the game, it still employs the snatch-a-block-out-of-the-air-and-toss-it-at-the-baddie system, and it’s still all quite easy. A password system is included to make your life even easier. Animation, as always, is top-notch.

You won’t find anything new here, but perhaps that’s just as well.

Lights emanating from book: usually a bad thing
Never trust a book that lights up

The intro shows Mickey visiting Donald. Huey, Dewey and Louie, being bored, venture upstairs to the attic. There they find an ancient book, and, well, curiosity killed the cat, er, duck?

[What am I paying you again? Oh, that’s right. Nothing -Ed.]

Oh for Pete's sake...
Oh for Pete’s sake…

And so you’re off with the choice of Mickey or Donald in the 1 player game, or 2 player game if you have a friend on hand. Mickey and Donald have different suits which is a plus. There are 7 stages, with multiple levels in each. Here’s a quick peek:



Looks-wise, not much has changed from the original in 1993… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, ne?


The two blocks up top can be pulled an unlimited number of times.


Use your knight suit to eliminate the first boss, which shows off the system’s Mode 7.



Donald displays the power of this particular garment.


The poor chap hasn’t grown into it quite yet!



Mid-boss is “dying” to meet you. Sorry.



This costume packs a mean wallop!



The wavy blocks are a nice touch. The bubbles allow Mickey to catch his breath… so don’t stray far away from one!



I guess it’s a platforming rule to have at least one ice / snow level eh?

Sheesh, talk about getting cold feet!
Boy, talk about getting cold feet!


And you wonder why he carries such a big hammer…



This is just the opening, and already things are heating up!



If you enjoyed Magical Quest, then you’ll like this one, too. The sequel, The Great Circus Mystery, was a tad disappointing, but this game delivers the goods. I like that Mickey and Donald have different suits with different powers. The visuals are lush and gorgeous. Typical Capcom quality soundtrack. And of course, the gameplay is super polished and fun, especially with a friend at the helm. It’s a shame this game never came out to American shores, but it’s understandable considering it came out in Japan December 1995 (a time where the 32-bit era was beginning its dominance of the market and 16-bit machines were quickly fading away). Thankfully, there isn’t much Japanese text to worry about here, and it’s completely playable without an ounce of Japanese knowledge. I still prefer Magical Quest but this is the sequel The Great Circus Mystery should have been.

In the simplest layman terms, it’s Mickey. It’s Capcom. It’s Mickey BY Capcom. It’s damn good.

Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World (SFC)

Bomberman meets Puyo Puyo
Bomberman meets Puyo Puyo

The Bomberman franchise is one of the most beloved series of all time. Especially when you’re talking about multiplayer gaming series. Almost everyone knows about those games. But what not many may be aware of is this puzzle rendition of the franchise. And I’m happy to say it’s pretty damn good. Hell, it even features a 4-player mode because, BOMBERMAN!

3 pieces drop at a time. The goal is to match 3 in a row (horizontal, vertical or diagonal).

In addition to the Bomberman pieces you have 3 others:

  • The unlit bomb
  • The lit bomb (put these babies on the unlit ones for a blast!)


Love the explosions
Love the explosions

Note: This blast doesn’t destroy the Bomberman pieces. Rather it ignites the unlit bombs, taking them off your field.

And once you’ve filled up your power bar, you receive the almighty MEGA BOMB.


It can take out almost every piece on the field, depending on block positioning.

The mega bomb is the most visually impressive “clear-all-ish” piece I’ve seen in a puzzler. Panic Bomber actually uses a special chip. The mega bomb definitely gets the treatment as it pulsates with flames and makes a huge boom when dropped. It’s sheer, raw, unadulterated POWER at its finest. Thank you, Mr. Special Chip Thing.

Of course, while the goal is to keep your playing field from filling up, the best way to beat the opposition is by crafting chain reactions. The 3-falling pieces instead of 2 format will take some getting used to for many of us, but once you do the combo’s flow. Here’s a basic 2 hitter:

Connect the greens there
The green guys wipe out...
The green guys wipe out…
.... And the whites follow suit
… And the whites follow suit

To create huge chain reactions you have to set yourself up. Here’s a 3-hit combo. Notice I’ve stocked up on red and green. Not to mention some white…

Green connects horizontally...
Green connects horizontally…
Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!

Not only do the greens connect horizontally but diagonally as well for a sweet 6 piece combo. It drops the stack of 3 reds…

Look at all the reds...
Look at all the reds…

Let’s see — I see red horizontal, vertical AND diagonal connections!

8 piece knockout
8 piece knockout

Major poppage happens. The white pieces fall…


Your simple run-of-the-mill 3-chain 19-piece combo!

But of course, being a Bomberman game, what good would it be without a 4-player mode?

