View Full Version : EastX's Import Review Thread and Dance Lessons

04-05-2008, 02:59 AM
I've gotta be different so I decided to review only Japanese games.

For now, my reviews will focus on Japanese Playstation Network downloadable titles. They're all PSOne games, so you could import them if you don't have a Playstation 3 or PSP. But I will focus on their value as downloadable titles. Each game includes full manual scans, in Japanese of course.

You can buy and play games from the Japanese PSN store no matter what region hardware you have or where you live. It's just a bit of a hassle because the store doesn't accept foreign credit cards. Luckily PSN cards are available in multiple denominations. These can be purchased from Play Asia (http://www.play-asia.com) or Ebay. I prefer Ebay because the sellers there will simply email you a redemption code within 24 hours of payment, so no shipping time is involved.

PSN Cards are available in the following denominations:

1000 Yen, 3000 Yen, 5000 Yen, and 10000 Yen. A 3000 Yen card goes for $36 on Ebay. PSOne titles cost 600 Yen. That means you can buy 5 games with one card, at a price of $7.20 each. That's really not bad for a Japanese game that you can play on either your Playstation 3 or PSP. This guide (http://www.gtplanet.net/guides/index.php/Create_a_Japanese_PS3_Account) shows how to set up a Japanese PSN account.

Japanese PSN games that I plan to review:

Bishi Bashi Special
Dezaemon Kids
Dezaemon Plus
Ganbare Goemon: Uchukaizoku Akogingu (Working Designs almost translated this)
Gussun Paradise (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showpost.php?p=471175&postcount=17)(YoYo's Puzzle Park in Europe/Australia)
Jumping Flash
Jumping Flash 2
Konami MSX Collection Volume 1 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showpost.php?p=469016&postcount=8)
Money Idol Exchanger
Raiden (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showpost.php?p=468812&postcount=2)
R-Types (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showpost.php?p=469920&postcount=12)
R-Type Delta
Sonic Wings Special
Um Jammer Lammy

Other Japanese PSN games that people might find interesting:

Adventure of Little Ralph
Crash Bandicoot 1-3 (Crash looks different from the American version)
Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition
Galaxy Fight
Guilty Gear
Gunner's Heaven
King of Fighters '95-99
Intelligent Qube
Intelligent Qube Final
Magical Drop
Magical Drop F
Poiter's Point (Poy Poy in the US)
Real Bout Fatal Fury & Real Bout Special
Robbit Mon Dieu (Jumping Flash sequel)
Samurai Spirits 1 & 2 Pack
Samurai Spirits 3-4
Samurai Shodown: Warrior's Rage
Tail of the Sun: Wild, Pure, Simple Life
XI(sai) 1-3 (Devil Dice in the US)

04-05-2008, 03:41 AM
Raiden (Arcade Hits Raiden)
Publisher: Hamster
PSN Genre: Shooting
Filesize: 15 MB

Well, 600 Yen is better than 1500 Yen anyway.

This was my very first PSN purchase. That's because I never owned a PSOne, but I really wanted The Raiden Project when that system launched. The bad news for me is that this isn't Raiden Project! Hamster took that title, stripped Raiden 2 from it, and then released Arcade Hits Raiden as a budget title. Wasn't that nice of them?


Arcade Hits Raiden uses the 3D attract mode and menus from Raiden Project, which just makes Raiden 2's absence more painful. But Raiden the First is a title that somewhat stands on its own... After all, the original arcade game got ported to the SNES, Genesis, PC Engine, Atari Jaguar & Lynx, and other systems. The more systems your game has been ported to, the better it is, without exception.

A proper screenshot borrowed from Digital Press (http://www.digitpress.com/reviews/raidenproject.htm).

Raiden is a vertically-scrolling two-player simultaneous shooter. Its claim to fame is the weapon system. Enemies drop weapon or missile powerups, each alternating between two flavors until it's picked up. The standard gun upgrades to a screen-filling spread gun as powerups are collected, while the laser is simply a powerful, concentrated beam of energy. Missiles can be regular or homing, plus players get a few bombs to use per life. The bomb graphic really impressed me back in the day. So did Tia Carrera in Wayne's World, now that I think about it.

