Iron Commando (SFC)

What could have been...
What could have been…

I acquired Iron Commando (cartridge only) on October 11, 2006 for just $19.50. Today is lucky Friday the 13th, July 2018. And there’s a copy of this game complete in box going for $1,000 on eBay. Good God almighty. Holy crap am I glad I got back into the Super Nintendo when I did. I remember seeing screenshots of Iron Commando back in 2006 and thinking to myself, “This looks like it could be one of the real unheralded hidden gems of the SNES library.” Back in 2006, very few people were talking about Iron Commando. It was truly obscure then, whereas now it’s much more well known in the SNES community. I wrote a quick review of this game back in late 2006 and did my part to help spread the word. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with it. 12 years later and I still feel the same way. It’s a great looking game that had tons of potential but the end product just doesn’t execute like I had hoped. Hey, you win some, you lose some. I’m just glad my curiosity was cured in 2006 and for less than $20 too.



There are only two characters to pick from: Jack or Chang Li (no relation to Chun-Li). Most beat ‘em ups from the era had at least three choices. Sure, the token female is overly done but there’s a reason for it: to offer variety and more options. So right away we’re off to a less than ideal start but I disregarded my initial disappointment about the lack of a third hero. I just had a good feeling the gameplay was going to make up for it. Boy, was I off. On the bright side, two players can play simultaneously.



The first level opens up with a gnarly quote. It’s cheesy as hell but I loved it. Quotes occasionally appear at the bottom throughout this first level. It lends a B-Movie feel to the game but only appears in this stage, for better or worse. Iron Commando offers a myriad of weapons: 9mm pistols, rifles, machine guns, knives, baseball bats — I’m shocked there wasn’t a chainsaw as well!

That's what I call a double play
That’s what I call a double play

Game looks badass, no? It looks like a lost treasure — how did this NOT make North America? But then you sadly realize that even the lowliest enemies take forever to kill, and weapons BARELY do any damage at all! It’s as if the game is unfinished or still in its testing phase. It shouldn’t take me an endless barrage of hits to beat a common thug with a baseball bat. That just renders the baseball bat useless. If the damage ratio was fixed, Iron Commando would be infinitely better.

Don't text and drive, kids...
Don’t text and drive, kids…

This has to be a first in beat ‘em up history: the first boss being a truck.



Welcome to the first of several auto scrolling stages. Two things are required for this stage to properly enjoy it…

1. Blasting Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf

2. Constant maniacal laughter

Trust me on this one, especially #2.

That'll teach them
That’ll teach them
Or maybe not
Or maybe not
I love the classic red flashing
I love the classic red flashing
Takes me back to my NES days
Takes me back to my NES days
It reminds me of Cadillacs and DInosaurs
It reminds me of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs


Rejects from Sunset Riders
Rejects from SUNSET RIDERS
Love this game!
Love this game!



Yeah, killing dogs (even if they’re rabid ones) with a baseball bat would never have cleared Nintendo of America. They would probably turn those canines into mutant rats. Wolfenstein 3D knows.


From the dingy dock to the interior of a creepy flickering warehouse you go. It’s a well done effect that you really didn’t see many SNES games utilizing. Notice the SLIVER of daylight in the bottom left hand corner there. Nice.


Didn’t Big Tom’s mom teach him not to play with knives in the dark? Tsk tsk.


This is a cool boss fight thanks to the light that flickers in and out. It takes me back to all those haunted house attractions I went to as a kid… and ahem, as an adult… :P



Enemies often crowd you; Iron Commando suffers from cheap mandatory damage syndrome. It’s quite annoying and drags down the experience. It’s pretty cool that sometimes there are four enemies on screen (most SNES beat ‘em ups keep it to three max at a time) but this actually works against Iron Commando since the enemies are really tough and hit you way too much. You almost have to play this game with a friend if you want to enjoy it.

Snakes on a pl -- ground
Snakes on a pl — ground

Unmercifully cheap and annoying, you’ll hate snakes even more than the Medusa Heads in Castlevania. Yes, these slithering serpents are THAT bad.

Yes, those spikes are moving...
Yes, those spikes are moving…

Better kill him before the spiked wall impales you!


If the spiked wall or the boss doesn’t kill you, the spikes on the far right might!


Bring your sunscreen and knife
Bring your sandals and knife

A fun little DID YOU KNOW fact: these guys were all extras for Michael Jackson’s epic music video BEAT IT.

Beat it, beat it! No one wants to be defeated!
Beat it, beat it! No one wants to be defeated!



Yet another auto scrolling section strikes. It’s definitely a “little” more violent than the minecart ride in Donkey Kong Country


Animal lovers, look away
Animal lovers, look away
Kinda reminds me of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
Kinda reminds me of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

Between the variety of violent weapons you can use and the cheesy quotes that pop up, Iron Commando might be the closest thing on the SNES to Capcom’s 1993 brawler, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. It’s a shame though that Iron Commando is nowhere as good and that Capcom never gave us a home port of that title.

His name is even Jack too!
His name is even Jack, too!
Some of the enemies even look alike
Some of the enemies even look alike…


Like sitting, er, standing ducks
Like sitting, er, standing ducks


Quite a dramatic entrance
Quite a dramatic entrance
Eat your heart out, Konami
Eat your heart out, Konami


You’ll not only have to worry about Mr. Roboto but regular enemies as well. Killing them will allow you to gain access to their weapons. But beware of the robot’s laser beams and giant frisky hands. This fight lasts forever on account of poor damage ratio. That’s a shame because it ruins the whole moment, which starts out really cool but whittles down your excitement as the fight drags on and on and on…



Iron Commando was released on February 10, 1995, in Japan in limited quantities. It is one of the harder to find Super Famicom games. Apparently, it was also leaked out in the European market. But in mid 2017, a company by the name of Piko Interactive re-released Arcade Zone’s brawler so that it might find a bigger audience.

It actually came packed with Legend
Piko also re-released Legend

Legend was Arcade Zone’s other SNES beat ‘em up, but that game saw an actual SNES release back in April of 1994. So why did Piko re-release a game that actually had an official North American release? Because of the Iron Commando tie-in, the re-release is also (naturally) much cheaper than what original copies of Legend run for today and why the hell not. I’m thankful I already own both games, though. If I didn’t, I might have gone the Piko route. Original copies fetch way too much these days.

Pretty cool packaging to boot
Pretty cool packaging to boot

It’s always nice to see anything SNES-related getting relaunched in some aspect. Even though I already own all the games I’ve ever wanted, it’s always nice to see my dear old friend in the headlines once again, even if it isn’t front page news.


"Man, meet ups getting shady..."
“Man, meet ups getting shady…”

On the surface, Iron Commando looks the part. If you see it in still shots you can’t help but think to yourself, “Man this game looks good!” It also makes one hopeful that it will play just like the glorious beat ‘em ups of yore. Unfortunately, Iron Commando only looks the part. It fails to play the part as well, which is infinitely more important than looking the part. The pros are obvious. The sprites are huge and look great. The overall look and aesthetic of the game pulls you in — it looks just like an arcade brawler from 1993 that you would play with your pals right after scarfing down some piping hot pepperoni pizza. It’s visually very distinctive and the weapon choice is undeniably badass. No other beat ‘em up on the SNES has as many tools of destruction. From Louisville Sluggers to sawed off shotguns, Iron Commando is drowning in an ocean of violent solutions.


But here comes the ever so dreaded BUT part. Even on Easy, the game is insanely (and unnecessarily) difficult. You suffer countless unavoidable hits as enemies surround and flank you. It makes it really difficult to get into any sort of enjoyable flow when bad guys are bouncing you around like a pinball. The damage distribution is another glaring issue. Doing a 3-hit combo barely ticks their health. What gives? This dragged the whole experience down for me as punches and throws seem to have minimal impact. Initially, I thought to myself, “Ah don’t worry. The weapons will surely even up the odds.” Wrong. Weapon damage ratio isn’t much better. This is both ludicrous and inexcusable. If, however, you can look past these warts, Iron Commando can be a decent good time in brief bursts. With unique graphics and a B-Movie feel, the 2 player mode at least offers some thrills and spills. Still, one can’t help but feel this game massively misses the mark. What should have been an awesome beat ‘em up for the ages and a brawler lionized by a legion of fans is instead reduced to being, at best, an infamous case of “it’s not too bad, BUT…”

Iron Commando no relation to Captain Commando
Iron Commando no relation to Captain Commando

Undercover Cops (SFC)

Such wasted potential...
Such wasted potential…

Beat ‘em ups ruled the arcade scene in the early ’90s. Irem released Undercover Cops in 1992. They then went to work on a Super Nintendo version but that was sadly canned. However, Varie (you might remember that name from my previous review of the Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling trilogy) picked it up and released a Super Famicom only version in March of 1995. I was beyond thrilled to discover this fact upon my SNES resurrection in early 2006. I always wanted to play Undercover Cops on my SNES. Thanks to Varie, I now could. Unfortunately, the port falls a little flat with me. I couldn’t help but feel it was a little lacking. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind a bit by jumping 25 years into the future…


Arcade version
Arcade version
Super Famicom port
Super Famicom port

Council: “Everyone, the peace of our town is at its worst condition ever.”
Mayor: “I have a suggestion. Let the City Sweepers clean up the villains!”
Council: “Of course, Mayor. Violence begets violence! Let’s do it!”


Arcade version
Arcade version
Super Famicom port
Super Famicom port

Collectively, this fearsome unit is known as…


Individually, they’re known as, well, let’s go down the line.


Zan Takahara hails from Japan. He is the balanced fighter of the group.

Zan's special move
Zan’s special move
Zan's super special move
Zan’s super special move
I like how it goes all pixelated
I like how it goes all pixelated


Matt Gables is your good old American football player turned City Sweeper slash Undercover Cop. Notice his birthday — July 4, 2018 — as of this writing he’s almost about to be born. Surprise surprise, he’s the slowest but also the strongest of the trio.

Matt's special move
Matt’s special move
Matt's super special move
Matt’s super special move


Rosa Felmonde hasn’t even been conceived yet! Hailing from England, Rosa is the token quick but weak female fighter of the group.

Rosa's special move
Rosa’s special move
Rosa's super special move
Rosa’s super special move


"MY BOX -- MINE!!"

The first thing I noticed about Undercover Cops is how dirty the game looks. I don’t mean that in a bad way; I actually like that it’s so gritty and grimy. It gives the game a rather grim and bleak atmosphere. So many SNES games are full of bright and bold colors. Not here and that’s a welcome change. I almost feel like I have to take a shower after playing this game.

Keep your eyes on those crows
Keep your eyes on those crows

Battle your way through rundown abandoned buildings, grimy festering docks and inauspicious underground tunnels to name but a few. Everything is in a deep state of decay. The enemies mostly consist of subhuman creatures. A wretched decrepit flock of sideshow freaks. You can bet they haven’t bathed in months (if not years). Even the good guys appear unpleasant and a bit dour.

Under the crows -- surprise!
Under the crows — surprise!

Little details, as seen above, add to the fun of the game (it’s a shame then that the best stuff occurs early on). Crows fly off revealing in its wake two filthy bastards who soon rise like zombies. Send ‘em back to the hell hole they came from!


Hey, it's high in protein y'know
Hey, it’s high in protein y’know

To replenish your health, most beat ‘em ups have you consuming burgers, drinks and assorted meat. But not in Undercover Cops. So what does one eat? Mice, chicken, even snails! Gobble them up before they can scamper (or crawl) away. To make matters even more unsettling, the cops voice their pleasure whenever eating such delicacies. Zan gruffly shouts “GOOD!” and Matt screams “DELICIOUS!” Yum.


Whatever works, right?
Whatever works, right?

While other beat ‘em ups give you knives to fling or bats to swing, Undercover Cops on the other hand walks to its own beat. For example, nothing says PAIN quite like tossing flopping fish at the opposition.

The struggle is real
The struggle is real

But my favorite instrument of destruction is the random concrete pillar. You can either knock it over or unearth it with your bare hands (it’s quite amusing to watch the ongoing struggle that ensues).

Love the R-Type cameo there!
Love the R-Type cameo there!

Naturally, Matt is able to pluck it out faster than Zan or Rosa. Matt and Zan can use the pillar the same amount of times while it breaks fastest for Rosa. Poor Rosa. She’s got a serious case of Breath of the Wild

Dobkeratops from R-Type III
Dobkeratops from R-Type III

It’s always lovely to see companies throwing in clever little easter eggs that show off past franchises. I always enjoy seeing stuff like that.

Good rotation and form, Matt
Good rotation and form, Matt

The concrete pillar just might be my favorite non-projectile based weapon to use in beat ‘em up history. It’s so satisfying to knock over the deformed cretins with it.

Metal beams are fun, too
Metal beams are fun, too

Here we come to the first boss, Parcs. He’s hiding a nasty secret beneath that weird looking exterior. Weaken him and soon he reveals his true form.

Timed right...
Timed right…
... you can crush his ass!
… you can crush his ass!

Bonus points for a highly creative first boss encounter. I love it when beat ‘em ups let you interact with the environment so seeing this for the first time had me jumping out of my chair. It’s too bad though that the rest of the boss fights are nowhere near as creative or fiendishly fun.


The beginning of Mission 2 is my favorite part in the whole game. Kick the barrel of flames or better yet, heave it at the enemies.

Don't let that snail get away!
Don’t let that snail get away!

