Konnichiwa! こんにちは! (gotta show off a bit of Japanese from my university class) I hope all is going well with you. I figured for this week’s entry of It Came From Japan I would stick with the penguin theme that I kind of started in the last post with Antarctic Adventure. What do a penguin, octopus, twin bee and fighter jet have in common? They are all flyable characters in Parodius Da! This game was put out by Konami (which instantly makes it awesome) in 1990 and is available on the Famicom, Super Famicom and also for the Japanese Game Boy system. The GB version will still work on your system since the Game Boy is region free. Though keep in mind since it is the GB, that version is only 8 levels long.
I have this game for the Famicom, but the version on the Super Fami seems to be pretty much the same as the Famicom version but there are a few extra levels plus looks and sounds nicer, so if you have a choice pick up the SuFami one.
Each of the characters has their own custom configuration/weapon set, so your choice of character will actually make a difference. Like Gradius? Choose Vic Viper. The Octopus has the Salamander configuration, Twin Bee is like Twin Bee (duh I know lol) and the penguin Pentarou has the Gradius III configuration. Once you choose your character you can choose if you want the game to automatically use any power ups you pick up, or you can set it to manual so you can choose with of the power ups you want, which is what I do. There are 3 different difficulty settings so you can pick whichever one suits your wants. :)
Gameplay-wise it is very similar to the Gradius series, with Twin Bee bells tossed in. It makes sense that it’s so much like Gradius since it is a parody of it, but graphically it is very different. Besides the options of multiple characters to pilot your craft, the enemies are pretty outrageous, including cat pirate ships and belly dancing girls. It’s all these crazy characters that make the game so fun and different from the other shoot ’em ups out there at the time. You know it’s going to be kind of crazy when on the Super Fami title screen it calls itself a NON-SENSE FANTASY. Plus its just awesome to fly as a shooting Octopus or Pentarou from Antarctic Adventure :)
Graphics-wise all the versions look really good for the console they are on. Everything is bright and colorful and I didn’t experience a lot of lag when there was multiple enemies and bullets on the screen, though it may have been useful in slowing things down a bit when things get crazy. :p The music fits the graphics very well, it doesn’t feel out of place or inappropriate for what is going on at the time. This game isn’t super serious and the music reflects the game’s fun and crazy feel.
The game isn’t super hard so it doesn’t take too long to beat it, but it all depends on what difficulty you choose! Though it can definitely get tricky in some parts so it may take some memorization to get through it! But it certainly won’t be on the difficulty scale of, say, Salamander or Life Force on the Famicom so it’s a bit more regular gamer friendly.
So if you like shoot ’em ups, quirky games or penguins you owe it to yourself to check this one out. If anything you won’t be bored! Oh and if you pause the game and enter the Contra code on the game boy version it activates all your power ups except for Double and Speed Up.
If you go on YouTube, check out the Japanese commercial for the game, it’s pretty cool. Seriously, if a bunch of super cute animated characters can’t convince you to try this out I don’t think anything could!
This is another one of those titles I can’t really figure out why it was never released anywhere else, but I’m definitely glad that I found out about it. Shoot em ups are one of my favorite genres of games and luckily this one doesn’t require any knowledge of Japanese to enjoy!
So with that sayounara さようなら, happy gaming, and see you soon!