Rotating a PSP is at least 5% easier than rotating an HDTV.

The game has eight levels, each with a large but not particularly memorable end boss. Unlike modern vertically-scrolling shooters, Raiden is actually pretty fair for the most part. It doesn't start getting too hard until the fourth level or so. Most of the difficulty comes from the ship's speed: it is simply too slow to dodge effectively, so killing enemies before they can fire becomes an important tactic. Speaking of tactics, when two players occupy the same space and fire, they shoot a different weapon, which is a unique mechanic.

The bomb effects used to make ladies swoon.

Raiden's graphics are still decent, but kind of plain. There is no nudity, which really would have jazzed things up. The title screen 3D sequence looks absolutely horrible, even for a Playstation One game, but I still find it charming. The music can be set to original or remixed. The original tunes are okay but the remixed version truly brings the soundtrack to life. I have the Raiden series CD soundtrack and love it. The screen can be set to standard, stretched, and tate mode (perfect for PSP play). Unlike the American version of The Raiden Project, players automatically get unlimited credits. Sony used to love removing options when bringing games to America, those jerks.

If you were an ace, your name would be here.

Do I recommend downloading Raiden? That depends. Knowing that two better PSOne Raiden titles exist (Project and Raiden DX), Raiden by itself is definitely much less impressive. However, you can't play those two games on the go. So if you're a hardcore Raiden fan with a PSP, this is a pretty good purchase. Perhaps the US store will get Raiden Project in a few years... :P

04-05-2008, 08:47 AM
I would be interested in The Adventures of Little Ralph. I was pretty obsessed with finding that game at one point but I never could get my hands on it. Is it on the Jap PSN for download?

04-05-2008, 09:01 AM
Needs pictures.

Otherwise, good stuff.

04-05-2008, 09:50 AM
Vic: Yes. I might pick it up down the line...

Alexander: Thanks. I'm working on a way to do that.

Next review: Konami MSX Collection Volume 1.

Joe Redifer
04-06-2008, 06:15 AM
They must be cropping a lot on the sides of Raiden when tilted on the PSP. Either that or there is now more on the top and bottom than there ever was before. The game was designed for a tilted 4:3 screen, not a tilted 16:9 one. The PS1 version sure didn't support any 16:9 modes.

04-06-2008, 06:31 AM
They must be cropping a lot on the sides of Raiden when tilted on the PSP. Either that or there is now more on the top and bottom than there ever was before. The game was designed for a tilted 4:3 screen, not a tilted 16:9 one. The PS1 version sure didn't support any 16:9 modes.

Oh, that's my fault. I set the display to full screen through the PSP's emulation options. I think it looks great, but you're right that it distorts the aspect ratio a bit. Sometime I'll figure out a way to take better pictures - CFW screenshot plugins sadly do not work on official PSOne games.

04-07-2008, 02:45 AM
Konami MSX Collection Volume 1 (Konami Antiques MSX Collection Volume 1)
Publisher: Guess.
PSN Genre: Etc.
Filesize: 40 MB

Japanese people love variety games, and that's a fact.

The MSX is a Japanese computer system that launched in 1983. Hardware-wise, it's comparable to the Commodore 64 and the Colecovision game console. However, the MSX has two cartridge slots. Nobody can tell me that's not cool. Actually, this guy tried to tell me that once and I popped him one right in the mouth. So I recommend against it. They later released upgraded versions of the MSX that could run much nicer games and were backwards-compatible, but all of the games on this collection are MSX1 games.

Konami released three compilations of their MSX software titles for the Playstation in Japan. Then they shafted PSOne owners by including all three of those compilations on one disc for the Japanese Sega Saturn, known as Konami MSX Collection Ultra Pack. But you can't download that version for anything so here we are. Konami MSX Collection Volume 1 contains ten games: Konami's Boxing, Konami's Ping Pong, Hypersports, Mopiranger, Antarctic Adventure, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Road Fighter, Sky Jaguar, Gradius, and Gradius: Gofer's Ambition II. Are these ancient games fun in the modern age of cell phones and satellite television? Let's hope so, or I'm out of eight bucks!