Upon impact the barrel will liberate a flurry of burning torches. It’s time to burn some bad guys alive! WICKED fun.

Love the enemy taunts
Enemy taunts are on fire… ;)

The scoundrels can toss the torches as well, and if you’re knocked down, one rapscallion in particular enjoys a hearty laugh at your expense.

Whoa BABY!
Whoa BABY is right

The second boss, Fransowors, is where I personally believe the game began to lose me. It’s such an awkward character design and hell, even the name itself is weird. I didn’t like the aesthetics of this boss encounter at all. The background is dull and drab and Fransowors is one big annoying crybaby. It’s a major disappointment coming off the brilliance of the first boss fight with Parcs.


These underground diggers are deadly when traveling in packs. They like to do the spin cycle which automatically knocks you down. Unfortunately, because you aren’t granted temporary invulnerability after being knocked down, they can and will spam attack you until your life is gone. Only then can you beat them when you’re revived and then granted that precious second or two of invincibility. I hate when games make you lose a life and there’s nothing you can do about it. To me that’s plain lazy and poor game design and programming. My experience with Undercover Cops began to really sour at this point.

Arcade version gets a lot crazier!
Arcade version gets a lot crazier!
Mines pop up and explode
Mines pop up and explode

I dig the flashing tunnel. Reminds me of Elevator Action Returns



These suckers greet you with a nasty little love tap if you’re caught in their path. They can’t be killed so just steer clear as they mindlessly march on by. Sometimes it gets really crowded and it feels impossible to come out unscathed. Luckily, any damage they inflict isn’t too much. Still rather annoying, however.


The end level guardian is a monster born from malpractice. And it wants you for dinner… not as a guest but the main course attraction! Sadly, this is where the game ends if you play it on Easy. Only on Normal or Hard can you go through all 5 missions. Below are some quick shots of missions 4 and 5 (note: these screenshots will depict the original arcade version).


Mission 4 = Motorcycle Madness. The SNES port allows you to assign a button to the run command. Turn this option on to make your life a lot easier.


Mission 5 is the longest and most tedious level in the game. You fight across a seemingly endless skyship where you battle a never-ending supply of cronies and a handful of Parcs (the boss from Mission 1).


Better stop Dr. Crayborn from launching the nuke before it’s too late. You’ll get a bad ending if you fail to do so.



Finally coming toward the end, you must battle zombie versions of the team!


Where’s Rick Grimes when you need him?


Doctor, I think there’s something wrong with you…


Crayborn is taken away
Crayborn is escorted to prison
Spend the rest of your life in the slammer
Where he’ll rot away the rest of his days
The End, right? Not quite...
The end, right? Not quite…
In a fabulous twist...
In a fabulous twist…



Your performance is tallied up at the end of each Mission. Depending on how much money you’ve earned, you’ll regain a certain amount of health (if applicable).


Matt reminds me of...
Matt reminds me of…
Johnny Maximum!
Johnny Maximum!
Or I should say vice versa
Or I should say vice versa
J. Max appeared in World Heroes 2
World Heroes 2 was silly fun



Obviously, there’s going to be a certain amount of sacrifices made when a company converts an arcade game into a much smaller SNES cartridge. Undercover Cops is no different. It was something you just accepted as a kid and in most cases, you were just happy to have a home port to mess around with.


Irem went on to make other similar post-apocalyptic arcade action games. These include:

In The Hunt (April 1993)
In The Hunt (April 1993)
Gun Force II (1994)
Gun Force 2 (1994)

A lot of the team who helped made Undercover Cops later formed the Nazca Corporation. They were responsible for a very famous Neo Geo game…

Metal Slug (May 1996)
Metal Slug (May 1996)



Undercover Cops was actually set for a March 1994 release. Hell, it was even reviewed in the March 1994 issue of Nintendo Power Magazine (issue #58). Sadly, it was canned and never saw the light of day in North America. Varie picked up the publishing rights exactly one year later and released it in Japan only on March 3, 1995. The actual Super Famicom cartridge currently commands a minimum of $200 — yowzers!

Not meant to be (1993 is a typo there, should say 1994)
Not meant to be (1993 is a typo; it should say 1994)
There was even an ad published for it!
There was even an ad published for it!

Maybe the ugly Americanized art sealed its own fate. By God is that fugly! Should have gone with the Japanese style box art…

Now that's what I'm talking about
Now that’s what I’m talking about

Looks like the US version was fully finished and ready to go, especially if you’re going off the fact that Nintendo Power reviewed it. Not sure why it was canned except maybe Irem didn’t have faith in it moving the needle as it was a port of an arcade game two years long in the tooth and one that wasn’t a household name in North America. Whatever the case may be, it’s always sad to see promising games cancelled. I’m glad Varie picked up its publishing rights in 1995 even if the port job is a bit disappointing on Irem’s part.



Remember Spike Lee’s movie Do The Right Thing from 1989? The character Radio Raheem sported a four-fingered ring on each hand, with LOVE on the right hand and HATE on the left, to symbolize the struggle between the two emotions. That perfectly describes how I feel about Undercover Cops. I have a love-hate relationship with this game. I love that it was released at all following the US cancellation. I dig how twisted it can be at times, from eating snails to even knocking the skull off of Mission 4’s boss post fight and scarfing it down like how Joey Chestnut eats his hot dogs! I love the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. However, some of the aesthetics could use a little more work. Not having a 2 player option in 1995 is inexcusable. It reeks of laziness. I can see why it’s 1 player only, though. Even in the 1 player mode there’s a bit of occasional slowdown. I can only imagine how much worse it would be in a 2 player mode. But other companies managed to make it work, relatively speaking, so Irem should have found a way as well. I also hate that the game loses a lot of its appeal and luster by around Mission 3. I find it more repetitive than other beat ‘em ups from that era.


Not having a 2 player mode is not a deal breaker though especially if the game itself is good enough on its own. Sadly, there’s something missing. It’s definitely not a bad beat ‘em up but I can easily think of 10 more competent SNES beat ‘em ups I would much rather play. Undercover Cops is one of those games that start out real promising but quickly lose steam less than halfway through. Others have raved about this SNES version but try as I might over the 12 years I’ve owned it, I just can’t give it a ringing endorsement.


Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling Trilogy (SFC)


On September 17, 2017, we lost one of the truly great ones. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. THE heel manager of the late 1980s and early 1990s, if you were a pro wrestling fan you loved to boo Bobby Heenan. He was a once in a lifetime performer. Always entertaining, Bobby knew how to make you laugh and hate him all at the same time. When he passed last September, I wanted to convert over my old review of the Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling games. That’s because in that review, I used Bobby Heenan to call the action. But life got busy and it never happened.


Earlier today it was announced that Big Van Vader passed away on June 18, 2018. Vader was featured in the first Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling game so it’s time. It’s Vader Time!

The best wrestling manager that ever lived
The best wrestling manager that ever lived
One of the best big men ever. R.I.P. Vader and Bobby
One of the best big men ever. R.I.P. Vader and Bobby


Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling is something of a sentimental purchase for me. The reason being it was the first Super Famicom game that I bought, and what started the “obscure” Super Famicom march for me. I remember it fondly. It was an early Monday morning, March 27, 2006. 4:22 AM. Yep, I was a vampire. I sniped Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling on eBay with 3 seconds to go. Crazy times. Anyway, this is the first of Varie’s Super Famicom wrestling trilogy. It features impressive big sprites of famous wrestlers like LIGER and VADER (10 in all).

That's gonna hurt
That’s gonna hurt

The grapple system relies on timing similar to the Fire Pro series. I was hoping it would be as good as Fire Pro. Unfortunately I think Varie spent too much time on the graphics because while they look great, the frame rate is choppy to the point where it’s just not very fun to play. This game was a huge letdown for me. The graphics are awesome, sure, but it doesn’t play very well. It’s too bad because it had a lot of potential. In terms of visuals, it actually reminds me a bit of WWF WrestleFest. Just a shame it didn’t play better.

What goes up...
What goes up…
... must come down
… must come down

A bittersweet experience, then. My first Super Famicom purchase so I’ll always remember it. But as a game itself? Not all that great. Varie followed this up with a sequel. Let’s see if it’s any better.


The first game, Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling: Chou Senshi in Tokyo Dome, was released on September 14, 1993. The sequel, Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling ’94: Battlefield in Tokyo Dome, came out less than a year later (August 12, 1994). The sprites have been downsized and as a result the frame rate has been improved, making this sequel much more playable than its predecessor.

Double the wrestlers!
Double the wrestlers!

The roster doubled, going from 10 to a whopping 20 (including the Legion of Doom and yes, a very young pre-homicide Chris Benoit). Unfortunately, it still doesn’t quite come together.


Similar to the first game, it looks pretty good but something about the gameplay is a bit off, despite the improved frame rate. It’s a much better effort than the first one though, but it still doesn’t match the quality of a Fire Pro.

Better but not quite there yet
Better but not quite there yet

Varie would give it one last try. Might the third time be the charm?


Released on June 30, 1995, Shin Nippon Pro Wrestling ’95: Tokyo Dome Battle 7 is the third and final game in the Shin Nippon trilogy (not counting the female version Stardust Suplex). Did Varie finally get it right? Well, somewhat. It’s easily the best of the trilogy but it still pales in comparison to Fire Pro. Some roster changes were made, though 20 remains the count. Say goodbye to the Great Muta and hello to the Great Sasuke. The frame rate is the best of the trilogy and the graphics were not sacrificed either. Weapons are introduced. But what really makes this game is the new FATAL FOUR WAY BATTLE ROYAL mode. It’s good fun and slightly reminiscent of Capcom’s Saturday Night Slam Masters (although that one was a Texas Tornado Bedlam rather than a true Fatal Four Way Match).

All time legends. Sadly, Vince is the only one still alive
All time legends. Vince is the only one still alive :(

At this time, I’ll hand the mic over to my two all-time favorite commentators: the late great Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. They’ll call the action that follows. Tonight we have a special treat for you. A blistering Fatal Four Way Battle Royal!

*Music plays*
*Music plays*


And introducing, from Michigan, Scott Steiner.

[The f*ck! -Scott Steiner]

Damn that was cold -Rick Steiner
Damn that was cold -Rick Steiner


And finally, he resides from Bay City, Michigan… Rick Steiner.

[HEY! What gives? -Rick Steiner]


Bobby: You know Monsoon, the Steiners are brothers.
Gorilla: Give me a break!
Bobby: I hate all four of these guys. I hope they all cripple each other.
Gorilla: Will you stop! How do you sleep at night?
Bobby: Oh, on my side, usually…
Gorilla: You need professional help.
Bobby: What?! Just answering your question! Sometimes I sleep on my stomach though…


Gorilla: [ignoring the Brain] Ladies and gentlemen, history will be made here tonight. Capacity crowd, jam packed to the rafters, the electricity is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Bobby: I have to give the edge here to Liger, much as I can’t stand his guts, Monsoon. He’s the quickest.
Gorilla: Rick Steiner might be at a distinct disadvantage here because he’s the most lethargic of the four.
Bobby: And he’s slow too!

*Bell rings*
*Bell rings*

Bobby: I told you Monsoon! Sasuke was my guy all along!
Gorilla: Will you be serious? The guys with the white coat and the net are going to be looking for you.
Bobby: I rather not see your family again.


Gorilla: The irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
Bobby: So much for that theory.


Gorilla: Sasuke is really stretching out those lateral collateral ligaments in the knee.


Gorilla: Ouch! That’s excedrin headache number 2,182. Makes me glad I retired.
Bobby: [Mocking Gorilla] There’s one to the cervial dervial part of the neck!
Gorilla: Oh will you stop!


Gorilla: Sasuke just pinned and eliminated Rick Steiner! We now have a triple threat match! It’s pandemonium!
Bobby: I told you Monsoon, he was just too slow for this type of match.
Gorilla: [Mockingly] And lethargic too, right?
Bobby: Yeah, that too.


Gorilla: Good night nurse!
Bobby: Not if she spent it with you!
Gorilla: Grow up, Brain.
Bobby: Hey Monsoon, you know why the Great Sasuke wears a mask?
Gorilla: No, why?
Bobby: Have you looked in the mirror lately?
Gorilla: Will you please!


Gorilla: Sasuke has taken over the match! The arena is deafening!
Bobby: Get that Benjamin ready for me, Monsoon!
Gorilla: Will you stop! What kind of broadcast journalist are you?
Bobby: The kind that takes cash only!



Tokyo Dome Battle 7 isn’t a shabby wrestling game, but it’s not as good as the Fire Pro or Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling titles. But to Varie’s credit, Tokyo Dome Battle 7 is the most refined of the trilogy. The added Battle Royal mode is chaotic and a good amount of fun. If you’re a diehard wrestling fan and you have to have one from this Varie trilogy, make it Tokyo Dome Battle 7. It pretty much renders the two previous entries useless unless you’re a collector or the type who enjoys seeing the ‘evolution’ of a series.

My Shin Nippon and Zen Nippon Wrestling collection
My Shin Nippon and Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling collection

It’s pretty obvious why all these games stayed in Japan, although Natsume Championship Wrestling (a variation of the Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling games) did make its way to North America in the summer of 1994.

Pouring one out for all these guys and gals plus all the others we’ve lost in the past couple years since this great music video was released. Thanks for the memories, y’all.

