100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #18 Burning Fight

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Developer: SNK

Publisher: SNK

MVS Release Date: 20/May/1991

AES Release Date: 9/Sept/1991

Longplay Playthrough

The first game of this year’s oft delayed (yet again) 100 Days of MEGASHOCK! post is Burning Fight, the third traditional beat em up released on the Neo Geo MVS (not counting weird experimental beat em ups like The Super Spy). Burning Fight was released on May 20th, 1991, barely a year after the launch of the MVS in April 26, 1990. But despite being the third beat em up, Burning Fight is easily the one that offers the least within the MVS library so far, and is in all earnestness just unremarkable, aside from its almost blatant plagiarism of Capcom’s Final Fight.

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Kind of appropriate that Burning Fight starts next to an arcade. Also that looks like a Beast Busters cabinet.

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Not only arcade centers, but pachinko parlors too. This is certainly not New York.

The controls in Burning Fight work as such:

  • A button Attacks
  • B button jumps, wherein you can do jump attacks
  • C button is a “Middle Attack” but it really is just a long range slower kick attack. Also useful if you have a weapon equipped but don’t want to use it and want to kick instead.
  • Pressing AB does the “Hyper Attack”, a high damage attack that’s also a good “get off me” attack, but just like Final Fight (a phrase you’ll be hearing a lot) and other beat em ups, it consumes a bit of your health bar.
  • You can grab people by approaching them. It’s supposedly useful to break enemy guard but it’s finicky and does little damage.

Like Final Fight, you have 3 hard boiled tough vigilantes to play as:

  • Duke, the blonde dude who looks a lot like cody. His Hyper Attack is a Shoryuken
  • Ryu, the Japanese dude who wears an orange jump suit just like Guy, and yes his Hyper Attack is a Tatsumaki/Tornado Kick.
  • Billy, the “big guy” of the group who is surprisingly NOT that much like Haggar. His Hyper Attack is a very useful shoulder charge.
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Burgers conspicuously left on the ground next to a sewer manhole. Yummy.

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At least this Roasted Pork is on a plate

So you pick a dude, and then you immediately get into the heat of things, walking in streets and beating thugs up. Burning Fight doesn’t even bother with a short intro to set up the story, or cutscenes in between levels, not that stuff like that was ever important but still, seems like an odd but ultimately inconsequential emission.

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That’s a very nicely drawn BMW. Note the skidmarks.

 

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Watch out for Dudes in Forklifts.

Although unlike Final Fight and other beat em ups, the streets and alleys you are wrecking in Burning Fight are clearly based in Japan. From pachinko parlors to conbinis to tiny bars located in  second story buildings accessible by elevators, the setting does feel different than Final Fight’s Metro City, or the cities in Streets Of Rage, most of which look like a cliche’d up crime ridden New York City.

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In a (rare) effort to distinguish itself from Final Fight, Burning Fight has a stage ON TOP of a train…

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….where this chopper will sometimes pass by to try to gun you down. It’s a neat little scene.

And this is more obvious because one of the few novel features of Burning Fight is that every once in a while, you can actually decide to enter one of these shops as they act as optional bonus stages, where you can go in and wreck more people and stuff to get bonus items, like food from questionable sources (trash cans, clothes rack, signboards), or to get money, or even jewelry that probably doesn’t belong to the player character (but lets assume they’re just planning to retrieve them as stolen goods).

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A SUN MARKET “Conbini” (Convinience Store) that you can enter for a bonus stage. Also hi G-Mantle.

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Inside the conbini, you of course have to wreck more shit, even that copy machine.

Still, despite it’s Japanese-location, Burning Fight takes you through the usual spots found in many beat em ups: From the main streets, to an underground shopping center, which leads to a ride on the metro commuter train (and by that I mean literally ON the train), which leads to a downtown segment that leads to a construction site (with an obligatory elevator section), then to a bunch of warehouses, and then finally on a boat.

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It’s not a beat em up if it didn’t have an elevator stage. Nice music here though…

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…and at the top, you’ll fight this boss. He jumps around and slashes with his sword. Also nice music here.

Mechanically, Burning Fight is fine. It’s not the best playing beat em up but it does the job. Throws are somewhat useless though, and barely do good damage. Even Billy, the big guy of the group, doesn’t get any better throws then the other characters. If you want someone with sick throws like Haggar, you won’t find them here. Jump attacks aren’t that great either. They don’t stay out for long, so trying to jump kick the motorcycle dudes is harder than it should be. You have weapon pick-ups, and they are as handy as you’d expect: Knives, guns, long sticks, and of course bottles. They do seem to be timer based, and your guy would dispose of them even if you didn’t use them, so just spam that knife you just got.

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This Hulk-Hogan looking boss has quite an entrance

And that’s pretty much it . So the point of all of this is Burning Fight is a pretty average beat em up in all that entails. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s not terribly original, it has a few novel things. And it plays like every beat em up your ever played. Compared to the frantic Sengoku, or the somewhat bizarre Ninja Combat, Burning Fight is forgettable, and just doesn’t have enough to make it stand out of a crowd of hundreds of beat em ups released around this era on all platforms. At least it looks nice. SNK are certainly on their game with the spritework and background art.

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The last stage is set on a boat owned by….

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this dude here, the Final Boss named “Casterora”. And yes, his cane is a gun that shoots. 

This won’t be the first time SNK outright copies ideas from Capcom, but in the future, SNK will realize they need to do more than make shallow imitations of successful Capcom games. And that they need to make their games more distinct. The good news is SNK does.

Cameo Corner

Cameo Corner is the section where we look at cameos of characters from the game we just covered in other games. Of course sequels and crossovers don’t count because that is kinda obvious and doesn’t really count as a “cameo appearance” anyways.

Burning Fight never had a sequel, but Duke Edwards (I guess that’s his last name?) does make appearance in the future, mainly in various King Of Fighter games (which will be the case for A LOT of characters from random SNK-made Neo Geo titles). First, he appears in KOF 2000 as a “Another Striker”, which are characters that are not fully playable but can still be used as strikers. It’s one of the reasons why KOF2000 is such a fun KOF.

As a striker, Duke isn’t so useful. The big problem is that he is so slow. He takes ages after calling him out to reach the opponent and even then he also has to slowly charge for his attack, which is his Shoryuken “Hyper Attack”. Duke can work as a striker with some characters but KOF 2000 has other much more useful strikers. Duke also shows up in KOF 2002 and its remake, KOF 2002 Unlimited Match, in the background.