Good stuff
Good stuff

Simply brilliant… brilliantly simple. The smallness of it might be a bit off-setting initially, but you’ll quickly adjust. Besides, a tiny amount of the occasional squinting is more than worth it for a chance to duke it out with 3 buddies, puzzle style.

And like any classic Bomberman title, it’s very user-friendly — 2, 3 or 4 players can play, with 1-5 matches to win the trophy. “B” allows you to go back to the previous screen.

Check out this 3-hit chain on the 1 Player side. (The most I’ve done so far was 5).

Drop the green on green...
Drop the green on green…
... they fade, dropping the blue piece...
… it drops the blue piece…
... which diagonally connects...
… which diagonally connects…
... dropping a stack with a green...
… dropping a stack with a green…
... to complete the 3-hit chain
… to complete the 3-hit chain

Of course, when you chain together combos you can cause much grief to your rival opponent(s).


In the 1 player mode after beating your opponents you get a password.


Speaking of the passwords, there are some cheat codes to alter the visuals.

SD Bombermen (4622)
SD Bombermen (4622)
Balloons (5656)
Balloons (5656)

Why? Why not. Little touches like these are always welcomed in my book.


Boom goes the dynamite
Boom goes the dynamite

Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World is a fun puzzle game that is more than a cheap cash-in. It’s more than a lame gimmick to milk a popular franchise name. It’s a game I would happily pull off my shelf to play, and in fact, I often do. It takes the classic formula and spins it well within the world of a puzzle game. True, there’s nothing ground breaking here, but it’s solid through and through. Even the classic Bomberman tune is replicated nicely here, and it fits very well with the puzzle madness.

By far the standout feature here is the 4-player mode. The only other 4-player puzzle game on the SNES that I can think of is Super Tetris 3. It’s definitely a novelty that’s worth experiencing at least once. Perhaps it won’t ever supplant your regular Bomberman 4-player battles, but it’s definitely an entertaining and competitive good time. Panic Bomber – you alright!

Super Genjin 2 (SFC)

"It-sa me, Bonk!" Er, wait a second...
“It-sa me, Bonk!” Er, wait a second…

My brother and I owned an 8-bit Nintendo and Sega Genesis growing up. As such, we got to enjoy such mascot platformers as Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog. Well, I remember seeing Bonk’s Adventure on the Turbo Grafx 16 (or PC Engine if you will) and wanting to badly play it, but alas, the system back in those days was something of a semi-mythical beast. You rarely ever saw it in stores other than once in a blue moon, and you hardly knew anyone who had it. It was, on a smaller scale, somewhat similar to the Neo Geo. As such, I figured I would never get to play a Bonk game ever, with emulation not being a thing back then.

Bonk's Adventure (1989)
Bonk’s Adventure (1989)
Bonk's Revenge (1991)
Bonk’s Revenge (1991)

But lo and behold, in the early ’90s my bro and I were graced with a Super Nintendo. Gaming had evolved for us, but still in the back of my mind I never forgot my bald little caveman. After all, you can’t talk about evolution without starting at the beginning. I have always had a bit of a fetish for the caveman sub-genre, anyway, and Bonk was probably the reason why. Anyway, fast forward to 1994 and what do I see in GameFan Magazine? Super Bonk coming out for the Super Nintendo? What madness is this?! It blew my mind that a Turbo Grafx 16 mascot was jumping ship to Nintendo’s 16-bit machine.

Super Bonk (1994)
Super Bonk (1994)

Long story short, I finally played Super Bonk earlier this year (2016) after being curious about it for roughly 22 years since seeing it featured in the pages of GameFan Magazine. It, quite frankly, fell short of my expectations. Still a decent platformer, mind, but nothing like I had hoped. Alas, there was the Super Famicom exclusive sequel, Super Genjin 2, still waiting for me to finally play. I had heard in years past that it was a much better game. I’m happy to say I completely concur.

It opens with a wild goose chase
It opens with a wild goose chase
But then -- TANK BONK?!
But then — TANK BONK?!

Right away you can see they have captured the zany, goofy spirit of the Bonk games with this intro alone. It only gets weirder from this point on. Super Bonk was plenty quirky enough for an American SNES game, but Super Genjin 2 being only released in Japan, it didn’t hold back on the weirdness!


There is an in-game map, but unlike Super Mario World, you can’t backtrack.

Great balls of fire
Great balls of fire
Head bangin' Bonk
Head bangin’ Bonk

Like he’s always done, Bonk demolishes his enemies by smashing them with his noggin. He can either do this standing or jumping. You get hurt if you simply jump on enemies, which does make it slightly tougher. Speaking of which, don’t expect precise control like in the Mario games. Although Bonk controls a little better here than he does in his first Super Nintendo outing, I wouldn’t call moving him around “super crisp.” It just takes some getting used to.

