Monday, February 1, 2010

Schbibin Man 3


It isn't often that a line of games is given until its third episode to achieve greatness. Most companies are more than happy to put an engine to sleep following a single unimpressive outing--a repeat performance typically signals certain death, usually displaying prudence on the part of the executioners. The first two Schbibin Man games hardly made marks on the world, but NCS/Masaya stuck to their guns and finally unleashed brilliance in the form of the sidescrolling torpedo Schbibin Man 3, an insanely fast-paced hack-and-slash platformer propelled by adrenaline-pumping senses of urgency and sheer madness. Dash through futuristic metropolises and penetrate enormous airships; shatter crystal monsters and annihilate faceless flame-throwing magicians. There are no level breaks here; it's just one crazy scenario after another--a "parade of insanity," as my impressed cousin Zigfriederov once called the procession.

One minute you're commandeering a mecha and blasting your way through a city, the next you're riding a strange beast in outer space as a huge red dragon pursues you.

Hop onto floating platforms and fight off circling cannons until a group of gargoyles wrecks your ride and sends you plummeting to the land of killer snowmen!

You won't ever know what to expect here. Plus, the graphics are remarkably good, the red book soundtrack is incredibly dynamic, and the cinemas are wonderfully dramatic.

Sadly, copious strength restorers and the blazing baubles our heroes unleash make Schbibin Man 3 one of the easiest 16-bit platformers available--much easier than even Shinobi III, which is usually viewed as the poster child for games with a forgivable lack of challenge. The difficulty can be boosted a notch, but the difference is hardly noticeable. It's not as if the elements necessary for a challenging experience weren't all in place; some enemies are capable of attacking you in plenty of different ways. But a simple trade-off of shots will take care of most bosses, as they never approach relentlessness with their attack strategies.

Still, Schbibin Man 3 is very memorable. Unlike, say, Chiki Chiki Boys, it's not the sort of super-easy game that you forget about a day after beating it. The events and tunes in SM3 have stuck with me; and back when I first bought it, I played through it lots of times before moving on. It's one of the PC Engine's must-own action titles, without question.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Great review for such an outstanding game. Easily one of the best action games for the system. The first two games do not campare to the wonder that is the third installment in this fun little series.

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