Sandra no Daibouken (SFC)

Suddenly I want a jelly bean
Suddenly I want a jelly bean

Sandra no Daibouken, or Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai to give it its more proper Japanese title, or Whirlo in Europe, goes by many names. Whatever you call it, it’s one tough son of a gun. Translated as Xandra’s Great Adventure: Encounter with the Valkyrie, this is a rock hard action platformer that will test the mettle of even the most skilled gamer. As such, it’s not for everyone. Patience and persistence is the order of the day here. Although it never came to North America, it was released also in Europe as Whirlo in 1992. Super Play Magazine was very high on it, ranking it #86 on their Top 100 SNES Games list. They rated it 85%. I’m a huge fan of Super Play as readers may remember, and I’ll let them take the reigns on this one. The following review comes courtesy of Super Play.

The box art for the rare PAL European version
The box art for the rare PAL European version
What a North American version might look like
What a North American version might look like
Nice poster!
Nice poster! Great job there, Greg Martin


What initially looks like a rather poor Wonder Boy clone actually turns out to be a top-notch arcade adventure, enlivened by some very versatile controls. These take getting used to, but once learnt prove to be extremely rewarding — if a bit frustrating at times.







Pitchfork in hand, no one’s eating this blob of jelly.


Graphically, Sandra is a mixed affair, with both lovely and rather drab bits. The main sprite has consistent appeal though, and the way he can jump and land on top of baddies with his pitchfork is a joy — and a lot less disturbing than it sounds!


The gameplay is as patchy as the background graphics, however — at some points it’s simply great fun, while other bits are a real pain.


Throughout it all the generally melancholy tunes add tons to the game, even if they do get slightly repetitive. Indeed, the whole feel of the game is tear jerkingly sad — not just the music but also the general atmosphere and the plot (our hero has to collect various special herbs to help cure his dying son).


Passwords are given at regular points but it’ll still take you a fair while to find the herbs, due to the fiendishly designed levels. A real discovery, then, and a game that offers the player a lot more than it first appears. Things get better and more complicated as you progress (indeed, it’s fiendishly difficult in certain sections). You can almost feel the boy’s life draining away as you struggle with a particularly tricky section.







Occasionally, a bit of Japanese text crops up but don’t let that turn you off — understanding it all is not crucial to gameplay. This is likely to remain an obscure game in the UK, though we expect something of a cult following around it — great fun! -Jason Brookes

Graphics: 84%
Sound: 89%
Gameplay: 82%
Gamelife: 91%

Overall: 88%


Verdict: A wonderfully versatile and highly unusual game that, as a slightly bizarre trip into Japanese eccentricity and mysticism, is hard to beat. Despite some infuriating sections, this is highly recommended, especially to hardcore gamers. One thing is for certain — no one will finish this in a hurry.



Usually I am in concurrence with Super Play when it comes to their game opinions (minus most beat ‘em ups as they were simply too harsh on that particular genre), but this is the rare case where I disagree a bit. Admittedly, Sandra no Daibouken is one of those games I still need to further explore but quite frankly, in the time I spent with it I found it simply not all that fun. My main issue is that the control could use some work, which I feel accounts partially for why it is so difficult. I don’t mind a tough fair challenge so long as the control is tight and fluid. I didn’t feel it was for Sandra no Daibouken.


On the bright side, there is a simplicity to the game that can be rather appealing. There are zero power-ups — everything you need to succeed you start the game off with. There’s also a wide variety of jumps you can perform. The game plot is intriguing as well; most SNES games didn’t have such a dark plot. I liked the idea of having to cure my dying son rather than the typical damsel in distress or save the world plot that has been beaten to death. Of course, storyline isn’t why I play platformers but in this case, it paints a somber mood for Sandra no Daibouken (in addition to the music and somewhat bleak visuals) that lend to a dreary atmosphere ideal to play on a late darkening afternoon.


There is a solid game here for sure, but I’m not sure I’d give it an 88% like Super Play did. That said, it’s definitely one of those games I’d like to replay more in-depth at some point. But for now I can’t personally vouch for this game in the way that Super Play did. As always, your mileage may vary so try it out for yourself (and leave a comment below if you’re so inclined). Tough old school 16-bit platformers your thing? Then Sandra no Daibouken might be right up your alley.

Super Mad Champ (SFC)

"Oops... MY BAD!" [Who are you, Draymond Green?! -Ed.]
“Oops, MY BAD!”  [Who are you, Draymond Green?! -Ed.]
Super Mad Champ is a motorcycle racing game with a dash of Road Rash, and then some. It’s a rather obscure game that I managed to acquire back in 2006 (the year I bought and originally wrote about many of these obscure Super Famicom imports). It’s not anything special but it does have a few features that are memorable and make it fun to dabble with here and there.



You get to pick from one of five thrill seekers. They’re a typical bunch but sometimes I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • 1. Good looking hero
  • 2. Token female
  • 3. The “cool” rebel
  • 4. The “tough” guy
  • 5. The punk

You earn more money with each race won as well as the number of opponents you knock off their bikes. You can use the money to buy a new bike (of which there are 12). You can tune them up as well. But don’t be fooled that this is some sort of sim-heavy racer. It’s an arcade-like racer through and through.



Two modes exist.

  • 1. Grand Prix (3 cups with a password system)
  • 2. Time Attack

Total of 18 tracks. Unfortunately, it is one player only.



Press down to pop a wheelie. Try popping one right as you land after a big jump. If not, you’ll lose some momentum after landing. Every precious nanosecond counts!


During take offs, the computer is smart to always pops a wheelie as to not lose momentum upon landing.


Sometimes there’s a dip in the road. Other times a platform lays in the way. React accordingly to these obstacles and hazards.



Fend off the competition with a well placed kick. Press the left shoulder button to kick to the left side, and the right shoulder button to extend the right leg. Two hits will do the trick.



Scrolling is often what makes or breaks a game of this nature. In this case, I feared the worst coming from a smaller company, Givro (who developed the terrible Sega Genesis brawler Fighting Masters and most notably E.V.O.: The Search for Eden). I was therefore pleasantly surprised by how well Super Mad Champ scrolls. The lack of slowdown is a major plus as well. Not a bad job where many others have failed. The little details are pretty cool too, like the blades of grass that kick up when you powerslide on them.


No leg kick here, just a chain!
No leg kick here, just a chain!

Track variety is another important component of what makes a quality racing game, and Super Mad Champ has their bases fairly covered. There’s a decent amount of variety as you can see.

Lots of dips on this course
Lots of dips on this course
Things get slippery here
Things get slippery here
"Is this Iowa?"
“Is this Heaven?”
"No, it's Iowa."
“No, it’s Iowa.”


Up to this point you might be thinking “OK, it’s got some Road Rash I’ll grant you that. But I don’t see anything worth writing home about.” And my response… well, let me just show you some key pictures…


Yeah, so? Happens all the time
Yeah, so? Happens all the time
I thought that at first too...
I thought that at first too…


Whenever you get off your bike, whether by choice or force, this guy appears ready to fight. Both players have an energy bar and can block. It’s no Street Fighter II of course but it’s a fun novelty. You can only punch and jump kick, but this basic style works for this sort of game. Wait, actually, there is one more move you can do…

"Quit running and fight, ya bum!"
“Get back and fight, ya bum!”
"Damn me and my big mouth"
“Damn my big mouth…”
Gotta love the absurdity
Gotta love the absurdity
"Nice ride. Think I'll take it!"
“Nice ride. Think I’ll take it!”
"Let's do lunch some time!"
“Let’s do lunch some time!”

Yup, you can even steal the opposition’s motorcycle. Brilliant.


Few things are better than throwing bikes around. Just keep in mind that they too have an energy bar. The lower a motorcycle’s energy, the less velocity it can travel at. And should its health ever reach zero, well, KABOOM!



Looking for an easy way to upgrade your ride? Here’s my simple hijacking guide. Step 1: Come to a full stop, get off and wait.


Step 2: Give the next rider a good fist sandwich and then say hello to your new ride. Bada bing, bada boom.


Ran over while standing...
Ran over while standing…
... or laying OUCH!
… or laying. OUCH!
Talk about having a bad day
Talk about having a bad day
Ruin someone's day...
Ruin someone’s day…

Timed right, you can even knock off passing riders.


Somewhere right now...
Somewhere right now…
... Guile's rolling in his grave!
… Guile’s rolling in his grave!

No fancy Hadoken motions here. Those moves above merely cap off punch combos (rapidly pressing Y). When you’re off your bike you have two options: fight or flight. You have to weigh your pros and cons. Fight too long and you’ll never get back in the race. If you don’t finish #1 or #2 (out of 5) you have to repeat the course. So it’s advisable to fight temptation. But should you engage in the occasional scuffle, make it quick and go. But if you just want to fool around? It’s fun to finish ‘em off.



The only other piece of info on the web I could find on this game (back in late 2006) states the following:

For those who are fans of the Kunio-kun series like I am, might be aware that at some point Technos planned on releasing Kunio Bike Racing game using the same engine from Kunio-tachi no Banka. What few people may know however, was that Kunio-tachi no Banka was actually developed by outside company called Almanic. Almanic was comprised of former Technos staff members, including Kunio-kun and Double Dragon director and producer, Yoshihisa Kishimoto. Almanic did a bunch of other stuff, but their best known work was Wonder Project J and its N64 sequel.


Anyway, Almanic was contracted by Technos to do Kunio-tachi no Banka (the true sequel to the very first Kunio-kun game), in addition to the bike racing game. While Technos ditched the bike racing, Almanic decided to released it anyway through another company and thus, it became Super Mad Champ (without Kunio’s presence in the game).


Mad Champ, as mentioned earlier, was developed on the Kunio-tachi no Banka-engine, meaning that both games, share a similar look. As a matter of fact, you can even get off your bike and fight against a rival biker (and steal his bike while you’re at it). The rest of the game plays like a typical bike racing simulator, in which you race in three different types of grand prix and customize your bike (and buy a new one when you can). It’s quite a fun little game.

Super Mad Champ
Super Mad Champ
Kunio-tachi no Banka
Kunio-tachi no Banka

Credit “Johnny Undaunted” (3/26/04)



Super Mad Champ (gotta love its campy title) was one of those obscure oddities I couldn’t wait to play back in 2006. I wondered if it was obscure because it was so bad or if maybe it was some sort of hidden gem. Turns out it’s neither but somewhere in the middle. The racing, being the meat of the game, is solid enough and the extracurricular activities make it that much more fun and memorable. It’s not going to light your world on fire but when you’re in the mood for an arcade-like racer on your SNES with a little silliness and black humor thrown in the mix, Super Mad Champ gets the job done. All in all, a fun little quirky racing game it is.


Jungle no Ouja Tarzan (SFC)

There's weird and then there's Jungle no Ouja Tarzan
There’s weird and then there’s Jungle no Ouja Tarzan

I’ve played a lot of obscure Super Famicom games over the past 12 years. Some of them have been, shall we say, a tad queer. One of the weirdest games I’ve ever played is Jungle no Ouja Tarzan. Oh man. What can I say about this one. There are games we play and forget. And then there are games so bizarre that they stick in your crawl. They may not necessarily be great, but you remember them for their staunch peculiarity. While Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is a platformer (something the SNES has way too much of), it’s memorable if nothing else. Why? Let’s take a closer look…

Like so many Super Famicom games from the early-mid ’90s, Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is based off a Japanese anime. Watch that intro to set the mood. Things are about to go from weird to weirder…

Ah, it's a good day for a run
Ah, it’s a good day for a run
And some branch hopping
And some branch hopping
What else did you expect?
What else did you expect?

Peace and tranquility doesn’t last for long however; it wouldn’t be much of a game if it did, eh? Pretty soon you come across rifle-toting poachers, and it’s your job to save your animal friends.

Unleash your inner Simba
Channel your inner Simba

Angry that his jungle has been invaded, Tarzan unleashes all his might. This offensive technique is his most potent.


Catch some air with the aid of your primate pals.


Punch the rock and it’ll slide over, taking out Mr. Poacher Foot Soldier.

Amusing animations abound
Amusing animations abound
See? [Si -Ed.]
See?  [Si -Ed.]
"What, a 2 for 1 sale at Macys!"
“What, a 2 for 1 sale at Macys?!”

Tarzan is no rocket scientist but even he knows that a herd of animals running in the opposite direction is a bad sign. Whatever’s chasing them off has to be a serious threat. So what does he do? Why, strike a silly pose of course!

So that's why they ran off...
So that’s why they ran off…
It's completely bonkers
It’s completely bonkers
"99... 100!"
“99… 100!”

Next up Tarzan finds himself in China. Why? Because. He’s good at hanging on ledges, the chap.


Certain blocks are breakable but beware of the occasional spike pit lurking below. Press either shoulder button to scroll the screen up or down in order to spot potential hazards. It’s always nice when a platformer affords you such a luxury.


The trick is to stand still — the fireball goes past you harmlessly if you do. Why this is, who in the heck knows. So walk a little bit, pause and repeat until you get yourself in striking distance.

So much for homeland security
So much for homeland security


These cramped areas cause extra grief for Tarzan as it eliminates his jump kick but no matter. You just have to exercise a bit more caution.

Certain parts unbreakable...
Certain parts are unbreakable…
Unless you count your foot!
Unless you count your foot!

This attack can be aimed downward, straight ahead or vertically.


Brrrr! To keep warm, do the Running Man. Duh.