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Here is Duke, next to King, who was not playable in KOF2002 for some reason. Also Heidern is on tv btw.

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Here is Duke again, apparently manning the concession stand in the Neo Geo World theme park. Quite a career change from uh…cop? special criminal investigation force? roaming marauder? who knows.

Finally, Duke appears in KOF 94 Re-bout, the remake of KOF94 made for the 10th anniversary. The remake added quasi-redrawn sprites, but with an “HD” blurry filter that muddies things up and removes the crispiness of SNK’s original sprites. It also had not so great looking 3D backgrounds. KOF94 Re-bout ended up being a weird curiosity, and is probably not a coveted game that gets played often compared to the remakes of KOF98 and KOF2002, but I suppose it did begat those other two anyways, so maybe it should get some credit.

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If you can sway your eyes from these not so good looking sprites, you can see a tiny Duke hanging out there on the right.

Sadly (or not), none of the other characters in Burning Fight get to reappear in future SNK games. Oh well.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #16 Blue’s Journey/Raguy

Blue's Journey

On today’s long-delayed 100 Days Of MEGASHOCK! we’ll be looking at another ADK platformer, Blue’s Journey (or Raguy as it was called in Japan). Blue’s Journey is a cutsey colorful platformer that’s more in the vein of Alex Kidd or the early Wonder Boy games than a Super Mario Bros. You play as Blue, a tiny insect-man superhero (kind of like Kamen Rider). Blue must save the land of Raguy from an evil emperor who wants destroy it via pollution (this environmentally-conscious plot is a lot like Sonic, though this predates the first Sonic by a few months). Blue’s friend, Green (naturally), can join in the adventure if you play in 2-player co-op mode, which is not a common feature in platformers.

co-op

In Co-Op, one plays as Blue & the other is Green.

In Blue’s Journey, you attack using the A button. Your default weapon is a leaf which stuns enemies, allowing you to then pick them up and throw them at other enemies ala-Super Mario Bros 2. But more so, you can actually stun multiple enemies, run at them to stack them all up, and throw a huge wall made of poor creatures at your foes (which is pretty cool).

This never gets old.

Stacking enemies never gets old.

Don't fret! Blue's not dead yet as he can still move about the mud by hoping on it.

Don’t fret! Blue’s not dead yet as he can still move about the mud by hoping on it.

More importantly, the main gimmick of Blue’s Journey is that you can shrink at will using the C button to access small hidden areas. Not only that, shrinking makes Blue run faster, making him jump further, and also allows Blue to jump onto and ride enemies without stunning them (since jumping on enemies when normal sized would stun them). So for example you could shrink, jump onto a flying enemy, ride them a bit and then jump to a high hidden area that would be normally inaccessible. The catch is that while shrunken down, you cannot attack, so you become much more vulnerable. Thus, it’s imperative for the player to learns when it’s best to shrink down and when to return to their normal size to fight off threats.

Places like these are only accessable when shrunken down

Places like these are only accessible when shrunken down

But there’s more than jumping around and smacking enemies in Blue’s Journey. Every now and then, a house will appear. Inside, you can talk to residents about different subjects (in goofy broken English): They may offer you items to buy. They may ask you some really weird questions, or even offer you to warp ahead a few levels into the game for a few flowers (which are the in-game currency you collect). You may even get a few sidequests. One example is  a guy who has lost his axe and needs it to cut down a tree, which opens up a secret area with some items (turns out the axe is just one screen over to the left). Another quest is there’s a princess who is frozen solid, and you need to have gotten the torch beforehand in order to thaw the ice to save her. And I believe she should give you some power-up but I’m not sure what exactly.

One of the first houses in the game...

One of the first houses in the game…

Inside is this guy, will sell you boats made out of rather not studry material.

Inside is this guy, will sell you boats made out of rather not so sturdy material.

You can also find shops that sell you stuff like speed-boosts and whatnot, nothing too useful as the leaf weapon you start with is pretty handy as is. Or you can pick up other weapons like bombs (quite handy against bosses), or boomerangs (which are near useless). You can also upgrade the weapon if you pick it up again, even the default leaf as the fully upgraded leaf is mighty strong.

Before fighting some of the bosses, they may ask some silly questions like this...

Before fighting some of the bosses, they may ask some silly questions like this…

If you did answer "I'll go home", you get this fake ending. But then you come to your senses and get back to fighting the boss. Pretty funny.

If you did answer “I’ll go home”, you get this fake ending. But then you come to your senses and get back to fighting the boss. Pretty funny.

A playthrough will take you across a total of 4 worlds, each with 3 levels and a 4th mini-level with a boss. After beating the first world, a map screen comes up and you can choose one of 2 worlds to go to next. And that happens again once you beat the next world, so there’s really a total of 6 worlds in the game, and you need at least 2 playthroughs to see them all.

Fire level

Fire level…

And a water level. The holy trinity of platformer levels.

…and a water level.

And the levels are your usual set found in other platformer. There’s a green forest levels, volcano levels, ice levels, toy levels, industrial machinery levels etc. They all do a good job of showing that Blue and his gang are all miniscule sized, as you see him run next to giant flowers or climb large lego blocks, or run on top of huge computer chips and such.

Some web pun here

*insert some stupid web pun here that I can’t think of right now

Another platformer convention: Conveyer belts.

Another platformer convention: Conveyer belts and saw blades.

I think Blue may just take things too literally. Or he's secretly a coward.

I think Blue may just take things too literally. Or he’s secretly a coward.

Overall, I enjoyed Blue’s Journey. It’s a much more polished effort than Magician Lord, one that tried to be a little bit more inventive. It was also much easier than Magician Lord (no annoying frogs that take 8-hits). Plus I think not a lot of games do the whole shrinking mechanism, and this is somewhat thematically consistent in how tiny Blue and his friends seem to be in their world. Blue’s Journey also has some decent replay value, with all the optional worlds and the hidden areas that one may miss the first time, in addition to the odd things you’ll see if you answer the villager questions differently. It’s safe to say you won’t be seeing everything in Blue’s Journey on your first playthrough, or possibly second. Plus there’s a genuinely great sense of humor about the whole game, especially with the various dialogues you read. Also a really nice soundtrack too.

Believe it or not, this guy is the final boss. Not much too him, huh.

