Saturday, February 14, 2009


Activision/Hudson Soft - 1987 - Japan

For what's essentially a launch title, Shanghai brings the goods. It's lean, it's mean, and Shanghai lovers will find all the essentials here.

(Tune 3 is the best.)

Music is impressive chip fare, all of it very fitting and atmospheric. You have a choice of 3 different heavily Asian-inspired tunes to match tiles to. For a cart that came out in '87, the soundtrack still holds up technically well against many later titles.

Graphics are no-frills, but they get the job done and are crisp, clear, and easy to read. Unfortunately the background is a never-changing green color, but it's pretty nondescript and inoffensive.

Gameplay is classic Shanghai action. You can access the in-game menus at any time and an on-screen counter informs you of how many tiles you have left to clear. There is only one tileset in this first installment, but there are dozens of different board sequences available to conquer. There is also a "HINT" option in the in-game menu in case you get stuck, but only dirty cheaters would use that.

Victory is mine.

Somebody had the brilliant idea to create a patch that translates the in-game menus because, you know, Shanghai is extremely text-heavy. Either way, the patch is out there, and if you've got a flash cart for your Turbo there really isn't any reason NOT to download the patch and play the game with English menus.

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