You gotta love how a rope is conveniently placed there. Don’t the bad guys check these levels first? Then again, it’s no worse than leaving meat in a barrel I suppose. Yup, you can take the boy out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy.



Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is just your standard semi-competent but not excellent platformer. Its main appeal is the protagonist and the strange lands he finds himself in. So while it may play like a glut of many other SNES platformers I could name, at least it’s one that leaves a lasting impression. Later in the game you’ll find yourself in places such as Las Vegas and even a haunted castle. While it’s enjoyable to some degree and has a bit of wacky charm to it, what hampers it is Tarzan’s mobility, or lack thereof. He’s not, shall we say, the fleetest of foot. Navigating him can be a little annoying at times thanks to the slight hitch in his get-along. His jumping ability is pretty lacking as well.


Other than that, it’s about a 5.5 to 6.5 out of 10 game, depending on your level of tolerance for these less-than-stellar me-too platformers. It’s decent and made more interesting thanks to Tarzan. It’s definitely a notch or two below Go Go Ackman and Ghost Sweeper Mikami. And those games, mind, are several notches below DoReMi Fantasy (which I view as Super Famicom’s best platformer).


Still, Jungle no Ouja Tarzan is worth a look especially for the diehard SNES fan who enjoys his or her platformers. It’s something of a guilty pleasure, for sure.

Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban Trilogy (SFC)

Culture Brain's at it again
Culture Brain’s at it again

You might recall a somewhat obscure company (especially when compared to bigger names like Capcom and Konami) by the name of Culture Brain back in the day. They had a knack for making “quirky” games with features that were a little outside the box (to say the very least). You might remember them for the little quirky SNES game Super Baseball Simulator 1.000. Its Japanese title is Super Ultra Baseball and it was released in Japan on July 12, 1991. It graced North American shores in time for Christmas 1991 and earned itself a semi-cult following with many SNES players harboring fond memories of those early days. Well, did you know that Culture Brain released ANOTHER Super Nintendo baseball franchise but exclusively in Japan? This trilogy was known as Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban. They share a lot in common with the Super Ultra Baseball series and I find it oddly fascinating that one little company had essentially two similar but different baseball franchises running simultaneously on the same system. It’s about as quirky as Culture Brain itself was!








Released on August 28, 1992, Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban feels more like the true sequel to Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 than Super Ultra Baseball 2 does, on account of the gap being one year as opposed to three. One thing that caught my eye right away was the ability to play in the early evening time which the original game did not present. I’m a sucker for night time in my video games, and that definitely (if not especially) includes baseball.







Sunny days are meant for baseball. But there’s also something beautiful about baseball in the early evening, and this game captures that.







Similarities between the two are inherently apparent. I dig the improved visuals of Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban. There’s something real clean and classy about it especially when compared side by side to the original as seen here.







Surely you can guess which game is which. What a difference one year makes.







Cosmetics aside, Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban also improved on its fielding. Players control a hair smoother.













Nothing compares to a close dramatic play at home plate!







WHAT THE — ! Culture Brain trying to infiltrate my brain…







Celebrate your big shot by shouting WAO! Who doesn’t?







There’s something truly majestic about smashing the ball deep into the night. You can almost smell the fresh cut grass and hot dogs. If you look closely you can even see the ball heading for those fancy lights there.













Admiring your handy work is all part of the fun.







Worry not, the Ultra Plays are back.







They’re what made the original game so popular and memorable. And just like the first game, when you activate an Ultra Play you and any base runners will flash as well. Good stuff.







That’s definitely going to leave a mark.













Missile Hit returns in all its glory.







That’s not the Flash. But you sure feel like him!



Jitsumeiban in case you were wondering means “Real Player Version.” Culture Brain acquired the rights to use professional Japanese ball players in this trilogy, and this accounts for the major difference between this series and the Super Ultra Baseball one. Obviously there’s some Japanese text to wade through but it’s very manageable and just a really well made baseball game overall. I probably prefer Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 on account of English and nostalgia, but it’s definitely not a bad pick up if you’re so inclined.


The hi-jinx continues
The hi-jinx continues in some very charming ways

Funny story right off the bat [HAR HAR -Ed.], I bought this game back in 2006 and for a number of years was convinced it was the direct sequel to Super Baseball Simulator 1.000. After all, it was a Culture Brain baseball game with the number 2 attached at the end of it. How many bloody different baseball franchises on the same system can one company make? Well, apparently two. It came to my attention in 2008 or so that the direct sequel was Super Ultra Baseball 2. And that this game here, in fact, was Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2. Yes, Culture Brain’s other baseball franchise on the Super Famicom. Confused yet? Don’t worry if you are, I sure as hell was nearly a decade ago. Who knew Culture Brain were such whores for baseball? :P They truly were the Capcom of this particular genre. So how does Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 separate itself from the crowded pack?








WHOA! Right away you notice there are two vastly different presentational styles. The default is a cute Chibi, almost Super Deformed style. But there’s also an option to switch to more traditional, typical 16-bit looking baseball sprites.







Honey, I Think I Shrunk The Ball Players! Call me a sucker for the small stuff but I love this! I personally prefer the Chibi style as it gives the game an even quirkier atmosphere not to mention it plays better in this mode.







Super Deformed mode allows you to see much of the field on defense. The other mode, however, doesn’t. It makes a huge difference when you lose that MUCH real estate! Playing defense takes a huge hit because you see less.







While it’s cool that Culture Brain threw in this mode, it honestly feels more like a throwaway than a well thought out process. Look at the fielding. You can’t see much and it really hinders play. Shame they didn’t adjust the scope because then it would truly feel like two games in one. Still, being an option, it’s hard to complain much about this. Just stick to the Chibi mode and you’ll be fine.







These two shots above are from Super Ultra Baseball 2 (July 28, 1994). Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 only came out less than five months later on December 22, 1994. It’s easy to see Culture Brain just slapped on the sprites from Super Ultra Baseball 2 as a bonus. But look at the much more reasonable fielding in that game. Why they didn’t convert that over as well is much to the detriment of this additional mode. So it’s a nice novelty but not one with any real staying power.







Nevertheless, I still admire that it’s even there to begin with. It kind of feels like this game Culture Brain wanted to sort of melt their two franchises together: the Super Ultra Baseball series with Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban. While not a home run, I admire the swinging attempt, anyhow. Besides, the Ultra Plays will forever connect the two series and it’s always a welcomed sight.







Charming, isn’t it? It’s a lot of fun to play, too.







Baseball pitchers or Street Fighters? It’s hard to tell at times. But it’s absolutely brilliant all the same.







There’s even sort of a quasi-EarthBound style to its visuals…







Speaking of the Bomb special (as seen above next to EarthBound), it always cracks me up to see the ball exploding in the bleachers. Hope those fans are OK!







ProTip: Avoid meteors whenever possible.



















Taking out multiple defenders with the Missile Hit? Priceless.







Nervous, are we? Oh, I see why. Hey, this is baseball. Not ballet!



There’s something about Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 that I can’t help but love. I admire Culture Brain’s attempt to blend the two franchises together. Of the trilogy, this is the closest example to such a feat. While it isn’t perfect, you have to admire the attempt. If only they nailed it then this could have been Culture Brain’s definitive baseball game. Still, I love the default Chibi mode. It plays well and it’s the closest thing we’ll probably ever get to EarthBound Plays Baseball. If that sounds like a good thing to you then give Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2 a swing.


The last of the trilogy
Ends it with a bang or a whimper?

Arriving mere days before Halloween 1995 (October 27), Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 3 is what you’d get if you took the previous two Jitsumeiban games and mixed them in a visual blender. It’s not quite Super Deformed as the second game but it’s not as serious looking as the first one. It’s almost as if Culture Brain settled on a balance of the two. I appreciate their efforts in making each game in this trilogy look different. At least you can’t say they just put out the same game every year like you can with some other companies, ahem…


And look, they did it again! You get two different styles of play. The left is the default. Thankfully, the optional mode plays a little better than the previous game’s optional mode, but it’s still not the best and I recommend sticking to the default style for optimal gameplay. But more on that in a bit.













Exclamation speech bubbles are a nice new touch. Other added details include batters taking practice swings and digging their cleats deep into the dirt. Unfortunately, while you would think added details are a good thing, perhaps not always. Extra animation leads to games taking a wee bit longer to complete. We’re not talking significantly longer, but long enough to be noticeable. It still plays extremely well but you’ll need a little more patience with this one.







Whereas the alternative visual mode in the previous game was appealing, I have to say not so much on this one. It feels extremely generic in this visual style. Stick to the default.







Besides, the default style plays a lot better since it gives you a better scope of real estate on defense. The alternative mode still suffers from being too closely zoomed in as it did in the previous game. It’s a little better but still not ideal.








Culture Brain’s true swan song on the SNES though came with 1997’s Pro Yakyuu Star. It was a standalone title that took a bulk of the graphics engine from Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 3 but it improved vastly on gameplay. Fielding and catching the ball never felt so smooth. Unfortunately, the trade-off is there are no Ultra Plays anywhere to be found. Still, as far as straight-laced baseball games on the SNES go, Pro Yakyuu Star is easily one of the better ones.



Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 3 is yet another solid addition to Culture Brain’s long running series of baseball games. Don’t worry, the Ultra Plays are in this game as well. However, Pro Yakyuu Star plays a lot better so my problem with this game is whenever I play it I often feel like I’m playing a lesser version of Pro Yakyuu Star, due to the similarities in graphics. As mentioned earlier, it also takes a little longer finishing one game here than it does in previous ones, due to the added animation. If I had to rank the three Jitsumeiban games I would go 2, 1, 3.

Ranking Culture Brain’s six SNES baseball games:

1. Super Baseball Simulator 1.000
2. Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 2
3. Pro Yakyuu Star
4. Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban
5. Super Ultra Baseball 2
6. Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban 3

Because I’m a nut for baseball, I own all six of these games. They’re all very good but you probably don’t need to play all six (unless you’re crazy like me). If you can only play a few, I recommend checking out the top three in my list above. Pro Yakyuu Star, being the last one released, honestly probably plays the best of them all but because it lacks Ultra Plays I have a soft spot for the earlier games and tend to prefer playing them instead. Enough yapping — there’s only one thing left to do…


Super Ultra Baseball 2 (SFC)

It's Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 2!
Culture Brain strikes again!

Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 has something of a semi-cult following. An early first generation SNES game, it thrilled players with its engrossing customization and ridiculously fun Ultra Plays. These plays, when activated, give you certain special powers. For example, baseballs turn into floating leaves or scorching meteors. Culture Brain wasn’t shy to think (way) outside the box and they brought a certain level of fun to the genre like no one had done before. It’s a shame, then, that the sequel never saw the light of day here in North America. Released on July 28, 1994, Super Ultra Baseball 2 takes everything you loved about Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 and ups the ante.








Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 looks a bit crude in places. I mean, there’s still a certain level of charm to the rudimentary graphics but no one will ever say that it’s pleasing to the eye. Super Ultra Baseball 2, on the other hand, legitimately looks like a port of an arcade baseball title! Also, new little details like the sweat beads bouncing off a nervous batter’s forehead brings a whole new sense of life to the game. Of course graphics aren’t the be-all, end-all of a video game, but it’s nice when they’re nice! Keep in mind though — the first game was released in Japan on July 12, 1991, so the sequel that came out three years later is bound to look that much better.







Lovely little intro opens us up. You still get 18 teams to pick from, just like in the first game. And just like the first one, there are six Ultra League teams capable of utilizing the Ultra Plays.







Select from six stadiums and then if applicable, choose how many Ultra Play points you wish to have. You can go as low as 50 or as high as infinite.







Presentation is on point. Love the way it looks, especially when you have runners at the corners. One of the best looking SNES baseball games around!







Those wacky and nutty Ultra Plays are back and better looking than ever.







Tinkering with all the Ultra Plays is half the fun!







Brings new meaning to “He’s got ELECTRIC stuff.”













Pitchers had their fun — now it’s time for the batters. The fan favorite Missile Hit is back and still functions the same. Get the hell outta its way!













Another fan favorite, the Bomb returns to terrorize defenders.







Fielding and running feels a bit smoother than the original.













Baseball players often describe being “in the zone” as seeing the ball like it’s the size of a beach ball. This must be what they’re talking about…













Seriously, does it get any cooler than this?








Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 or Super Ultra Baseball 2? It really is a tough call. To answer the question of is it better… my answer would have to be yes and no. Graphically, it’s not even close (no surprise there). The fielding is a bit smoother and I’d say SUB 2 plays a bit better than its predecessor.







However, Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 has it beat in two categories: stadium “life” and music. SUB 2 isn’t bad sounding or anything but the renditions were better in the original. Listen to the two and there’s really no comparison. By stadium “life” I mean just look at the first picture here. The first game had some quirky ballparks that added to the charm of the game, such as the field with a tiny white fence that makes hitting home runs a lot easier. Although there are still six stadiums in SUB 2, they all sort of feel the same and there are no interesting quirks with any of them, really. It feels slightly “soulless” if you get my drift. I also even miss the way the first game would zoom in after a home run.







Summary: the first game wins in music and stadium variety. The sequel wins in graphics and gameplay. If only Culture Brain could have combined the two games it would have been the perfect baseball game.