All ten games are available from the outset, and no options or extras are included, besides a little Gradius secret. Unlike most Japanese Playstation 2 and 3 games, the X Button is used to make menu selections. When did they get mixed up and switch to the Circle Button? I'll bet Crazy Ken had a hand in it. Anyway, from within any game, holding Select and pressing Start will exit back to the Game Menu.


Konami's Boxing
Original Release Date: 1985

Punch-Out is probably a better game, but I can't stand old boxing games in general.

This is a side-view boxing game for one or two players. Player one is always Ryu, a black-haired dude. He fights opponents like Red-Wolf and Sanchess, whose name of course is the feminine form of the name Sanchez (but he's a guy). The player has four punches, depending on which direction is held while attacking, a block, and a dodge move. Despite that wicked arsenal, the game is really challenging. The graphics are fair for the time period, with large characters and a crowd that animates slightly when someone is downed. The sound is just beeps and chirps with no music besides a brief tune at the start of each fight. While its single-player game is too tough and basic to be any fun, Konami Boxing's multiplayer probably still offers a few minutes of enjoyment.

Konami's Ping Pong
Original Release Date: This game can go to hell. I mean, 1985

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Ping-Pong_-Konami-.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/msx-ping-pong.png
Rockstar Table Tennis this is not.

Ping Pong is more akin to those basic, no frills games we got back when the NES launched. There's nothing but a static ping pong table and two disembodied hands representing the players. Music is non-existent as well. Instead of being simple to play and potentially fun like Pong or early tennis games, Konami's Ping Pong is really finicky. To serve, you press up to toss the ball and then press up again to swing and miss it. I can't figure out how to serve consistently, which either makes me a bad reviewer or someone with a life. I think we all have better things to do than play bad ping pong games. If you have a friend you don't like, you could get him to play two-player with you.

Hyper Sports 2
Original Release Date: 1984

Much more exciting than Regular Sports 2.

Since Hyper Sports 2 includes skeet shooting, archery, and weightlifting, nobody would ever bother to ask about Hyper Sports 1. Instead of choosing which game to play, each sport is presented sequentially and a qualifying score must be reached within three tries to play the next sport.


The game starts with skeet shooting, a sport based on mankind's long-standing hatred of skeet. The graphics feature a clean-looking third-person view. Rather than aiming a crosshair, two crosshairs scroll up and down on their own. Each crosshair has its own fire button. There is no penalty for missing other than wasted time. If the player hits enough targets in a row though, more valuable, colored skeet will appear. Achieve a qualifying score and the Mario-like player turns to wink at you. I like this game because it's quick and easy to play.

What am I doing here?

Archery defies expectations once more by excluding crosshairs entirely. Presented from an overhead view, a target scrolls up and down across from the player. A bullseye graphic rests in the corner of the screen. Where the arrow strikes is determined not only
by the target's location when it is hit, but also how long the button is held when an arrow is launched. You get eight arrows for each try. The player sprite changes color from blue to red when a try ends, for some reason. Archery could be fun despite its complicated aiming system, but the challenge puts a stop to that. Two bullseyes are required to score enough points to move on, but they're too hard to get.


I guess weight lifting comes after archery, but I don't expect to ever do well enough to play it.

Original Release Date: 1985

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Mopiranger_-Konami-cover.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/mopirangertitle.jpg
Screenshots of Mopiranger are scarce.

Mopiranger starts out strong with a cute title screen animation of a big mouse rescuing a smaller one from an island. The text "NO BIG RAZZON!" appears before every level and really gets your blood pumping. The game plays a bit like New Rally-X except instead of collecting flags, the player has to find stranded mice while navigating water currents and avoiding monsters that look like anthropomorphic hearts. The challenge comes from killing enemies: after you blast one with a sound wave, the monster turns into a stone that can impede your progress. Killing monsters in the wrong spot can prevent players from reaching stranded mice and completing the levels. Still, this game is fairly fun if you like old maze games.

Antarctic Adventure
Original Release Date: 1984

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Antarctic_Adventure_-Konami-_front.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/antartic.jpg
Pen Pen Triicelon is this game's grandbaby.

