Neo Geo – Legend of Success Joe

Legend of Success Joe for the Neo Geo MVS (played on the Omega Entertainment Machine, a consolized MVS)

Note: This is an original copy of Legend of Success Joe that was played on an Omega Entertainment Machine (consolized Neo Geo MVS) through component video cables. It was connect to an HD-tv.

Genre: Beat ‘Em Up/Boxing hybrid

Players: 1

Play Time: 25-30 minutes

From young punk to World Champion – climb the ladder of success in Legend of Success Joe!

Quick History: Legend of Success Joe is based on a Japanese manga that was released in the 1970s. The game was not released in the United States, but did come out for the MVS (Neo Geo Arcade) and the AES (Neo Geo home console) in 1991 in Japan. The game does play in English if played on a U.S. region console, or if a Unibios is installed and set to the U.S. region.

Quick Story: Joe Yabuki is an up-and-coming young boxer who is looking to climb the ranks, beat his rivals, and become World Champion. Between stages, a text description advances the story and lets you know what Joe is up to and who he’s going after next.

High Score Table: Ten slots. You’ll need to get over 100,000 to make the table, which takes some practice! If you have a Neo Geo console with a Unibios installed (3.2 or higher, I believe), your high scores can be saved.

Getting on the High Score Table in Legend of Success Joe will take some practice!

Gameplay: In Legend of Success Joe, you’ll battle through tough streets, parking lots, and gyms on your way to the ring, where you’ll face off against your rivals in traditional boxing matches. There are a total of 10 ‘stages’ that are a combination of brief side-scrolling segments against multiple thugs and one-on-one boxing matches against your boxing rivals. You have three ‘health bars.’ Each time you take a punch, you lose some health, and each time a bar is depleted, you hit the mat (or ground). Get knocked down three times, and it’s Game Over. You can continue at the opponent or scene you last left off on, or choose not to continue and save your progress on a memory card.

Learning your opponents’ movements and responding appopriately are the keys to victory in Legend of Success Joe.

Control: Legend of Success Joe only utilizes the A and B buttons, and pressing them with a combination of a direction on the control stick unleashes a different punch or other boxing move. Joe can dodge back (sway), block, throw jabs, uppercuts, crosses, and body blows using these different combinations. Different opponents are susceptible to different types of attacks, so learning what their vulnerabilities are is the key to winning. A handy ‘How to Play’ screen plays before you start that shows the different types of punches and defense maneuvers.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: I had never read anything particularly good about Legend of Success Joe, so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the game as much as I ended up enjoying it. There are two primary criticisms that I’ve read about the game, and I’ve found that only one of them, after spending a lot of time actually playing the game, is truly warranted. The graphics, it’s true, are not great – but that’s in comparison to other Neo Geo games. Unto itself, not compared to anything else, I like the big, colorful boxers and backgrounds. But ultimately, yes, the graphics not quite what you expect from a Neo Geo game, and the frames of animation are somewhat clunky looking.

“The body! The body! They body!” (I can almost hear Mickey yelling at The Italian Stallion.)

The second criticism I’ve read about the game is that it has a convoluted, broken control scheme. This is false. On my first or second playthrough, I would have agreed with this assessment, but once I learned how to control Joe, I found the control scheme both intuitive, easy to master, and fun. I could easily see a person getting frustrated and giving up on the game before learning this system, but once you learn it, it’s easy to enjoy, and not as complicated as you originally thought. A lot of the game depends on learning the timing of your opponents’ moves, and reacting appropriately both with Joe’s defense moves and what type of punches work best on individual opponents. A big hint – learn the SWAY maneuver and utilize it often, as it’s key to beating many opponents.

Close-up cutscenes replay the knockout punch of your bouts.

I’m a huge fan of the Rocky movies, and this game has a very ‘Rocky’ vibe to it. You even have a manager who accompanies you throughout the game who seems reminiscent of Mickey from the movie series. If you happen to be a Rocky fan, you may get some enjoyment out of this game for that reason.

With a bit of practice, you can learn to power through the first several stages and boxers without having to continue, or even getting knocked down once. The later opponents will require a bit more patience and practice to beat. Learn your opponents’ moves, know when to dodge or how to block, know whether to counter with a body blow or an uppercut, and you’ll become a master of the game.

Legend of Success Joe has a very ‘old school’ feel to it. Practice, patience, frustration. Practice, patience, mastery, fun. If you have the temperament for this type of game, it’s quite fun. B+

Legend of Success Joe is a fun Neo Geo game that is not as bad as you’ve been told all these years.

Neo Geo – Mutation Nation

Mutation Nation for the Neo Geo (played on a consolized MVS – the Omega Entertainment Machine)

Note: This is an original copy of the Neo Geo MVS version of Mutation Nation. It was played on a Neo Geo Entertainment Machine (consolized MVS) and attached with component cables to an HD-tv.

Genre: Beat ‘Em Up

Players: 1 or 2 (co-op)

Memory Card Support? Yes, if you choose not to continue (or lose all four of your continues if you’re playing in AES mode), you can save your progress and pick up next time at the stage you left off on.

Levels: 6

Play Time: About 30 minutes

The mad scientist has nearly destroyed the city. Can you save it?

Quick History: Mutation Nation was released for the Neo Geo MVS (arcade) AES (home console) in 1992. It is one of only a handful of Beat ‘Em Ups made for the Neo Geo.

Quick Story: In Mutation Nation, you play as either one or two heroes, Johnny Hart (P1) or Ricky Jones (P2). It’s the year 20XX, and a mad scientist’s experiments have exposed the city’s residents to a virus, turning many of them into mutants bent on destroying humanity. It’s your job to pummel them into slimy globs of goop and put down the scientist!

Control: Mutation Nation uses a simple control system, with only buttons A and B being used. A punches. B jumps. A+B executes a jumping uppercut for Johnny and a jumping forearm smash for Ricky. Holding A+B and charging your power meter for a few seconds, then releasing it when the bar is full, unleashes your Super Attack, which varies depending upon which ‘power up’ you have equipped. Hitting A repeatedly when near an enemy unleashes a multi-hit combo. Also, moving in close causes your character to automatically grab an enemy, and then pressing A executes a ‘hold’ move, like a knee bash, which ends in the enemy being tossed across the screen.

Hold A + B to Power Up for a Super Attack that clears out the mutants fast!

Power Ups: Scattered in each Area (stage) are small, circular power-up icons labeled A, B, C, or D. Whichever one you pick up is the one you equip, and you can use up to three times. *Note – if you use your charge attack after running out of Power-Ups, you’ll do a separate Super Attack (example: a Windmill Punch for Ricky) that will drain a bit of your health. You can also pick up separate single orange power-ups that replenish your stock (and a bit of your energy bar) of whichever letter you have equipped. Each of the four attacks unleashes a screen clearing animation, and it’s fun to experiment to see which one you find the most effective!

