Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strategizing with Mike: Romance of the Three Kingdoms (NES)


So you were considering taking control of China, but you just don’t know where to start. Well that’s why I’m here to help you learn the tricks and strategies you will need to master in order to vanquish your foes in Romance of the Three Kingdoms for the Nintendo Entertainment System.


I was pretty sure China wasn’t a giant desert, maybe this is the Mad Max version?

First things first, if you did not know in this game you can only play as established Rulers with established forces. If you check out the picture above that is a screenshot of the first campaign and all the colored numbers represent territories controlled by a ruler, for instance the light green is the territory controlled by Dong Zhou (Territories 18, 19, 20, 21)  and the numbers with a yellow border are Yuan Shaos (4, and 5). Assuming this is your first time playing the game I recommend the first campaign and playing and Dong Zhou as he starts with a massive standing army and fairly well developed cities. Regardless of who you pick these are the commands and stats that you must learn and master in order to succeed in this game:


Gold, Rice, and Price.

Gold: The numbers next to gold indicates that cities told gold resources

Rice:  Indicates total amount of Rice in your city.

Price: indicates how much a unit of Rice costs to buy or sell.

Gold and Rice are incredibly important especially for a front line city as it costs both of them to not only feed and army but to maintain your city. The only way to get Gold or Rice (besides selling Rice for Gold or vice versa) is by developing you city which brings us to the next set of stats. You gain Rice and Gold once a year during the Summer.

Castles, Horses, Metal, Land Value, Floods.

Castles: The total amount of Territories you control.

Horses: Amount of Horses you have to make Cavalry units (measured in hundreds [i.e. 1=100]) Horses can be bought to increase the number.

Metal: Whether or not your city has a stable supply of Metal ore in order to produce additional weaponry for your units.

Land Value: How well developed the territory's land is on a scale of 1 (which is undeveloped) to 100 (which is fully developed).

Flood: Should be read as a percentage and is the chance that the territory will be flooded at the start of the next season. Can be reduced by developing land. Flooding lowers land development and can decrease total population and other assets.

One of the most important things to do with any city is to develop it to a minimum Land Value of 50, this will give you a decent yield of both Rice and Gold. I would strongly, STRONGLY, encourage you to max out your cities development when the chance presents itself. The more you develop the lower the Flood percentage will be. Metal is generally something specific to a territory so arms will usually have to be built in territories with a stable metal supply.

Pop., Loyalty, General, Men, Free Generals.

Pop. (Population): How many people reside in a particular territory. Every January all territories gain about a 20% increase in Population.

Loyalty: How loyal the territory's citizens are towards you. This has an affect on Rice and Gold gains and on whether or not a riot may happen. This can be raised by distributing Rice to the populace.

Generals: How many Generals you have in a particular territory.

Men: How many troops you have in a particular territory.

Free Generals: The amount of wandering unaligned (potential) Generals in a territory. Sometimes you need to use the Search command in order to find Free Generals.

Increasing loyalty is a must when you first conquer a territory as the people generally will be mistrustful and this will negatively impact any kind of yields you would hope to reap from the new land. (Wo)Men eat food, so you need to make sure you have a stable amount of Gold and Rice to keep the standing army standing.


Now for the fun part, the commands, these are the actions you can take once per turn barring the “View” command in certain situations. So first let me explain what they all do and we can finally get to the fun part.

Move: Move allows you to move Generals from one place to another. Due to the fact that troops(Men) are attached to the Generals moving a General moves his entire unit to whatever territory you are sending him.

War: You declare War on a territory and initiate a battle after choosing the Generals and Supplies you want to bring.

Send: Send allows you to move Rice and Gold between territories. Depending on the unit moving he supplies it may or may not be intercepted by bandits or another force.

Recruit: Allows you to draft more soldiers, this is done in multiples of one hundred so for every one unit you draft it equals out to one hundred men. (1=100) After you recruit you have to assign the troops to Generals, the maximum amount any General can have is 20,000.