You can’t go wrong with either game. If you love Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 then you’ll like this as well. It’s hard to pick but if I were forced to, as of right now I would give the slight edge to the first game. Regardless, Super Ultra Baseball 2 is a damn fine sequel that’s sure to make any fan of the first game proud. The wacky Ultra Plays make this an appealing title that even non-baseball fans can enjoy.


Each game in this series brings different pros and cons to the table. Both complement each other well and it’s nice to own both with the choice to play whichever one you’re in the mood for. Super Ultra Baseball 2 has more of that modern flair with all the Ultra Plays you love from the original. But Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 has that classic nostalgic early first generation SNES charm to it. Both games are fun as hell and sure to entertain baseball gamers for many more summers to come. Not to mention those cold December nights where real life baseball is well into its offseason. So grab your mitt, er, SNES controller, and play ball!

"I'm too old for this SH*T!"
“I’m too old for this SHIT!”

PS- Can’t get enough of these wacky Culture Brain baseball titles? Then be sure to check out Ultra Baseball Jitsumeiban Trilogy and Pro Yakyuu Star.

Top 50 Obscure Super Famicom Games

My favorite games that never came out in America!
My favorite games that never came out in America!

The SNES has a ton of amazing games. But when you turn your eye to the Japanese side of things, that’s when you truly realize how deep and phenomenal the library is. On September 8, 2006, I began an “Obscure Super Famicom Impressions” topic where I posted my two cents on a slew of obscure Super Famicom exclusives. The topic was well received and stirred much retro gaming discourse. 10 years later I revived my topic to post a personal top 50 list. I’m now converting that list over :)


  • This isn’t a top 50 *BEST* list. Rather, it’s a top 50 favorite list
  • There will be no (action) RPGs on this list. As best as I could, I kept this list restricted to games that any non-Japanese reader can enjoy
  • To qualify for this list, the game can’t have an official American release
  • All these games have links for their own review if you wish to read more

Let the top 50 countdown begin!



Everyone knows about the Capcom Mickey games on the Super Nintendo. But did you know there was a non-Capcom Mickey game released only on the Super Famicom? Developed by GRC (who also made Trouble Shooter for the Genesis), Mickey Tokyo Disneyland is worth a look.


Navigate through various sections of the famous Disneyland theme park. Red balloons send Mickey zipping around. Blue balloons can be flicked at enemies or dropped on unsuspecting suckers. It can also be set down as a paperweight or as a jumping boost. The color scheme, the classic Mickey look — it all works. The control is a bit rigid, though. Still, a nice game to play on a lazy rainy day.



Boasting a rich colorful look, Marty McFly uses his trusty hoverboard to thwart the likes of Biff, Griff, rogue cops and other assorted baddies. The classic Back to the Future overture is perfectly replicated. Chill inducing worthy.


The game does have its share of flaws, though. The control takes some getting used to and there’s a bit of slowdown here and there. But there’s just something about this game that I enjoy, warts and all.




Violinist of Hamelin (AKA Hamelin no Violin Hiki) is a puzzle action platformer where you play as Hamel and guide a girl named Flute safely through each level. Picking up Flute and tossing her through pillars of stone is not only encouraged, it’s necessary! Flute can transform into 16 different forms (after the appropriate icon has been collected). Each has its own special purpose and using the right one at the right time is key to success.


Poor Flute gets quite abused!
Her expressions are priceless!




Daft only developed three SNES games — two of which are entries #48 and #49 above. This next game completes Daft’s SNES trilogy. Based off the manga, Nangoku is a platformer that uses a level up system like you would find in an action RPG. There are eight kooky worlds to navigate with all manner of bizarre enemies to kill. There’s even a character that looks an awful lot like Link, hmm.


There’s a slight bit of dialogue in this game (as is the case with Violinist of Hamelin) but it won’t hinder a non-Japanese reading gamer from progressing. However, there’s a fan translation floating out there if you want to get the full experience.




Everything Super Bonk should have been! The sprites are smaller so maneuvering Bonk around is much improved in comparison to his first SNES outing. He can also slide now. Some “new” transformations abound that were not present in Super Bonk such as the thief, who can throw the smiley faces as projectiles. Visuals are colorful and pleasing to the eye.


Super Genjin 2 does Bonk proud.




Published by Nintendo on New Year’s Day 1999, Power Soukoban added an action-oriented modern twist to the classic old Soukoban formula. Not only are there puzzles to solve but you now have to fend off enemies. Your fireballs take out enemies as well as move stones.


There are even bosses! Frankenstein and Medusa to name but two. Power Soukoban is a fun action puzzle game that brings an interesting new twist to a proven formula.



Based off the anime/manga by Takashi Shiina, Ghost Sweeper Mikami reminds me of the countless action platformers we saw on the 8-bit NES back in the day. If you’re into that sort of thing, then definitely give it a look. Packed with atmosphere, it’s slightly goofy yet somewhat spooky. Perfect to play on a cold, stormy night with all the lights turned off.


Evil spirits, zombies and all assorted manner of monsters have popped up all over town. Armed with her trusty magical baton and athletic agility, it’s up to Mikami to sweep the streets and clear out the demons and demented. Just a good old fashioned fun solid action game akin to the kind we saw in the late ’80s to early ’90s.



You might remember Hammerin’ Harry from the arcade scene of the early ’90s. Running around in pseudo-Super Deformed form crushing everything in sight with a big ol’ mallet? Sign me up!

It’s also Japanese bonkers. From fighting a man dressed in a cat suit to knocking the hell out of octogenarians, Ganbare Daiku no Gensan promises a wacky experience that is certainly enjoyable while it lasts.




At a cursory glance, Super Tekkyu Fight! appears to be a Bomberman clone. But it’s actually quite different. For starters, players can take up to eight hits. Instead of bombing the competition, you attack them with a spiky chained ball.

It’s no Super Bomberman but Super Tekkyu Fight! is certainly a solid alternative when you’re in the mood for something in the Bomberman vein but with a twist.




Developed by HUMAN, best known for their Fire Pro Wrestling franchise, The Firemen is like Die Hard if you replace the terrorists with fire and the firearms with a water hose. It’s winter 2010 in New York and a high rise is burning. It’s up to you to rescue the victims and clean up the mess. Shoot in eight directions as well as strafe and lock.






Based off the manga by Akira Toriyama, Go Go Ackman is a traditional action platformer starring a very non-traditional anti-hero. And therein lies the charm. Fend off enemies by way of swordplay, boomerang and even some gun slinging. The game is short and not very challenging, but damn is it fun.


Besides, it’s pretty hilarious shooting cute little angels right between the eyes. God bless Japan, you crazy bastards you.



Battle Cross is a six player single screen racer. At first glance it appears to be a mix of Mario Kart and Bomberman. It doesn’t have the smooth and excellent gameplay of either but it’s a riot to play with four friends.

Weapons are strewn about the courses. Nothing satisfies like tossing a missile at someone or dropping a mine underneath an overpass that conceals the explosive. Fun for a retro gaming party night.




Single screen action puzzle games have always been a pet favorite of mine. They’re so simple yet complex. In Little Magic you control a young witch-in-training named May. The goal is to transport the fire stone to the pedestal of each level as well as guide May to the exit gate.


Things start out basic but progressively increases in complexity and difficulty. Later levels introduce warp points, spikes, gaping holes and even enemies. With 100 levels in all, you won’t beat this overnight. If you enjoy staring contemplatively at the screen until inspiration breaks through with the resolute “AH-HA!” then Little Magic is right up your alley.




Full of explosive mayhem that would make even Arnold proud, Rendering Ranger: R2 is an action-packed game that switches between Turrican-esque run ‘n gun stages and a horizontal space shooter. There are several different guns and each one can be powered up.


You also get three bombs to use. The bombs regenerate slowly through an energy bar at the bottom, meaning you can use one early on and gain it back by mid level or so. Speaking of the bombs, they’re not generic as they were in Contra III. Each gun actually has its own unique bomb. Good stuff.




Poko Nyan! is a platformer based off the 170 episode anime show that ran from 1993-1996. This game is clearly geared toward kids with its super colorful visuals and extremely easy gameplay. It’s got a charming protagonist that can transform into various other critters at any time. This includes a kangaroo that can jump super high, a bird with unlimited flight and a hedgehog that can do a spin attack (hmmm). It’s a perfect game for kids or anyone who is still, deep down, a kid at heart.


The set pieces are gorgeously drawn and usually have many tiers. You can kill enemies by simply dropping off a ledge and bouncing off their heads. This is deceptively satisfying. There’s something innately charming, whimsical and innocent about Poko Nyan! that takes me right back to my early childhood years.




More than just a cheap cash cow attempt, Super Bomberman Panic Bomber World is an admirable foray into the puzzle genre. Connect three or more like color pieces horizontally, vertically or diagonally. In addition, you get unlit and lit bombs because Bomberman. Once you fill up your power bar you get a mega bomb that will cause all kinds of havoc. The chain combos you can pull off are pretty insane!


And of course, being a Bomberman title, there’s even a 4 player mode. The classic Bomberman battle tune is even replicated nicely here and fits the urgency of the falling piece action to a tee.




Keeper is a puzzle action game jam packed with charm and a healthy dose of brain-bending conundrums. Players control an adorable Gizmo-like creature. Your goal is to clear the 5×5 grid of all the stones. Match three or more stones by same color or same shape. There are four modes of play including a fun co-op and 2 player versus mode.


Keeper is a keeper. Sorry, I had to.




This game is based off Rascal the Raccoon, which was a Japanese anime series based on the 1963 Sterling North autobiographical novel entitled “Rascal, A Memoir of a Better Era.” What other SNES game can claim it was based off a 1963 classic American memoir?

Araiguma Rascal puts a unique spin on your typical falling piece puzzler. As Rascal you grab one jar at a time and maneuver your way through the field. There are three different 2 player modes to boot. The graphics really invoke the spirit of Wisconsin (the setting of the memoir). There’s a vintage feel to the visuals. It all adds up to one extremely adorable and appealing package.




Unlike the other games on this list so far, BS Shockman, or BS Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero, was never officially released on cartridge. Slated for a Super Famicom release back in 1994, it was instead relegated to the Satellaview device (a downloading service in Japan in the ’90s). Players can combine to unleash super special tag team attacks in the 2 player mode. Raita and Azuki also have their own special moves.


Featuring only eight stages, the game is short at 45 minutes or so. It’s also quite easy. Other than those blemishes, it’s a very fun game that feels like a mix between a traditional platformer and a beat ‘em up.




The SNES isn’t known for having very many dark and mature titles in its library. However, Majyuuou (AKA King of Demons) definitely qualifies as such. At first glance it appears to be a cross between Castlevania and Resident Evil. While it doesn’t live up to such an enticing combination, it is a rather fun and sordid romp through hell. The imagery is unlike anything else you’ll find on the SNES.

You start out in human form armed with a gun and a giant Hadoken-like blast. At the end of each level an orb allows you to transform into a savage beast. There are four forms in all. Abel’s sprite is a little small but the game features a good amount of details to compensate. It does an excellent job of sucking you into its decaying and decrepit underworld. A fascinating foray through the depths of hell.




Weirdest Super Famicom game ever? Think Pocky & Rocky on acid. A strange alien force looks to cast its iron fist over the entire universe and two brave but bumbling souls set out to save the day. Their names are Baka-dono and Baka-ouji, which translate to Lord Stupid and Prince Stupid. You can’t make this stuff up. This globe trotting adventure features 10 stages in all. Battle rotting zombies in a cursed Japanese village one minute and the next contend with crazy curry plate chucking madmen in India.


EVERYTHING EXPLODES. Elephants? They explode. Stray chickens? They explode. Japanese shoji screens? Yep, even inanimate objects explode. It’s way over the top and all done with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek with a wink to boot. You can also morph into your deceased steroid-injected father. ‘Nuff said, really!



This is the best Super Famicom beat ‘em up to never leave Japan. Sure it’s got many of the beat ‘em up tropes. Three characters to pick from. One well-balanced, one strong and one weak but quick. Charging fat bald guys. But a few neat things help it stand out. This includes blocking, special tag team moves and a meter for your special moves that’s separate from your health meter.


Ghost Chaser Densei is a top notch beat ‘em up that takes one back to the halcyon days when beat ‘em ups ruled the arcade scene.




The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse brings back a lot of fond memories for many of us. Capcom’s sequel The Great Circus Mystery was solid but somehow missed that magical “it” factor that the original had in spades. In December 1995 Capcom released the final game in the trilogy and returned to form.


It was Minnie Mouse out and Donald Duck in. The classic costume system returns but this time the suit powers differ for Mickey and Donald, making it worthwhile to sample both characters. Of course, that classic refined Mickey gameplay you’ve come to love returns (including the lovely snatch-a-block-out-of-thin-air-and-heave-it-at-the-bad-guys formula). Some of the animations, particularly from Donald, are simply priceless.




If Zelda were ever made into a platformer, it would probably look something like this. You attack enemies with a short ranged sword but can gain powers as you go along. Stars are scattered throughout the game’s six stages. Collect as many as you can to increase your sub weapon’s ammunition, similar to Castlevania.


Unfortunately there is no password or save system. But thankfully there is a handy cheat code that unlocks a debug menu. Pause the game and press Up, Down, X, Y, Left, Right, A, B, Up, Up. This allows you to tweak with things such as lives, hearts, a God mode and even a level select option. Magical Pop’n is a damn fine game.