Snag the Power Up icons to unleash your Super Attack! Each letter utilizes a different way to attack!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: Mutation Nation is probably the best Beat ‘Em Up game for the Neo Geo. I’ve played the rest – Ninja Combat, Sengoku, Sengoku 2, Sengoku 3, Burning Fight, Robo Army – none of them offer as much entertainment as this one (although Sengoku 2 and 3 are quite good in my opinion). Mutation Nation, to me, feels the most like the best of all Beat ‘Em Ups, Final Fight. Of course, in this game, you’re battling disgusting mutants, and that makes it stand out quite a bit from Final Fight.

Enemies that seem to be human won’t stay that way for long – they’ll show their true form soon enough!

I love the simplified, two-button control scheme in Mutation Nation. There’s not too many moves – there’s just enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the control, and the power up attacks add in variety so you can mix it up every now and then. Also, the two players aren’t carbon copies of each other, each having different animations on their moves.

The length of the game is nearly perfect – not too long, not too short. You’re able to beat it before growing tired of it, which doesn’t always happen with this genre of video games.

The characters are huge and in-your-face, and the soundtrack typically rocks, and it adds some great atmosphere to this dystopian nightmare.

All manner of mutants are coming after our heroes!

One criticism I’d have of the game, as compared to other Beat ‘Em Ups, is the lack of weapons. No knives, pipes, barrels…no weapons at all in this one. You come to expect that staple in this genre, but it’s simply absent here. Other than that, however, this is an A+ Beat ‘Em Up in terms of presentation, control, and fun. Check it out!

Mutation Nation is the best Beat ‘Em Up on the Neo Geo, and it’s right up their with some of the best Beat ‘Em Ups out there!

Super Famicom – Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budokan

Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Buduokan might be the best kept secret for the Super Famicom/SNES!

Notes: This game was played on a Retron 2 HD console, outputting through HDMI. It was connected to a 65-inch HD-tv. This will be a hybrid gameplay description and review, rather than a look at the history of this game.

Brief History: Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budokan was the third and final game released in the Zen Nippon Pro Wrestling series. It came out for the Super Famicom in 1995, and it was exclusive to Japan. ‘Budokan’ refers to the Budokan Arena, one of All-Japan’s famous venues.

Players: 1-4, both co-op and competitive

Four-Player Action at it’s finest, either in Tag-Team mode or a Fatal Fourway!

Language barrier? Not really, no. The wrestlers names are in Japanese, as are their winning quotes. Some of the menus have Japanese; however, the Start screen, difficulty, and time limit screens are in English. Plus, there is a selection screen with a set of pictures that clearly depict which mode you’re selecting.

Difficulty: Most modes have a selection from Beginner, Normal, and Hard. Once you understand the mechanics of winning grapples, it’s a cinch to win almost every grapple on Beginner.


Y punches (when in close). B kicks (when in close). X runs. L makes a pin attempt, or tags in tag-team mode. R (or down + R) taunts.

When grappling, Y (or Y plus a directional input) executes a light wrestling maneuver, like a body slam.

When grappling, B (or B plus a directional input) executes a medium wrestling maneuver, like a pile driver.

When grappling, A (or A plus a directional input) executes a strong wrestling maneuver (or your character’s finishing move), like a chokeslam or an enziguri.

When grappling, X whips the opponents into the ropes. If you stand still and they run back toward you, pressing Y, B, or A executes a wrestling move, like a back body drop or clothesline. If you run at a whipped wrestler then press Y, B, or A, you’ll execute a wrestling move, like a shoulder block or flying kick.

When a wrestler is down, pressing B or A near his head executes a stomp, knee drop, leg drop, etc. If you press A near his legs, you’ll put on a submission hold, like a one-legged Boston crab. Pressing Y near the downed wrestler’s head will pick him up.

To climb the turnbuckle with some wrestlers, pressing a direction plus Y or B will climb up, and pressing Y or B will jump off with his particular move.

To exit or enter the ring, pressing Y and the direction toward the nearest ropes enters or exits. If you execute a move near the ropes, you’ll dump your opponent outside the ring. You’ll have a slow-10 count to pile drive him on the mats or whip him into the steel railing. There are no weapons to use, unfortuantely.

Once you master the simple & intuitive grappling system, you’ll be dominating in no time!

So, how do you win? This game has a rather simple way to win grapples, once you understand it. You don’t need to press anything to start a grapple – simply press toward the opposing wrestler. You’ll lock up, and both wrestlers will step back then step forward as they initiate the lock up. As your wrestler steps down onto the ring from the lock-up position, simply press Y (weak wrestling maneuver) or Y + a directional button to win the grapple and hit your move. Once you soften him up with Y moves for a bit, you’ll be ready for B (medium) moves, and finally A (strong or finishing moves), all executed from the grapple position. If you try to execute a medium or strong move before wearing down your opponent, it USUALLY won’t work, and you’ll be countered. However, you’ll sometimes find that you CAN hit a big move at the very start of a match.

The wrestlers:

There are 16 wrestlers to choose from, all of whom were a part of the All-Japan roster at the time of the game’s release.

Giant Baba

The Patriot

The Eagle

Stan Hansen

Terry Gordy

Dr. Death Steve Williams

Dan Spivey

Johnny Ace

Danny Kroffat

Doug Furnas

Joel Deaton

Jumbo Tsuruta

Mitsuharu Misawa

Toshiaka Kawada

Akira Taue

Kenta Kobashi

Masa Fuchi

Jun Akiyama

Takao Omori

U.S. players may not be as familiar with all of the wrestlers, but these guys are incredible, and you’ll find a favorite quickly!

The modes:

The primary mode, accessible by simply pressing Start, is in essence a ‘Booking Mode.’ You schedule matches and try to put on a good show for the audience. The Budokan Arena slowly fills if your matches are good. This mode, unfortunately, has the most Japanese, and I found it to generally be the least interesting mode, at least as compared to the other selections.