Power ups change the game
Power ups change the game

Just like previous Bonk games, there are icons scattered throughout that when collected will transform Bonk accordingly. Here is one such example, which allows the little guy to leave a trail of flames in his wake. Unfortunately, take one hit and it’s back to regular Bonk.

Nothing like a little swim
Nothing like a little swim
English translation *wink*
English translation *wink*
The graphics catches the eye
The graphics catches the eye

The game, visually, is stunningly impressive. Released in mid 1995, it’s got a simple but striking look all the same. It’s a major graphical improvement to the first SNES game. There are lots of different locales which add to the fun of the game. From graveyards to forests to even the wild west, each new level presents a slightly new look.


By timing your noggin smasher properly, Bonk can bounce off the surface of water, making for some neat transitions. More importantly, it makes you look like a really skilled player. Guaranteed to impress your special lady friend. Or guy friend. Or simply, yourself [You like playing with yourself, huh -Ed.]

Checkpoint city
Checkpoint city
No great falls will hurt Bonk
No great falls will hurt Bonk

Ah, the advantage of having a hard head. Also, Bonk can bounce off walls to bring himself back up to the surface. The timing of this technique is much more forgiving than it was in Super Metroid. But not quite as easy as Ninja Gaiden. Somewhere in the middle, then.

Look for the darkened rooms
Look for the darkened rooms
Never know what's inside...
Never know what’s inside…
That's it? I was expecting more
That’s it? I was expecting more
Damn my big mouth
Damn my big mouth
Don't let it cut too many pieces
Don’t let it cut too many pieces
Fun first boss fight
Fun first boss fight
One down, four to go
One down, four to go
From bright to more somber
From bright to more somber
You should see a dentist, bro
You should see a dentist, bro
Uh, what?!
Uh, what?!
Enemies get tougher later on
Later enemies get a lot tougher
Love the bird in the background
Love the bird in the background
Slide to reach lower areas
Slide to reach lower areas
Insert caveman fire joke here
Insert caveman fire joke here
Lizard Bonk because why not?
Lizard Bonk because why not?


Wait, why are we on SNES?
Much improved over Super Bonk

Super Genjin 2 is everything a sequel should be. Bigger and better. Although speaking of bigger, the sprites here are actually smaller than the sprites in Super Bonk, which is a GOOD thing. The sprites for Super Bonk were so big that it made playing the game not nearly as fun as it could have been. I like the smaller sprites here. The game features a password system after each world you conquer. It’s not a long game by any means but I always appreciate a nice, clean password system. That’s another thing that Super Bonk lacked.

The power ups are fun and range from turning Bonk into a worm to a thief that can throw the smiley faces as projectiles. The visuals are much improved over the first SNES game and there isn’t much Japanese text to contend with, although there is an English translation for those who want to experience it in full. The game is full of weirdness and is a delight to explore. It’s definitely one of the system’s better platformers, particularly when talking about those that came out exclusively for the Super Famicom. This is everything Super Bonk should have been in the first place. The controls do take some getting used to, but for a gaming experience that is truly bonkers, look no further than Super Genjin 2.

This game has BIG HEART!
This game has BIG HEART!

Power Soukoban (SFC)


It’s hard to believe, but on January 1st, 1999, Nintendo published and released Power Soukoban. The SNES was long “dead” by that point, but that didn’t stop Atelier Double from developing this game. The same firm that developed such great Super Famicom games as Ranma 1/2: Chougi Ranbu Hen and Umihara Kawase. I guess they wanted to develop one last memorable Super Nintendo effort, because they succeeded in doing that with Power Soukoban.

An update on a classic formula
An update on a classic formula

Taking control of a devil, you go through a series of mazes with the same goal in mind as SUPER SOUKOBAN. Pushing boxes (this time stones) to cover purple dots (this time pits). The modern twist? But of course, STAYING ALIVE.

Staying alive? Yes, for from the excavation comes forth HELL’S ARMY!

OK, in all honesty, more like Hell’s Rejects, no, Purgatory’s Rejects. But you get the idea!


Adding a more action-oriented flare to a classic formula? TAKE MY MONEY. Yes, please!

Baddies are more of a nuisance than legitimate threats, however. Still, it’s pretty cool to see them thrown in there. There are two ways to dispose of them:

  • Push a stone over them


  • Zap ‘em

Another modern twist is the ability to throw fireballs. You can also charge to create a power shot a la Megaman. And there’s a run button as well.

So then, this update is an action-puzzler with sort of a Zelda-esque feel and atmosphere. Very slightly, BUT it’s certainly there, as anyone who has played it would surely attest to…

Power shots pushes rocks, too
Power shots pushes rocks, too
There's a light RPG element to it
There’s a light RPG element to it

Whereas SUPER SOUKOBAN was straight-to-the-point, POWER SOUKOBAN features multiple paths, multi-tier puzzles and there are even friends to guide you along with hints (in Japanese, mind, but nothing you can’t do without).

