Violinist of Hamelin (SFC)

AKA Hamelin no Violin Hiki
AKA Hamelin no Violin Hiki, this game is quite bonkers

Violinist of Hamelin is a unique, fascinating and quirky little game. Let’s take a closer look.

hamintro1

Lovely opening shot
Lovely opening shot

Based off the anime/manga, your task is to guide a young female (named Flute) safely to the exit of each stage. You control the violinist — Hamel. It’s an action/adventure game with puzzle elements, so it’s definitely not your average run-of-the-mill platformer. The way you interact with Flute is a riot, as you’ll see. You don’t actually control Flute directly; she follows you until you press “X” to deactivate her. But how you get to use her is rather entertaining…

Say whaaa??
Say whaaa??

Don’t ask why, but Flute can morph into one of 16 different things! Provided, of course, you locate the proper icon first. Certain sections require certain transformations. It’s all about teamwork. As said earlier, this isn’t your everyday mindless platformer! Each transformation serves its own special purpose, and using the right one at the right moment is key to your success.

"Ugh, get off me, Hamel!"
“Ugh, get off me, Hamel!”

The interaction between Hamel, Flute and the level design is really what makes the game work so well. You can stand on her head, pick her up and carry her around, or even toss her like a cannon ball into enemies or impeding brick walls!

Her expressions are priceless
Her expressions are priceless
It doesn't hurt her!
Relax — it doesn’t hurt her!

FOREST DAY TIME

Kill 'em with musical notes
Kill ‘em with musical notes
Sometimes you hurl Flute...
Sometimes you hurl Flute…
Other times you throw a bomb!
Other times you throw a bomb!
These big boys take 2 hits
These big boys take 2 hits
Nab the first transformation icon
Nab the first icon to change!
You ain't Carl Lewis? What now?
You ain’t Carl Lewis!

That’s right, Carl Lewis you are not. So what now? Hit ‘START’ and locate the proper transformation for the job. You only have one at this point, so it’s pretty obvious what’s needed here. Later on, as you grab more and more of the 16 total transformations, it’ll be a little tougher to figure out which one to use, but it’s usually fairly obvious. It’s a fun gimmick that makes up a bulk of the gameplay.

Ride her to safety. Shush
Ride her to safety. Shush

Each transformation serves a specific function. The first one, the ostrich, allows you to cross perilous territory that would otherwise kill you. Press “X” at any time to transform back to Flute.

Oooh, pretty
Oooh, pretty

FOREST EVENING

Duck and collect the 1-UP
Duck and collect the 1-UP
Second icon is a frog
Second icon is a frog
What does it do? C'mon...
What does it do? C’mon…
Shoot the spindle to activate
Shoot the spindle to activate
Hey, it's you or them
Hey, it’s you or them

BONUS STAGE

No Mario 3 influences, nah
No Mario 3 influences, nah

THE CASTLE

DUN DUN DUN
DUN DUN DUN
Watch out for those flames
Watch out for those flames

Right off the bat here, you collect your third transformation icon. It’s a robot that can smash any wall. You can also ride it to make your way safely across treacherous terrain, similar to the ostrich.

Aw, angry Flute is so cute
Aw, angry Flute is so cute

Like Castlevania‘s red skeletons, that yellow bugger there cannot be permanently disposed of. You can stop him, but he’ll resurrect after a few seconds. Make haste!

SNAKES IN A CASTLE!
SNAKES IN A CASTLE!

A MISSING KEY AND A HUMAN DART

As mentioned earlier, puzzles play a part in the game. Here’s a neat little one within the castle walls.

hampuzzle

Hmmm, I gotta get to the top somehow… first, select the robot transformation.

SMASH
SMASH
Anger issues, much?
Anger issues, much?

Now, position Flute on the little switch and deactivate her so she won’t move from that spot. By standing on the switch, the block up top disappears. Now fire a note at the crystal ball, which results in dropping the makeshift platform there. Nice.

Sings "There she goes..."
Sings “There she goes…”

Once you get to higher ground press “X” again to call Flute, and she’ll properly climb the ladder. HURRAH! We’re home free now…

Girls hate when you fail
Girls hate when you fail
"Sorry hun, ya know the deal"
“Sorry hun, ya know the deal”
The key is to... find the key
The key is to… find the key

Kill the snake, grab the key, the new icon (not visible here) and go!

Um, yeah. It gets kooky!
Um, yeah. It gets kooky!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Violinist of Hamelin is quirky and memorable
For something different, try this out!

Prior to playing this game for the first time back in 2006, I had heard a smattering of people praising this game as one of the better Super Famicom exclusives. It’s definitely got a certain charm to it and feels different from your typical SNES game. It’s not quite a platformer, it’s not quite a puzzler, it’s not quite an action game. It’s a hybrid of all those — a platforming puzzle action game that has that special touch of Japanese cuteness and oddity that makes it quirky and memorable. The only real negative I have to say about this game is that it sure could have used a save or password system. It’s no short game by any means. I don’t like the fact that you have to beat this game in one sitting, and that each time you fire it up you have to start from the very beginning. Other than that, Violinist of Hamelin is quality through and through.

2 thoughts on “Violinist of Hamelin (SFC)”

  1. I remember finding out about this game on your old site about ten years ago (like several SFC games you covered… man, where does time go?) and only just caught up with Hameln no Violin Hiki last week, and I ended up really liking it! =D

    It’s funny, there was point when of the two Daft-developed SFC games I was most interested in Nangoku Shōnen Papuwa-kun was more cheap and affordable (but I never got a chance to import it, even when the opportunity was there; hopefully one day…) and this game was more expensive, but it seems to me that in recent years the opposite has applied (maybe it depends on when I browse for it on eBay…). I know it’s slightly irrelevant, but I wanted to express my surprise at that.

    Anyway, the game! Delightfully charming and endearing, I adored the fact that its background music comprised of classical tunes (it makes for an appropriately fantastic atmosphere); its also got a very nice look to it, like the stages with the clouds in the backdrop and foreground and the forest with the watery reflection. The facial expressions Flute made regarding many situations (like sustaining damage, being thrown around, and transforming into certain creatures) is priceless, and the gameplay is really intuitively fun. =) Trial and error is always a great element when it comes to action/puzzlers, and I like how this game in particular explored that aspect in regards to the plethora of transformations (i.e. the frog, the elephant, the octopus, and the eagle, et al, the last one being among my favorites).

    I concur that Hameln no Violin Hiki is a tad long due the fact that like fellow action/puzzler Millenium Entertainment’s (of James Pond fame) PAL-exclusive Super Morph it entails that it be completed in one sitting, but at least, in my opinion anyway, it leans more towards the respectable kind of challenging game that has to be beaten in one sitting like Ocean Software’s Mr. Nutz (SNES version only) and less from the exceedingly high challenge value set by games that have to beaten in one go like Ocean Software’s other platformer The Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt (come to think of it; Ocean sure had a tendency to develop long games way back when). Only beat it once so far, but I’ll be glad to explore it again and again.

    d( ^-^ )b To each their own d( ^-^ )b

    1. Hey StarBoy, wow, yeah, how time flies! It’s crazy that I wrote about Violinist of Hamelin (AKA Hamelin no Violin Hiki) over 10 years ago on my original RVGFanatic.com website. It’s a solid Super Famicom game and as you’ve probably seen from my Top 50 article, it’s in my top 50 favorite “obscure” Super Famicom games. Cheers!

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