By pressing Y on the main screen, you’ll pull up the ‘Options’ menu, where you can then select from six additional modes, each accompanied by a picture that generally corresponds to each selection. The options are:

World Championship – Choose your wrestler, and wrestle singles matches against the other 15 wrestlers to become the champion

Tag Team Championship – Choose your (pre-determined) tag team, and battle in eight matches to become the tag-team champs

Open League Tag Team – Wrestle a sort of ‘Round Robin’ against multiple other tag teams, who will do the same. Whoever has the most amount of wins at the end of the Round Robin are the champions

Open League Singles Division – Round Robin for a single wrestler. The wrestler with the most wins at the completion of the Open League schedule wins

Versus – One-on-one or Tag-Team vs Tag-Team for 1 or 2 players seeking to battle it out against one another

Battle Royale – A Fatal Fourway. Four wrestlers start, and elimination occurs following a pinfall or submission. Once a wrestler is eliminated, he exits the ring. Last wrestler left wins. Battles can still take place outside the ring!

*All Tag-Team matches and the Battle Royale are up to four players (with a multi-tap)

Absolutely devastating wrestling moves!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: A++ Wow. What a wrestling game! Once I figured out the (simple) grappling mechanic, I started having the time of my life with this game! While I was a big wrestling fan in my teenage years, and occasionally still check in on things today, I never knew much about All-Japan Wrestling, and I still don’t know much, although I did watch a couple of short documentaries. Boy, did I miss out on some great wrestling!

The graphics in this game are OUTSTANDING, both when this was released in 1995, and even by today’s standards, in my opinion. The suplexes, lariats, back drops, and power bombs all look fantastic. Some of them are absolutely brutal, like the brain-buster and choke slam, which is exactly what you want in a wrestling game. The sound effects of kicks, punches, chops, and slams are all extremely satisfying. What truly makes this game top-tier are these incredible looking moves. Additionally, the MUSIC in this game is phenomenal, from the opening screen through the ring entrances and into the matches themselves.

The mode selection presents a nice array of options, with the Battle Royale (Fatal Fourway) being the best of the bunch, particularly if you have four human players fighting it out for some old school fun. Easy to perform double-team moves (just be in close with another wrestler against an opponent and press a button) look awesome, too.

Two features I particularly love are the (1) lack of a health bar and (2) dramatic kick-outs at 2.5 or 2.9 seconds. The former keeps the tension of the match up, as you’ll not be quite sure when your opponent is ripe for a pin, and you’ll have to rely on his body language to let you know how weak he is. The last second kick-outs bring the crowd alive with awesome sound effects, adding drama to the matches themselves.

The ONLY knock I could give this game are (1) there are no weapons/gimmick matches, like a cage match. However, I read that this simply wasn’t the style of All-Japan at the time, hence there are no such matches. And (2), I wish there was an option for a ‘Tornado’ Tag-style match, where you and a friend could battle through as a Tag-Team against other Tag-Teams while being in the ring at the same time. While you do have the option of playing four-in-the-ring in the Battle Royale, and sure, you can form temporary alliances there, it’s not quite the same as a Tornado Tag, as in say, Saturday Night Slam Masters.

Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budoukan is quite possibly the best wrestling game I’ve ever played, old-school or otherwise. While the language barrier is NOT a major barrier to playing, I do hope someday, someone with the know-how will make an English-translated version of this masterpiece. If you love or even have ever enjoyed wrestling video games, check this one out!

Excellent options and near-perfect gameplay keep the replayability high for this one!

Sega Saturn – Kaitei Daisensou (In the Hunt)

Kaitei Daisensou for the Sega Saturn

Players: 1 or 2

Genre: Horizontal shooter (no ‘forced’ scrolling)

Stages: 6

Saving: No saving of any kind, including no saving of high scores

Game Completion Time: Approximately 40 minutes

Credits: Unlimited continues in the Japanese version, up to 5 continues in the U.S. version

Lives: Adjustable, up to 5 per credit

Difficulty: Adjustable on 4 levels – beginning with stage 4, the difficulty spikes regardless of setting

Many Saturn arcade ports save your high score. Sadly, this game isn’t one of them.

Brief History: Kaitei Daisensou (In the Hunt in the U.S.) was released by Irem in arcades in 1993. It was ported to the Sega Saturn (and Sony Playstation) in 1995. It was digitally released on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch in 2019. The creators of the game later formed Nazca Corporation, who then made Metal Slug; hence players may get a very ‘Metal Slug‘ feel from the gaming experience.

Japanese or U.S. release? Well, the Japanese version gives you unlimited continues, and the U.S. release only five…and this game is tough.

Story: The ‘Dark Anarchy Society (D.A.S.)’ has created a ‘doomsday device,’ and the Granvia submarine(s) have been deployed to foil their plans in the Antarctic Circle.

Controls: Basic 3-button setup. Button A fires torpedoes straight ahead. Button B launches an upwards projectile or downwards land mine. Button C is auto-fire, and fires all weapons simuletaneously (forwards, upwards, and downwards). Button C is the one you’ll use the most.

Items: Various power-ups can be picked up by destroying ‘helper’ subs. ‘Treasure balls’ (stars) can be picked up in increments of 1 or 10; collecting 100 gains you an extra life. Variations on your missiles and torpedoes can also be acquired, some of which are more powerful and some that have a greater ‘damage’ range when you attack enemies.

There are explosions galore, particularly in the second half of the game.

Enemies: Planes, helicopters, ships, exploding mines, missile launchers, and sometimes undersea creatures will assault you mercilessly as you seek to take down the D.A.S. Your sub can rise to the surface to launch missiles at the enemies above the water’s surface (when applicable), or you can dive to take out the submerged enemies.

Bosses: The 6 bosses in Kaitei Daisensou range from giant machines of war to bizarre creatures bent on your destruction.

The games’ bosses are the unquestioned highlight of Kaitei Daisensou – particularly the non-mech, ‘creature’ bosses.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Kaitei Daisensou is an average shooter overall, but it has several features that make it quite enjoyable nonetheless. The underwater aspect is something that is almost unique in its approach, and the enemies, bosses, and constant explosions are visually engaging. The control is good, although your sub isn’t particularly speedy, and evading enemy attacks, especially in later stages, can be frustrating. In this Sega Saturn version of the game, slowdown occurs often with so much happening on screen; I did not find this at all frustrating, and even helpful at times, but others might not care for it.

The difficulty of the game is something to consider in terms of its enjoyability. The first three stages aren’t particularly daunting, but the second half of the game puts you in numerous scenarios that make staying alive nearly impossible. This is where the Japanese version trumps the U.S. version. The Japanese version gives you unlimited continues, whereas the U.S. version only gives you 5. Even on Easy, beating the game with 5 continues or less (or even 10 or less) would take A LOT of practice.

The game has a few different endings depending on the difficulty and whether or not you play with one player or two. The difficulties, in my experience, didn’t seem too different from one another, as ‘Easy’ wasn’t much easier than ‘Madness.’