Bearing no relation to the classic PC game Arctic Adventure, Antarctic Adventure is actually a 3D penguin racing game. The penguin doesn't race against other birds, just the timer. While adjusting speed, the player has to jump over crevices, dodge seals, and collect fish and flags for points. Each course ends with the raising of an American flag at an outpost. The graphics are really sharp for an early MSX game, though the courses mostly look the same. Seals are a big problem because they hide in holes and can't be jumped over; you lose precious time if you run into one. It's difficult to dodge things by the time you actually see them, but otherwise Antarctic Adventure is not a bad game.

Yie Ar Kung Fu
Original Release Date: 1985

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Yie_Ar_Kung_Fu_-Konami-cover.jpg http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/yiearkungfu/kungfu-msx.png
His butt shoots nunchucks.

Yie Ar Kung Fu in any form is meant to kill fun, and the MSX version is no exception. You play as Lee, a little Bruce-wannabe as he battles five different opponents. It's a slight downgrade of the Famicom title, which is a bit different from the arcade game. The graphics are less detailed and colorful than the Famicom game and there's only one attack button instead of separate buttons for punch and kick. The direction held when attack is pressed determines what move is performed. Why is this game so horrible? You can't block, the controls are terrible, and the hit detection is some of the worst in gaming history. Yes, even worse than Exile: Wicked Phenomenon on Turbografx-Super CD! If you have to subject yourself to Yie Ar Kung Fu, at least make it the graphically-enhanced Xbox 360 game or the only two-player version, which comes on Konami Arcade Advanced for GBA (and possibly DS).

Road Fighter
Original Release Date: 1985

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Roadfighter_-Konami-.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/RoadfighterKonamiscreen.jpg
It's hard not to blow up.

Road Fighter is an overhead racing game in which the player must reach the end of a course before fuel runs out. Several different courses are available, but I only got to play the first one because the game is too hard. Any collision with other cars or the edges of the track results in in your car exploding and a big loss of fuel. You can pick up more fuel occasionally, but the narrowness of the track renders most attempts at maneuvering futile. I'd rather play Micro Machines.

Sky Jaguar
Original Release Date: 1984

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/Skyjaguar_-Konami-cover.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/skyjaguar.jpg

Man, after those last two games I was dying to play a decent game. Sky Jaguar almost saved the day. Like Xevious, it's a vertically-scrolling shooter. The scrolling is incredibly choppy because the MSX lacked hardware scrolling capabilities. You can power up your pea shooter to fire double peas as you fly over simply-drawn levels. I can live with the scrolling, but I can't stand the crushing difficulty. The ship in this game is so slow that dodging is downright impossible, so I've never beaten the second level. It's too bad developers used to think impossible = fun, because Sky Jaguar would otherwise be a worthwhile title.

Original Release Date: 1986

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/gradiuscover.jpg http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/gradius/gradius-msx.png

Now we're getting to the meat of the package! Gradius is quite a competent port of the classic side-scrolling shooter arcade game. The graphics are adequate and the music is great. They added a graveyard stage too. Two problems arise though: firstly, the scrolling is super-jerky. This makes it hard to dodge enemies and such. Think of it as a really bad frame rate. Secondly, this is another annoyingly hard MSX game.

Everything's fine until the volcano portion of the first level, which is the farthest most players will get. The rocks that erupt from the volcanos are really fast and you have nowhere to dodge them, so you will die. Once that happens, you've reached a checkpoint where you won't be able to pick up enough powerups to make a proper second attempt, so you have to get a game over just to start fresh and have a chance. Ouch. After about fifty tries, I discovered the only possible strategy: arrive with dual options, the laser powerup, and missiles. Then hide in the top-left corner with the options below you... Whew! Unlimited continues make the rest of the game a little more breathable, but it's still frustratingly tough.

Gradius: Gofer's Ambition II (AKA Nemesis 3 in Europe)
Original Release Date:

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h201/eastx/PSP/gofercover.jpg http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/gradius/gradius3msx-4.png
Look! Konami developed a decent logo. Shame they changed it.

Finally, the most compelling reason to own this collection: an exclusive, high-quality Gradius game. Gofer's Amibtion II is the sequel to Gradius 2 Gofer for PC-Engine Super CD and arcade. Neither of those games should be confused with MSX Gradius 2, which is a totally separate game that appears on Konami MSX Collection 2.