Believe it or not, this guy is the final boss. Not much too him, huh.

Once you beat his scrawny butt, he starts begging for forgiveness...

Once you beat his scrawny butt, he starts begging for forgiveness…

...AND I ANSWERED "NO" MUHAHAHA!!!

…AND I ANSWERED “NO”. DIE!!!! MUHAHAHA!!!!!!!

And yet, I still slightly prefer Magician Lord over it. I think it’s because of the wilder soundtrack, tougher difficulty, the and the darker artstyle (and of course GAL AGIESE). Still, this is a great effort by ADK, certainly much better than Ninja Combat at least.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #15 King Of The Monsters

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Japanese “Kaiju” Monster movies were big in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and is in a resurgence of sorts with Pacific Rim and the new Godzilla. It started with the American King Kong movie all the way back in 1933, which sort of got Japanese adaptations with Wasei Kingu Kongu and King Kong Appears in Edo. But it was the first Godzilla movie that really kicked off the genre and established Godzilla as a global icon and a long running franchise (with Gamera being one of the bigger competitors). The first Godzilla (and Gamera) movie was a more serious affair. But they soon introduced a host of other monsters for Godzilla to fight against. And the series became campier and less serious, more a reason to watch men in elaborate monster suits wrestling each other and blowing up miniature buildings.

In the far far flung future of 1996...

In the far far flung future of 1996…

 

SNK capitalized on the popularity of both Godzilla and pro wrestling with King Of The Monsters (King Of The Monsters, incidentally, being one nickname for Godzilla). It is basically a wrestling game but with giant monsters instead of wrestlers, and a whole city district instead of a ring. You pound on other monsters till their health is low enough for you to pin them down for a count of 3 (Why do monsters care if they were pinned down? Who is there counting to 3? No one knows). You can grapple and do a host of wrestling moves. You can even do an Irish whip and your opponent would run till the end of the “ring” and be whipped back, thanks to the bouncy electromagnetic force-field at the sides that act pretty much like the bouncy ropes of a wrestling ring.

Character select screen.

Character select screen.

So who are the 6 monsters? They are:-

–          Geon, the Godzilla-looking dinosaur

–          Woo, the King Kong-like giant ape

–          Poison Ghost, a smog monster type

–          Beetle Mania, a giant beetle

–          Rocky, a monster composed of large rocks (naturally)

–          Finally, Astro Guy, a Ultraman-like giant superhero guy (though I’m not sure how much of a hero he really is)

I chose to play as Beetle Mania because Beetle Mania looks the least threatening out of all the monsters. And because it’s a funny reference.

That bridge is going down.

That bridge is going down.

Once you start King Of The Monsters, you can choose either to play 1 player against the computer, 2 players versus mode, or 2 player co-op mode (fighting 2 other computer controlled monsters for exciting 2 vs 2 matches). A playthrough of the game will take you across 12 stages spread across Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kobe, and Okayama. In each stage, you’ll be fighting while getting bombarded by army Tanks and planes while also getting swarmed by tiny cars and trains. But you could pick any of these vehicles and use them as throwing weapons, which is very handy.

Wiped Clean

You can throw planes. But wow this city’s just wiped clean.

The combat in King Of The Monsters is fairly intricate. [A] punches, [B] kicks. Three hits of any would usually knockdown. Thus, it’s important to learn to run away when you need to with [C] or by double tapping  left or right (wherein you could run back and clobber them with a running attack). Or you could jump out of harm with [A]+[B] (the CPU always tends to jump out of 3 hit combos).  Holding [A]+[B] would charge up a long range projectile attack.

You always need big, beautiful Pagodas to destroy.

Gotta have big, beautiful Pagodas to destroy.

As a wrestling game, grappling forms an important part of the combat. Moving to the other monster initiates a grapple. And pressing either [A] or [B] with different directions does different character-specific wrestling moves (This FAQ lists all the command throws. Although some of the buttons are switched it seems). You can also do throw-reversals (though I’m not sure how). Doing the more damaging throws would yield a power-up item, and also a dizzied opponent open for more attacks (I usually go for a back throw in this case). Collecting the power-up item fills a bar that, once filled, will “upgrade” the player, giving them a new color, slightly faster movement,  and a bigger projectile attack.  Filling that bar again would unlock the final form. Again, they have an even slightly faster movement and an even bigger projectile attack. But most importantly, the final form unlocks a special throw, done with [A]+[B], that does a lot of damage.

Nice of the Ferris Wheel runners to keep the wheel running. Must be a great view of the match.

Nice of the Ferris Wheel runners to keep the wheel running. Must be a great view of the match.

When your opponent is down, you can pin them with [A], pick them up for a throw with [B], or do a downed attack with [C]. But you can’t mine hits by constantly throwing them over and over as there’s a set amount of times you can pick an opponent up for a throw, or else they’d just stand up straight.

Fighting all summer and winter.

Fighting all summer and winter.

But of course, you don’t need to know any of these specific commands to get through King Of The Monster. I managed to mash my way through all 12 stages. I only learned about most of these mechanics after I beat the game & tried a bit of 2 player practice.

Seems like there's something written on that building.

Seems like there’s something written on that building. “Neo Geo”? What’s a “Neo Geo”?

There are some issues with King Of The Monsters mechanics. When a player moves the character to contact the other monster for a grapple, the game randomly decides who should get the upper hand. The one with the upper-hand gets to throw, and the other character can only hope to be able to do a throw-reversal. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except that I don’t know how to do throw-reversals and seemingly, no one on the internet knows either. So when odds are against you, you just have to accept it and take the hit. This discourages from trying to grapple the other character since there’s an equal chance that you will get thrown. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Destraction?

Destraction?

There’s also the issue with lifebars. Usually with wrestling games, the lifebar serves as a measure of “how much button-mashing does a pinned player need to do to get out of a pin-down”. The less life they have, the more mashing they need to do, up to a certain limit where no conceivable level of mashing could save a player from a pin-down. Usually, that extent is reached when their lifebar is fully depleted or even a little bit beyond that . Some games have a hidden 20-or-so percent of life hidden beyond what’s displayed just to add a bit of exciting comebacks and suspense to the match. King Of The Monsters does have this “extra life” in, but it seems like there’s an extra %100, %200 of life after it’s depleted, maybe even more, especially in the later levels. This drags out matches for far too long. And with health being low, both players end up spending their time down on the ground for the latter part of a match. And you can be sure that the CPU will take every single chance it has to pin you down.

