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Monday, 31 October 2011


I'm still coughing my lungs up but hopefully, its on remission.  We've, got a new drink, a tradtional English drink, for when you are sick.  Its called Lucozade and maybe marketed as sports / energy drink, was for a long time delivered glucose energy to the poorly, hence me grabbing a bottle.  No glass bottle this time, its fully plastic and as its a limited edition is a cola.  For Americans or just damn lucky Brits, it tastes a lot like Jones Cola, which is a cane sugar coke which is wonderful.  As its Lucozade its a lot easier to get than Jones Soda here so if you come across it and are in need of energy don't hesitate to buy.

Captain Tsubasa

For some of you this will be familiar to you, but just goes to show how the UK missed out especially in the mid 90's.  The original game was done by Tecmo and was sort of a football game which takes place entirely in box out shots describing the action.  The game came across to Europe but I don't remember seeing it on the shelves.  Most NES football games are of course completely evil and shouldn't be touched with a bargepole.
Unless is Technos Nintendo World cup, which is still shit but allows complete carnage.

In fact this was a long running franchise that included Manga and Anime.  The Anime was localised for Europe under the name Campeones and had a big following worldwide.  There is a link to a version in English called Flash Kicker, but just leads to dead ends and clearly non English versions.

This is the best we can do, English subs that you can imagine sung by the players of the day, Maybe even Glenn Hoddle.

Flash Kickers licence was owned by Enoki Films, they seem to have a long list of obscure Anime, like Inspector Fabre, based on the Entomologist of the same name and got a total WTF when I saw it on Spanish Kids TV.  They also hold most if not all the Captain Tsubasa licenses which they license to  Mainland Europe.    England loves its football and when they came out in the late 80's noone knew what Manga was save for Robotech and Lensman on Premiere (later Sky Movies).  Mainstream was a bust, Channel 4 showed only the violent stuff at Midnight, and Sci Fi Showed some tamer stuff, If you consider Mangas Sweary version of Appleseed, orHell City Shinjuku Tame.  Sky one or Nick would have been your only home for kids manga.  With Foxs Peter Pan and Tokusatsu shows like the Power Rangers.  Nick had the updated version of Speed Racer which came to the BBC. 

Flash Kicker would have certainly have entertained English kids.  Most of us grew up playing football with jumpers for goalposts in a local green space.  I've yet to see kids do that now, but 80's kids were different.
Depending on the dub, whether American or English (likely in the early days, but not now), I'm sure it would have taken off either as Flash Kicker or simply renamed as Champs, it would only take a forward looking BBC or ITV to add it to their afternoon schedules, maybe even have Andy Crane Introduce it.

But it didn't happen, it simply rattles around the continent in various dubs, ITV did actually licence a football Cartoon, but its only the barely remembered Hurricanes.

Lately there is Inazuma Eleven by Layton Creators Level 5, but its dubbed by yanks (who know nothing of real football) with various Japanese names left in.  What I saw was a keeper use a punch shot which he called a Fire punch,  which was subbed as Fire Kobushi, an entirely unnecessary elaboration.

One of these days they'll show Champions dubbed, but I'm getting its a long day in hell.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dreams of Trevor Chester and worse.

My whole body system is down with a tenacious flu virus at present, so am typing this Ted style with a blanket over my head.
I.e. ultra conservative Muslims

The bastard made itself known on Tuesday, coming in from work all I could do was sleep, we had a prior engagement (an eyetest which resulted in some handsome new glasses),  and for the next 3 days it pitched between being zombie style lucid and trying to sleep.