Gofer's Ambition II begins with a long, impressive intro that highlights past Gradius moments. After that, players select from four different weapon loadouts, two shield styles, and three option styles. The graphics are much better than MSX Gradius, and the scrolling and difficulty are slightly more livable as well. The stages contain hidden weapons and map pieces which must be collected in order to beat the game. That's fine, but horrendous difficulty rears its ugly head once again: the second level is filled with nigh-undodgeable asteroids as well as gravity waves that slam your ship into walls without mercy. If you can clear that level after about a million tries, you're free to enjoy one of the best Gradius games ever made.


Gradius fanatics will want Konami MSX Collection Volume 1 for its two tough but good entries in the series. Yie Ar Kung Fu's lone fan will want to give this release a look too, if he has been released from the institution, that is. Because many of its games are absurdly difficult, this collection wouldn't be much fun for modern gamers. Still, it's a fascinating look at what Konami was up to way back when.

04-08-2008, 02:01 PM
Unlike most Japanese Playstation 2 and 3 games, the X Button is used to make menu selections. When did they get mixed up and switch to the Circle Button?I hate it when they do this. I think it was the jump from chrono trigger to chrono cross that had me frustrated in that regard (switching the confirm and cancel buttons)

Good review. How much does the collection cost? Gradius look like THE reason to own it.

Joe Redifer
04-08-2008, 06:34 PM
Konami has ALWAYS used the circle button for selecting options in Japan.

04-09-2008, 05:34 AM
Thanks Seraph! That's one advantage of PSP custom firmware: you can change the confirm and cancel buttons in the PSP's system menu. Wish I could do that for my import PS3 console. Konami MSX Collection costs the same as every Japanese PSOne title in the PSN store. That works out to $7.25 USD, as I explain in the first post of this thread.

Joe - ah, that makes them a bastion of properly selecting things in a country gone mad.

04-12-2008, 05:26 AM
Publisher: Irem
PSN Genre: Shooting
Filesize: 280 MB


Man, I keep reviewing these hard games. That's because so far, they're all shooters or collections of shooters. This would seem to indicate that I really like shooters. Well, I do, but sometimes I wonder why. I really don't care for too much difficulty in my games. I play to relax, not submit myself to torture. But there's something about shooters that keeps me coming back, despite their typically annoying difficulty. R-Types is not a very relaxing title, but it's definitely worth a look.

What are these R-Types I speak of? They're not just the types that come after Q. R-Types collects both the original arcade R-Type and its sequel, R-Type II. Many home ports exist of the first game but II hardly came out on anything. The R-Type II on PC Engine, for example, was just the second half of the original arcade game. The impossible half. But I'll get to that...

This guy deserves his own spinoff game.

R-Type's gameplay is fairly innovative for the genre. The player can choose to fire rapidly or hold the button down for a powerful charged shot. In R-Type II the charged shot becomes an impressive spread blast if timed correctly. You'll end up relying on rapid fire most of the time, though. More integral to the gameplay is the Force item. Once collected from a fallen enemy, this thing functions as both a shield and a weapon. It can be launched forward or backward at will and will continue to fire at enemies even when detached. Attaching the Force to the rear of your ship is the only way to survive some sections. After collecting the Force, several different weapons can be scavenged from certain enemies. However, only the blue reflective laser is very useful, even in R-Type II which added new guns. You can get missiles and little Bits, which are like the options in Gradius except they don't fire at anything. There is no true shield item in the game, which leads to my next point...

Ouch, these games are tough. The first R-Type contains eight stages, each divided up with a midway checkpoint and capped with a boss. The gameplay is challenging but not unfair for the first three stages. After that, the gloves come off. You will die constantly until you figure out the exact pathway to take through the enemies and obstacles. Even once you've figured out what to do, implementing it can take another twenty tries or so. There are just so many bad guys to avoid from all sides, most firing projectiles, and not nearly enough time to react to them. It's chaos. Level eight barely even has a background because the developers likely did not expect many players to see it. R-Type II lasts for only six stages, but ratchets the difficulty to impossible in stage two. Thankfully continues are unlimited and cheat codes are just a guilty input away...

Thanks to shmups.com (http://shmups.classicgaming.gamespy.com/reviews/rtype2/index.html) for the R-Type II images.

