Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bakushou Yoshimoto no Shinkigeki

Hudson Soft / Red
Super CD-ROM

I wasn't expecting Mario World here, but I was still surprised by the straightforwardness (to put it euphemistically) of Yoshimoto's platforming parts. The game is laden with mini-games and comedic sketches that the design team clearly put a lot of effort into, but the actual stage proceedings are about as vanilla as run-and-jump-and-bounce sequences can be. Variety in the environments is commendable, with cities, jungles, deserts, and snow lands all on the itinerary, and some levels do present moving platforms and the simple like to give off the impression that attention was indeed devoted to their construction, with one strip "even" featuring a raft ride. But it all feels very basic and unexciting.

Yoshimoto puts all its eggs in two baskets, both of which it drops. A few of its mini-games are moderately enjoyable (Wild West showdowns, snowball shoot-outs) or somewhat interesting ("totem robo" fighting), but most are dull (bamboo slicing) or all too typical (janken, whack-a-mole).

By paying so little attention to gameplay elements and presenting but a mixed bag with the mini-games, the Yoshimoto brain trust left comedy as the effort's only hope for really making a mark. Sadly, most of the "skits" fall flat.

Fans of the game likely would declare that belaboring its inadequacies would be to miss the point. For the five dollars it typically costs, Yoshimoto does provide a reasonable amount of entertainment. But when a platformer foregoes attention to action in the name of placing its focus on mini-games and comedy, the mini-games had better be as memorable as It Came from the Desert's antdroid shooting sequences, and the antics had better be as hilarious as a Viking Warlord Odin bashing. Yoshimoto doesn't come close in either respect and ends up feeling like a grand waste of time.

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