View: View allows you to look at your own Generals and city stats in detail or an opposing forces stats. Looking at your own force is more or less a free action and you can look at your cities as much as you want without having to worry about wasting a turn.

Give: Give allows you to donate Rice to the people to raise loyalty or you can give gold to a General to raise his Loyalty.

Develop: Develops does what it implies it Develops your Territory increasing Land Value and decreasing Flood percentage. You can use however much gold you want for this action but it is advised that you use a Maximum of 10 gold and always, ALWAYS use a High IQ General.

Train: Train improves the ability of the Generals in a territory and after enough training their stats will begin to improve.

Search: Helps find any hidden Free Generals in a territory.

Diplomacy: Allows you to form alliances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms_008

Or you can just stab the messenger.

Now that you understand the basic domestic commands lets move onto battle commands and the flow of a typical battle. Depending on whether or not you are invading or defending the general objective of battle will be slightly different.

If you are Invading:

If you are invading your only way of winning is is to either capture the enemy city, defeat the enemy ruler, defeat all enemy units, or force the opposing force to flee.

If you are Defending:

Defend for 30 turns, Defend until enemy runs out of food, or Defeat all enemy units.

Battle itself takes place on a hex-based map with a several different terrain types to navigate. All units have a based movement of four but that can be increased by waiting a turn, or by training a unit. Different terrain takes a different amount of movement to traverse (i.e. Water takes four movement to traverse as do mountains). Before capturing a fort or supplies you have to wait one turn before moving onto it. You can place a total of ten units when Defending or Invading with a maximum total troop count being 200,000.


Each unit has access to a host of commands which depending on the Generals ability will be effective or not.

Movement: Allows you to move however many spaces your unit allows. You can also split a unit into two separate units to either surround and enemy or to help defend a fort.

Attack: Allows you to do one of three things:

  1. Perform a regular attack on a single enemy
  2. Perform a joint attack in which all units surrounding an enemy attack at once
  3. Perform a fire attack.

Flee: Causes the unit to retreat from the battle.

Pass: Skip that units turn, you gain one movement on that units next turn. You can continuously do this until you reach the maximum movement which is fifteen.

View: Lets you check out the Generals stats.

Recon: Lets you look at the field and at the Generals in enemy units.

A rule of thumb for any battle is to try and set enemy units on fire as often as you can, generally the higher a General’s intelligence the better the success rate of the fire attack will be. If a unit is on fire they are forced to either move to another space, flee, or be destroyed on their next turn. Naturally this tactic is most effective on units sitting on forts or their army’s supplies as it forces them off it and in the case of supplies being set on fire it causes the opposing force to lose 100 Rice per unit every turn!

Romance of the Three Kingdoms_010

Some people see this while I see…


Here’s my closing advice (in assuming you gained nothing from the previous bits I gave), if you want to last long in ROTK you need to form alliances. When you are allies with a force it not only keeps them from attacking you but it allows you to focus on one front instead of multiple. It is imperative that if you want to attack a force you keep the attacking territory fully stocked with Gold and Rice so that you don’t run out of supplies in battle. If an overwhelming enemy force is attacking you a diversionary strategy is best a good example is to send a strong General with a small number of troops to lead the enemy units away from your supplies. You can do this by moving the unit close to the enemy and then having it turn around and head in the opposite direction, doing this can help waste the enemy’s time and supplies by having them fruitlessly follow your diversionary unit. Hopefully you pulled something from this and I didn’t wind up writing a million word article that was nothing more than a massive game manual.


Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Dexter’s Lab: Robot Rampage

If your reading this there is a high chance you have probably heard of the show Dexter’s Laboratory it ran four seasons from 1995 to late 2003 before being moved to Boomerang where it can still be viewed today (among other shows). Dexter’s Lab Robot Rampage is far from an original game, despite featuring many characters from the show itself it in actuality is the North American localized version Elevator Action EX. Depending on your age you may remember a game called Elevator Action as it was originally an arcade game made in 1983. Both Elevator Action EX and Robot Rampage play exactly alike, barring sprite differences the games are practically identical. Does this mean that Robot Rampage, and by osmosis Elevator Action, are bad games? Well I’ll tell you.
That friends is how you make an original game.
The point of the game is to complete four stages each with four parts in the form of four buildings with differing interiors. You complete each stage by collecting all of the documents which are hidden behind special doors which you can open. Once all the documents have been acquired your objective is to either climb to the top of the building or to head to the bottom where you will be taken to the next stage. As the games name implies you will be assaulted by robots who will follow you and try to kill you by either coming into contact with you or shooting you, you can destroy them by using your weapon on them. You start with a regular pistol but can acquire  several other weapons ranging from a machine gun to bombs which can make dealing with the plethora of constantly respawning robots much easier. Oh did I forget to mention that they constantly respawn? Well they do, so if you want to farm extra lives it’s pretty easy to do.
I’m serious.
The graphics for the game are fairly impressive for a Gameboy Color game, but that may be due to the limited amount of stuff you can actually interact with allowing for that kind of space. The soundtrack for the game isn’t all that memorable but isn’t grating enough that it makes you want to claw out your ears. The sheer simplicity of these games may be why they have been received so well over the years, you climb take some elevators up, shoot some robots, grab some documents, and get out. No matter where you look this game is very inexpensive but due to the overall simplicity of the game it’s so easy to jump in and out of it that it’s hard not to want to come back to it every once in a while. The only possible downside I could think of is that the game can be beaten in a around an hour or so, maybe less if you are really good. If you want a cheap quick game that can give you a grand old time I’d highly recommend Dexter’s Robot Rampage, and if you have access to a European Gameboy I’d also recommend Elevator Action EX.
Only if there will be a ridiculous amount of elevators.
Why is there an apartment full of Robots anyway?

Of Romancing Kingdoms and Shibusawa Erikawas

As many of you may have noticed I have an affinity for strategy games, most notably ones that have a historical basis. In enters Youichi Erikawa who along with his wife Keiko Erikawa founded Koei in 1978 as an industrial chemical company after his family dye making business filed for bankruptcy, however the company didn’t do very well and was forced to change tracks essentially. Oddly enough Youichi had been experimenting with programming at the time and eventually produced his first successful game (His first ever developed game was “Kawanakajima no Tatakai" a cassette tape game) Nobunaga no Yabō (Nobunaga’s Ambition) for the PC. The development of this game prompted Youichi and his wife to change the company to a video game development company and simultaneously Youichi decided to develop games under the penname Kou Shibusawa which is an amalgamation of the first syllable in the companies name “Kou” and the forename of Shibusawa Eiichi a Japanese industrialist who pioneered capitalism in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Oddly enough it wasn’t until recently that Youichi finally came up and began taking credit for the things he did under his penname.
Those graphics are almost photorealistic.
Youichi (now going by Kou Shibusawa) goes on to start the “Historical Simulation series” which includes such titles as Genghis Kahn, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Nobunaga’s Ambition these core series made up the backbone of early Koei and were created with the intent of "entertaining and educating" players by creating games that are as historically accurate as possible. That is to say until the year 2000 when Kou Shibusawa decided to take a stab at cinematography with the advent of the Kessen series, since then Kou has added some fanciful elements to his Historical Simulation games while still keeping to the source material as best as possible. An example of this would be the addition of a female variant of Kenshin Uesugi or the addition of the Ten Sanada Braves to the newer Nobunaga’s Ambition games, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games generally include bonus characters from other time periods like Chen Qingzhi from the Liang Dynasty or Bai Qi.
Dang gurl, baby got back!
Youichi himself is not one for interviews and even with his original position as head of Game Development he himself rarely went for talks on his games, the only notable interview with him is by IGN who spent the majority of it trying to squeeze insults into their questions to which Youichi just shrugged and game them an answer without retaliation. Almost uncharacteristically Youichi started to blog where he talks about how he feels about games and gives his personal input into the series that he has nurtured over the years, he hasn’t updated since April 24th 2012 but he discussed in both posts his hope for the Pokemon Conquest game which is slated for release in mid-June. According to the translation of his first post on the Koei Wiki (as I can’t understand a lick of Japanese) Youichi feels strongly towards making games that are capable of bridging the gap between History and Fantasy while building a great deal of interest in the characters and events themselves.
“The goal while developing this game was to make it a "simulation title that parents and kids can play together". There was a fear that simulation games might be too high a hurdle for children to handle. So the first approach we devised was to make it a "children's first simulation game" and make it as easy as possible. Things were going well until we thought to have it simultaneously appeal to the adults who played Nobunaga's Ambition. These two contrasting ideas caused several hardships in the creative process, but I think we managed to find a good balance to satisfy both sides of the coin.” (source [you can find his blog here)
Besides working on the latest Pokemon crossover Youichi is trying to expand Koei’s market by pushing the idea of Social games (MMO’s, and the like) and the idea of making Live-Action film adaptations of the Dynasty Warriors Franchise. I personally cannot wait to see where he takes these ideas and now that he is both the President and CEO of Koei Holdings and Koei Games he has the ability to implement these ideas in the future. Could Youichi Erikawa become the next Shigeru Miyamoto with his ideas?
I’m hoping it winds up being like this only about 400% more over the top and with lasers.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Digimon Battle Spirits