Yet despite the horrendous challenge, both games are worth playing. The enemies and stages are incredibly well-designed. R-Type's first boss is one of the most memorable in shooter history, while level three tasks the player with nothing but flying around a huge, multi-screen ship and destroying its core. Any ship that big has it coming, if you ask me. R-Type II's bosses may have just a tad less personality than the first game's, but the game benefits from a brief intro sequence and slight graphical upgrade. The water effects in the second level are still better than many newer 2D games'. While the art direction can't be beat, neither game's backgrounds ever have more than a single layer of parallax scrolling. The developers at Irem should have played Gaiares before making these games, even if it wasn't out yet. The music is superior to most modern shooters' generic offerings, but fails to match the standards set by the Gradius, Raiden, or Darius series.

Gee, the waterfalls push you down too?

R-Types' copious bonus features differentiate it from other shooting games. The grainy FMV introduction is rather sedate, even without taking its too-quiet English narration into account. An FMV preview of R-Type Delta (the PSOne sequel) proves much more engaging. The R's Library gallery contains fully-rotatable 3D models and Japanese text for literally every ship and enemy in the game, as well as models from other R-Type games. Finally, options can be individually tweaked and saved for each game. That way you can play one in stereo and the other in mono, as god probably intended. Oh, and Circle is the confirm button here, a decision clearly intended to insult Irem's longtime rival Konami.

This part will kill you over and over again... If you actually make it that far.

R-Types is an easy recommendation for fans of the series. It certainly packs more bang for your buck than the Wii's Virtual Console R-Type offerings. Plus playing the first two games will surely help flesh out the new R-Type Command strategy game. Yes, R-Type I and II are both designed to steal quarters from arcade-goers wholesale. But they are also reminders of a time when shooters actually had interesting levels and personality. If things get too tough, you can just put in the invincibility code and catch your breath. I just found out this game is coming to the US PSN store, so you can soon get the R's Library in English if you so desire.
But now the same games are available on Xbox 360 with enhanced graphics for $15, so think long and hard before buying the PSOne version...

Joe Redifer
04-12-2008, 06:05 AM
I never cared for R-Type 2. You can file that game in the same category as Jaws 2 where sequels that don't touch the originals are concerned.

R-Type 1 is a fantastic game, but I personally like the game better on both the TurboGrafx-16 and the Sega Master System simply because the music sounds so much better. IREM arcade games sound like ASS, and R-Type is no different. Great music, horrible sound set. The Sega Master System version has a really cool bonus round with great new music (by Compile... the programmers of the SMS version who almost always do great music). Also the Japanese PC Engine version comes on two cards, so you don't even need to purchase the final four levels since they suck ass compared to the first four (I usually just shut the game off after getting past level 4).

04-12-2008, 06:10 AM
Glad somebody agrees with me about the second half of the game! I haven't scrutinized the PCE or SMS versions; it's cool to hear they're still worthwhile.

04-12-2008, 04:49 PM
freakin love these games.

R-Type 3 on the SNES is by far my fav though, i've played through it twice in a row in one sitting, second time through is even harder.

Drunken Savior
04-12-2008, 05:08 PM
Konami has ALWAYS used the circle button for selecting options in Japan.

Yeah, apparently in America, we 'X' our boxes to select them, but in Japan 'X'ing something means NO.

Also, in Ameirca, we kinda look at the color RED as the color of STOP.

But yeah, the whole Circle for selection always takes a good 30 minutes getting used to whenever I play a Konami game.

04-19-2008, 08:08 AM
Gussun Paradise (AKA Yoyo's Puzzle Park)
Publisher: Irem
PSN Genre: Action
Filesize: 100 MB

Europe and Australia got this version.

Wouldn't it be great if Bubble Bobble was available through the PSN store? Well, it isn't, but Gussun Paradise is the next best thing. Much like Bubble Bobble, this is a two-player, single-screen action game in which players must defeat all the enemies in a stage in order to move on to the next stage. This particular game is actually a spinoff of a series called Gussun Oyoyo, which has never seen America's sandy shores.

Irem.co.jp (http://www.irem.co.jp/e/game/yoyo/) provides many of these lovely images.

