Pockets in Technicolor

Posted on Sep 29th 2011 at 09:56:25 PM by (scarper)
Posted under twinbee, shmup, game, boy, konami

Most people tend to think that all shmups are the same, but there are two possible truths: First truth, the simple concept can be conceived by developers in many different ways. It can be treated as an action game, a hair-trigger reflex game, or the complete innovation of the entire genre, like Ikaruga. Galaga and Darius Gaiden are not the same. The genre has such a versatile nature that it can be-

Second truth: I am slowly becoming a shmup snob, and will need a psychiatrist in about a year.

(Released as "Pop'n Twinbee" in Europe, and "Twinbee Da!" in Japan.)

Twinbee is a shmup series created by Konami, with installments released between the 8-bit and 32-bit console generations. Twinbee Da for the Game Boy is a sequel to the original incarnation. The series is very cartooney, enriched with color and cutesy enemies. But this version is monochromatic... Does it bring in the same feel?

Genreal gameplay is quite good, and very similar to Xevious. You shoot enemies in the air with your standard bullets, and bomb ground enemies. Twinbee quite literally throws the bombs with his fists. You obtain power-ups by collecting bells. You shoot the bells to change their pattern, and the power-up you receive is based on whatever pattern it is when you collect it. Enemy ships attack you in formations, and the bullets are shot at you based on your location. There are six total stages, and the first four are selectable from the start menu.

The excitability and cute nature of the game makes it kick all sorts of ass, and poses a worthy title for shmup fans to seek out. The difficulty starts out easy, with enough action on screen to keep you busy. The steady difficulty and varying bullet patterns keep the repetition at zero. Those who've played the home console versions will notice the lack of color, but that does not threaten enjoyability. A fun arcade game to burn time on, and a great challenge for shmup fans, as long as you can get past it's only major flaw:

The broken power-up system. Shooting bells until they turn into what you need can be a restless pain. Some bells are designed to give you certain power-ups, which can be learned and memorized in the beginning part of Stage 1. However, the speed of your ship is an upgradable power-up, and starts out way too slow. You loose your power-ups after dying, unless you collect the "angel" icon with your next life, thus regaining all your previous power-ups. But this is difficult. The bottom line is, if your ship is too slow at the second half of the game, you are then practically unable to navigate through thick hoards of bullets. Otherwise, getting tri-shots and multiple "ghosts" of yourself make you feel like a boss.

Twinbee is a good game for hardcore Game Boy collectors and shmup fans, but in terms of availability, I will redirect you to the Gradius and R-Type series. Twinbee Da! for Game Boy is rare in quantity, but goes for less than $20 whenever the Japanese version is found. There is no language barrier, since all the text (except for the title) is in English.

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Nice write up. I always wonder why Konami was stingy in the past with bringing the non-Gradius franchises here. I believe in the PSP TwinBee Collection there is a remade version of this in color. I wish they would release that and Salamander collection here. I have the Gradius collection, and may have to get around to importing the other two some day.
I am slowly becoming a shmup snob, and will need a psychiatrist in about a year.

And I will need to get another line of credit if you keep introducing me to yet another shmup that I really, really want.

You had me at Xevious.

BTW if the "broken power-up system" is anything like the one in 1943 for the NES, it'll be no big deal for me...
I love Twinbee Da! But not as much as Parodius Da!
I LOVE PARODIUS!!! I got this, Parodius, and a few other Japanese Konami GB titles in an eBay lot. The Cat-Pirate Ship is my new favorite boss in all of video games.

I suppose saying "broken" was a bit harsh. You do get some snazzy power-ups. I just didn't think that not being able to move your ship at a manageable speed after dying in the middle of the game was fair. I did beat this game though, and I did love it.
I've always wondered why Konami never marketed their cutesy shmups in America. They would have sold at least decently, I think. I guess we fend off this "I wanna blow shit up like the Terminator" essence of stereotype.

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I really love Game Boys, but more so the simplicity of owning a Game Boy Color. Although its not immediately noticeable, the GB/GBC has a LOT of fantastic portable versions of just about every franchise at the time it was commercially available. And most of the time, they had different content than their home console predecessors. Dare I mention the amazing exclusive games. The general experience of owning a Game Boy has yet to be re-created by anyone, including Nintendo.

The goal of this blog is to give those forgotten yet fantastic Game Boy games the credit they truly deserve, and to show people how amazing and genuinely fun it is to own an original Game Boy. Colors included.

I am an avid retro gamer, and used to collect for a lot of systems, but now that I plan on attending college and whatnot, money and time have become an importantish thing. So now I collect nothing but Game Boy games. I'm a film maker, and also show considerable interest in broadcast journalism (My YouTube channel reviewing GB games will happen shortly.) I am a senior high school, and plan on studying film in college. Although Game Boy Advance reviews are not contained in this blog, I do love the GBA to death. It was my childhood console, and a treasured one at that.

Here's mah Backloggery page:
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