Some nice water effects here.

Some neat water effects here.

But all of this doesn’t deter from what is a really fun game with a novel idea, especially in coop or versus multiplayer. There’s inarguable appeal to playing as funny looking giant monsters body-slamming other funny looking monsters all while destroying tall buildings and getting bombarded by tiny fighter planes, all while a vaguely English-sounding guy narrates the scene and the hopelessness of it all. Yes, there were a few of “Kaiju” games before King Of The Monsters. But the few Godzilla games weren’t all that great. And I guess Midway’s Rampage has its fans. But Rampage was more “Monsters vs tiny people and buildings” rather than “Monster vs Monster” type of action. King Of The Monsters didn’t set any precedent. But still remains a fairly new idea that was well done.

More monster fighting. Kinda getting tired of these samey-looking screenshots.

More monster fighting. Kinda getting tired of these samey-looking screenshots.

The precedent that King Of The Monsters did set, however, was that it was the first of several Neo Geo games that got ported to the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive. These ports were handled by Takara, who would also work on Game Boy ports of Neo Geo titles later in the ’90s. The ports took out 2 characters, probably for memory-saving reason.  The missing characters were Woo (The King Kong lookalike, probably because he was a King Kong-lookalike and Takara didn’t want to get sued by Universal, just like how Universal Sued Nintendo) and Poison Ghost (the smog-monster, because…look at it).

I almost forgot to put a picture with Rocky. So here's Rocky.

I almost forgot to put a picture with Rocky. So here’s Rocky.

SNK did make a sequel, King Of The Monsters 2: The Next Thing (No, not “The Next BIG Thing”. Just “The Next Thing”, which is true in a sense). The sequel expanded the game to be a beat em up, with plenty of boss fights that resemble the first game’s wrestling matches thrown in. It also dropped (actually, killed off if the into is to be believed) Beetle Mania, Rocky, and Poison Ghost (again), keeping only Geon and Astro Guy intact, while Woo was turned into a robot in the spirit of Mecha-Godzilla and Mecha King Ghidorah, becoming Cyber-Woo. Cyber-Woo did join Neo Geo Battle Coliseum as a playable character (though a much smaller version). And there is a stage in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum that is an ode to King of the Monsters, depicting Cyber-Woo fighting a skeletal version of Geon.

Editor’s Note: No Screen Gallery this time because honestly, there’s not much else new to be shown in the other screenshots. It’s just more monsters wrestling. Hope you don’t mind.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #13 Ghost Pilots

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A new year is upon us, both in terms of Neo Geo releases and with 100 Days Of MEGASHOCK! itself (KOF III? What’s that? I don’t know. You must have had a fever dream or something). Ghost Pilots, our focus for today, is the first release of 1991 (MVS-wise). 1991 also marks the year the Neo Geo AES is released. So are starting strong in this brand new and important year?

Not really. But let’s not jump to conclusion.

That downed plane, how it clearly chopped down all those trees before it halted, is a neat touch.

That crashed plane in the background, how it clearly chopped down all those trees as it was skidding before it halted, is a neat touch.

Ghost Pilots is SNK’s first attempt at a vertical scrolling shooter (or flying shooter, or shooting game, or shoot-em-up, or shmup. Pick your favorite) on the Neo Geo. It goes without saying that scrolling shooters were very popular at arcades, with very deep roots in the history of the medium as a whole. It’s arguable that the genre traces back all the way past Space Invaders and into Spacewar in 1962, even if these older titles lacked “scrolling”. SNK themselves had several shooters released pre-1991, like Ozma Wars (SNK’s first game ever), Vanguard I & II, and Alpha Mission. Suffice to say; by the time Ghost Pilots was out, shooters were a well-worn genre, both within SNK’s catalog, and the industry in general. So it’ll take a lot for any shooter released to stand out from the competition.

A traveling train of tanks towed by a tributary-traversing-transport.

A traveling train of tanks towed by a tributary-traversing-transport.

Ghost Pilots doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It’s a shooter in the same vein as Capcom’s 19XX series (or 194X series. It’s debatable). You pilot realistic-looking propeller sea planes, flying in a nondescript country, fighting against planes, tanks, ships, and other military combat vehicles, so nothing wacky like the Bydo or Aliens or magically flying people.

Ya know, hovercrafts are pretty vulnerable. All you have to do is shoot their skirt and then they sink. This one, however, wasn't that easy.

Ya know, hovercrafts are pretty vulnerable. All you have to do is shoot their skirt and then they sink. This one, however, wasn’t that easy.

At the start of the game, you can choose one of the 3 “stage” to play, though really they’re more like a string of stages. And only two of the 3 are unlocked at the start. You also choose one of 3 bomb types. And again, the 3rd bomb type is inaccessible at times. And also changes based on whether you’re going into an air-to-air combat stage or an air-to-ground stage.

Stage select screen. Top one is quite ominous.

Stage select screen. Top one is quite ominous.

Bomb select screen. Right-one is a napalm-type for ground stages...

Bomb select screen. Right-one is a napalm-type for ground stages…

...and a mine-looking one, dropped by friendly planes, for air-stages.

…and a mine-looking one, dropped by friendly planes, for air-stages.

Bomb#1 on the left is a standard a big bomb. Bomb#2 in the middle is a smaller bomb you can sort of push around post-explosion. It has some interesting uses. But with Bomb#3 on the right, if it’s a ground stage, it becomes a big napalm bomb that pretty much works like bomb#1. If it’s an aerial combat stage, bomb#3 becomes, well, not a bomb at all, at least not one that your plane drops. Rather, pressing the bomb button will call up 2 friendly planes to drop bombs near you. It has a huge area of affect, bigger than all the other bomb types, but it takes a while to activate. This can be a problem since, like many other shooters, bombs can suck up enemy bullets. And having a slow-activating bomb is less useful as a defensive measure.

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But really, I shouldn’t have been so detailed in describing the minutia of Ghost Pilot’s mechanics. The problem with the game is that it’s just unremarkably run-of-the-mill. Standard looking levels, standard powerups, enemy patterns, backgrounds. It’s nothing special (but I do like the ridiculously large planes & tanks you fight as bosses). Sure, most of the Neo Geo releases by then can be considered derivative too. But they were always supported by great art direction & soundtrack (like Magician Lord) or a unique take on the genre (like Puzzled/Joy Joy Kids), or a weird, unconventional story (like Cyber-Lip). Ghost Pilots has none of these. It doesn’t even have Michael Beard doing the voice acting, or any voice acting.