The story of Gussun Paradise is told through a lengthy, skippable introduction made up of CG stills and ample Japanese text. It involves a theme park which is overtaken by a bunch of little green guys called the Yayakun. They trap all of the park's patrons, leaving only our heroes Gussun and Oyoyo to save the day. They must travel around the amusement park's map, clearing all of its attractions of minorities, I mean, villains. Each of the eight attraction is a themed set of 10 stages. Some of the attractions can be done in any order, while the first and last ones cannot. They can all be revisited after completion though. The player can choose to save in between attractions, which is nice since the game takes about three hours or so to complete.

The only good stage is a clear stage.

Gussun Paradise may look like Bubble Bobble but it plays a little differently. Gussun and Oyoyo fire blasts from noisemakers at enemies, but that only stuns the little devils. Bombs are needed to finish them off. These explosive devices appear throughout each stage, coming in two sizes, large and not large (small, some might say). After a bomb explodes, it soon respawns, so ammunition is seldom a problem. The players can grab and throw the bombs or just set them off by jumping under or on them or shooting them. As with Bomberman, our heroes are not bomb-proof, so avoiding the explosions is necessary for survival. Gussun and Oyoyo can't dilly-dally either; once a stage's timer expires, a giant bomb blows them up and they have to try it again.


Powerups range from items that increase the range of the noisemaker blasts to much more interesting floaties. The duck, snake, UFO, and robot floaties each offer a unique benefit (such as flight) as well as allowing Gussun and Oyoyo to take an extra hit before dying. The heroically-bald duo also collect tickets, which function both as a scoring mechanism and the currency for continues. Don't worry, it's hard to run out of continues.

This is from the same attraction as that Stage Clear picture.

Cooperative play adds a lot to this title. When a player loses a life, his partner must finish the stage solo. Should the partner blow it, both players restart the stage. Nobody wants that. A second player can be helpful to exterminate enemies, but there are drawbacks too. Each person has to watch out for the other's bombs. Plus Gussun and Oyoyo can bump or throw each other, which opens the doors for all kinds of mischief. The developers realized this so they created a fun little versus mode that unlocks after beating the game.

I can imagine someone getting motion sickness from this attraction.

Gussun Paradise's graphics are 3D with 2D sprites (the gameplay is two-dimensional). The whole thing utilizes a gaudy color palette, but it usually manages to look good anyway. The characters have a cheap, goofy look which is sort of endearing. Gussun and Oyoyo are so plain, but sweet. Enemies include walking soda cups wearing sunglasses, green guys in submarine-shaped armor, and three fearsome bosses. While some of the stages are generic-looking, others offer more visual and gameplay variety. The raft, Imax-like movie theater, and final airship attractions are quite interesting. Stages sometimes flip horizontally or vertically, which is disorientingly rad. The music tends to be appropriate and atmospheric but not spectacular. There are a lot of different tunes, at least. Sound effects include some bizarre voice samples.


As a huge fan of both Bubble Bobble and Bomberman, I was delighted with this game's combination of their play mechanics. It's fairly long for an arcade game, and challenging without being frustrating. Anybody who likes quirky import games will probably have fun with Gussun Paradise.

04-19-2008, 09:21 PM
Also the Japanese PC Engine version comes on two cards, so you don't even need to purchase the final four levels since they suck ass compared to the first four (I usually just shut the game off after getting past level 4).

Or you can get it all on R-Type Complete CD replete with a CD audio soundtrack and cutscenes (though it's a somewhat unusual arrangement of the tunes).

Joe Redifer
04-19-2008, 10:41 PM
I don't like R-Type Complete. The cards have better music in my opinion and you don't have to sit through those extraordinarily lame cutscenes. A shooter is not a game where I care about the ongoing struggles of the characters. Plus, it has the final 4 levels, which are mostly uninspired.

04-20-2008, 01:21 AM
That's like me with Final Fight CD. I expected the music to be much improved over the SNES and arcade games, but the remixes were very weak. I still prefer the Japanese version of Final Fight CD to all other versions though, as the additions and lack of censorship are nice.

Interestingly enough, Final Fight Streetwise has absolutely fantastic remixes of the original FF tunes in its unlockable arcade stages. It almost makes up for the main game's cutting-edge hip-hop soundtrack.