Its not cheese that gives you nightmares its flu.  First I kept generating L shaped tetris blocks whenever I coughed, and if you cough a lot believe me they build up.  The next night was the  complete opposite, the golden age of rave with full on psychedelia at a breakneck pace.  We tried our best to work with this and would have made an absolute blinding video back in the day.   The third day was more sinister dealing with being accused in dream of being a paedo, (I'm not, but see those afflicted as having a type of psychosexual compulsion).  Oh and you are only a paedo if the child you fiddle diddle is under 13, you are thanks to Wikipaedia, known as an ephebephiliac which means lover of the young.  My dreams are lucid and we decided we'll pray to the God who'll help.  See above, yeah we even renamed the evil accuser as Death Adder.
Wheres yer child?

 Its sort of normalling down now, so this sort of shit should become a thing of the past soon.

But now I'm fired up and we'll might as well as give you a proper post on who Trevor Chester was.

There was a proper kids entertainer called Charlie Chester and while not on television in the mid 80s to 90s, was probably known about through kids parents and grandparents. Its an obvious rhyme to child molester, see above, the sort of dodgy Trevor who tried to show kids puppies and give car lifts that we were warned about.  

Trevor is possibly a corruption or mishearing of this and spread through our playground, 4chan had Pedobear lifted from 2chan, we had a corrupted Charlie Chester.  Peace and indeed out.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Ambient track is best relaxing track ever.

In other news bears shit in woods and the Pope is confirmed to be a Catholic after serious doubts.

To be fair we havent heard of Marconi Union before and if it wasn't for this spurious top ten for Radox Shower gel then I probably wouldn't have either, to put you out of your misery the track can be listened to here.  If you are wondering about the rest of the list if its made out of  Oophoi or Lustmord tracks then you're SOL.  Though Adele Someone like you is there which is intriguing as its in the running for my favourite track of the year.

Something else that is entirely relaxing, and we've fully romanized the title for this, was the Mystery Playstation game for our Yokai game round up.  It is Ore no Shikabane o Koete Yuke, and yeah thanks to my shit Japanese we had to fix up our translation in JDICT so we could google it.  It looks really nice and has a relaxing theme song.  If you speak Japanese and or just dig a nice acapella the homepage is here.    Made by Alfa System who if memory serves correct did the excellent Shikigami no Shiro series of shmups for Naomi hardware and PS2 (we have a Pal localisation courtesy of Play it under the name Castle Shikigami 2).

Translated loosely as something like And My Corpse Transcends Me, its a mix of RPG and Sim where you are cursed by a Demon and all your resultant offspring have really short lives, you have to manage them to try and break the demons curse. You can download the original Playstation version here, where we culled most of the info from.   Looks pretty good as far as yokai games go, but a word of warning it was never localised so you'll need pretty hefty Japanese skills to get anything out of this.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rainbow Islands NES Variations

We were largely ignorant of this in general but there are three different versions of Rainbow Islands for the NES.  We were largely intrigued by an entry in Mean Machines as a child, they had ads that would sell NES but more likely SNES stuff mail order.  Rainbow Islands, on the NES its gonna be awesome right and we had a converted NES it'll be a no brainer too, sadly my dad shot it down no way was I gonna spend my cash on something that may or may not work.   Still the point was moot, a few months later and Ocean announced that they had ported it over to the European market and I didn't have to bother importing.

Mean Machines gave it a lack luster 67% and we managed to pick it up reasonably cheaply so it wasn't so bad.  We even with some continue bug managed to beat it back in the day and that was it.   So it was much to our surprise that looking in Stuart Campbells excellent column on Bubble Bobble that we found out that our version of Rainbow Islands was so very different to everyone elses.

Nice Looking: Horribly Executed
For starters we'll deal with both the NES and Famicom versions in one Potted entry, as apart from the US version not having the proper Somewhere Over The Rainbow theme and English Localisation they are entirely identical.  They seem to have been done in conjunction with Disco who were responsible for Panic Restauarant / A Crafty Chef in Gourmet World amongst others.

Imagine if you will someone suffered amnesia whilst playing Rainbow Islands and at a later date when waking up in hospital, had brief flashbacks to Rainbow islands: that it was some sort of cutesy platformer and it involved collecting jewels of some sort and there were 7 or so islands but apart from that its all a blur.