Overall, Kaitei Daisensou IS a good game, if you don’t mind the slowdown and the screen-filling onslaught of enemies on screen trying to take you out. It’s not necessarily a game that someone would want to master perhaps, but rather a good stress-relieving shooter-romp when you want to unleash some mindless aggression on the denizens of the deep.

Beat the game with a friend? Congratulations, now fight each other to the DEATH!

Virtual Boy – Red Square

Red Square for the Virtual Boy

Note 1: This game was played on a consolized Virtual Boy that outputs through an HD-retrovision component cable. It was connected to a 40-inch HDsmart-tv that has component inputs (and accepts the 240p signal).

Note 2: This consolized Virtual Boy console has a button that allows you to switch between multiple different colors (red is the default). Hence, the pictures are different colors because I pressed the buttons when I entered different environments (some colors simply look better than others in some areas, and it mixes things up a bit nicely by changing colors).

Red Square was played on a consolized Virtual Boy that was connected to an HD-tv with a pair of HD-retrovision component cables.

Note 3: This is a really different game, so forgive me if this not my best review. I’ve played through this game multiple times, and I’m trying to keep this review simple. Also, I don’t want to totally spoil this game for those who may want to play it, so I want to be careful about what I include.

Game: Red Square

Players: 1

Genre: Horror/Adventure/RPG (it’s tough to categorize this one)

Brief History: Red Square is a game that was created and developed for the Virtual Boy in just 6 weeks by only two people, Kresna and Nyrator. The game is a Yume Nikki game created for something called the 2019 Dream Diary Jam. Now, I had never heard of any of those things, I just wanted to play something that looked extraordinarily different from anything else – and this is certainly that! Thank you, game creators!!! If you want to read more about Yume Nikki, I included the wiki link.

Yume Nikki:

Nina’s room is your central hub – climb into bed to enter the chambers to the six Dream Worlds.

Story: Nina, the game’s protagonist, is on a mission to get just one thing out of life: Red Square. What is that, exactly? The game seems to use this term interchangeably with Pizza, which she is constantly on the hunt for. Is the ‘Red Square’ the box the Pizza comes in? Or is it a metaphor for something more sinister? Nina falls asleep in her bedroom, and she can enter six ‘Dream Worlds’ where she must collect four items. Do so, and she can awaken ready to fulfill her life’s mission – to pursue the Red Square.

Each Dream World is unique – four of the six contain items you must find in order to complete the game.

Control: There’s a handy ‘what buttons do what’ screen at start – up, but basically, you move Nina with the left control pad. Start pulls up your simple Menu (when in the Dream Worlds). Button A interacts with objects (you can ‘talk’ to the different items that you find, as well as a few other things in the game). Button A also is what enables you to crawl into bed, which allows you access to the Dream Worlds. Button R is your ‘action’ button. You can equip any of the four items that you find by pulling up the Menu, scrolling to the item, and pressing A. Once you’re equipped it, you can ‘use’ the item by pressing R. Using the items doesn’t actually serve any purpose, but it does provide a different animation for Nina. Button L ‘awakens’ Nina from a Dream World (returns her to her bedroom).

Scour the Desert Dream World for the bicycle.

Items: The Bicycle, 3D Glasses, Pizza Server, and Bishounen Magazine are the four objects you must seek. *Others may know what it meant, but I had no idea what ‘Bishounen’ actually meant, although I could guess from the game. It means ‘a young man of androgynous beauty, or an effeminate yet handsome man.’ The Magazine in the game seems to be a Celebrity-type magazine. You must collect the items by searching the six Dream Worlds (four are dead ends). Once you have, you return to Nina’s room, then head down to her balcony for the ending.

Does the Pizza Boy Pocket Dream World contain an item, or just a dead end?

Life Bar? Experience? NPCs? No, no, and no. While you do collect the four items and explore the small but unique Dream Worlds, you will not encounter another person, fight any bad guys, or do any of the other traditional RPG type-stuff.

Where’s the music? No music! Evidently, there wasn’t time for the developers to include it. However, I didn’t miss it at all, and I think the game almost worked better without it because of it’s extremely bizarre and eerie nature. Silence is just as effective as sound in this one.

How long does it take to beat? No time at all, once you learn the locations of the four items.

You can interact with certain objects, even the ones unrelated to your quest – the results are often humorous and bizarre.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: Wow, Red Square drew me in. There’s a warning at the beginning of the game that it includes ‘mature content’; however, I wonder about that. There is some vague innuendo, but no foul language. The ending, which I will not spoil here, and it’s events, seem to be the cause of this warning. Yet, to me, the ending was ambiguous enough to be open to interpretation. Is it a joke (I seem to recall reading elsewhere that this game is a ‘parody’ game)? Is it serious? Half-serious? Not knowing exactly what I was looking at at the end was part of the game’s enticement and intrigue. The game seems simple and lighthearted enough, and yet, disquieting. I remember playing a bizarre game called Limbo a few years ago, and this was about as close to that experience as I can recall. But overall? I loved Red Square – it is simply unsettlingly, and very slightly humorously, different. A+

Return to Nina’s balcony after collecting the four items to see the game’s ending. It’s either quite simple or brilliantly deep. Maybe both.

PC Engine Super CD-rom – Pop’n Magic

Note: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo RX that has been modified to output in component video. It was played on a 40-inch HD-tv that supports the component signal.

Genre: Single screen action platformer

Players: 1 or 2-player co-op

Brief Overview: Pop’n Magic was released for the PC Engine Super CD-rom in Japan in 1992. The game was never released in the United States. Although the animated cutscenes are spoken in Japanese, and each boss’ ‘bio’ screen is in Japanese, there is nothing to prevent the game from being easily played, even with no knowledge of Japanese.

The Evil Vampire has stolen three precious gems and brought chaos to the land!

Story: From what I can ascertain from the cutscenes and the scant bit of information I could find about this game, the two title characters, Pop (girl) and Magic (boy), are tasked with saving their land from an Evil Vampire (the guy looks a lot like Dracula, so that’s the best comparison I can make; I couldn’t find his name). The Evil Vampire stole three gems that kept order in the land, and now his minions are pillaging and destroying different areas, and it’s up to Pop and Magic to recover the gems and put a stop to the chaos he has unleashed.

Gameplay: Pop’n Magic is a single screen action-platformer. Your goal is to clear each screen/stage of all manner of the Evil Vampire’s minions. After each and every one is destroyed, you’ll move on to the next stage. There are multiple worlds to play through, including Woods, Haunted House, Ocean, and more. Each world consists of approximately 10 stages, with the final stage being a boss fight. If you lose all of your lives in the boss fight, you can continue, but you’ll start a few stages back. A full playthrough of the game takes approximately an hour and a half.

