GAME REVIEWS

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Choaniki

~ CHOANIKI ~
NCS/Masaya
Super CD-ROM
1992

Choaniki plays more like a traditional sidescrolling shooter than does its bizarre kinsman Ai Choaniki, and it doesn't have quite as much... uh, "homoerotic" stuff. But it does feature lots of oddball enemies and strange musical tracks (most of which are really good and will inevitably get stuck in your head, watch). Said enemies have an affinity for projectile attacks, so the screen tends to fill up quickly with bullets, making this title reminiscent of another NCS/Masaya shooter, Wings of Wor (although Choaniki never gets nearly as intense as that masterpiece). Still, while I wouldn't quite call the game easy, you'll be done with it in a day or two if you're a decent player.



The trip is made up of only five levels, but there are no fewer than twenty enormous bosses patrolling those levels. These weird, wacky giants frequently flood the playfield with bullets and are definitely the highlights of the Choaniki experience.



The action that will occupy your attention outside of boss fights is satisfying but formulaic. Basically, you'll face a wave or two of small fiends whom you can wipe out with your standard shots, and then you'll encounter a larger enemy or two whom you'll probably want to use your mighty "men's beam" on. The large guys usually drop "protein" power-ups; you'll pick those up and march onwards, repeating the process, occasionally finding a bald bodybuilder to serve as an option ship. There's plenty to shoot at and dodge, but the proceedings never really stray from this basic pattern. I remember my brother Duomitri talking about another shoot 'em up and saying it was "too linear"; at the time, I thought that was a ridiculous comment to be making about a shooter, but now, having played through Choaniki, I think I understand what he meant.



Ai Choaniki has better graphics, while this one has finer play mechanics and holds the slight musical edge. I get more of a kick out of Ai, but I'm more likely to play its predecessor on any given day. They're both good (if not quite great) and worth purchasing, though Choaniki can be a bit expensive. You may want to do some deal hunting before buying it.

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