Its main strength is versatility. Pick from three different characters. The game is ridiculously versatile as evident by the SEVEN different ways to kill a bad guy. This not only separates it from the me-too crowd of SNES platformers, but it also minimizes repetitiveness while playing it.


Two 2 player modes are also at play — a co-op and battle mode. Rainbow Bell Adventures is easily one of Konami’s more underrated 16-bit gems.




Heisei Inu Monogatari Bow: Pop’n Smash, to give it its full proper name, is a game you rarely ever hear about. And that’s a shame. Imagine a mix between Pong and Breakout, then add in typical Japanese wackiness and shenanigans. Pop’n Smash is centered around canine Bow. “Bow Wow” was a Japanese manga created by Terry Yamamoto. It enjoyed a lengthy run from 1992 to 1999. There was also a 40 episode anime series that ran from 1993-1994.


The objective is to bat the ball into your opponent’s goal zone. Along the way there are obstacles such as breakable blocks, pots and even bombs to add a little extra spice. Choose from several different characters and stages. Players can make dramatic diving saves as well as cross over into the opponent’s playing area. Select different tools to hit the ball that range from a tennis racket to a mallet to even a branch. It’s one of those games that anyone can pick up and enjoy. Pop’n Smash is a smashing good time!




Sanrio Smash is similar to the previous game, Pop’n Smash, but it plays slightly better. Choose from four Sanrio characters and 20 different stages. It’s cutthroat and competitive as can be. There are power-ups to sway the tide of battle one way or the other. There’s also a super shot that players can unleash once they’ve charged their meter.


Sanrio World Smash Ball! is a smash. Sorry. It’s a ball. Damnit. Look, it’s pretty dang good, OK? So get it if you can, or something.




Spark World is a fun Bomberman clone. Each player is able to sustain two hits — this makes for lengthier battles and gets rid of the embarrassing “Oops I accidentally killed myself 10 seconds in!” moment.


Some slight twists abound. The boxing glove power-up icon allows you to punch your OPPONENT rather than the fuel barrel (bomb). When a round concludes, a stats screen shows you who killed whom. This can lead to some temporary 3-on-1 allegiances when one player killed everyone else the previous round. Good times.




Did you know there was a Super Bomberman 3, 4 and 5 for the SNES? They came out only in Japan (part 3 also came out in Europe). These sequels are perhaps most notable for adding a fifth bomber to the mix but they also feature a whole new slew of bombs and gimmicks.


The mad bomber option in part 5 takes on brand new stakes. If you kill someone as a mad bomber you get to switch places. It brings a whole new intensity to mad bombing! There’s also a hidden bomber to unlock, the Golden Bomber.




Other than Tetris, I consider Puyo Puyo the most classic, pure puzzle game. It’s where skills reign supreme and luck doesn’t play as big a role as it does in most other puzzle games. You know the formula: connect four or more like color pieces. Send garbage blocks over. Yup, there’s a reason why there’s a new Puyo Puyo Tetris mashup coming out soon for the Nintendo Switch!


4 player mode rocks.
Eat your heart out, Kirby’s Avalanche.




Best described as Super Mario Kart meets a cast of Chuck E. Cheese’s rejects. If you were sad back in the mid ’90s that there was never a Super Mario Kart 2 on the SNES, then well, SD F-1 Grand Prix certainly won’t fill that void but it stands as a solid alternative and an adequate companion piece to Super Mario Kart. Choose from 10 different cutesy animal drivers to compete all around the world in a variety of interesting and cool looking race tracks.


You have your standard 10 player Grand Prix mode but the Crash Mode features power-ups such as projectiles. And as expected, there’s a 2 player mode where you can select one of four battle courses to duke it out. As far as Mario Kart alternatives on the SNES go, this is the cream of the crop.




Culture Brain’s Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 developed a semi-cult following among SNES players in the early ’90s. Did you know Culture Brain went on to release four Super Famicom exclusive sequels? My favorite of which is the second one, which features cute chibi ball players.


The crazy power-ups that made the first game so unique and fun are back. The charming visuals are reminiscent of EarthBound, perfectly matching the game’s wackiness and absurdity. So if throwing lightning-infused fastballs is your thing, grab a mitt and PLAY BALL!




Dossun! Ganseki Battle is a Columns-esque puzzler that feels like a precursor to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Pieces disappear when three or more like pieces touch. Connections are formed either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Characters attack each other when chain combos are dealt. Their sprites enlarge as they attack — it really gets you into the fighting spirit!


There are two ways to win a match. The player’s screen fills up or their health meter is fully depleted. To make things even more interesting, the five different types of pieces each serve a different purpose when matched. Competitive and cutthroat, Dossun! Ganseki Battle is Columns meets Puzzle Fighter with a medieval theme. A winning formula for sure!




Capcom released this on April 24, 1998, for those who couldn’t afford a 32-bit system. Pick between the Blue Bomber and relative newcomer, Forte (AKA Bass), who made his debut in 1995’s Mega Man 7. Forte can double jump, dash and shoot in all directions (except straight down). Other improvements include stunning visuals (it almost looks like an early 32-bit title) and a proper save system is now in play. About friggin’ time, Capcom!


Notoriously considered one of the toughest Mega Man games around, there are sadly no E Tanks here. However, you collect bolts throughout and can purchase upgrades and power-ups at Auto’s shop. In addition to bolts, you’ll also find CD’s strewn about the stages. Collect up to 100 to view character bios. Rockman & Forte has divided the fanbase but for my money it stands as a fine Super Nintendo swan song for Capcom.




Move a cute little blob thing around the screen and clear the field of all its blocks. Blocks disappear when three or more of the same color touch. You can only push. Pushed blocks travel until coming into contact with another block or obstacle. Things start out simple but later puzzles get downright brutal. The timer adds a sense of urgency. It’s quite the rush completing a puzzle just in the nick of time!


The main story mode also allows three friends to join you. But the best thing is the 4 player battle mode. There are 10 battle arenas to pick from and most of them are littered with various gimmicks that would make any Bomberman title proud. Pushing a block across the screen to crush a loved one never felt so damn good. Puzzle’N Desu! is one of the best party games you’ve probably yet to play. Charming and addicting as hell!




The NES classic Legend of Zelda gets a remake of sorts on the SNES. It was available on March 30, 1997 in Japan via the Satellaview only. Of course, since then there’s been hacks and fan translations. SNES players can now experience BS Zelda in all its glory. An awesome take on the NES classic but with spiffy 16-bit souped up visuals. You can even now switch items and weapons by using the shoulder buttons!




The closest thing to Bionic Commando on the SNES? Umihara Kawase. You control a school girl who wears a pink backpack. For reasons unknown you find yourself in a strange world full of towering platforms, ledges and mutant marine life. Somewhere in each level lies the exit and it’s your job to safely reach it. You do this by performing various tricks with your elastic rope. Delightfully weird in that ever lovable Japanese sort of way, Umihara Kawase is a total blast to play. Much of the fun comes in figuring out how best to utilize the rope in any given situation. Using momentum and understanding the rope’s physics all come into masterful play.


At first glance it appears to be a budget title, but don’t let its basic looks fool you. What lies underneath is a complex game that hooks and reels you in (sorry). It’s always fun to see what the next twisted level will look like, as well as what new sea creatures may be milling about. Figuring out how to reach the exit is addicting. The music and sound effects fit the game to a tee; it does a good job transporting you to this bizarre alternate universe. A dimension where sea creatures are mutated, veggies are overgrown and magic stand alone doors are tucked away at the oddest heights and places. The game world is so strangely captivating — it’s like you’re deep in some twisted recurring nightmare. A nightmare, mind, that plays like an absolute dream.



Clock Tower was a cult favorite among PlayStation owners in the late ’90s. But did you know Clock Tower and Scissorman originated on the Super Famicom? A point and click horror adventure, players are flung into a creepy mansion on the outskirts of town. Something is clearly not right as your party drops one by one. You feel a haunting presence stalking your every move. The hair on the back of your neck stands up as you hear the snip-snip-SNIP of the one and only…

Like a good slow burn, Clock Tower works on building up the tension with little teases here and there. It’s not a loud in your face affair, so it may be a little too slow paced for some. But for the patient player who appreciates a good story being built brick by brick, Clock Tower delivers the scary goods. You never know for sure where Scissorman may pop up, but when he does, it’s ON. The heartbeat races a little faster and palms start to sweat as you run madly to find a hiding spot somewhere in the creepy mansion. It’s the perfect game to play on a stormy night!



The classic gameplay of Super Soukoban is as simple (yet complex) and pure as it gets. You’re in a cluttered warehouse and it’s your job to move boxes into their designated position. There is no timer; however, there is a step limit. By pressing the shoulder buttons you can rewind or fast forward previous steps. So if you mess up you don’t have to restart the level completely. Knowing that you can always backtrack and erase any error is such a boon. The early levels start out very basic but soon give way to some mind tingling terrors. Seeing levels transition from large sprites to very small sprites can be intimidating!


Later on there are even boxes already darkened, which indicates the box is already resting on a purple dot. You can still move these darkened boxes in many cases, but you have to figure out if you’re meant to or not. There are 300 levels in all and rumor has it launch day buyers are still stuck on level 289 to this very day. To boot, there’s a level edit option and a 2 player mode with 10 different characters to select from.




Taking control of a strange transparent bird, the goal is to collect the rainbow orb(s) on each level. To do so, one must “suck and blow.” Yes, you’ll suck and blow. A lot. [Insert token dirty joke here]. The colors all serve a specific purpose — click on the review if you want the rundown.


Developed and released by Nintendo on June 25, 1999, Sutte Hakkun is the LAST great SNES game ever. Don’t miss out on it. Being from Nintendo you know it’s good.




Human’s great Fire Pro series began its life on the PC-Engine in 1989. Their final Super Famicom Fire Pro game, Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium, is considered by many as the greatest 16-bit wrestling game of all time. It was revolutionary for its time thanks to its Create A Wrestler mode. You could create and save up to 80 wrestlers. The amount of moves and body types available were equally mind blowing.


The grapple system was based on timing rather than button mashing, so players had to work their way up the move chain. Light, medium and strong attack buttons allow for a natural progression. Super Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium has long since been surpassed by superior sequels. Still, 20 years later it stands the test of time. Besides, it’s pretty cool rocking out on your Super Nintendo as Bobo Brazil.




Whether he was terrorizing trains and ravaging cities, or pummeling rubber suited monsters and saving the planet, Godzilla has a special spot in the hearts of many. Having endured 60+ years and 30+ films and counting, the Big Guy is simply timeless. So growing up you can imagine the clamor for a good Godzilla video game. NES Godzilla wasn’t particularly good. Let’s not even talk about Godzilla 2. Super Godzilla? One of the all time great disappointments. Thankfully, Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen brings justice and a good Godzilla game to the universe.

No, you won’t find smooth crazy combos here but considering the source material (these are giant monsters after all) it’s hard to hold that against the game. Monster roars sound authentic, the sprite work is impeccable, the stages are plucked right out of the movies and the monsters are very accurate in terms of their powers. Of course some things were added or re-imagined. Godzilla never shot his atomic breath in mid-air in the films, but it certainly makes for good times in this game. The fighting engine is nothing remarkable but it gets the job done. Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen is a treat for any true G-Fan.



It plays enough like Bomberman to provide a comforting familiarity, yet has enough quirks to differentiate it. Dropped spiked capsules explode after two seconds, sending shurikens flying north, south, east and west. Unlike the explosions in Bomberman, the shurikens won’t kill you. Instead you become stunned for two seconds if you’re hit, leaving you wide open for an opponent’s chain ball to kill you. The chain stretches the full length so it’s possible to sit back waiting for the opportune moment to strike! Send your chain twisting some 20 feet away to pick someone off. Not only is it super satisfying but it adds a devious, vulture-like aspect that doesn’t quite exist as much in Bomberman.


Needless to say, such shenanigans lead to many “Ooh I’ll get you next round!” battle cries and pandemonium. Nothing beats the rush of recovering JUST in time right before the chain ball hits you! The eight various colosseums each have a gimmick. Otoboke Ninja Colosseum is awesome, especially if you can round up three friends to play with. And you have to appreciate any game that features mini Super Famicom icons!




Featuring insanely amazing visuals, haunting sound and ultra smooth gameplay, DoReMi Fantasy is one of the finest SNES platformers you could ever play. Milon from Milon’s Secret Castle (NES) is back and better than ever. There are eight themed worlds ranging from the gorgeous Northern Lights to a madcap toy infested universe. The levels are packed to the gills with exquisite detail, quirky enemies, excellent backdrops and some stellar set pieces. The game occasionally foregoes music for ambient sound effects instead. This leads to an atmosphere that is both surreal and bewitching.


Milon’s silly antics and whimsical adventure is sure to sweep you away to a land of awe and wonder. DoReMi Fantasy is one of the best SNES platformers not named Mario.



The Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling series was Natsume’s response to Human’s Fire Pro franchise. It features bigger, brighter visuals and a quasi-chibi presentation. The ring is viewed dead on as opposed to Fire Pro’s ¾ perspective. This makes for a perfect running system which allows you to lay back and pick your spots with running strikes, leading to some riotous Fatal Fourway matches! Budokan has a subtle barbaric sense of black humor. Look no further than being able to bounce opponents viciously off the cable ropes (OUCH) or attacking your rival even after the conclusion of a match. Hell it even features the infamous Flair flop!