Pop and Magic can work together for greater efficiency! Bound off your teammate’s head!

Control: Button I fires your magic wand to attack enemies, and it also can be pressed and held to grab a sphere (spheres are what the enemies turn into after you zap them with your wand), and released to throw the sphere. Button II jumps. Pressing Down + Button II hops down from the platform you’re on to a lower platform. Start pauses the game and allows you to see your score. Select cycles between your two types of magic, and it also skips the animated cutscenes. Holding Up + I and then releasing it unleashes one of your two types of magic (whichever you had equipped through the Select button), assuming you have enough magic ‘stock.’

Toss the colored spheres into opposing colors and reap your rewards!

Sphere Attacks: Zapping enemies turns them into spheres. There are Yellow, Red, Blue, and Orange spheres. You can shoot the spheres a few more times with your wand to finish them off (and gain a single piece of fruit for points), or pick them up and throw them into a different colored sphere (and gain multiple pieces of fruit for points and sometimes Attack or Speed Upgrades). If you throw a colored sphere into the same color, however, both enemies will reappear, so avoid doing this.

Upgrade your attack power by grabbing wands.

Items: As you destroy enemies, particularly with the aforementioned sphere attacks, you’ll gain multiple items. Fruit, of many different varieties, are the most common. Each one is a different point value. Also included are Extra Lives, Attack Upgrades (wands – you can increase your fire power 3 times), Speed Upgrades (boots that speed up your movement AND allow you to be hit once without dying – you’ll just lose your speed), and Candy (blue or pink), which increases your magic stock.

Use your ‘Tornado’ Magic Spell to heavily damage bosses!

Magic Spells: Pop and Magic can each perform two magic spells: Tornado and Double Fire. Pressing Select cycles between the two and an icon at the top of the screen lets you know how much ‘stock’ you have of each spell. Tornado unleashes a 360 degree wave of blue orbs that immediately turns all enemies to spheres or does heavy damages to bosses, and Double Fire calls your animal friend (a small rabbit creature) to accompany you for one stage. He’ll fire a shot every time you press the attack button, essentially doubling your firing rate. He’ll leave if you die in the stage, or when you complete the stage.

The ‘Ninja Reaper’ will come for you if you take too long to clear a stage.

Time: There’s no onscreen timer; however, if you take too much time to complete a stage, “HURRY!” will appear on screen. After another ten seconds, a ‘Ninja’ will appear on screen and pursue you slowly. You can’t destroy him, and he doesn’t leave after killing you once – he’ll keep draining all your lives! So make finishing the stages before he arrives of the utmost importance.

Destroying bosses yields an obscene amount of treasure and points.

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Pop’n Magic is a really fun single-screen game. The length is a bit overlong, particularly in the absence of passwords or memory capacity saves (no progress saving exists, nor any level select passwords that I could find). The animated cutscenes, even without knowledge of the Japanese language, tell the story well enough, and look excellent. The stages themselves look fantastic, with no single screen looking the same as the one before, both in terms of platform placements and the artistic backgrounds. The music is awesome, and both Pop and Magic yell things out (in English!) like ‘POWAAHHUP!” when they grab certain items. The control is perfect, and mastering the controls and ‘sphere attacks’ is easy. The regular stages do get more difficult, and beating the game relies on accumulating Extra Lives and using your Magic Attacks at the right times. You get unlimited continues, but you’ll still need to seek out the best ways to beat the boss characters by multiple playthroughs. Overall, I found the game to check the two most important boxes for me: It looks amazing and is highly addictive.

Incredibly colorful and detailed characters and stages make Pop’n Magic a solid game.

Sega Mega Drive – Wrestle War

Wrestle War for the Sega Mega Drive

Note: This game was played on the Mega Retron HD console. It was connected via HDMI to a 65-inch HD-tv.

Note 2: The version of the game reviewed here is the Japanese release. However, this Japanese version appears to be an identical version of the game to the European release. The one and only difference I noted was the color of the main wrestler’s hair (your player, Bruce Blade) is black in the Japanese version. However, when I changed the region switch on the Mega Retron HD to NTSC-U, his hair changed to blond! This is the reason why, in the pictures I’ve added, sometimes his hair was black or sometimes blond – it depended on the region the switch was set to!

Capture and defend the SWA and SWF World Titles!

Brief History: Wrestle War was released in Japan and Europe in 1991. It is a port of an arcade game that was released in 1989. The game was never released in the U.S., and despite clearly having wrestlers ‘inspired’ by real-life wrestling icons, the game was not licensed by any wrestling promotion. The box art for the game, clearly depicting Hulk Hogan, was changed for the European release.

Gameplay: Take control of Bruce Blade, a rookie wrestler. Travel across the U.S. to the different wrestling territories and take on the best! Capture and defend the SWF and SWA World Heavyweight titles! Beat the eight different wrestlers in the game, and you are declared the Wrestle War Champion!

Spinning-heel kick from Mr. J!!
Hogan leg drop!!! Wait, he didn’t sign off on this? Check that. Titan Morgan leg drop!!!

Control: Being a port of an arcade game, the control scheme is incredibly easy. A punches. B kicks. C grapples. When in a grapple, mashing A and winning the grapple whips (sends them running) your opponent into the ropes. When they return to you, hitting A or B executes a back body drop or a drop kick. You can also run off the opposite ropes and hit them with a clothesline. When in a grapple, mashing B and winning the grapple executes a body slam. Holding Up + B executes a vertical suplex, and Holding Down + B excutes a piledriver. When you’re opponent’s energy is nearly depleted, you’ll execute a ‘super’ piledriver by holding Down + B that goes into an automatic cover and pin. You can also execute ‘back’ grapples. In order to achieve this, you must punch or kick your opponent until they’re ‘tired.’ Then press C and you’ll execute the back grapple. Win it by mashing B, and you’ll give your opponent a back suplex. If his energy is nearly depleted, you’ll execute a German suplex for an automatic pin. Lastly, when you’re opponent is on the mat, pressing B will stomp him, and pressing A near his head picks him up. Oh, you can also whip your opponent outside the ring if you’re close to the bottom of the screen. Press up to re-enter the ring before the 20 count. Press A or B to pick up and bash your opponent with the box or chair while you’re out there.

Don Dambuster with the gorilla press slam!

Choose your wrestler? Well, in 2 player vs. Unfortunately, you’re relegated to using only Bruce Blade in the single player mode. Bruce Blade is awesome, but it’s unfortunate that you can’t pick any wrestler, particularly since many of them have their own unique moves. In 2 player versus, however, the 2nd player can select any of the other wrestlers in the game.