This screen has some nice detail.

This screen has some nice detail. This is during the final stage.

It’s also just not that fun to play. I’m no shmup-expert, but Ghost Pilots feels like SNK dropped a plane from an older shmup into a more intense, modern one (well modern by 1991 standard). The plane feels big, with a big hitbox that is almost as big as the sprite itself. And the guns have a pretty low rate of fire. You can, however, boost your shot power by collecting powerups that make you shoot more and more bullets. And you do become very powerful when fully powered up. But it’s still a very plain type of powerup. And it’s a very plain experience throughout the rest of the game, with not many highlights or lowlights. At least I do like how stage progression in the game is almost continuous. At the end of each stage, the plane lands at a different “rest stop”. And then you continue on from that rest stop at the start of the next stage. It’s a neat touch. But there’re not a lot of those in Ghost Pilots.

The final boss is a crazy multi-screen big tank that spans...

The final boss is a crazy multi-screen big tank that spans…

...not just 2 screen...

…not just 2 screen…

...but possibly 3 or 4 screens. Big thing.

…but 3 or possibly 4 screens. Big thing.

Overall, Ghost Pilots could have been an average but interesting game. But it’s just plain average.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #9 The Super Spy

The Super Spy1

If there’s one game so far that exemplifies what I hoped to get from doing 100 Days Of MEGASHOCK, it’s The Super Spy. Across the whole Neo Geo library of games, there are games I love, games I don’t like, and then games I’m not sure what to think of because I haven’t given them their due. I might have never played them or might have just tried them out quickly, with not enough time spent on them to form a solid opinion. The Super Spy was one such game. From afar, I thought it looked like an interesting experiment that probably played awkwardly and was another case of “style over substance”. But after playing it for this post, my impression of it greatly changed to the better.

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It’s not a beat ’em up without a “GO! ->” sign. Sadly, it never appears again after this.

So far, all the games released on the Neo Geo were of already defined genres at the time. Action-platformers, sports games, racing games, side-scrolling beat ‘em ups, and mahjong games. NAM-1975 was a bit unique, but there was already a precedent with Kabal.

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Little details like that flying drool are quite impressive.

The Super Spy, however, is very different and new compared to other games released at the time, even across other consoles and arcade systems. It’s a first person shooter/brawler at a time when first person exploration was mostly relegated to turn-based dungeon crawling RPGs or maze sections in some adventure games, before Wolfenstein 3D changed all that in 1992 to introduce seamless smooth first person movement to the masses. The Super Spy is in no way a precursor to the rise of first person shooters, as it plays radically differently than your standard FPS, but it’s interesting that it at least can be described as first person shooter in the literal sense.

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The Mac-10 machine gun you get from hostages is pretty badass.

Unlike other first person games, movement is restricted in The Super Spy. You can only strafe left or right without turning. And you can occasionally walk forward or backwards when there’s a hallway going into the screen. It is awkward feeling. And it is kind of funny to imagine this super spy who can clear buildings full of multi-colored ninjas, but can only shuffle to the side and sometimes walks backwards in hallways. But at least the game is designed around that constraint.

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CIA actually. But I’m not supposed to say that. So now I have to KILL YOU! nah just kidding.

So what’s does the manual say about the story? Well, you are 28 year old super spy CIA Agent Roy Heart. You are tasked with stopping the terrorist group “Zolge King” who have already initiated their attack by blowing up an underground industrial area, killing thousands. Now they have taken over the Tadoya building, the headquarters of the major car manufacturer, and plan to blow that up too. Only you can stop them, so you immediately take a taxi to the Tadoya building and end this madness.

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Ouch! The way the sprites are drawn to perspective when getting hit almost make me wince in pain.

Naturally as a Karate Master, you can punch & kick with A & B buttons respectively. The C button changes weapons, with a knife and a gun (which does a lot of damage but has very limited ammo) in addition to your trusty fisticuffs. The controls are actually quite intricate. You can duck by pressing down to avoid attacks, slip under cameras, or even avoid gunshots. But don’t duck for too long or enemies might re-attack and hit you while ducking. Pressing A+B makes you block, though it’s useless since it’s hard to time correctly, doesn’t block all attacks, and even if you do succeed it only just halves the damage taken. Stick with ducking. Pressing A with up+left or up+right on the stick lets you do a right hook that immediately knocks an enemy down. And it works against everyone, even bosses, a very useful attack. Sometimes pressing B would randomly trigger a grab against weaker enemies. But I couldn’t decipher how to do it intentionally. It’s not too useful anyway but it does look cool.

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Hook punches are great.

The Super Spy’s level design is a bit open-ended for an arcade game. It does not have distinct stages. Well, that’s not exactly true. There’re technically 2 stages, one at the underground industrial area, and then the Tadoya building. But since the underground area stage is quite shorter, with fewer bosses, the stage feels rather more like the prologue to the Tadoya Building’s main feature presentation. And the game is about 1 and a half to 2 hours long. And you actually can get lost going around in circles sometimes.

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The knife is your best friend, in good times and bad.

In each of the two stages, you start at the ground floor and work your way up or down the building, clearing halls filled with all types of thugs (green ninjas, blue ninjas, gold ninjas, white ninjas, ninjas with machine guns, guys who throw nets at you, guys who stab you with a screw driver, and many more). You search rooms to find hostages (who might heal you or give you a hint or a machine gun or a new knife or just spout some nonsense about the terrorist attack) or items (like a map) or even bosses. And you ride lots and lots of single destination elevators. In many cases, elevators are locked and require a key or keycard (usually held by a boss).

The Midgame cutscene. I missed the “D” in “AND” when screenshotting this. Sorry.

At first I just “didn’t get how to play the game right”. Since the guns have limited ammo, and since the knife degrades when used (by rusting, weirdly), I initially stuck with using punches. The problem with punching is that you can’t “combo” on an enemy in any dependent way. No matter how fast you mash A or how well timed your punches are, the enemy always gets ample time to retaliate while you’re attacking. Imagine in Streets Of Rage or Final Fight if, while piling attacks on a measly stage-1 thug, the thug suddenly punches back because your attacks are slow to come out or don’t deliver a long enough hit-stun to  the enemy. Having encounters be a haphazard mess of random punches given and punches taken (like a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots) is what The Super Spy first felt like. The combat was unpredictable, and therefore cannot be strategized. Which meant it wasn’t fun besides the novelty factor of first person punching and getting punched.

