GAME REVIEWS

Friday, April 8, 2011

Daisenpuu Custom

~ DAISENPUU CUSTOM ~
Toaplan / NEC Avenue
CD-ROM
1991

Daisenpuu was a strange choice to receive the CD "upgrade" treatment, as it's an example of a game that simply is what it is. Its soundtrack was fine as performed by chip, so there was only so much that could be accomplished for the sake of the overall package via red book remixes. To make the project worthwhile, NEC would've had to stray from the original game's stubborn adherence to a tank-and-boat-stocked enemy lineup and perform major alterations on the dull stage designs. Tossing in a batch of new weapons wouldn't have hurt either. And if they were gonna go to such lengths, their efforts might as well have gone towards an entirely new game rather than a remake of something that never really had much potential anyway.


Well, they didn't quite go to the lengths I've described, and the result of this halfhearted do-over is just as mediocre as anyone who experienced the lackluster original would probably expect. We still get just one boring gun to do our damage with, and we're still opposed by a gaggle of cookie-cutter ground- and sea-based machines. There are some new/altered areas to fly over, but the "fresh" material is so generic that it's barely even noticeable except when one plays through the remake immediately after a session with the chip. And if you actually do spot the changes, you'll find that some stretches end up even duller than they once were due to certain bridges, bodies of water, and other such environmental embellishments being removed inexplicably.


The few new enemies that show up are as uninteresting design-wise as the holdovers, and they don't wield any cool weapons or utilize any well-thought-out attack strategies.


While the original game is no thriller, it at least delivers some nice tunes to carry us through its redundant doldrums of dirt. Custom's remixed numbers transform appealingly old-school fuzzy stuff into all-too-typical red book fare. However, being not very good doesn't prevent the music from blaring away in a laughably melodramatic manner. Actually, every aural element is presented in louder fashion this time, which works pretty well for the explosions but not quite as well for the now-annoying icon-grab effects.

We had an idea from the outset that the music wouldn't be much of a factor here (though it's still a shame that they screwed it up so badly), and we knew that "remaining faithful" to the original's theme and gameplay would limit the potential of the project. The least that NEC Avenue could've done, though, was provide a bit of flashy context for the in-game drabness. Unfortunately, there are no cinemas to be found here. Level breaks of the most boring kind are implemented, and the horribly unrewarding "ending" screen is identical to the original's.


As much as I've laid into Custom and its HuCard forebear, I don't consider them bad games. They're certainly "passable." But Daisenpuu should've been allowed to go its quiet humble way as a chip release instead of being shoved back out in ill-fitting CD-ROM attire. NEC Avenue demanded attention for a game that boasts not a single element worthy of shining a spotlight on. They themselves brought on the wolves, who'll never hesitate to point out the futility of this monotonous little game's unnecessary foray into the CD realm--a realm where so many superior products reside.

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