Choose any wrestler you want to play as! If you’re Player 2 in the versus mode, that is.

Difficulty: Easy, Normal, and Hard are all available. This changes the amount of energy your opponent starts with. This is one wrestling game where winning grapples is not terribly difficult, and beating the game on Easy, although you may suffer a loss here or there, is not that tough.

Sledge Hammer with a vicious chair shot to Bruce Blade!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ I would absolutely give Wrestle War an A if you could pick any of the other wrestlers to play through the game with. But this wrestling game is short, simple, and amazingly addictive. The size of the wrestlers on screen is awesome, and hitting the small selection of moves is incredibly satisfying. This game isn’t doing anything spectacular, yet I’ve found myself coming back to it again and again because of its gameplay. I love wrestling games (see my other reviews!) and this is, although amazingly simple, one of the best I’ve ever played. Additionally, everything is completely in English!

Finish him with a German suplex!

The Top 10 SNES Games of ALL TIME!



Note: These games were played on a SupaRetronHD, an amazingly cheap HD SNES-style system that I’ve come to really like.

Admittedly, this is an absurd list.  The following is in no way meant to be taken seriously in spite of what the title so boldly proclaims.  This list is comprised of games I originally played as a kid, in addition to titles I’ve enjoyed as an adult.  These are games I’ve come back to again and again.

   I recently made a similar “Six Game SNES Challenge” video on my youtube channel. I deviated from that concept a bit and changed and expanded my collection to ten games.  The chances are surely zero that anyone reading this would completely agree with my list, or even some of it.  Then again, maybe no two lists of any individuals would be alike, making my list true, as Ben Kenobi would put it, “from a certain point of view” (mine). 

   You may notice a commonality with most of these games – simplicity.  The older I get, the more I gravitate towards simpler games, like old arcade games.  Not that I don’t enjoy a good, epic RPG every now and then – I do.  But generally, my philosophy has become, “If I want to think, read. If I don’t, play a video game.”  Not that I believe video games are incapable of making one think, mind you; more-so that I prefer video games that don’t.  As an adult with a family and a job, I prefer to spend my limited recreation time with video games that don’t require me to do the one thing I have to do in every other aspect of my life – use my brain (at least, not much). 

*This list is alphabetical, but if you’re wondering which game is the #1 game ever made for the SNES, keep reading.

   Without further adieu, here is The Top 10 Greatest SNES Games of All Time as decided by The Southern Gentleman.


Ball Bullet Gun – Perfect sprites + top notch war simulation = A Top 10 SNES All Timer!

1. Ball Bullet Gun – This Super Famicom war simulation game provides hours and hours of entertainment and engagement.  You’ll need the English translation version if you’re not fluent in Japanese. Finally beating a mission that I’ve repeatedly failed at brings a gratifying-video-game feeling that is unparalleled, at least in my experience of repeatedly failing at video game levels or missions before finally succeeding.



BS Excitbike – Motorbikes and Mario for the win!

2. BS Excitebike – The first game I ever reviewed on this website.  A pseudo-sequel to the NES’ Excitebike, this game basically just added Mario characters to that gameplay experience.  The game was originally released only in Japan for the BS Satellaview, and the game today is playable in SNES cartridge form in a slightly modified form.  High score chasing on a motorbike with Mario?  Case closed.



     The Combatribes – Bodybuilding cyborgs use creative violence to clean up the streets

3. The Combatribes – Short, satisfying Beat ‘Em Up with overlarge sprites and terrific pummeling sound effects.  The seemingly easily overlooked one-on-one fighting mode (and playing as the bosses) is a hidden gem as well. 



Final Fight – Ignore every critic who ever said, “No Guy, No Industrial Level, No Thanks,” and play this SNES masterpiece.

4. Final Fight – An original SNES release, I always preferred this to the arcade version specifically because it was a shorter experience due to the excision of one level, thus making it a Beat ‘Em Up with a perfect ‘feel’ that doesn’t overstay its welcome. 



I love Golf O.B. Club – The golf game to end all sports games

5. I love Golf O.B. Club – Another BS Satellaview release, today the game has been translated and modified to play on the SNES.  A mixture of golf/mini-golf, the perfect gameplay is addictive immediately, even if you hate real golf or never had any interest in golf games.  Better than every other sports game made for the SNES.



King of Dragons – A game so outstanding that when it was first released back in 199x, I convinced my best friend it was the one game he needed to buy with his birthday money.  A month later, it was mine with a trade of a couple of trash sports games.  I don’t feel good about it, but it happened. 

6. King of Dragons – Medieval Beat ‘Em Up with RPG elements.  Plowing through wave after wave of monsters, wizards, and armies of the dead cement this game’s appeal.  The character choices and simple control scheme only add to the tremendous experience.  



Lost Vikings 2 – Comments and jokes are beneath this game.  This game is the peerless #1 Game of All Time for the SNES.

7. Lost Vikings 2 – An argument can be made for either this game or its excellent predecessor, The Lost Vikings.  This game tops the original, however, because of its expanded playable character roster and expanded move set, and because of its darker locales.  The humor also is absolutely top notch among movies, books, television shows, youtube channels, and video games.  This game is the best game ever made for the SNES. If logically you then question, “If this game is such a solid number one, how can the ‘excellent’ predecessor, The Lost Vikings, not even be in the top 10?” my response is simply, “No more questions!”  

BONUS CONTENT: The long awaited, often debated question about which Viking is best has finally been permanently answered: Baleog the Fierce is the best.  I once heard (myself say) a rumor that the long-awaited final chapter in The Lost Vikings Trilogy was entitled The Lost Vikings III: The Betrayal of Baleog, in which, after years of under-appreciation and lack of proper respect, something subtle but permanent snaps in Baleog, and he begins to systematically pick apart his former friends, Erik, Olaf, Fang, and Scorch.  Gameplay is reportedly extraordinarily similar to the first two outings, but each area of the game ends with the ‘accidental’ death of each of Baleog’s former friends, ending with a dramatic showdown back in the original Viking village with Erik, who tearfully begs the answer to the question, “Why?!!” Yes, the perfected core gameplay is the same, but the comedy is of a much darker nature in LVIII.  So I’ve heard.



Super Mario All-Stars – Did anyone ever figure out the cheat code to play as ‘Top Hat’ Mario?

8. Super Mario All-Stars – The pinnacle of SNES platformers in terms of quality gameplay.  This remade compilation of the NES/Famicom games is perfect.  If you question, “Why not the Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World cartridge instead of this one since your choice is missing another potential great Mario game?” my response would be to defer to each game’s sticker.  Super Mario All-Stars has a sticker that makes you immediately want to pop the game in and play.  Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World…not so much.  That is a sound argument, thank you. 