Oh was my post late this week? Well normally this would be the result of communists attempting to destroy the gaming industry, but unfortunately it was something far worse. Ponies. Ponies invaded my computer.
ponies as far as the eye could seee
They’re plotting something, I can just feel it.
The levels of cute were so overwhelming I had to take a break and do some manly stuff like wrestling Bears and extreme beard growing.

Way back in the far off years of 1998-1999 two shows popped up that essentially defined a majority of nerdy children in the United States, these shows were Pokémon and Digimon despite a great deal of differences between both shows many children (some even today) claimed that Digimon was a copy of Pokémon. In all actuality the Digimon series has much deeper established roots then the Pokémon series. Akiyoshi Hongo is credited as the creator of virtual pets most notably the Tamgotchi line and as the man who created Digimon. Digimon itself started as a line of virtual pets these virtual pets were created in 1997 as a series aimed at young boys. Whereas Pokémon was a result of Satoshi Tajiri’s fondness for catching small bugs and tadpoles Digimon is a result of the virtual pet craze. So children formed their respective camps and many to this day prefer one group over the other, or in some cases like a third group that popped up in the midst of this craze. However today we are not closely analyzing the the intricacies of sisters and whether or not they are similar or dissimilar, we are looking at Digimon Battle Spirit a fighting game for the Gameboy Advance.
I didn’t particularly notice a story to this game, to my knowledge the extent of the story is:
The Big Bad Millenniummon wants to destroy the Digital World. It is your job to defeat him, fight all his minions until you reach him and defeat him to save the Digital World.
The game handles this in the best possible way, you fight everything. There are seven stages in which you have to defeat a target Digimon while avoiding or defeating some random spawning enemies who will drop random items which you can throw at your opponent. The stages are generally large and as you move around the camera scrolls with you so that you cannot see the entire stage at any point in time, some may find this annoying as it limits visibility and makes it harder to catch a computer who is on the run.
Digimon Battle Spirit GBA
They better run before I Nova Flame all up in here.
In battle you aren’t trying to defeat your opponent in the rudimentary way of hitting them until they are out of HP, you are instead hitting them and trying to collect more orbs then them, at the end of the battle your orbs are counted up and whoever snagged the most wins. The fighting mechanics in Digimon Battle Spirits I almost overly simplistic with the A and B buttons controlling jumping and attacking with the triggers allowing you to vary your attacks by holding them in. There are five starting Digimon to choose from with several you can unlock later on by beating the game. Each Digimon has a unique move set and certain attributes that set them apart from the other Digimon. A good example of this is that Guilmon has weak physical attacks but moves quickly, this makes him a good comparison for Wormmon who attacks quickly but moves very slow. A random element to each stage is the appearance of the Digimon Calumon who can instantly digivolve your character to mega level for a brief period of time greatly increasing your strength and making you invincible.
Let’s be honest the Afro already hooked you on the game right? Just forget the rest of the review and go buy it already.
Digimon Battle Spirits should mostly appeal to fighting game enthusiasts looking for something different to try and even to regular fans of the Series as the game is simple enough to grasp and fairly easy enough to play that anyone can really do it. For those very reason I mentioned the game lacks much for the person looking for an intense deep fighting game like Soul Calibur or Super Street Fighter IX Hyper Turbo Limited Arcade Edition VII. The game can feel shallow at times as battles sometimes boil down to hit and run tactics and the final battle itself can for the unprepared be overwhelming. The game has some neat unlockable characters but aside from those few all they bring to the table is some new moves. The game is fairly inexpensive at most places and can provide a fun ride for a couple of playthrough and is more then worth a couple of bucks.
If I’ve learned anything from the Power Rangers jump kicks are the most efficient way of dispatching enemies.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Guardian Heroes Advance