Such a rag-tag cast if I ever saw one
Such an odd cast if I ever saw one

The game opens with this screen. The iron gate’s locked so you must find an alternative route. Hey, what’s that little crack doing there in the wall…


And off you go. There are many rooms and you can run to the next without solving the current one, but it’s advisable you take care of each one as you go along.


Multi-tier puzzles adds a new dimension to the ole formula.


As you advance, more pits means more enemies. As long as the pits remain open, baddies will keep spawning. But again, they’re really a non-factor… but at least they’re there, eh? Plus, when defeated, some drop a power-up to aid your quest.

Pits open = bad
Pits open = bad
Closing pits = good
Closing pits = good

I said earlier it’d be wise to finish each puzzle as you confront ‘em. However, for some the solution is not immediately available. Only by advancing do you later arrive at a point where you can then solve a previously impossible puzzle. Confused? You needn’t be.



See, here you enter this room on the lower floors. Blasted stones… how can you push them to cover the slots from this vantage point? The answer is you can’t, and remember you can’t pull stones, only push them.


A-ha! Later traversing to higher ground, you’ll find a room leading downstairs where you can now use your power shot to shove the blocks where they belong.


SS had you going from one warehouse to the next. PS, on the other hand, is different.

[What are you saying about the Sega Saturn and PlayStation eh? -Ed.]

Power Soukoban doesn’t have levels, per se. Rather it’s interconnected like (Super) Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Let’s take a look at some more screenshots.

More multi-tier madness
More multi-tier madness
Power Shot breaks dirt clumps
Power shot breaks dirt clumps
Love the occult-ish statues
Love the occult-ish statues
Minotauros from Golden Axe II?
Minotauros from Golden Axe II?
A classic beat 'em up
A classic beat ‘em up


Can you complete this while avoiding the circulating ring of fire?


Another major difference from Super Soukoban: you fight bosses. These include more traditional American-looking fiends such as Medusa and Frankenstein to name a few. These end-of-stage bosses are entirely combat-based and do not involve any puzzle solving whatsoever. It’s a refreshing change of pace that lends well to Power Soukoban‘s more action-oriented slant.



Something to take note of if you buy this game CIB: the game’s manual is a fold-out map, with instructions on the back side. So don’t fret when you don’t find a regular manual inside the box.



Power Soukoban is a fun game that brings an entertaining twist on the old Soukoban formula. Although the graphics are rather unimpressive considering this game was released in 1999, it’s all about the gameplay and that’s where this game delivers. Sure, it may get a tad repetitive here and there, but it’s a fun little game that is a fascinating footnote in SNES history seeing as it was released in 1999, years after the system was long considered “dead.” Highly recommended!

January '93 vs. January '99
January ’93 vs. January ’99

So, Super Soukoban or Power Soukoban? While I think both are well worth owning, if I had to pick one that I like better, I would have to say Super Soukoban. While I enjoy the modern update of Power Soukoban, there is something pure about the original that can’t be denied or dethroned. The two games definitely complement one another and are must-owns for anyone who enjoys this genre.

Gunman’s Proof (SNES)

Gunman's Proof packs a mighty punch
Pub: ASCII | Dev: Lenar | January 1997 | 24 MEGS

By 1997 the SNES was a long afterthought. The 32-bit era had taken over and most gamers had already jumped ship. Yet this didn’t stop Lenar, a company not known for its epic titles, from crafting one last great Super Nintendo game. Gunman’s Proof is a fast-paced, quirky action RPG that’s loaded with charm, humor, AND personality. So strap on your cowboy boots and throw on your 10 gallon hat — we’re off to the Wild West! As a PSYcho once sang… OPPA GUNMAN STYLE!

Gunman's Proof is a blend of this
Gunman’s Proof is a blend of this
And this!
And this!
Best Western SNES game. Sorry, Sunset Riders and Wild Guns
And for good measure throw in the old west, too!






Strange World but also very fun
Strange World but also very fun







































But more on this later...
But more on this later…


The peculiar Colobutch character will talk your ear off all night...
The peculiar Colobutch will talk your ear off all night…


“A ghost IS blocking my path… how ‘cha know?”


Maybe I could turn these lyrics into a top 40 song...
Maybe I could turn these lyrics into a top 40 song…



Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. An' I've made up my mind
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone










[I C WAT U DID DERE. I'm bustin' a rib laughing over here... -Ed.]
[I C WAT U DID DERE. I’m bustin’ a rib over here… -Ed.]

