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.



Posted on Sep 16th 2011 at 10:38:51 PM by (scarper)
Posted under dance, revolution, gb3, konami



That's right kids. Dance Dance Revolution was brought to the Game Boy Color. If that wasn't surprising enough, there are five installments. Five. Including a Disney Mix. They were only released in Japan, and exercise is not required.

Dance Dance Revolution is a rhythm game, in which players hit four buttons (with their feet) in correspondence with the rhythmically arranged arrows on screen. DDR was aimed at being a dancing simulator, but has since become an arcade legend, that one game you're weird friend has for PS2, and even an exercise tool. With the Game Boy Color version, players use a handheld dancepad that hooks onto the Game Boy. Using crazy alien mechanics, it presses down the Game Boy's buttons. It can also be played with just the D-Pad, but you'll need to use the A and B buttons to press two "arrows" at once.



The Game Boy Color is known for having a wonderful 8-bit sound chip, used by almost every chiptune artist. Dance Dance Revolution GB3 takes advantage of this, by making well known DDR songs into thumpy, melodic and pulsating MIDI scores. They actually don't sound terrible. Just think chiptune music, but with DDR!! There was not a single song that I found difficult to listen to whilst playing, except for Pink Dinosaur.

DDR GB3 has 20 songs, all of which are MIDI versions from standard DDR games, including Dream a Dream, Love Again Tonight, and Trip Machine Climax. There are three difficulties, allowing first time players to easily get the "rhythm" of the game. Harder modes give you more arrows and "eighth notes" to deal with, making it get even more fun.

Being a huge DDR fan myself, I had low expectations for DDR GB3. But this is loads of fun. I'm serious. It becomes surprisingly addicting, and fun to beat your own high scores, play higher difficulties, and show off to your friends that you have DDR on the f***ing Game Boy. A great arcade game to bring on the go and have simple mindless fun. I suggest it to fans of the series, and anyone interested in rhythm games. DDR GB3 seems to be the best installment of the Game Boy Color iterations, as it has the most songs, and appears to the most abundant on the market.

As far as affordability is concerned, I have no idea if this is rare. I only see about 3-4 copies of any DDR GB game on Ebay at a time, but they usually sell for $20, most of the time bundled with the Dance Pad attachment. I got mine for $16 with the box and dance pad. My guess is that the DDR GB series was popular in Japan, but Japanese sellers probably don't think any American would want it (except for me... ^_^)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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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:
http://backloggery.com/games.php?user=scarper&console=GBC
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