Turtles in Time – The expression on Raph’s face during the spinning roundhouse perfectly sums up this game.

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV – Turtles in Time – The fourth Beat ‘Em Up on the list, the general fast pace and terrific look of this game make it a game anyone could love, even if they’d never heard of these giant humanoid turtles. 



The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang – The RPG that pushed the limits of ‘Simplicity’ further than anyone ever dreamed they could go.

10. The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang The only RPG on the list.  A Link to the Past? Secret of Mana? Final Fantasy? Terrangima?   All terrific adventure or traditional RPGs, certainly.  But none surpass the less-than-five-hour quest of Spike McFang, with a story and gameplay so brilliantly simple it outshines every other RPG on the system.  


Turbografx-16 – Cadash


Cadash for the Turbografx-16, with an arcade flyer for the original version of the game.

Note 1: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo that has been modded to play games from the U.S. region. It was also modded to output in component video. The console was connected to a 40-inch HD-tv.

Genre: Platformer/RPG hybrid

Players: 1-player or 2-player co-op

Time to beat the game: between 1 and 2 hours

Brief History: Cadash was released in arcades in 1989. It received two home ports in 1991 and 1992 – for the Turbografx-16 and Sega Genesis, respectively. Both the home ports shared numerous commonalities as well as differences with their arcade counterpart, but the core gameplay experience was the same. This review does not compare the three different versions (other websites do a good job of this), except for a bit about your Stats, but instead focuses exclusively on the TG-16 version of the game.

Story: The evil monster Baarogue has kidnapped Princess Sarasa of the Kingdom of Deerzar, and the King tasks you with her rescue and the slaying of Baarogue.

Characters: Four significantly different characters are available for selection: the Fighter, the Mage, the Priestess (the game lists her as ‘Priest’ because of spacing issues, but the manual, at one point at least, refers to her as ‘Priestess,’ which makes more sense) and the Ninja. Each of the characters has strengths and weaknesses in terms of attack and defense power, with some characters being better choices for beating the game more easily than others.


The Mage, seen here, is arguably the best choice if you want the highest level of challenge at beating Cadash for the Turbografx-16.

HP and MP: Your character has both a Hit Points life bar and Magic Points bar (the Ninja and Fighter can’t use magic, so their MP bar is darkened and serves no purpose). Each character starts with a different number of Hit Points or Magic Points. As you take damage from enemies, or cast spells, these bars decrease. If your HP empties, and you don’t have any medicinal herbs, it’s Game Over (there are no Continues in this game).

Magic: The Mage has five Attack Spells that he learns as he levels up, and the Priestess learns Healing Spells and a Super Shield spell that makes her invulnerable to all attacks for a decent length of time, thus making her the best choice for beating the game.

Gold: With every enemy you slay, a bag of gold is dropped, with the amount dependent on which enemy was slain.  Gold can be used in towns (more on this below).

Leveling Up: At the beginning of Cadash, each character begins on Level 1, and is relatively weak.  However, you can ‘level up’ your character over the course of the game by slaying enemies, with Level 20 being the max.  You don’t necessarily have to get to Level 20 to be strong enough to beat the game, but the higher you go, the more likely it is that you can complete the game.

Stats: If you wait to watch the demo play before starting a game, you can see your character’s Level 1 Stats in three categories: Strength (how powerful your attack is), Armor Class (your defensive ranking), and Agility (how fast your character moves).  These stats increase as you gain levels and purchase new weapons and armor.


All four characters are separated by their Strength, Defense, and Speed levels.

*Unfortunately, although the current level you’re at is always on display, you can never actually view your individual Stats in-game, nor see how many experience points are needed before you level up.  In the arcade version of Cadash, and the Sega Genesis version, you could view your Experience Points leading up to your next level, your Gold, your Items (medicinal herbs and antidotes) and your Stats at any time by not moving or pausing the game, respectively (a small window would open up displaying those things in those two versions).  However, for some inexplicable reason, you cannot view ANY of these things in the Turbografx-16 version (the window never pops up), with the exception of your Gold, which is viewable when you enter a shop or an Inn only.  Hence, you never actually know how close you are to leveling up, exactly how much Gold an enemy has dropped, or how many antidotes or medicinal herbs you have left (unless you manually keep a count).  You can, of course, always see your HP life bar and MP bar, but having these other things omitted from viewing in-game is an unfortunate exclusion from the TG-16 version.  

Controls: Run pauses the game. Select does nothing. Button II attacks with your main weapon (sword – Fighter, staff – Wizard, Flail – Priest, Thowing Stars – Ninja). The Fighter can swing upward if Holding Up + Button II, the Mage can do a downward thrust if Holding Down plus Button II while jumping, the Priestess can do an overhead whip if you press diagonal/upward plus Button II, and the Ninja can do a diagonal downward throw if you jump then hold down/diagonal plus Button II. If using the Wizard or Priestess, holding down Button II brings up your acquired Magic Spells. Your spells cycle every few seconds while holding the button, and releasing the button while a certain icon is displayed unleashes that particular spell. Button I jumps. You can also duck when on solid ground and climb up and down vines.


Hold Button II to cycle through your magic spells if playing as the Mage or the Priestess.

Towns: As you travel through the Kingdom of Deerzar, between deadly caverns, forests, and a castle, you’ll enter towns where you can do several things. You can buy (up to 9 each) medicinal herbs that are automatically used if your energy is depleted and antidotes that automatically take effect if you’re poisoned by a monster. You can stay in an inn to completely replenish your health and magic or resurrect your ally if in 2-player mode.  You can also stop at the Armory and purchase weapon and armor upgrades (these change the appearance of your character each time). You’ll also interact with the towns inhabitants, and must often perform some type of quest for a citizen, sometimes needing to double back to the town after obtaining an object.

Bosses: There are 5 different areas to traverse in Cadash, with a boss waiting at the end of each.  Beating the boss typically opens up the next area of the game.

The importance of Grinding: Enemies constantly respawn, making grinding easy.  It’s also necessary at the beginning of the game (and a few other times) if you don’t want the first boss to kill you immediately.  I recommend taking ten to fifteen minutes to level up your character to around Level 7 in the first area.

Elixir and Life Bells: In a couple of places in the game, you’ll find chests that contain Elixirs.  Elixirs completely refill your HP and MP if you’re killed, making them invaluable.  In one shop, also, you can buy Life Bells that extend your HP total.  Both of these items make beating the game easier.