Eat your heart out, Thomas Wolfe. HA, you CAN go home again!
Eat it, Thomas Wolfe. You CAN go home again
OK... perhaps Mr. Wolfe had a point after all... who am I to judge
Perhaps Mr. Wolfe had a point after all…












So very embarrassing
So very embarrassing







Was it a homage from Lenar? I like to think so
Was it a homage from Lenar? I like to think so


Sorry Garo. I haven't uhh, fully mastered the boy yet
“Sorry. I haven’t uhh, fully mastered the boy yet…”




































Robaton was Donkey long before Donkey was Donkey
Robaton was Donkey long before Donkey was Donkey













"Sumthin queer about him... like he's possessed..."
“Sumthin’ queer about him… like he’s possessed…”
Love especially the bazooka and burner gun
Love especially the bazooka and burner gun







Robaton's music is catchy as all hell
Robaton’s music is catchy as all hell







Love the Dragon Punch. Link never had anything like this!
<3 the Dragon Punch. Link never had anything like this!
New skills learned opens up previously inaccessible areas
New skills learned opens up previously closed areas
A little Castlevania fare here
A little Castlevania fare here
All of the dungeons have a simple but enticing look to 'em
All of the dungeons have a simple but enticing look
It's not as puzzle oriented as Link to the Past, though
It’s not as puzzle oriented as Link to the Past, though
I love the decal preview showcasing the big bad bosses
I love the decal preview showcasing the big bad bosses
The dungeons never overwhelm
The dungeons never get too overwhelming
There's a smoothness to it that makes it really fun
There’s a smoothness to it that makes it very fun
Resident Evil deja vu, anyone?
Resident Evil deja vu, anyone?
A haunted house complete with windows blowing open
The windows blow open here. Love the little details
Bazooka cannon is BADASS
Bazooka cannon is BADASS
Brings back memories of Short Round and Indy
Brings back memories of Short Round and Indy
Tenkai, Gantetsu's brother, helps you learn new skills
Tenkai, Gantetsu’s brother, helps you learn new skills
The Burner Gun says you better get the hell outta the way
My burner gun says you best get the hell out the way
Hmm, why does this seem so familiar? *rubs chin*
Hmm, why does this seem so familiar? *rubs chin*
Ah yes, the Pond of Happiness
Ah yes, the Pond of Happiness
Hook, line and sinker
Hook, line and sinker
"I am. Traded in my bat for a gun and my cap for a 10 gallon hat"
“Traded in my bat for a gun. My cap for a 10 gallon hat”
Gunman's Proof never takes itself TOO seriously
Gunman’s Proof never takes itself TOO seriously
Sadly it can be beaten in around four hours
Sadly it can be beaten in around four hours
To save, use the bed in his house back in Bronco Village
To save, use his bed back in Bronco Village



God bless English fan translations
God bless English fan translations
Why Peggy, I think you nailed it. Super indeed
Why Peggy, I think you nailed it. Super indeed


Loaded with humor, charm and firearms, this game rocks
This game is loaded with humor, charm and firearms

1880. A pair of streaking meteors befalls Strange Island. This unleashed a horde of terrible monsters. In hot pursuit of these vile Demiseed creatures were a couple of space sheriffs. Meanwhile, a young boy, often castigated by his very own father, yearns for something bigger. Hungry for adventure, fate steps in when this young boy and two cosmic space sheriffs cross paths. This is where our peculiar story begins. Along the way you’ll earn the respect of your old man, gain powerful skills from an eclectic group of island ragtags, and blast the holy hell out of various baddies while exploring a haunted house, dungeons, mines and more. It’s over way too soon but it’s one memorable and fun-filled ride while it lasts. It’s one of the best “hidden gems” on the Super Nintendo and it makes me wanna shout, OPPA GUNMAN STYLE!

An amazing game that still flies under the radar
An amazing game that still flies under the radar

From its likable characters to its odd sense of humor, Gunman’s Proof delivers a hellacious trek through the old Wild West. The visuals are bright and vibrant, with decaying dungeons and a unique art style. The music is quite catchy, especially that giddy Robaton theme, but the bulk of the game is blasting hordes of minions to kingdom come utilizing everything from a shotgun to a bazooka cannon. It is one of those games that’s perfect to play after a long day at work. Forget about swords and axes because you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. I do wish however the game were a bit longer but there’s something to be said about its simplicity and the fact that you can beat it in one (four hour) sitting. Gunman’s Proof is one of the best SNES games you’ve probably yet to play… and I highly suggest you go rectify this. Strafing and incinerating bad guys never felt so good. If you’re looking for a quirky and fun action RPG, then be sure to check out Gunman’s Proof. Like the last cowboy riding out of town at dusk, it just might be the last great Super Nintendo game ever made.


Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 8

Overall: 9.0

Gold Award
Gold Award


Ganbare Daiku no Gensan (SFC)


Ganbare Daiku no Gensan is the sequel to the Hammerin’ Harry games found in the arcade and NES. While scouring the net for information on this Super Famicom title (back in 2006) it shocked me there wasn’t much to be found. Maybe part of it is because it’s called Ganbare Daiku no Gensan instead of Hammerin’ Harry? While it’s no Super Mario World, it definitely deserves a moment in the spotlight.

As far as I can tell the story goes something like this…


One day an evil corporation blows up this lovely house here. Well, they picked the wrong house. Harry’s out to put an end to this evil empire, and along the way, they snatch his sweetheart just because, well… they’re evil.

It unfolds in a storybook manner
It unfolds in a storybook manner

You go through 4 stages, each with 2 zones. After all this you face the final boss. Harry will traverse towns, woods and even a booby trap-infested factory zone. The game has a nice urban Japanese feel to it, and probably one reason why it never saw a Western release.

Harry attacks with his trusty hammer. The standard-issue hammer you start with is serviceable but you definitely want to find an upgrade ASAP. You can swing hammers left, right, down and up. Harry can also chuck his hammer across the screen, a move that is a MUST if you want to beat the later stages and bosses. (U, UF, F + attack… why couldn’t they have just made it D, DF, F?) If you didn’t have the manual you’d be screwed not to know this key command which is so obscure.

There are two hammer upgrades; unfortunately, they all have short attack range so you will take some cheap hits more likely than not throughout the game. Thankfully Ganbare Daiku no Gensan is not a 1-hit-wonder. You have an energy bar at the bottom of the screen.

  • Swinger- As it suggests, this hammer swings 360 degrees and can be quite useful
  • Quaker- A huge black-ish hammer that when pounded on the ground releases shock waves left and right

Harry also has two power-ups he can use. Throughout the stages are muscle icons hidden inside crates and barrels which you can break open. When you have 1 or more muscle icons you can press X to unleash two special moves that should be reserved for the bosses.

  • Harry releases the hammer in the air causing a wave of stars to cascade downward.
  • (jump and then hit X) Harry pounds the ground going down causing an unavoidable sphere of destruction.

Special move #2 is much more effective and useful. And since they both use up only one icon, there’s no reason ever to use special move #1.

Note: boss names are strictly made up by me and not official names. Alliteration freaks will appreciate it…

Your journey begins in this easy stage that allows you to get the feel of the game. Smash the SD Zangief-wanna-be clones and watch out for cranky female street sweepers and stray cats. You can jump on roofs and on shingles Harry will gradually slide down. Good stuff there.


A man in a giant cat suit. Something is wrong with that picture. At any rate, a SUPER easy boss with a pattern that’s laugh-out-loud simple. BTW, all bosses have twice your health. When you get him down to about 25%, he sheds his cat mask…

This stage opens as a racing section; enemies on bikes ride by trying to pelt Harry with rocks. Either close in and hammer them, or ricochet their rocks back at ‘em. There are two racing sections in the game which help to add some variety to the proceedings. After this section you go back to regular platforming business.


The boss cakewalks might be over here, but he’s not really hard. True to his name (that I’ve given him, mind you) he chucks bottles and other debris at Harry.

Here we begin the foray into the forest. Mad red-faced chimps run wildly around as the crazy cranks sweep the forest floor. (why? Those crazy Japanese) Harry can climb on tree trunks to make his way to the top of their limbs to break open crates. Beware of the poison power down that does damage to our SD hero.


This wild mad-cap Tarzan wannabe swings on vines and when he’s on solid ground will toss boomerangs your way. Simple pattern. Show him who’s King of the Jungle.

Some nice little features in this stage. Wooden sticks pop out of the ground and you have to figure out which ones to hit to cause the other sticks to come out on higher ground, so that you can jump on those and make your way out of the pit. Midway through this stage you will come across a cool little construction zone. They’re trying to destroy everything these mad men! You can’t take my woods YA HEAR ME?! *shakes fist* [cue Groundskeeper Willie] YA CAN’T HAVE MAH WOOOOODS! *ahem*


Ah those crazy Japanese. She has a simple but fun pattern. When she chases you on the ground sparks fly like wild from her chainsaw. Watch out for those falling rocks and remember to jump quickly!

The second and final racing section. After this you go through platforming business per usual. Very short until you run into a crazy scruffy ole bloke.


I love how this game is so Japanese-y and along comes this rather American bloke, heh. Easy pattern — you just have to time it well. Send Scruffy packin’!

My favorite stage. You make your way across a nice little waterfall, with falling blocks after you touch ‘em. Standard classic platforming from the beginning of civilization (or the ’80s..) The coolest part of this stage though is when late afternoon suddenly rolls into to beautiful and peaceful evening, with the stars out in full force… it’s really a nice little atmospheric change.


