At a Glance: Bandai / Angel / Kodansha / Toei Animation / Nintendo / Naoko Takeuchi... Which one of them should be held most responsible for this monstrosity? Probably Bandai, since their other crap makes up about half of the ROM Pit. This is a French translation of a Japanese Double Dragon / Golden Axe / Streets of Rage-style fighting game based on the bizarre Japanese cartoon about some young teenage girls who dress up like cheap Saigon whores and throw their jewelry at people. What could be better? Setting yourself on fire, for starters.
Platform: SNES (Download Emulator here - 395k)
Download: Download ROM here - 1.5 megs
Game Plot: There are some girls, and there are some monsters, and they hit each other. That's about all the plot you get. There's no intro cutscene or text scroller or anything. You just show up on the street dressed like a colorblind cheerleader and start hitting people. If you wait long enough at the title screen, a screen pops up displaying the credits and some upskirt pictures of the main characters. It then goes on to show mug shots of said characters and give their names, birthdays, and turn-ons. I guess that's what it says, I haven't had a French class in over six years.
At the end of the game, there's an inexplicably stupid cutscene which was apparently rendered in a pre-alpha of the Unreal engine, as it's chock-full of flashing colored strobe lights. I haven't had that many seizures since the Pokemon movie. The closing shot, normally the graphical and stylistic high point of a game, is a badly scribbled "animation"(in this case meaning a lone sprite sliding across the screen) of the main character, "Bunny Riviera" kissing some fruity guy in a cape named "Tommy". Oddly enough, kissing was the last thing on my mind as I finished this game, unless you're referring to the icy kiss of death as I physically forced myself not to stick my printer cable in my mouth as I stood in a bucket of salt water.
Weapons: There are no weapon power-ups in this game. There are no weapons available to be picked up, either. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though, as Golden Axe didn't have any power-ups either (other than magic pots). What makes it a bad thing is the fact that the weapons that you start out with really really suck. You get to pick any of the 5 scantily-clad girls to play as, and there's a 2-player simultaneous option as well. The 2-player mode is somewhat pointless, though, as they failed to include the most important feature- the ability to HIT EACH OTHER. I can't remember the number of great fights I've gotten into, when, in other games, the other player "accidentally" whapped me with a baseball bat or threw a boulder onto my head, or even picked me up and flung me off of a bridge. This kind of immature player-to-player violence is an integral part of the multiplayer experience, but apparently the designers thought that it was a "bad example" to put in a game aimed at young girls. Apparently they thought that subjecting young girls to the spine-twisting awfulness of this game was scarring enough.
Anyway, there are two buttons in this game- punch and jump. There's a punch combo, a couple of jump-kicks, and two special attacks you get by holding the buttons down and releasing them or pressing them both at the same time. Yes, although the SNES controller has no fewer than 8 buttons, this game only uses two, and makes you do special combos with them. The punch combo, usually the hardest thing to screw up in a fighting game, is rather crippled by the fact that your arms only reach about a foot in front of your face. Interestingly enough, the characters' legs are about five times as long as their arms, but still they insist on punching. The jump-kicks are typically unspectacular, but stable enough. There's a "grab and hold and throw" feature too, but it's nothing special. What is special, however, is the incredible SPECIAL ATTACK! If you hold the punch button down, Sailor Moon grabs her forehead as if she has a migraine, and you see a power meter start to rise! When the meter maxes out, you can release the button and she shouts "Moon Tiara Action" with a thick Japanese accent, and flings a burning fireball across the screen, tearing though anything in its path! Of course, it doesn't actually do any more damage than a regular punch, but IT'S A SPECIAL ATTACK!
There's another SPECIAL ATTACK where you press both buttons at once and you do a 360-degree front-and-back attack, which knocks back any enemies that happen to be near you. Of course, it also does almost no damage, doesn't work on bosses, and costs a huge piece of your life meter. All 5 of the girls have the exact same SPECIAL ATTACKS, except with different animations and voice samples. In fact, all 5 of the girls are exactly the same, they just look different, Well, that's not entirely true, as the green one throws people farther, the red one seems to hit faster, and the orange one is carrying some sort of segmented steel S&M whip which reaches halfway across the screen, but (surprise!) hardly does any damage and doesn't have a combo like the punches do. I can only assume the performance differences here are accidental and occurred while the coder was cutting and pasting the values in his special NOT-SO-SMARTY MAN SNES COMPILER.
Enemies: There are about 4 basic enemies in this game. There's a woman with an axe for an arm, a man wearing funky armor stuff, another man wearing funky armor stuff who has a hammer that pops out of his hand, and a wild caveman-gorilla thing. There are a few other rare enemies too, like a jumping midget harlequin, a giant ghostly doll-thing with no joints and a 7-foot reach, and a funky sliding fat man with an olive for a head. Mainly, though, it's the first 4 types, over and over again. Every now and then the first 4 enemies will appear with different palettes and longer life bars, but no other differences. Apparently catridge memory is too expensive to waste on something as silly and esoteric as "gameplay". The good thing about the enemies is that they're mostly really weak and slow. The bad thing is that you're really weak and slow too. Sailor Moon walks like she's on barbiturates, and you can stop and read a comic book in the time it takes her to get across the screen. I recommend "Gunsmith Cats" as it has lots of girls and guns and blood and no Sailor Moon whatsoever.
