Controversial statement: the Nintendo Famicom was a really good system. It had a lot of great games, and it really did a fantastic job of elevating the medium. All that being said, fuck the corporate suits, and their draconian bull shit that gave a lot of developers headaches, as well as depriving us of a potential early arms race between them and Sega during the Master System days.
But I’m not here to wax nostalgic about the old days. Rather, I’m here to talk about some games that came out decades after Nintendo had stopped supporting the system. There’s some weird thing that appeals to me about developers continuing to release games on consoles long abandoned; like the PC-Engine still getting games all the way up until 1999. It’s like the gaming equivalent of breaking curfew, only significantly less lame than I’m making it sound. I’ll be taking a look at some of these games here.
Pac-Man Championship Edition
This is exactly what you think it is: Pac-Man Championship Edition, but on a Nintendo. It was included as part of the Namco Museum Archive Volume 1 for Switch and PC. Cool thing is, the game itself is a ROM, and said ROM has been extracted and dumped onto the internet. So, this is not a game made to look like an NES game, but a full-fledged game that can be played both in emulators and on original hardware.
Pac-Man CE pretty much plays exactly as the original XBox 360 game: you run around, picking up dots and avoiding ghosts, getting as many points as you can before five minutes has passed. A simple concept that is also the most addicting fucking thing in the world. You don’t do a couple playthroughs of this. No, you fucking spend like an hour, trying to set a new high score until your eyes bleed. It’s a miracle I was able to put the game down long enough to write this post. I love it. Download that shit and watch your own productivity go to waste.
Despite the official branding and publication, Namco themselves have admitted that this is actually an enhanced and fixed version of a fan-made project. They do claim that they compensated the original creator for their work. Hopefully with money. Shout out to Coke774.
Touhou Rououmu is an 8-bit demake of Touhou 7- Perfect Cherry Blossom. For the zero of you out there wondering, Touhou 7 is my favorite entry in the series. As such, I’m loving this game, too.
Now, the idea of a bullet-hell STG on an 8-bit system sounds like an absolute nightmare. You would assume that having that many objects on screen would bring the system to its knees. If it isn’t the massive slowdown that would kill it, it would have to be the sprite flicker that makes things invisible on-screen, right?
Well, no. I’m not sure what technical magic (or Spell Card) was applied to this, but the usual NES technical problems are nowhere to be found here. Like, the game works! It runs pretty well, or at least as well as it can on the Famicom. Obviously, it won’t be as smooth as its original PC incarnation, but this port is perfectly fine.
It’s honestly pretty amazing how much heavy lifting this port does in bringing Touhou 7 to the Famicom. Far as I can tell, every feature is included: grazing, Supernatural Borders, all three playable characters and their alternate weapon set-ups, pre-fight dialogue with the bosses, every level, all of it. Looks fantastic, music is covered very well, plays almost as great as the original. It’s really cool.
I do have some complaints to make, though. Given that this is still an unfinished work in progress, I’m sure these will be fixed in upcoming updates. One, not being able to see your character’s hitbox while doing a Focus Shot. This is a problem for scrubs like me who still struggle to 1cc these games on Normal difficulty. Two, the first three levels are presented out of order. Not a serious problem there so much as a nitpick. Finally, I could not defeat the final boss. I ran into a bug where I deathbombed (for you non-Touhouheads, this is when you use a screen-clearing bomb right as you are about to be killed), only to respawn as an endless explosion that drained the boss’ health, but didn’t actually move on past the fight. Did get some cool glitched graphics, at least.
But hey, it’s still Touhou. It’s fun, cute as fuck, and twice as hard.
Mahou Shoujo Serena
Hachi machi, things are getting a little spicy here. So, confession time here: I actually bought a copy of this game a couple years back for 300 yen. I was intrigued by the idea of a horny Famicom game. Well, a deviant one, anyway; Bubble Bath Babes cornered the “boring, badly drawn titties” market long ago.
The thing about Mahou Shoujo Serena is that there is a lot of text. Most of this game is in fact a whole lot of text. Unfortunately, my Japanese literacy is still “fuck-all,” so all of this is lost on me.
The rest of the game is me, as this guy in the black hat, running from the witch shooting magic. One hit and it’s back to the title screen. After a few minutes of endless running, it’s back to more plot.
Except that this plot is a lot sexier.
Between running segments, you come back to this tied up girl, who I am assuming I’m whipping every so often. I’m assuming this because parts of her clothes rip off with red marks underneath them. Repeat this three times, then the game ends.
I…look, I know that there’s a lot of context that I’m missing here due to the language barrier. You’re probably thinking, “Ramona, did you seriously spend 300 yen on bondage porn that you can’t even read?” Yes, I did. This is because I make wise decisions.
Joking aside, I don’t hate this. I mean, if you’re already going behind Nintendo’s back and making unlicensed games, you might as well make ones that defy their family-friendly image, too. Quick disclaimer here: because of this language barrier, I have to only assume (and pray) that the BDSM stuff is on the up-and-up, and I hope that I didn’t just spend ten minutes tying up a 3000-year old demon or whatever.
Neo Heiankyo Alien
When I did my big Heiankyo Alien piece last year, I forgot to include this one. As America’s #1 Heiankyo Alien Expert, it’s time to make up for that.
I would say that this game is more in line with the exemplary Game Boy Heiankyo Alien. You run around Japan, digging holes and burying aliens alive in them. This time, though, you’re a spaceman, rather than a cop. That’s always a plus. The game is great, but there’s not much here for me to say that I didn’t already write a year ago.
Or stream a year ago:
What I can talk about, is all this sick music that’s in here. A whole bunch of composers known for a lot of popular games took part in this project. What’s great about this game being well past the peak of the Famicom is that developers know how that system works inside and out; the music is chunky and goes hard. Like, goddamn guys, I’m only trapping aliens here!
While I don’t have much to add, as I’ve already talked about Heiankyo Alien (twice), the game still rules. I mean, it’s Heiankyo Alien. If you don’t love Heiankyo Alien: fuck you. It’s a short, but still very fun and captivating game while it lasts.