This guy can be a true pain in the neck. Not only does he bounce from wall to wall like freaking Spider-Man but he throws sticks of dynamite at you as well as other means of destruction. At the same time the ground will heat up so there are many ways for you to lose energy. Having 4, 5 muscle icons really help here.

Almost there! 2 more stages to go after this! Harry’s travels take him to the factory zone where booby traps and foot soldiers litter the place. There are old scientists in tiny cramped up corners madly controlling crushing machinery — the only way to get through these parts is, as mentioned earlier in the review, to employ the highly obscure U, UF, F + attack command. This sees Harry tossing his hammer across the screen and back like a boomerang. 4 hits will kill the old scientists and the crushing machinery will stop. Just hit them with your hammer to destroy them then.

Dr. Wily?!
Dr. Wily?!

What an intimidating sight for sore eyes. Ole crazy Doc here mans this heap of machinery in hopes to thwart Harry’s efforts. What can I say but… look for the certain shots that are ricochet-able… and have many muscle icons on ya…

After you beat Doctor Death he escapes and kidnaps your girlfriend in the process. Well, I won’t spoil the rest. You have 4-2 and 5-1 to figure out on your own. I will say this: 4-2 boss is very annoying but it’s all a matter of figuring out their patterns and weaknesses. Ah the beauty of video games. Final boss is easy. This battle stretches 3 screens wide!

Time for some random shots.

Is that you, Bonk?!
Is that you, Bonk?!
Someone cut the cheese...
Someone cut the cheese…
Only in Japan, eh?
Only in Japan, eh?
It's clobberin' time!
It’s clobberin’ time!
Night time settings rule
Night time settings rule
Harry gets some serious air
Harry gets some serious air
Things get hairy for Harry
Things get hairy for Harry
He's gonna die soon anyway
He’s gonna die soon anyway
Screw y'all. DEUCES!
Screw y’all. DEUCES!


  • It’s not a hard game at all. 1st time I played it I beat it. Took me 105 minutes, but I lost to some bosses quite a bit. It’s funny, I seriously killed like 6 of the 9 bosses with 10% health left. Nothing is better than beating a boss by the skin of your teeth
  • The game is short. No password option. 9 stages total — if you were to play it after beating it once, I’d say maybe 60-75 minutes?
  • If you like this game, check out ROCKY RODENT on SNES. It’s also by Irem and has much of a Hammerin’ Harry feel to it. Rocky Rodent is definitely underrated. Much harder too
  • Press select to access a ‘hidden’ options screen
  • The storybook sequences and ending is obviously in Japanese, so you’re just missing out on the story. Other than that, it’s extremely import-friendly
  • No slowdown whatsoever, which is always appreciated
  • Graphically I think the game has a cute, nice look to it. Things are “alive” and the SD characters definitely add charm. My brother walked by as I was playing and he laughed at the big heads
  • Sound-wise I didn’t like it too much. Some of the music gets annoying after a while, and a big no-no: each character’s “death cry” is the same! From the burly axe-wielding Zangief lookalikes to the female sweepers! Even the monkeys! Lazy bastards
  • Gameplay-wise it does nothing extraordinary — it’s just a competent addition to the genre. You climb, jump, smash, etc. Note however, the game only goes right. When you advance a little bit, the screen scrolls right and you can’t go back. That kind of sucks because it ruins the chance to explore if you wish. Thankfully though, you advance on your own instead of the screen automatically scrolling forward. So it becomes a matter of taking your time and knowing the level layouts
  • And replay value… I see myself coming back to this once in an odd moon since it’s a simple arcade-esque little platformer that won’t overly frustrate or eat up a ton of time. You can pick it up, beat it in an hour and be on your way



Worth hunting down? Yes. It’s not a serious platformer by any means. Just look at the screenshots and you can tell it’s erring on the goofy side. It doesn’t take itself seriously and doesn’t do anything bad. Not a stand-out title, but nonetheless a nice game to have in the ole library. It’s nice to see Hammerin’ Harry have at least one Super Nintendo experience. Was probably a little too bonkers to warrant a US release, but at least we have the means to experience it still on our SNES systems.

Super Tekkyu Fight! (SFC)

A twist on the ol' Bomberman formula
You guys, AGAIN?!

I discovered this game during the summer of 2006. Its Bomberman-esque look immediately grabbed my attention and I had high hopes for it. You know the feeling you get when you see screenshots of a game for the very first time and you go “Oh damn, this game looks like it could be a REAL hidden gem!” Yeah, that was me 10 years ago. It took me several months to secure a copy but I finally did and couldn’t wait to play it. For the most part, it delivered. I probably had way too high expectations. It’s a fun little (party) game for sure, but definitely doesn’t topple Super Bomberman. Still, it makes for a solid alternative. Let’s take a closer look.