I have some fond memories of the original Guardian Heroes as I played it way back in late 90’s over a friends house, recently with the rerelease of Guardian Heroes for the Xbox 360 I have been able to relive those great memories of a fantastic Beatem’ up’ RPG with many endings and so many paths that it would take many play-throughs to truly enjoy the game. For comparisons sake the closest game to Guardian Heroes is Golden Axe, but the similarities are entirely superficial as unlike Golden Axe Guardian Heroes has a riveting story that changes based on your actions (I’d say both are great in the fighting aspect though.) Seeing is believing I supposed so here’s some gameplay footage of the first stage:

Unlike Golden Axe or any other beatem’ up you may have noticed that the characters don’t move around a three dimensional plane with enemies coming at them from all directions, instead the characters jump through three zones (one in the foreground, one in the middle, and one in the back) this feature while at first seeming ridiculous makes perfect sense from a design standpoint as in Guardian Heroes there are stages where lots of enemies will come at you all at once and being able to quickly jump to another zone out of their range giving a moment to collect yourself before the enemies all hop over. This feature is even more helpful due to the sheer difficulty of the game as mastering hopping from one zone to the other can mean life or death at points.


Look at those generic soldiers, think their tough shit jumpin’ out of the way of my lightning.

It would be impossible for me to fully explain to you the sheer depth of the story of this game with it’s many plot twists, undead, demons, gods, murder, and vampire clowns, however I can tell you this, you can play as any character you defeat in versus mode (in the Xbox 360 version you can play online as well).


Oh yes, even bosses.

Now that you have some grasp of the basic premise of Guardian Heroes lets talk about its sequel Guardian Heroes Advance.

Guardian Heroes Advance takes things a little differently, it does away with the whole zone nonsense and allows you to move about a three dimensional plane, it also added a homing jump (a jump that automatically takes you to whatever the nearest platform is) and platforming elements to mix things up. It also did away the path choosing element of the previous game where you instead move along a linear path towards the ending of the game, luckily though there are two endings so it guarantee’s you at least two playthroughs. Not one of the things that makes up for it is how much depth they added to the combat system with the addition of a counter that can nullify damage and larger move pools for all characters.


Honestly what more could you want?

Of all the characters though the main three Enn, Ray, and who cares because they are all identical and their stats are the only major differences between them, have the largest move pools with different possible attack combos based on directional movements and how long you hold down the attack button. I personally like the addition of a ground pound attack that does area damage. Magic which in the previous game could only be executed by certain button combos (like a haduken) was a tad hard to pull off when a bunch of enemies were punching you in the face Advance fixes this problem by making it so that magic is charges and selected using the shoulder buttons making it a lot easier to pop-off magic spells when you need them.


The change was pretty shocking.

Now Guardian Heroes Advance follows the adventure of the Undead hero from the first game as he is revived by taking over the body of whichever generic main character you chose to start with. You are immediately tasked with saving the world from the Sky Kingdom as they hope to take over the world and create the “Ultimate Warrior”.