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Duck to avoid gunfire.

That is, until I watched this 1-credit clear video by LordBBH (who also wrote this expansive, comprehensive, super-detailed piece on The Super Spy that’s definitely better than the one you’re reading right now). The correct way to play The Super Spy is to stick with the knife no matter what, rusty or not. The knife, when brand new, deals greater damage than a punch. But even when it’s fully degraded, the damage is only reduced to be about equal to that of a punch. More importantly, the knife attack comes out faster than a punch and delivers enough hitstun to the enemy to allow you time to combo another knife attack, if timed well. I don’t know if this aspect was intended by SNK or not, but I guess you can call it a mishap that MAKES the game, rather than breaks it. Using the knife does not make the game easy or simple, and you still need to use all of your evasive tools like ducking or dodging. Even if you are timing your attacks well, enemies could move off angle and out of the knife’s hitbox. In addition, the 3rd consecutive knife stab always knocks the enemy away to the wall, so you have move around to reengage with that same enemy or in many times engage with another enemy standing on the side and try to get the upper hand again. So you still need to learn how to defend yourself to avoid attacks to then counterattack. With this revelation, the game becomes much more fun & intense than before. It almost becomes like a beat ’em up made out of mini Punch-Out!! style matches. It’s quite exciting to slash a purple ninja 3 times, knock him away dead, align yourself with a differently colored ninja, duck under his kick, and then stab him till he’s dead too.

With a screwdriver?! What a jerk.

Stabbing with a screwdriver?! What a jerk.

That’s not to say The Super Spy doesn’t have any problems. For one, it throws way too many guys at you, barely giving you time to breathe. Once you clear a group, you only have a few seconds to move before the game spawns more. And it doesn’t matter how far you were able to move. The enemy spawn rate is purely time-based, unlike other standard beat ’em ups where enemies spawn based on how far you’ve moved and scrolled the screen (wherein not moving after clearing a screen would usually prompt a “GO! ->” sign to push you to move on. No such thing here). Clearing a floor can become quite the slog going thru tens and tens of thugs.

YOU POKED MY EYES!

OW! YOU POKED MY EYES!

This confounds another problem with the game you encounter frequently. Often, you’ll find locked elevators that require keys, preventing you from progressing. These keys are found in one of dozen or so rooms within a floor being held by a boss. Sometimes, you have access to a different unlocked elevator that goes to another floor, so in some cases, you have to search around two floors going in room after room, beating up ninja after ninja for however long until you find the damn key. And these floors can get a bit labyrinthine; with branching hallways and off-view hallways that are not obvious to spot (they can only be spotted when the down-arrow indicator flashes on the top-right of the screen) that can only be access by backing into them. Granted, you can usually find a map in one of these rooms showing you where you need to go. But it still is a bit of tedious slog.

Ninjas on a smoke break.

Ninjas on a smoke break.

It also doesn’t help that the scenery doesn’t change a lot. You spend about %90 of the time in hallways filled with doors, going from elevator to elevator. Sometimes there’s a plant or a soda vending machine or an exploding barrel. Sometimes there’s a glass window showing blue skies or looking onto another door-filled hallway on the other side. Probably the most interesting scene is the entrance lobby of the Tadoya building, with several Tadoya car models placed in front of the reception. But then, it’s all just hallways, doors, and elevators, with little variety.

Tadoya Building entrance. I lied, the "GO->" sign appears one last time here.

Tadoya Building entrance. I lied, the “GO->” sign appears one last time here.

The ideas presented in The Super Spy are very cool. But SNK almost hit it out of the park with the execution. Once you learn about using the knife, the game certainly becomes much more fun to play. The music is great too. But having so many enemies thrown at you at a constant pace makes it tedious after a while. The Super Spy is still a fun game even with all these problems. So I recommend it.

Sadly, The Super Spy never got a sequel. And thus never got another chance to refine its mechanics and design, which I think has a lot of potential. Some of its ideas appeared in other Neo Geo games. ADK’s Crossed Sword is a sword-based fantasy twist on The Super Spy, though it’s technically more from an over the shoulders third person view than a first person view, but it plays very similarly to The Super Spy. Crossed Swords then received a Japan-only Neo Geo CD-only sequel, Crossed Swords II.

Oh hey, it's G-Mantle, SNK's mascot sorta, in his first game appearance possibly.

Interesting tidbit: That poster is of G-Mantle, SNK’s secret mascot who appeared in several games, but this was his (or her) first.

Shortly after The Super Spy was released, id Software released Wolfenstein 3D. It standardized the first person shooter and cemented it as one of the most popular genres for PC and eventually consoles. But of course, the genre focuses more on shooting guns than melee attacks, unlike The Super Spy. First person “brawlers” were few and far between. The few I can recall with an aspect of first person brawling are Namco’s Breakdown on the original Xbox, the Zeno Clash games, the Condemned games, the Riddick games, and Mirror’s Edge. And while it’s not in first person view, God Hand’s close camera (which emphasizes 1 vs. 1 combat), in addition to God Hand’s emphasis on evasion by ducking and swaying left or right, makes it feel sort of similar to a first person “brawler” in my opinion. Or this could just be a flimsy excuse for me to mention God Hand since that game is pretty awesome.

This is certainly not the most optimistic of endings.

This is certainly not the most optimistic of endings.

Oh and veteran Baseball Stars Professional & NAM-1975 voice actor Michael Beard is back. He just says “The Super Spy” at the intro. He might be voicing some of the enemies too.

BONUS ROUND: Is Geese Howard in The Super Spy?

Well, yes. There is A person named Geese in this game, though it’s not the most obvious one.

According to the manual, this is Geese:

In the game, Geese looks like this:

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Guy’s batshit crazy.

He’s a boss you fight. After defeating him, he reveals that he has strapped bombs onto himself, and then:

Again, gif stolen from LordBBH's post: http://bbh.marpirc.net/superspy/index3.html

Again, gif stolen from LordBBH’s post: http://bbh.marpirc.net/superspy/index3.html

Strangely, you don’t even get scratched despite being with him inside a rather tiny room.

Then there’s King the final boss. He looks a lot like geese but with gray hair instead of blonde.

I should have taken another screenshot. Gun placement is obscuring.