Number of Levels: There are 5 major "levels", some of which are divided into a couple of sub-levels. You start on the mean streets of Tokyo, where you walk down the street and hit stuff. At the end of the street there's a SUV you can smash up for no reason, and when you beat up all the monsters there you go to a weird red limbo place with floating clocks. Why? Who knows? Who cares? Why are you even playing this game? Where are the razor blades and sleeping pills? These are the questions you'll be asking youself during this level. After this, you go to an amusement park, where you'll enter a building made entirely out of cake. Why? Don't ask, because I don't know either.
This is a good time to mention that throughout the game you pick up cake and candy and cups of green stuff and other foodstuffs to regain energy. It's good that they're teaching young girls that eating lots of cake and green liquid will make them be really thin and be able to run around the world and beat up monsters. Anyway, after the cake house you go to Ancient Rome, or at least somewhere that has carved pillars and statues and looks like Rome, except that if you look at the sky, you see earth floating in the distance. Once again, I could wonder about that, but why? It's better to grit your teeth and pretend you're playing a better game, like maybe River City Ransom. After Rome, I was ready to go back in time again and fight dinosaurs with Ayla, but guess where I ended up next? A factory. One of those big automated factories like in Terminator. Actually, it looked a lot like the factory at the end of Streets of Rage. Hmm, I wonder why. Anyway, after that I ended up in somewhere that looked like the hive from Aliens, but was just full of the same old enemies. That was the last level. I was then free to die.
Number of Bosses: There were six bosses total in the game. First there was a big blue cat thing, which cost me like 6 lives, because when you get close enough to punch it, you take damage. I could only hurt it when I was flashing from being hit, and it always dodged my fireballs. After this there was a giant doll thing that spit pink clouds at me, but it wasn't really all that tough up close. The third boss was Sailor Moon's doppelganger (A doppelganger? In a fighting game? HOW CREATIVE!). She was really easy to kill though, as my fireball thingie knocked her off the screen and I kept using it and it hit every time. When she died, she turned into a guy in a gray suit and died again. After that, there was a big scary 9-foot-tall guy with silver hair in a gray suit, who shot sound waves or boomerangs or some other god-awful-looking crescent things.
At the end of the 5th level, they stuck me in a room where an ass-ugly woman was sitting on a chair, watching as I fought more colorful enemies. I at once knew this was the final boss, because final bosses are ALWAYS SITTING IN CHAIRS. Every fighting game I've ever played (except Double Dragon) has had a final boss that's just sitting in a chair at the end of the game, watching you. Apparently chairs are really 133t. They also must have powerful phase shielding, as none of these games ever let you walk up to the chair and punch the bad guy's teeth out as he's sitting defenseless. After I fought some more monsters, I got jumped by a vaguely cool-looking (the first decent-looking bad guy in the game) guy with a bigass sword. Through deductive reasoning, I determined that this blade must have been the legendary Daikatana, as all the game's awfulness seemed to be radiating from this central point. This guy wasn't so tough though, as all armed opponents in games are by nature pussies (final boss of Streets of Rage, anyone?) and can't fight worth a damn.
After he was dead, the woman got up and started shooting me with lightning. Whee. I also noticed that they seemed to be using the old Golden Axe trick of "final boss's henchmen keep respawning until you kill the boss, just to piss you off". Well, it worked. After losing about 9 lives here, I finally killed the boss and was rewarded (if "rewarded" is synonymous with "back-stabbed and ass-raped by the game designers") with the garbled nonsensical mess of a closing animation.
Defining Moment: This would be the time when I finally figured out how to do the SPECIAL ATTACK. It looked really neat and I was amazed that I could shoot a big fireball across the screen and knock down 5 guys at once, and I was whipping it out and using it on everybody. After awhile I realized that since I'd figured out the SPECIAL ATTACK, I'd lost three lives and hadn't killed anybody. This was on level 1. This was indeed a "Very Special" SPECIAL ATTACK. I haven't even mentioned the shrill, grating music, which sounds like god-awful J-Pop made more god-awful by being remixed on a xylophone and harmonica. Oh yeah, there are about 3 hours worth of voice samples too, but you'll probably have ripped your earphones (and possibly ears) off in disgust after the shrieking Japanese voice that accompanies the animated title screen. Did I mention the title screen is animated, and has lots of that neat hardware scaling that helps make this and many other SNES games look like total shit? Yay, I wanna see a bitmap zoomed in until the pixels are half the screen! THAT'S HOW YOU SPELL QUAELIETY! There's a reason this game was just released in France and not America: France doesn't have missiles that can reach Japan.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).