Similar to the Fire Pro games, winning a grapple is based on timing rather than button mashing. The 19 wrestlers are actual wrestlers from All Japan Pro Wrestling. You got your high flyers, technicians and bruisers. Giant Baba, Kobashi, Misawa, Stan Hansen and so on. Fun stuff!




Konami developed many great games for the SNES back in the ’90s, but perhaps its best kept secret was Tsuyoshi Shikkari Shinasai Taisen Puzzle-dama. It plays like an early beta version of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Select from 10 characters, each with their own block patterns. The combos can get rather insane. It’s not uncommon to pull off 6-7 hit combos even “on accident.”


Maybe it’s not for everyone, especially those used to the pure skill of a Puyo Puyo, but seeing the screen explode in a relentless 10 hit chain reaction combo never gets old. Arguably Konami’s best SNES game that nobody ever talks about.




Released on Christmas Eve of 1993, Tetris Battle Gaiden is the best Super Famicom puzzle game never to hit North American shores. It’s Tetris with a quirky twist. Choose from eight characters. Each has four different skills and abilities. These skills are activated when you acquire points and decide to cash in. To acquire said points, you must clear a line containing a crystal. Each cleared crystal grants you one point, and up to four can be stored. The skills and powers range from defensive measures to offensive attacks.


Another interesting feature: players share pieces from one queue rather than two. That means you can “steal” a piece your opponent may desperately need if you move fast (or in some cases slow) enough. This makes paying attention several moves in advance all the more critical. Few things are as satisfying as “blockblocking” your opponent. To snatch that long tetris piece right before they can is a true thing of beauty. Well, maybe that’s second only to sabotaging the competition with one of your special attacks!


Not content to stop there, two other modes are available: classic Tetris (for the purists out there who prefer their Tetris sans gimmick) and Rensa. Rensa is where gravity is taken into account and pieces fall if suspended in mid-air (except crystal pieces). This can produce some nice chain reactions. These three modes make it feel like three games in one. An amazing game bursting with insane replay value!



In October of 1994 EGM ran a preview on a Super Famicom street ball title by the name of Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop. The funky title immediately caught my eye as did the game pictures (blurry as they were… God were things different back in 1994). I remember thinking I couldn’t wait to play it as soon as it comes out over here. But of course it never did. Years later, 2006 to be precise, I was on the hunt for all my old favorite games, as well as the ones I never got to play but always wanted to. One evening my mind recalled Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop. The rest is history.

Ah, the memories







Always been a sucker for stats and ratings, and the power bars in this game remind me a ton of the ones from Marvel’s 1991 trading card series. Good memories of a bygone era. It’s a small thing but it just takes me to a happy place!


Sure it’s got your standard 5 on 5 mode, but what really drew me to the EGM preview was the blurry screenshot of a 3 on 3 street ball mode. I was always fascinated by the idea of a 3 on 3 street basketball game. This game didn’t disappoint. While it’s got its fair share of flaws, it’s simply a lot of fun. I’ve never played a basketball game where making a shot was so predicated on timing. Being that it’s from Human, go figure, right?


The 3 on 3 mode is where it’s at. In this mode you can play on two different courts, but Human even threw in some little tricks. On one court if you enter SUNSET or YONAKA (Japanese for midnight) then you can unlock exactly that. There’s a simple yet elegant gorgeousness to these settings that speak to my soul in ways I cannot explain. Maybe it’s because it brings back memories of playing ball with my buddies late at midnight, or even getting up early in the morning playing ball right as the sun breaks over the horizon. Those old school memories wrapped up in this old soul… it touches a sweet spot and takes me back to the days when my friends and I were balling without a single care in the world.


But Human didn’t stop there. At the versus screen if you press on the D-pad it will change the color of the courts. Also, you can pick from four different basketball colors. It’s just cosmetics but these little touches add up. Yeah, call me crazy but we all have that one game that clicks deep in our soul for one reason or another that won’t click with the masses. It’s our special game. Our spirit animal in video game form, if you will.


It’s been 10 years since I bought Dream Basketball: Dunk & Hoop and I still find myself playing it frequently. Did so again recently in honor of Craig Sager’s passing. This game just never gets old for me. And that’s why this completely unexpected “bracket buster” (har har) ranks #3 in my personal book.




We always hear about how great Super Tennis is and how it’s the best tennis title on the Super Nintendo. Super Family Tennis doesn’t get much props. I think it’s even better than Super Tennis. The control is smooth as hell, there’s a four player option and some of the court designs are completely bonkers, filled with amusing gimmicks and sight gags.


Look no further than knocking the ball into a tranquil pond in front of a Japanese Shinto shrine (complete with a traditional Torii gate). Or smashing the ball so hard against a coconut tree that it drops a coconut on a bystander’s head, completely taking the poor sap out. It’s these quirky details that I always enjoy seeing in a video game. It doesn’t make a game but it certainly leaves you with a positive lasting impression.


The best thing about Super Family Tennis is how fun it is. A total blast with four players, it’s something that your friends or significant other can easily pick up and play with you, even if video games typically aren’t “their thing.” There are 20 characters to choose from, all with varying skills and abilities.

Music is largely absent. Instead, it relies on ambient sound effects. And it works. From the soothing crashing waves of the ocean to the echo chamber sounds of the mountain stage, there is sort of a surreal feel to this game that wouldn’t be the same had there been music.

Its wacky sense of humor, outrageous court designs, smooth control, 20 different characters and surreal sound makes Super Family Tennis a definite smash hit for the whole family.



I have been curious about this game ever since I saw EGM preview it back in 1994. In 2006 I got back into the SNES scene and went hunting for a copy. Much to my chagrin the game was cancelled and never released on a physical cartridge. Alas, it did come out via the Satellaview Broadcast device. And thanks to the modern wonders of technology, it’s possible to experience this fine gem on a real TV. Ah, technology.


So what makes BS Out of Bounds Golf so awesome? It allows up to four players to compete and you have the ability to knock your opponent’s ball out of bounds (hence the name of the game). Of course, knocking their ball out of bounds will cost them precious stroke points. Or even just blocking their path is wicked fun. The battles get competitive and cutthroat like you wouldn’t believe. Also, because one player plays at a time, it’s a more methodical multiplayer experience. I find it works refreshingly well. There’s a ton of strategy, scouting and sabotaging involved here. It’s Schadenfreude at its finest (or worst…)


Select from three different modes.


Then choose from 12 characters, including two felines. Right away that tells you the developer (NCS, who also made Cybernator) didn’t take themselves too seriously. Keep in mind back in the mid ’90s golf games tended to be a little dull. This game, however, was packed with personality and charm.


After selecting your character you get to pick your theme. There are six themed worlds in all, with each having 8 courses. That makes 48 total courses. They range from a beach setting to even outer space. My personal favorite has to be the second world. Here you are mysteriously shrunken down to size and have to work around everyday objects such as coffee mugs, ink spills, giant cereal boxes, tomatoes and more. It’s absolutely bonkers…

ObscureSFC50-220What makes this game so much fun is the amount of options you have. Just look at the process of hitting the ball. First, you get to select from a power meter ranging from 1 to 100. This becomes oddly compelling in its own right. It almost becomes like a game within a game. For instance, do you use 47 or 52? 77 or 79? 91 or 94? Sometimes one point off can prove to be the difference between glorious victory and crushing defeat. It’s a thrill to see your ball barely make its way into the hole. On the flip side, nothing is more embarrassing than misjudging the power meter by one point and seeing your ball stop a mere centimeter shy of the goal!

ObscureSFC50-221After selecting your power, you then get to choose from one of 17 (!) different strike points on the ball. Much like pool, these strike points will determine the trajectory of your shot. While you’ll be using the dead center shot most of the time, there are times where using the trajectory shots skillfully is essential to winning. Like I said, it’s kind of like a game within a game. You’re not only battling three rivals… you’re battling yourself as well. And it works like gangbusters!

Dead center shot
Dead center shot

There are even weather effects and power-ups. There are at least 11 ranging from controlling your ball after hitting it to randomly switching all the balls in play. That means you can possibly swap places with a rival who is near the cup and send them way back to the beginning of a course! Sabotage never felt so sweet.

Curving right shot
Curving right shot

Also, each of the 48 courses have four randomly generated cup destinations. This prevents you from mastering a course simply by memorizing a certain playbook. It speaks to the game’s brilliance that there are nearly 200 possible scenarios. Add in the 17 strike points, the power meter, the wind factor, the power-ups and you get a game that feels slightly different each time you play it.

Curving left shot
Curving left shot

BS Out of Bounds Golf is a total riot with three friends. Expect a lot of cursing, laughing, cheering and taunting. It brings out the best and worst in people — it’s amusing to see individual personalities come out in their truest forms. There’s no other game quite like this on the SNES. And that’s why this is my favorite obscure Super Famicom game of all time.

Trick shot!
Kids, don't try this at home!








Bowing to the greatness of the vast SNES library :)
Bowing to the greatness of the vast SNES library :)

There are a lot of good games that didn’t quite make this list, like the Parodius games. You probably didn’t agree with all of my choices but I hope this list was helpful in some way. If you found even just one new game to love from this list, then I’m happy. And remember, I purposely excluded all the awesome Super Famicom only (action) RPGs! The library is amazingly diverse and deep. Some of these games I listed are fairly well known in SNES circles, but I feel there’s still a good bunch of them that remains rather obscure. I hope this Top 50 list serves as a good resource for you and that it helps you to unearth a few new favorites. Until next time, happy gaming!

BS Out of Bounds Golf (SNES)

Perhaps the best SNES game you've never heard of
Perhaps the best SNES game you’ve never heard of

To write down all the stellar Super Nintendo games ever released, one would need a scroll as long as east to west. The system was blessed with countless classics, no doubt one reason why it was so beloved back then, and is still revered to this day. And while folks throw out their personal favorite recommendations, in all my years as an SNES enthusiast there is one game I’ve never heard anyone praise or tout prior to 2011. In fact, up to that point there wasn’t even a YouTube video of this game! That’s how obscure and unknown this game once was. For the past half decade plus I have been championing this game to the masses, and thankfully many more gamers have experienced the same kind of joy with it as I have over the years. Most recently, a fan translation was put out in February 2016 which caused even further exposure. Everyone I’ve known who has played this game has nothing but good things to say. That’s a sign that a game did something right!


I fell in love with this game the second I saw this preview
I fell in love with this game the second I saw this

I first discovered this game many moons ago thanks to EGM issue #62, September 1994. Billed as OB Club, the screenshots stole my gaming heart. With normal and silly courses alike, it looked like a really fun game. Two months later, EGM printed a full page preview on the game (issue #64, November ’94). I knew I had to get it some day. I had to play it. Many years later, when I got back into the SNES in early 2006, I tracked the title down as BS Out of Bounds Golf. Sadly, it was never released. Only available in online form, it was one of those BS-X Satellaview releases — a Super Famicom satellite modem add-on that operated in the late ’90s. BS Zelda is perhaps the most popular BS-X game. But don’t sleep on BS Out of Bounds Golf. It’s wickedly charming and devious like very few SNES games are…



Select from three different modes. I personally prefer Stroke Play as it’s every man or woman or, er, animal (more on this in a bit) for him or her or, er, itself. Match Play games are faster however due to the bar being set by the lowest stroke. If you can’t match it or do better then the course automatically ends. Doubles Match is a fun mode where you team up with a friend or the computer and both your strokes are counted. Whichever team has less wins. It’s a nice way to handicap if you’re playing with a lesser skilled friend who wishes to enjoy the game rather than getting slaughtered by you!


I personally like Mr. Mustache
I personally like Mr. Mustache

Choose from 12 characters. Some are male, some are female and there are even two felines. Don’t ask why. You can tell right off the bat that the developer, NCS, didn’t take things so seriously. Unfortunately, the characters seem to be purely cosmetic, as I haven’t been able to discern any differences between them. If this is indeed true, it seems like a bit of a waste as I would have like to seen some golfers with more power than others, some better at putting, etc.

Now that you’ve made your selection, it’s time to pick a themed world.



















There are six in all. One is rather normal but the other five range from slightly abnormal to freaking bizarre! Each theme has a total of eight courses so in all you have 48 different courses to mess around on. It’s a pretty solid number although I wish we could have gotten at least two more themes. But I’m really just nit-picking here. The courses we got are pretty fantastic in their own right!

Players have the option to play either courses 1-4, 5-8, or all 8. Each theme has its own unique personality in addition to difficulty. Some courses are absolutely brutal. You can play alone or against one, two or three opponents — even adjust the handicap. Like Bomberman, I love how extremely customizable it is :)


bsoobgmeterbsoobgmeter1The beauty of BS Golf is how simple it plays, yet still offers enough intricacies to be deeper than it may initially appear. Before hitting the ball you select your power, ranging from 1 to 100. Next, you pick where on the ball you wish to hit; there are a total of 17 (!) points. Where you decide to strike it will determine the trajectory of the ball — good stuff! More on this later.







There’s nothing as satisfying as nailing a long putt shot selecting just the right power amount. On the flip side, nothing as agonizing as choosing a couple power points too high, causing the ball to jump off the lip of the hole. Or miscalculate by a couple power points too low, leading the ball to stop mere centimeters in front of the cup — D’OH!! Makes for good trash talking both ways! The “guessing” game never gets old. Hmmm, is this shot a 47 or 52? 81 or 83? 98 or 99? This game-within-a-game is oddly compelling! Especially when you factor in that many times one point off can make the difference between glorious victory and agonizing defeat.