I should have taken another screenshot. Gun placement is obscuring. Sorry.

Oh wait, that’s just the 2nd boss, who’s an impostor pretending to be King by wearing a gray wig to conceal his…blonde hair!

Then there’s the real King, sitting on a desk on the top floor of a building with his feet on the table as a final boss should do.

DOGS OF THE AMS!

Which is exactly what Geese does in the intro to Fatal Fury 3:

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Utter badassery.

King also spouts some nonsense after he’s been beaten.

At least he doesn’t fall off a building. Over and over and over and over.

So which one of these 3 is Geese Howard? The man who shares his name? The man who looks closest to Geese? Or the man who acts just like Geese? Who knows. It’s a mystery for the ages.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #8 Minasan No Okage Sama Desu – Dai Suguruko Taikai

Minnasan Coverart

It’s another Mahjong game, the second one so far.  Minasan No Okage Sama Desu – Dai Suguroku Taikai, which I guess (with a bit of Google translating and Wikipedia reading) translates to Thank God Everyone – Big Dice Game Tournament, at least from what I could gather as a non-Japanese speaker.

Meet Takaaki Ishibashi & Noritake Kinashi. Or maybe not.

So, who are these weird guys on the start screen? Well, they are Takaaki Ishibashi and Noritake Kinashi of the Japanese Comedy duo, Tunnels. These comedians have had a long career, starting off and gaining popularity in the ‘80s with their TV show The Tunnels Thanks Everyone, or Tonneruzu No Minasan No Okage Desu (without the Sama part). The show had a slight name change in the ‘90s to Minasan No Okage Deshita (Deshita = Was, Desu = is) and is still on air today. In recent years, with the advent of YouTube and other video streaming services, the show became renowned for inventing The Human Tetris game (called in the show Nokabe which means Brain Wall). The Human Tetris game has since been adapted worldwide as segments in a variety of shows, or even as a whole competitive game show.

Minasan No Okage Sama Desu was made by Monolith (No, not that Monolith. No, not this Monolith either). I couldn’t find information about them but it seems Monolith only released one more Mahjong game besides Minasan and didn’t make much else (not even on other consoles). Although they were making a fantasy-themed pinball game on the Neo Geo called Last Odyssey: Pinball Fantasia (Not to be confused with LOST Odyssey, the Xbox 360 RPG by Mistwalker). The only evidence of Last Odyssey’s existence seems to be this footage.

Eww

GAH! Stop doing that.

Now that we are past the more interesting parts of Minasan, let’s see the game itself. As with other Mahjong games, Monolith added a layer of features over the simple Mahjong game in order to make a compelling case to play this video version of Mahjong instead of just playing regular real life Mahjong. Usually, developers add a story mode (with or without adult-material) or an RPG mode, or a Manga tie-in, or, as is the case here, base it off famous celebrities.

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Well this is a wacky map. Too bad I didn’t see any of it.

In addition to that, they also based the progression around a board game. After choosing one of the Tunnels duo as your opponent, you get to play on a board game and try to move from the start position to the finish line. And in between movement, you play a Mahjong match. I never managed to win any matches since I can’t understand either Mahjong or Japanese. I can only assume that the score you win with determines the number of moves on the board.

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What kind of 5 O’Clock Shadow is that. It looks like it’s made of stone or something.

And well I can’t say much else about the game. It has recorded voice samples from the duo themselves probably. And if you wait for some time while playing your turn, your opponent does a silly animation. The music is weird & wacky, oddly remisicent of WarioWare. And that’s it. Moving on.

100 Days of MEGASHOCK! #7 Riding Hero

BoxRidingHero

Legendary video game designer Yu Suzuki launched his illustrious career with his first big hit, Hang-On, in 1985. It’s an arcade motorbike racing game that is one of the first to use SEGA’s 16-bit “Super Scaler” board. The “Super Scaler” technology allows sprites to change their sizes rapidly and smoothly. This enables the creation of faux-3D games without relying on the, at the time, very-taxing polygonal model. It was a radical change compared to the standard 2D scrolling method. SEGA, with Yu Suzuki in charge, used this technique to create other “Super Scaler” classics such as Space Harrier, Outrun, Afterburner, and more. Among them was Super Hang-On in 1987, which improved the scaling effect, had larger sprites, more intricate controls, and was generally a faster game than the original Hang-On.

The Spanish course has these bullfighting boards.

The Spanish course has these bullfighting boards.

I write this because Riding Hero is a straight copy of Hang On. The problem is not that it’s copying Hang-On (which just purely adapted the real-life activity of riding motorbikes with little added artistic material that might possibly be infringed on). It’s just that Riding Hero is not as good as Hang-On, or more appropriately, Super Hang-On, which was 3 year old by the time Riding Hero got released on arcades.

You can't get more Italian than this picture I suppose.

You can’t get more Italian than this poster I suppose.

In Riding Hero, you have three modes to play: W.G.P (World Gran Prix) mode, Story Mode, and System Link Multiplayer. Yes, Riding Hero is one of only three Neo Geo games with system link capability (the other two being League Bowling and Thrash Rally). Using a standard stereo male-to-male cable, you connect up-to-four MVS or AES systems through a port on the topside of the carts. Though with Riding Hero it only allows for two players (source).

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You can see the Grand Canyon in Arizona all the way from the Laguna Seca track in California.

In W.G.P Mode, you race across 10 international tracks against real life MotoGP racers (with slightly altered names) whom are briefly shown in the intro to this mode. The racers are: Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Wayne Rainey, Christian Sarron, Kevin Schwantz, Tadahiko Taira, and Freddie Spencer. You choose the color of your bike (I chose lime green). And then you’re off to race.

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Whoops!

You get your standard gas and brake button. You also get a turbo button. As for steering, I thought the way SNK tackled it is pretty clever and definitely portrays how a bike handles differently from a car. You essentially use the control stick to choose the leaning angle of the bike and just let go. The sharper the angle, the sharper the turn. This significantly makes it easier to do long slight turns without having to continuously tap the controller. I wish more bike racing games would copy it honestly. This is easily the best aspect of Riding Hero. Sadly, not a lot else from the game is as well designed.

Just playing with perspectives.

Just playing with perspectives.