I honestly don’t know why though…

So you battle through stages fighting many enemies and eventually you wind up fighting the cast from the previous series who are apparently being controlled by the Sky Kingdom. You beat them and depending on certain conditions you get one of two endings after fighting the final boss. Now the real fun of this game comes after you have beaten it. Remember how earlier I said that in Guardian Heroes you could play as any character in versus mode? Well in Guardian Heroes Advance you can play as ANY character in both versus mode and story mode. So long after you’ve seen the ending of the games you can go back and decide to play as the best mage in the game and just spam uber-spells murdering all of the things.


The didn’t know what hit them.

I haven’t really touched on what versus mode is yet have I? Well in both games it is a feature in which up to twelve characters (be they human or CPU) can all duke it out. This means that you can either have twelve of the baddest bosses pounding on each other of just one tackling a whole bunch of the weakest enemies and utterly destroying them (or losing somehow [it happens oddly enough]). In versus mode you get to assign stats to each character based on the level cap you have chosen and they can either be preset stat distributions or you can set them however you want, this can amount to hours of amusement.


Dance my puppets, DANCE!

I found that Guardian Heroes Advance doesn’t easily appeal to many people due to the fact that a majority of the mythos of the game is lost upon a person who hasn’t played the first game. Guardian Heroes Advance is a must have for anyone who liked the first game and for anyone who is a diehard fan of Beatem’ Ups. The game has memorable characters and a decent soundtrack, the graphics are alright for a Gameboy Advance game, the controls are amazing, and you can play as any character in the game after you’ve killed them. Seriously, what isn’t there to love? To add even more incentive the game is fairly inexpensive. So why not pick a copy now? You can also grab a copy of the original game off the Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS points if you don’t have a Sega Saturn.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Monster Rancher Explorer

So while I was out with my friends this weekend past we were having a discussion on the Monster Rancher series and a friend of mine pointed out that there was a number of moderately unsuccessful Gameboy games. Naturally upon being told this I made it my immediate mission to play all of these games in order based upon how badly they were reviewed, so I hit up some of my local used game stores and found Monster Rancher Explorer for $3. Upon first glance the game seemed oddly familiar as if I had played it before, then while looking into the game I found that it is palette swapped port of another game called Solomon's Key (which apparently is one of the most copied games games if this fan site is to be believed.) Solomon's Key and Monster Rancher Explorer have differing stories and plots but both are the exact same gameplay-wise, they each contain around 60 levels with an addition 6 or so additional bonus levels and you place and remove blocks to reach keys which you use to open doors.
Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_140Solomonskeyscreenshot
Seems Legit.
So powering the game up I am greeted with a decently animated opening telling me that this game takes place before the Monster Rancher games, it also tells me that the main character has decided to climb a monster infested tower just to write his college thesis.
Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_07Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_08
I found the story to be a tad convoluted as apparently all of the worlds Monsters originated from a giant tower which you are exploring and climbing in order to find the legendary Phoenix which you apparently want to raise. Every 10 stages you are treated to a boss fight preceded by a short cut scene of a nameless elf dude who states that his favorite kind of fun is the fun that involves murder. Strewn throughout several stages are bonus stages/items which can help you though they aren’t apparent as you have to place a block in a specific spot and then remove it to reveal it. Honestly my first go through I knew nothing about these bonus stages and it wasn’t until I looked into the game that I found out about them.
Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_259Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_264
I’m sure they just want to play some baseball or something.
Like I stated earlier the game involves the placement of blocks in order to reach a key to open a door. This isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds as each stage is typically filled with monsters that can destroy your blocks by touching them, the only way to deal with them is to shoot them with fireworks (which you have to actually find before using) or make them fall by placing a block beneath them and quickly removing it. A lot of the stages require a good deal of creativity when it comes to dealing with the monsters and reaching the key, but overall nothing is to difficult and the trial and error approach works just as well as even if you lose all your lives on a stage you are allowed to continue from the stage you left off on.
Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_65Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_67
Ayup, I died on the first level. That is just how hardcore of a gamer I am.
Aside from just climbing the tower and completing the main story there is a stage editor which you can use to make your own levels that you can either play by yourself or have your friend play through a link cable connection. I couldn’t test this feature out first hand as I only had one copy of the game. The game also has a save feature so it isn’t a really long gauntlet where you have to beat it in one play through. Monster Rancher Explorer is a decent little puzzle game which can easily be picked up and dropped at a moments notice as there aren’t any advanced mechanics you have to learn to play the game and you can start back at whatever floor you last died on. For those who love plat forming puzzle games or are die hard fans of the Monster Rancher series I would highly recommend Monster Rancher Explorer as it is both inexpensive and can provide a great deal of enjoyment.
Monster Rancher Explorer (U) [C][!]_206