Love that mommy duck and her baby
Love that mommy duck and her baby

When playing against others, BS Golf takes on a new form of life. Much of the fun lies in making life miserable for the other(s). Here you are on offense, but at the same time, you can play a little defense too…


My opponent is trapped! Oh the sheer beauty of this. He probably could use one of the slick trajectory shots, but I’ve definitely made his life much more difficult. Who knew mini golf could be so evil? ;)

BWAHAHAHAHA! Eat  that, sucka!
BWAHAHAHAHA! Eat that, sucka!

A lot of the fun derives from messing up your opponent’s shot. It’s this element that makes BS Out of Bounds Golf truly special and unique. It’s Schadenfreude at its 16-bit finest!







Birdie shot leaves poor Timmy in the dust. I had to guess the right POW amount while factoring in the uphill slope here. Set the POW to just the right number, choose the proper trajectory and BOOM, thanks fer coming, kid! Incredibly fun stuff, and super satisfying to boot.



















Introduced in the vaunted pages of EGM as OB Club — here’s why! The most fun is making your opponent OB (go out of bounds). Even when it’s not their turn! It’s a great way to ruin a friendship :P













D’OH! I’ve been cupblocked. Still, I try to brute force my way home (with less than stellar results). I’m lucky those little plate barriers stopped me from OBing, and even luckier I didn’t push my opponent’s ball in the hole. Instead the blue ball ricochets off the barrier and bounces back into mine, sending my red ball off the plate. Hey, it could have been worse.







Player 2 knocks in my ball — thanks buddy! Look at his priceless reaction on the mug shot there. I would have scored a PAR on my third try, but got a Birdie instead!



















Opponent tries to apply brute force as well, with even less desirable results! His reaction says it all ^_^







Nothing beats OBing your opponent, especially when it’s done in the context of getting closer to the cup yourself. But wait, now that I think of it, there IS one thing that is king…

Puffy thunderclouds overhead paint an ominous backdrop...
Puffy thunderclouds paint an ominous backdrop…

Ah, it’s a wee bit cloudy today but still a good day for some mini golf. I could score here well enough, even on the edge of the bunker, but wait a second…

For some reason, I'm now feeling kind of DARK...
For some reason, I’m now feeling kind of DARK…

… Suddenly the clouds block out the sun. As it grows dark outside, much the same is happening on the inside…













Better than all the rest though is when you score while knocking your rival’s ball out of bounds. Nothing compares to the trash talking that ensues, as well as the rush of adrenaline you feel off a perfectly placed ricochet shot. The stars need to align for this type of dual action shot to work — it happens once in a blue moon which only adds to its greatness when you do manage to pull it off.

BS Golf provides plenty of cutthroat shenanigans!
BS Golf provides plenty of cutthroat shenanigans!

Two for one specials are always memorable. I not only get the PAR but also add a stroke to my rival’s score. It’s the best of both worlds. :)

At the end a scorecard is presented to show the results
At the end a scorecard displays the results







However, as good as the 2-Player mode is, for optimum pleasure try the fatal four way. Clusterville is not uncommon — one must get fairly shrewd and crafty if they want to make it out on top! It’s deliciously devious and entertaining.

I OB'ed  player 3 a couple times  here and there ~_^
I OB’ed player 3 a couple times here and there ~_^

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this game with three other friends and let me tell ya — it’s friggin’ awesome. I dare call it the best four player game on the SNES. Just don’t come into it expecting all-out action. Since players take turns, it’s more of a methodical multiplayer experience, which works quite well. It allows each player to have the spotlight, so to speak, and allows you to focus all your energy on trash talking when it’s not your turn. The battles get rather fierce!

Take it easy on the kid, will ya?
Take it easy on the kid, will ya?


First up: dead center shot
First up: dead center shot

Being that there are 17 points on the ball to strike, you can nail a shot in more ways than one. Here’s an example of four different scoring ways from one same spot. On the surface BS Golf may look very simple but you’ll soon discover there’s a lot more hidden underneath. It’s crazy versatile!







Select the right POW and you’re good. A simple straight shot. Nothing fancy. Just effective. The dead center shot is probably what you’ll feel most comfortable using most of the time.

I'm in a RIGHT frame of mind...
I’m in a RIGHT frame of mind…

However, for those times where you feel bold and daring, you can curve the trajectory of your shot left or right. Most players probably wouldn’t bother if straight on is an option, but sometimes it’s fun to just mess around…

























Curve it to the right for the goal. Definitely a show off type skill shot.

To the left to the left [YOU MUST NOT KNOW BOUT ME -Ed.]
To the left to the left…
[YOU MUST NOT KNOW ‘BOUT ME -Ed.]. Not one to discriminate against lefties, let’s go left shall we?



















Lovely! So we have dead center, right and left — three different ways to score from the same spot. I did say I’d show you four. What’s the fourth one, you ask? Ask and you shall receive.

You can use the bumpers!
You can use the bumpers!

“WHAT THE — !!” Notice my trajectory. This shot can only be made when it’s one notch above dead center. See how precise and deceptively intricate BS Golf is? It’s the kind of game that you’ll never quite play the same game twice. Good stuff.













SKILLZ! You are legit if you can pull off these funky trick shots. So, same position on the golf course and you just saw four different ways to score. Such is the versatility of this game. Odds are you’ll never play the same game twice. Add in the wacky competitiveness of three rivals and you have a multiplayer blast for the ages, and for all ages from 8 to 80!

Mastering trajectory shots is key
Mastering trajectory shots is the key to winning

Trajectory shots aren’t just for show, either. Sometimes, as seen here, they’re absolutely critical. You can’t always use the dead center shot if you want to excel — you must also master all other type of shots and know when to use which one.

Fun playing this on a dark stormy night
Fun playing this on a dark stormy night

The game randomly changes weather. One second it may be sunny. The next second clouds may appear overhead followed by a light rain. Once in a while there’s even a lightning show. Not only does it enhance the atmosphere of the game but it changes how you play as well — be sure to note and factor in the wind as well as the direction it’s blowing in. Mother Nature plays a role here just like in real life, and that’s pretty damn cool. There is an option to turn the weather off, though.


Things start to get a bit strange in the second world
Things start to get a bit strange in the second world

Let’s check out the five other themes you can play in. The second world is a combination of breakfast items and books. You’ve been shrunk! Look, just go with it. There are many more obstacles here compared to the first world, such as tomatoes, rulers and even towering cereal boxes. Arrows move your fragile ball in specific directions. Things can get pretty tough in a hurry…

I hope you've practiced your trajectory shots...
I hope you’ve practiced your trajectory shots…

The third world has an Aztec or Mayan theme. The obstacles found here are moving rather than stationary. Thus recreating rather well those infamous mini golf courses with the bloody relentless windmills.

Those guys really never smile, eh?  Lighten up Francis!
These guys never smile do they? Lighten up, Francis!

The fourth world has sort of a toy theme. Those buggers there remind me of the old KB Toys logo. Like in the second world, you’ll find plenty of arrows and jumpers here.


The fifth world is a beach theme. It’s a nice pleasant visual change from the third and fourth worlds. This beach theme is home to some funky courses that are tougher than a two dollar steak.

Take a look and be the judge yourself...
Take a look and be the judge yourself…

Remember playing Marble Madness back in the day on the good ol’ 8-bit NES? It was one of the games my brother and I owned back in the late ’80s. The sweet visuals and tunes of that game are still ingrained in my heart 25+ years later.

From being shrunk to traveling to outer space -- hey, why not?
I love how crazy atmospheric this world is!

The sixth and final theme, taking place in outer space, is not only visually striking but brutally difficult. This will surely separate the boys from the men. It’s unforgiving like a hurricane, and will humble even the best players. Good luck!



[OK, no more watching bad horror movies, mister -Ed.]
[OK, no more watching bad horror movies, mister -Ed.]






Sucks to be you, pal! You can’t help but laugh when the opposition gets caught in a bad predicament such as this.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! [You're SO cheesy... -Ed.]
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! [You’re SO cheesy… -Ed.]


Aww, look at the kitty. I like the bird flying around there
Aww, look at the kitty. I also like the bird flying there

When I say hot shots golf, I’m not talking about the PlayStation game Hot Shots Golf, which I like a lot. Oddly, there is a Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds but I digress. The Eagle is the second best possible shot in the game of golf. It’s pretty rare though. But the best shot in all of golf is, of course, the hole-in-one.

C'mon, admit it, ya at least smiled, right? Er, moving on
C’mon, admit it. You smiled, right? Er, moving on

Of the 48 courses I’ve only been able to get a hole-in-one on three of the courses. You can’t get a hole-in-one for most of them. It’s always a thrill when it happens!


Certain gifts can change the tide
Certain gifts can change the tide
  • Throughout the courses you’ll find giant gift wrapped boxes. If you make contact with these presents you will earn a random surprise. They range from useless to absolutely devastating. So far I’ve been able to discern 11 of them, but there could be even more. The 11 I know are listed below.
  1. Ball Switcher: This icon seems to be the hardest to get, like the lightning item in Super Mario Kart. It randomly switches all four balls. Can turn what looks like futility to one of sweet victory in a hot second. It’s sure to piss someone off!
  2. Poison Stroke: Makes opponents’ very next shot go very short.
  3. Sun: Automatic sunny weather (meh).
  4. Wind Blower #1: Gust of wind sends your rivals’ balls flying. Could potentially lead to O.B. *evil laughter*
  5. Wind Blower #2: Increases the wind MPH speed (meh).
  6. Mole: Takes rival’s next shot back to original position (pure evil!)
  7. Fast Shot: Sends your ball at the speed of light.
  8. Control Shot: Love this one! Control the ball by working the D-Pad.
  9. Shot Stop: You stop your shot short at any desired time by pressing B.
  10. Ink: ? I’ve yet to figure this one out…
  11. Anvil: ? Ditto the ink.
  • Another sign that points to the greatness of this game are the randomly generated points of the cup. Here you see the same course, but with TWO different destinations. This way players can’t master one course and repeat the same tricks over and over, thus killing the longevity of the game. 48 courses each having several different random cup generators mean that you really have over 200 different possibilities! Plus you factor in the ever changing wind, the 17 different strike points, the shot power meter ranging from 1 to 100, and the item power ups — it all adds up to a game that has a slightly new wrinkle each time you play.







You’re looking at the same course, but with two different randomly generated cups. Each course has four different destinations.

  • Certain courses have shortcuts and gimmicks you can take advantage of. For example, in one course you can hit your ball into the doghouse. This sends the ball flying across the screen from another location that can set you up nicely next to the hole.







Little details like this make a game extra memorable and awesome.







Here’s another cool example. If you hit the ball in that hole there, a mole magically transports your ball close to the exit. It’s weird but charming!

There’s a lot more but I’ll let you discover some of them for yourself…


The best SNES game never released? Just maybe...
The best SNES game never released? Just maybe…

There are some video games you see in magazine previews and dream about, but when you finally get around to play it you find yourself sorely disappointed. BS Out of Bounds Golf not only lived up to my expectations but in many ways it even surpassed them. It’s so simple that anyone can play it and have a good time, yet it’s deceptively intricate enough where you could play it a thousand times and still learn something new each time. It speaks to the game’s longevity, including the 17 different strike points, 48 courses, randomly generated cups, 12 player choices and 1-4 player mode. It’s mini golf done right! Where else can you stand next to a towering cereal box featuring Coco Krispies, I mean, Big Kongs Crunch, and the next minute be teeing off along the Milky Way? There’s only one.

It's a shame this game never came out back in '94
It’s a shame this game never came out back in 1994

The graphics are easily the weakest part of the game, but they’re serviceable nonetheless. The sound suits the game just right. Much like Bomberman, it’s the pure gameplay that delivers. You’ll never play the same game twice. OBing your opponent is where it’s at, and your individual battles with judging the trajectory and your power meter is gratifying in its own right. This is one of those rare games I can play for 10 minutes each night before going to bed and never get tired of. The game’s ingenuity is abundant, its accessibility brilliant, and its charm endless. If you’ve never played BS Out of Bounds Golf before, I dare you to spend some time with it and see if you don’t like it yourself. Of course, everyone’s mileage will vary, and you might not be as nuts about it as I am, but I doubt many will walk away thinking it’s a bad game. I hope that BS Out of Bounds Golf will no longer be obscure and left hidden in the shadows. May it instead shine brightly as one of the best multiplayer games on the SNES. You need to experience playing this game with three friends to fully grasp its sheer brilliance. You’re sure to be glad you did!

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 10
Longevity: 10

Overall: 10

Platinum Award
Platinum Award

Sadly unknown and unreleased, BS Out of Bounds Golf is slightly bizarre and twisted, highly competitive and addicting, and one of the best multiplayer SNES games around. Give it a shot, it just might become your next favorite retro party game! Schadenfreude at its finest.

You earned it! Thanks NCS for this awesome game :)
You earned it! Thanks NCS for this awesome game :)
It ain't bullsh*t, it's BS Out of Bounds Golf, and it's ace!
It ain’t bullshit, it’s BS Out of Bounds Golf, and it’s ace!

I don’t hand out too many 10 scores… then again, not too many games are as fun and charming as this one is. Scenes like this only point to the sheer brilliance of the game ^_^