You see, Riding Hero is pretty hard. I had to use cheats to beat W.G.P and story mode. It might have the most egregious rubber band AI ever conceived. You won’t have any problems with the lower 5 bikes, but boy, you will have so much trouble contesting with the leading 2 bikes. And it’s always the leading 2 bikes together as an inseparable pair. As soon as you pass them, you won’t last seconds without them coming back and passing by you (or even THROUGH you). Unless you have stocked up a lot of turbo boosts, you can’t escape them. And to add insult to injury, they slow down once they are in the lead, and then you pass them, and then they speed up and pass you. And this stupid cycle of attrition continues on and on. Winning a race is a 50/50 shot basically dependent on which part of this cycle does the finish line lie on. And all of is at the best of times, after overcoming other obstacles like the narrow roads that make it hard to avoid other bikers. Or the fact that crashing always puts you back at last place. Or that it lacks a map. All these problems complement each and make this whole thing not fun.

OH NO! I'm in a burger.

OH NO! I’m in a burger.

The best strategy to follow seems to be to hold on to the turbo boosts, race until you have entered that cycle, and just stay there trying not to crash till halfway through the 2nd lap, then boost till the finish line. If you keep on this strategy and win all 10 races, you’ll be rewarded with a rather boring ending screen.

Yeah, I totally am the champion of cheating.

I think all video games in 1990 spelled it this way.

Now that we’re done with W.G.P Mode, it’s time for Story Mode. This mode was probably made for the home market like a lot of early arcade ports (such as Super Hang-On on the Mega Drive) to extend the game-time from a few minutes to about a couple of hours. Although it is playable on the MVS version, you are only allowed a few minutes of play before the game asks you for more credits. So I used an infinite time cheat in my playthrough.

"Take A Break or Sleep" What a slacker.

“Take A Break” or “Sleep”. What a slacker. Also, HUGE TEXT!

Story mode is you’re standard rags to riches career mode found in every racing game. You start poor, only able to afford the absolute worst bike. Then you work your way up on waged street races and competitions, getting more money to afford buying better bikes or tuning up your own bike. Until you finally become good enough to enter the professional scene, where you race a couple of races and then beat the game. Sounds fine right? Well, not until you learn that SNK thought it fit to form it around a boring text-heavy adventure game filled with bad tropes of the genre (like hidden triggers that are only inexplicably activated by speaking to certain people, or the fact that you have to progress by following a specific sequence of people to talk to) . Actually, the amount of text itself might not be large. It’s just that THE FONT IS HUGE. The text box can barely hold 6 words without refreshing.

Here's the map screen.

Here’s the map screen.

You first start out at your apartment, where you can wither “Sleep” or “Take A Break”. Since this mode has a day/night cycle, you might need to skip time by sleeping to catch certain events. Once you exit the apartment, you’ll see the map of the town with a bike shop, several ridges to race on, a professional racing circuit (that’s initially inaccessible due to convenient construction), a burger shop called the greasy spoon (Why spoon? Do people eat burgers with spoons? Or are the burgers so greasy that you can scoop mounds of grease on spoons? No idea) and a hospital to supposedly heal your wounds. The weird thing is I have no idea why you would ever need to go and rest at your apartment or treat your wounds at the hospital. I thought that there might be hidden stats that are affected by the amount of sleep and medical care you do. But I don’t think I ever needed to. It seems SNK put them there because “adventure games have them”.

Since this is a street race, be careful of other road cars.

Be careful of other cars on the road as this is a street race.

As for the story itself, I don’t think it’s to anyone’s surprise to say there’s really nothing notable about it, despite the surprisingly sizable cast of characters. There’s a guy named Joe who owns the bike shop and helps you start off your career. There’s his niece, Susie, who sometimes handles the bike shop in his stead. You quickly learn about Diamond Dave, the fabled top rider in town who everyone speaks of in reverential tones. He’s the one rider you hope to challenge one day and defeat him. Dave has a cheeky friend named Davis who you have to race his bike called “Zett” to get some information. Turns out the Zett is not a bike at all but is in fact a car (a 90s Nissan 300zx, or “Zed”). There’s the “God Of Death”, a mysterious biker who races on the deadly Ridge X, which has claimed many lives. In a shocking twist, it’s revealed that the “God Of Death” is none other than Susie, who races on ridge X in the memory of her boyfriend who died racing there, or something close to that. Weirdly, she didn’t seem to care that she might have inadvertently lead more people to die while racing her. And then there’s a bunch of more replaceable bikers to challenge.

You also get to race against a car.

You also get to race against a car.

Thankfully, the blatant rubber-band AI is not present in the 1 on 1 races in story mode, so that mode is a lot easier (or maybe because I used the infinite money cheat to buy the best bike). Once you have beaten Diamond Dave, Joe contacts you to so that you can finally get your professional racing license and race on the Suzuka track in Japan, the same one in W.G.P Mode. Here, the race plays out the same as it did in W.G.P Mode, including the cheating AI and the strict 60 second timer. Once you win that race, Joe contacts you again in order to join the 8 hour team race on that same track. The two man team is composed of you and your partner, who, surprise surprise, turns out to be Diamond Dave. In this final challenge, you and your partner will take turns racing around the track for 8 minutes. When it’s time to change riders, you are forced to go to the pit area to rest and wait until your partner finish his leg of the race (time is accelerated when you’re at the pit so as not to let you get bored of waiting too long). I have to say that this is a suitably grand finale for the story mode. Once you win this you have beaten the game.

There's top dog racer, Diamond Dave.

There’s top dog racer, Diamond Dave.

So how is Riding Hero overall? It’s a barely competent bike racing game, and not much more. SNK did succeed on a basic level, with great controls and smooth and fast scrolling and scaling. But the difficulty in W.G.P Mode is just not fun and needs readjustment. And the very talky story mode can get very boring very quickly, even if it does throw a few interesting curve balls every now and then.

Also

I see that they fixed the spelling here.

Racing games did not flourish on the Neo Geo, despite the fact that both that genre and the Neo Geo were very popular in arcades. This is probably because a big part of the appeal of arcade racing games is having an elaborate cabinet that uses steering wheels (or bike handles), force feedback vibration, and other mechanical features that are not supported on the Neo Geo. So controlling a car on a normal stand-up cabinet using a joystick is simply not as exciting as using vibrating steering wheels inside a sit-down expensive cabinet equipped with racing seats. Only two more racing games were made for the Neo Geo: Thrash Rally by ADK, and Neo Drift Out by Visco.

Ending screen.

Ending screen. Really deep stuff.