Summer is almost over here, meaning its time to put away the tropical shirts and tropical drinks, and start wearing sweaters and consuming a dangerous amount of pumpkin spice flavored items. While its bit a particularly unpleasant summer, I do not look forward to an equally unpleasant winter and the temperatures here have gotten to the point where its just comfortable enough. As a final hurrah, I decided to pick out this title.
Irem was one of the earliest arcade title manufacturers in Japan, you might know them for R-Type, In the Hunt or Moon Patrol. Over the years they were quite the bedrock of Japanese gaming, as such, I suspect that this will not be the last we've seen of them. They apparently did everything from cotton candy machines to pachinko in the very early days. Fun fact, it was founded by Kenzo Tsujimoto, the same person who founded Capcom.
To further differentiate itself from the pack, the game includes a show off mode you can switch to, where the lady skier will spin around, the boat will stop speeding up, and you can't turn. Basically just for points and to make yourself seem cool. It doesn't seem like they put any effort into that lady's face. Otherwise its your basic racing setup, speed, left and right turning.
Because of the set-up, this game feels quite bizarre in how it plays. You only get the road up to a certain distance, as its being created by the boat. As such, you can't really tell what's past the boat, it seems like every time I tried to guess it went wrong. That's not to say you can't react to them, even if you can't, the combination of being able to slow down and the generous time limit means you can probably avoid most of them, at least at this point.
|Prepare to see this a lot
The shark isn't too bad though, as most of the sections involving one has a dearth of rocks in the water, and his patterns are relatively easy to predict.
To make matters worse, it feels like the A-class stages are designed specifically so you the natural choice of the player in steering will guarantee falling into the water. Its infuriating. It feels like I should be able to slow down and spot these things, but it seems more a test of muscle memory than reaction.
|None of these screenshots really convey how difficult this game truly is
I will note that I figured out how the edges worked here, you can move into them once in a while, with no harm, but keep it down and you'll fly out.
This is all a lot different in action. Fortunately, someone else took footage of the game. I just want to note two things, he gets really lucky several times, and he eventually uses the invincibility cheat. Someone good enough to make a video on it is using a cheat. If I weren't using save states, I suspect it would have taken me a lot longer to win the game.
The purple water gives the place a slightly alien vibe, like this takes place on an alien world. But its not so obvious the game is screaming alien planet at you. I feel like if someone made a concept like a sci-fi beach game today, it would be so overwhelmingly alien it would feel on the nose. "This much greeting to you, Trixatrix, Concubine to the Seven Kings of Aior".
A shark, who was more of a boon than a foe. 1/10
We placed rocks in this order, get past them. Technically you get the same twisty curve stuff as Outrun and other racers of this time, but it hardly matters. Absolute insanity. 3/10
This is probably intentional, but the controls felt a bit too stiff. Since the game is all about water-skiing, its probably trying to emulate a slightly awkward way of moving around. 3/10
I liked the way the game depicted its tropical setting, but I just wish there was more of it. More islands, some tropical music, maybe even some seagulls. 4/10
I have some minor difficulty figuring out where rocks are going to appear in front of me, but otherwise, I think the game looks great. 4/10
The game offers two modes, music and sound mode. The music is your typical happy NES tune, while the sound is okay. Just about what you'd expect from this kind of sound chip. 2/10
This seems like quite an extreme contrast. So many zeroes and yet quite a few aspects I liked. Thus its somehow become the highest rated game of 1983. It actually made the average for this year jump a point...to 7. (the games I played before actually getting to this year were all bad)
I hope it does not remain that way. Not because I didn't enjoy it, but because of what that would mean. I would recommend this to racing game fans, but that's partially because racing game fans seem to just hate themselves based on how hard racing games tend to be.
Programming note, this will probably be the last 1983 game I blog about until November. I have a very interesting title to talk about next, and I also want to get through as many FPS titles as I can through the rest of this year.