Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sony Playstation - Bishi Bashi Special

Sony Playstation
Bishi Bashi Special

Some games are just plain insane. Take Warioware, for instance. Complete and utter insanity. Yet a hell of a lot of fun.

Well, years before Warioware first touched our already corrupted brains, Konami had already had considerable success in the "Microgame" market with Super Bishi Bashi and Hyper Bishi Bashi in arcades... and of course, the Playstation version in Bishi Bashi Special.

And yes, it was a collection of mini/microgames, many of which had a distinctly "insane" feel about them. But if I had a choice of WarioWare or Bishi Bashi Special as the only game I can take with me to a Desert Island... I'd choose Bishi Bashi in a heartbeat.

The name of the game is a big clue, many of the minigames require quick reactions or quick bashing to win. Others require a good rhythm. But the emphasis is on the bash of the buttons. That and good clean fun, of course.

So you fire the game up, and first of all you're offered a choice between "Super Bishi Bashi" and "Hyper Bishi Bashi". The real difference between these two is the choice of minigames you'll have when you actually play. Both have their share of gems among the games, but if my life depended upon choosing one over the other, I'd play the Hyper mode.

Whichever you choose, you can either play all the games involved in that particular mode in a Marathon Endurance Challenge, or choose one game at a time.

Each round is fairly straightforward. With a typical Japlish cry of "ATTENTION!", you're given a very brief instruction of what you're about to have to do... and then you're off. Each game can last from between 20 seconds and about a minute, if you're successful you carry on, if you're not, you lose a life. Which is almost exactly how Warioware works, but in 5 second bursts.

And that's it. You get two lives, but seemingly infinite continues, but obviously for big scores you don't want to be using them. All that's left is to describe the games themselves, then...

There's a lot of variation, some games are rhythm based, where you have to copy a rhythm, which is graphically represented by your growing afro (and yes, it can fill the screen), others are reaction based, where you have to hit the right button or sequence of buttons to eat a cake, or beat up some gangsters, or eat beans, or make burgers, or... erm... a whole host of other things.

Some games require you to identify an object as it glides past, possibly obscured, others require you to drive cars or tanks. But there's two games in particular that stand out, and could not be anymore Japlish if they tried.

From Super Bishi Bashi, there's "The Not Too Great Escape". It's kind of like Blind Man's Bluff, there's a guard armed with an assault rifle with his back turned to you, and you must tap the buttons to scuttle across open ground behind him. Numbers flash across the screen as he counts to 10, when he reaches 10, he turns round, and if you're not hiding in your trash can or whatever, you get shot in a hail of gunfire, and must try again. Pure brilliance.

From Hyper Bishi Bashi, there's the "Hyper Pie Throw". It's basically the same as a javelin event in any Track and Field based game ever, bash the buttons to gather speed, then hit the middle button to set the angle, and hope for a good distance. The big difference is... it's set at a wedding. The bride hurls the pie with the groom running along behind, holding her dress up. And the vicar giving it his best "Ready, Go!" that he possibly can. I don't care if it's insane, it's bloody hilarious.

So, it's a rave review, right?

Yes. BUT.

I'm sorry, I love this game, it's great fun, whether on your own or playing with others, but there's just one problem right now. If you download this game from PSN for your PS3, DON'T BOTHER playing the rhythm based games. I don't know what it is, but SOMETHING is amiss in the timing with the joypads. I've tried them wireless, wired, tried adjusting the delay settings, and no, there is no getting away from it. Unless someone else has any bright ideas?

Friday, 7 September 2012

Handheld Games - Bombsweeper

Handheld Games

Any retro gamer worth his salt will at the very least be aware of Nintendo's famous Game & Watch range. Most of them will probably own one at the very least. But if you've never heard of them, they're a pretty simple concept: Combine the best parts of LCD-based gameplay with the features of a clock (including an alarm). Except, most LCD-based games were pretty crappy.

Nintendo, however, got some things right... Simple concepts and simple games make successful games. Well, they did back in the good old days.

Bombsweeper was one of the best LCD based games (pre-Gameboy) you could buy. And guess what... it was a simple concept.

In fact, it's kind of like Pengo or whatever variation of that you like to call it. The naughty Jack has decided for some reason to jump down into the sewer and plant a load of bombs. The policeman on hand is highly useless, but allows John Solver (that's you, by the way) to dive in after him and defuse them all.

The gameplay mechanics are simple enough... reach one of the bombs (hidden in the walls) before time runs out. This may mean negotiating a maze, or it may mean pushing walls around a bit. Simply enough, you can only push a wall if there's no wall obstructing its path. Logic is needed in abundance. The thing to remember is you only need to reach ONE of the bombs, some may just be Red Herrings.

And that really is it. Almost.

There's two variations to the game, Game A is a series of set puzzles with a 40 second time limit. These are much more taxing on the old grey matter, but generally leave you with plenty of time to complete the puzzle and gain points aplenty. Every ten levels you will then face a scrolling level, where you must avoid being crushed by walls as you attempt to reach the end and the one single bomb. No time limits on this bit.

Game B generates mazes in a random order. Each one can be completed rather simply and in a matter of 2-4 senconds. Doesn't sound like a challenge? At first, it isn't. You start off with a 40 second time limit, but this steadily decreases until you're down to just 4 seconds for each level. Oh, yes, this is a d-pad tapping frenzy from one level to the next, with NO let-up whatsoever.

BUT once again, the simple and frantic gameplay pays dividends. It's a marvellous little hand-held game. If you see one at a car boot sale, it's worth a punt. Trust me.