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Tailspin

Let it be known throughout all of the internet that I was a child of the late 90’s and I watched many an awful cartoon show, one of which was Disneys “Tailspin” which is a show in which Baloo from The Jungle Book is an airplane pilot where he clearly isn’t paid enough for the trouble he routinely deals with. Some other recurring characters were Shere Khan who is a big business dude and Louie who is… the owner of a bar? This show apparently garnered enough popularity to merit several games two of which are by Capcom for the Gameboy and NES and the others are by both Sega and NEC for the Genesis, GameGear and Turbografx-16 respectively.


This is the greatest marketing decision by Disney ever.

So my first impression of this game when I picked it up at my local gamestore for a dollar was that it would most likely be an awful game due to it being based off a television show and it being on the Gameboy which was notorious for it’s massive amount of mediocre and bad games. I spied on the cart that it was developed by Capcom which honestly gave me mixed feelings as Capcom did produce Darkwing Duck, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, and Ducktales games that were all amazing. Upon getting home I popped the game into my Super Gameboy and started it up and much to my surprise it was a port of the NES Tailspin game.


Even on the Gameboy people don’t know how to use inside voices.

Playing the game was a different story, the controls weren’t as responsive as they were on the NES but once I adjusted to them (took about 20 minutes at most) I didn’t have much of a problem. If you have not played the NES version of this game then let me explain what the point of it is:

You are Baloo the cargo pilot for “Higher for Hire” and you are being sent to deliver cargo to nondescript destinations.

Pretty simple right? Well for a game with only six levels you can bet your boots that it works just fine for the game as a premise. The game plays like a space shooter where you pilot the “Sea Duck” which can only fire one round at a time and cannot fire again until the shot either leaves the screen or connects with something (you can increase the amount of shots with upgrades later on). Shot direction is also determined by up and down movement as the plane tilts in each direction respectively when you are moving. Firing shots can be awkward at first and in my opinion is incredibly annoying but you can get used to it after a while. Aside from just shooting things you can grab up cargo crates which according to the intro are remnants of other cargo planes which have been shot down, also you can flip the plane upside down and head backwards same rules apply with all movement and shooting.

Seems legit

Seems legit. :/

Something unique to the game is the addition of bonus stages hidden in each level where you switch from playing as Baloo to playing as Kit Cloudkicker his spunky sidekick where you pop balloons while surfing on clouds. The balloons give out a decent amount of points and generally can give you the push you need for an extra life.



At the end of each stage is a boss fight, the boss fights weren’t exactly challenging but were interesting. The designs for each boss are neat and if the battles didn’t shoot by so quickly I would have liked to have seen them do more then their two or three standard attacks. Once you’ve beaten the boss you get a brief reprieve where you can buy power-ups for the plane with the money you earned by collecting cargo strewn throughout the level, this I didn’t know my first time through as I avoided many pieces of cargo and lost some easy money.

expensive engine

I swear this had best be the best engine I’ve ever invested my blood money in.

In my opinion this game is worth a look if you can’t get ahold of the NES version the animations are not nearly as nice as they are on the NES, the only reason I would recommend this game is if you want a portable version of the game or if you want to give the bonus stages a try. Tailspin for the Gameboy isn’t spectacular but for the price I paid I’d say it was more then worth it, if you can get this game for a couple of bucks I’d recommend you get it.


You can’t argue with a tagline like that.