Super Tekkyu Fight! features four heroes:

Kamen Rider
Kamen Rider Black RX
Gundam RX-78
Gundam RX-78
Fighter Roar
Fighter Roar

At a cursory glance it appears to be a Bomberman clone. But it puts an interesting spin on things. Instead of dropping bombs of one variety or the other, you simply bash the others to oblivion with your chain ball. You begin with a short chain. But power-ups soon come into play, and these include:

Longer chain
Longer chain
Double chain (now we're talking!)
Double chain (now we’re talking!)
The Almighty Gold Chain Ball
The Almighty Gold Chain Ball

This power-up rips through consecutive blocks in one hit. Very powerful.

THE SUPER DESTROYER!!!! (4-way chain!)

Get this baby and you’re sure to rule the match. As you can see with Ultraman and Fighter Roar, players can nullify each other’s chain attack. Note that the GOLD chain does 2 health bars of damage when up-close.


Each player has 8 health bars. So battles here tend to be lengthier than your regular Bomberman match. When hit, you’re invulnerable for a few seconds, eliminating cheap consecutive hits. “A” jumps. If you jump on their head, it stuns ‘em for a few seconds. “Y” sees your guy flipping the tiles, stunning anyone caught in its path. This certainly makes your life easier, but it’s not mandatory.

Ultraman flips the tiles
Ultraman flips the tiles
Fighter Roar is stunned
Fighter Roar is stunned
Ripe for the picking
Ripe for the picking

When hit, you lose the last power-up you had — the icon goes flying back on the field waiting to be claimed by anyone. This is great since it prevents a potential “Ah crap, he got Boardwalk and now we’re all screwed” type of deal.


Gun... DAMN!
Gun… DAMN!

You betcha, and beware where you jump! Each player can jump past 1 square. Each stage has plenty of holes to be weary of. In the heat of the battle it’s very easy to misplace a jump and plummet to the bloody rocks below. However, it doesn’t ALWAYS spell instant doom. The price is 4 precious health bars.

Lovely scenery eh?
Lovely scenery eh?

And don’t you hate when you’re alone playing 3 computer-controlled opponents and you die first, having to sit there waiting 2 minutes for them to kill each other? The programmers have sympathized with our plight as anytime you die, the tiles fall off one by one until one computer rival is standing. BLOODY SWEET. Give those chaps at METRO a hand *golf clap* A rather underrated feature that more Bomberman-esque games should employ.


If you must know, there are 6 worlds with 8 levels each (the 8th being the boss). You’re free to pick from any of the 6 worlds. It’s not bad. It sorta reminds me of an updated version of TRAMPOLINE TERROR.

Enemies from each of the four protagonists’ world appear, which is very cool.

Ice to see you... har har
Ice to see you… har har
Awesome wavy effect here
Awesome wavy effect here

The bosses are huge and pretty tough. Exclusive to the Story mode (1 or 2 player by the way) are bombs (hidden in blocks). If you don’t have at least 1 for the bosses, it’s going to be far more difficult.

Here are four of the six:

Easy bloke
Easy bloke
Mobile sucker!
Mobile sucker!
Focus, young Jedi!
Focus, young Jedi!

Juggling the act of avoiding the falling rocks and slipping through the cracks requires great concentration.

HOLY ISH. Love this boss!
Watch out for the hand crush
Watch out for the hand crush
Love the orange flashing
Love the orange flashing

This demon fellow here is my personal favorite. Look at how badass he is. Resting one hand on his cheek he uses the other to pound the tiles while emitting laser beams from his demonic eyes. I love how he flashes when you hit him, too!


The meat of these games are the 4 player battles. Here’s a look at the 8 arenas.



Standard first stage except for the arrows which can effect the direction of tile flipping. Enjoy the friendly jumping layout while you can…



The silver blocks are unbreakable. Jumping on blocks will break ‘em, but it takes two leaps. Make sure you have a space to land back on!



Arrows act as they do in the first battle arena. Hmm. Kind of lazy, no?



The middle part sends you sliding across.



More arrows in a sort of X-shaped field.



Forces each player to jump from the get-go… who will be on the attack and who will be on the defensive?



Lots of solid ground in the middle, and the many blocks are home to numerous power-ups.



Ice with arrows. Note the slippery sections. Like a combination of zones one and four.


Cracking under pressure!
Cracking under pressure!

Super Tekkyu Fight! appears to be another Bomberman clone but play it for a few minutes and you’ll quickly realize it really isn’t. The battle system is refreshingly different. The combination of jumping, avoiding pitfalls and being able to take up to 8 hits makes the 4-player mode its own unique animal.

On the downside, the battle zones seem a little too similar to one another and don’t have enough gimmicks to differentiate them TOO much. Especially when you compare it to the variety of Bomberman‘s battle arenas. But all in all, this is a fun little game. And particularly a blast for anyone who can gather three other like-minded buds to play with.