SECRET – Playing two players with 1 controller: If you select two players without a multi-tap hooked up, you can actually control both characters with one controller after naming the characters!  This makes for a unique playing experience, as you cannot choose the same character, and each character moves at a different speed.  A truly challenging experience would be to try and beat the game while controlling two characters.  I’ve never given it an honest try, but it would certainly be an exercise in patience and skill!


Try controlling two characters at once for an added challenge!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: B+ Cadash for the Turbografx-16 is one of my favorite games for any system, but it’s not without its flaws.  Although it’s not terribly long, some type of saving system (even passwords) would have been a nice addition, and the aforementioned removal of the Stats/Experience/Gold viewing box in-game is puzzling, and while not problematic, it is at least mildly frustrating until you get used to its absence.  Using magic can also be a bit frustrating until you get used to it.  The lack of a continue system or multiple lives could be viewed as a positive or negative; I tend to side with the former, as this forces you to learn the game and grind your levels and adds to the challenge.  Despite these few flaws, however, Cadash has an amazingly addictive nature; perhaps that is because of the rarity of RPGs of this side-scrolling, platforming nature.  The four different characters add great replayablity and an added challenge once you beat the game for the first time as well. Everything is big and colorful, and if you’re looking for a short RPG, this is definitely a great choice!


PC Engine – Genji Tsushin Agedama


Genji Tsushin Agedama for the PC Engine is an outstanding game.

Note: This game was played on a PC Engine Duo that has been modded for component video.  It was played on a 40-inch HD-tv.

Brief History: Genji Tsushin Agedama was released for the PC Engine in Japan in 1991.  The game was never released in the United States for the Turbografx-16, the PC Engine counterpart.  It is based on a short-lived Japanese anime from the early 1990s.

Genre: Platformer/Run n’ Gun hybrid

Players: 1

Language Barrier? No.  Although there is Japanese in the story intro and Japanese on the gaming screen, there is nothing to prevent you from easily playing and enjoying this game.


Use a variety of Super Attacks to battle bizarre enemies in six unique, colorful stages!

Story: From what I can gather, Genji, the character you play as, is a young man who has the ability to transform into the superhero Agedama when needed.  Along with his flying robot Wapuro (who accompanies Agedama in-game when his icon is picked up), Agedama battles against the minions of an evil being whose goal is to turn humans into monsters.

Other characters: Other characters from the show appear, including Ibuki Heike, a young lady who is in love with Genji and appears once per level to replenish your health.  Additionally, Katchi (male) and Mika (female) are another young couple who show up in a later stage to harass Genji.


Health, weapon, and protective item pickups litter the game’s six stages.

Overview: Genji Tsushin Agedama is six levels long, and could generally be beaten in around 35 minutes.  The majority of the stages slowly autoscroll forward, with Genji constantly running. Exceptions to this include boss fights, which take place on stationary  screens, and half of stage 5 and all of stage 6, which allow the player to progress at their own discretion, like a standard platformer.  While advancing forward in each stage, the player fires away at a variety of enemies with blasts from his hands, or jumps or rolls to dodge enemies.

Control: Button II shoots small fireballs (holding the button then releasing fires a charged shot), Button I jumps (holding up plus Button I executes a high jump), and pressing diagonal/forward quickly rolls Agedama forward, which is used to evade, attack, or become invincible against enemy attacks (more on this below).


Rolling serves multiple purposes in Agedama – evading, becoming invincible, and attacking!

Super Attacks: As you progress through each stage, you’ll pick up icons that allow you to charge more powerful Super Attacks.  The longer you hold Button II, the more powerful your attack.  At the top of the screen are five orbs – Red, Blue, Green, Purple, and Yellow.  As you hold Button II, they become grey, and when you release the button on a particular orb, you’ll get a corresponding Super Attack, from a tornado, to genies that fly and attack enemies, to power waves, to lightning,  to a screen-filling Atomic Bomb attack!  You can use Super Attacks limitlessly.  Sometimes you’ll have to experiment with each attack, as some bosses are more susceptible to particular Super Attacks than others.

Health: You have eight hearts per life, and only one life per credit (you have credits, or continues, if you die, and you start back at the beginning of the level – no checkpoints).  Every time you take a hit, you loose a heart.  However, enemies often drop health pickups (red icons) to replenish one unit of health, and Ibuki appears once per stage (touch the green rabbit creature to see her) to fully replenish your health.

Stages and Enemies:  The six stages include a city, a river, a desert, a cave, a mountain, and the sky.  In each stage, you’ll battle wave after wave of bizarre enemies, from flying chickens, to ghosts, to anthropomorphic volcanoes.  Each stage has a mid-boss and a big boss to fight.  Most stages have a bit of platforming mixed in, which usually involves a bit of jumping across chasms.  If you fall in a pit, however, it’s not Game Over – your character simply looses a heart and is thrown back up onto a platform.


Platforming is a part of Agedama; be on the lookout for this rabbit character, where you can find Ibuki, the young lady who replenishes your health once per stage.

The importance of rolling: The roll move should be utilized in every stage, and particularly boss fights.  Your character moves twice as fast along the screen, making dodging a cinch, you become invincible to being hit while in motion, and you can attack enemies when you connect with them!

Cheat Code: On the title screen, hold Button I and Button II and press Select.  You’ll access a cheat screen in Japanese, although it’s easy to figure things out quickly.  You can adjust your character’s health (you can lower the number of hearts you get, or increase them up to ten), you can adjust your allowed Continues up to nine, or choose your stage from any of the six.  There’s also a sound test.

High Score: The game doesn’t have a ‘Top 5’ type high score screen, but you do have a running point total on the game screen, and you get points for everything you kill and big points at the end of stages.  At the end of the game, you’ll see your final total displayed, so the game can be played to see how high your score can be by the end of the game.


Having trouble beating the Stage 4 boss?  Just stand to the far left and fire Super Attacks to the right.  You’ll beat him without being touched!

The Southern Gentleman’s Opinion and Letter Grade: A+  If this game had been the pack-in game with the Turbografx-16 years ago instead of the mediocre Keith Courage in Alpha Zones, the Turbografx-16 may have had a better chance in the U.S. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but this game is amazing!  I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it is.  It’s a bit on the easy side, but even as you learn how to beat some of the more challenging later-stage bosses, you never get to the point of ‘throw the controller’ frustration – it keeps you coming back without that level of lunacy.  The colors, music, control, and moderate challenge all combine to become, in my opinion, an instant classic for the PC Engine.  I’ve played many games for the system, and Genji Tsushin Agedama is, by great lengths in my opinion, in the top ten percent.


Playing for a 1 Credit high score gives the game good replayablity.