THIS IS WHAT THE AMERICAN & JAPANESE VERSIONS PLAY LIKE.  It looks nice and the items you pick up are of a decent size, but everything else sucks balls.  For starters the main level structure has been totally obliterated.  Gone are the arcade layouts which even the lowly ZX Spectrum and C64 managed to keep (along with multiload to contain all the world data) and even worse added flick screen scrolling so it doesn't even act like the original.   They still have all the levels... just. Added in this version is a world based on Ki Ki Kai Kai possibly at the expense of toy world (we haven't got that far yet).  The worst of the worst comes in the Boss levels that seemingly now sprout a Megaman style power bar not seen in any other 8bit version.

One major plus point is that the boss sprites are surprisingly huge, and you can talk to various people at the end when you defeat it.  The only way to see your score is on the main level stage screen and  Rainbow gems show up but only as the word rainbow and looks ultimately perfunctory and naff.   Overall we give you a 4/10.
Generic Platformer Masquerading as Rainbow islands.

Edit the boss creatures are named the helicoper is called Super Helibow.

Oceans Rainbow Islands.

This is the version we did get as a kid as well as the much cheaper C64 version. From the off you could see that Ocean actually put in some severe effort to port this.  There are no vague notions to the arcade levels here.  All the enemies are present and correct here as are the correct layouts.  Theres no flick screen scroll as it has proper scrolling.  There is still no Somewhere over the Rainbow Theme, however the tune they did use is quite nice, level end themes and boss themes are intact.  My only gripe is that the gems you collect as well as the bonus items are too small,  at least you get to fire three rainbows here unlike the US versions paltry 2.   Best of all boss screens get their proper layout with the correct lifebar and a back ground too.  There is a secret room too, no talking to Bob here for items, collecting gems in order will make it appear in the boss room.

Finally it can be a git to get working on real hardware, lots of blowing is required for all Ocean games, however if your emulating its no problem.
Overall A great effort 7/10.

YOKAI Watch.

We still can't remember for the life of us a PSP port of an old PS1 Sengoku era Role player.   And we forgot to add Fatal Frame, a photo based survival horror totally consistent with the vengeful ghost lore of last weeks yokai Review.  We'll just dump this video here of Yokai Watch a new franchise from Professor Layton and the no chance of a new Dark Chronicle, publisher Level 5.  Its last weeks mega review in a nutshell.

Edit We have found the mystery game in an copy of Famitsu and will try and romanize it.  In the meantime have this

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia

We are finally back online due to extreme downtime and of course Virginmedia being can'ts as usual.  The upshot of this is we have a sparkling new review for you. 

Thanks to SpAmazon we have a pandora battery to resurrect our PSP and a few new games to play on it.
This being Prinny Can I really be the Hero (Dood), Metal Slug Anniversary Comp and Valkyrie Profile Lenneth.  Finally we have a big old book of monsters from CFZ press called the Great Yokai Encyclopaedia.

If you're sitting comfortably we'll be gin (groan ED).

The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia.

A massive manual of mythical monsters that appear in Japanese myth and legend.  Comprising the familiar (Tengu, Kitsune, Kappa and Tanuki) with many that aren't (Ippon Datara a one legged blacksmith monster local to Mount Kumano area, and Tsuchigumo a massive earth spider.)
Sekiens Night parade of 100 demons.

They are generally well written articles for those well known monsters, including about 8 pages on Kitsune alone, however some of the least known only get a few lines or just one line.  I've yet to fully look into whether they have much more info in Japanese, but its a little offputting to see.  Much worse is the inconsistent texts, sometimes its bad romanization of Japanese names (we are fans of Macrons here rather than doubling up letters), though its often spelling mistakes and spellchecking as this example proves.  I don't think the Buddha quelled a giant dessert in Mongolia but gee thats a great image, and possibly the greatest misprint i've seen. 

As an anime nut I would have loved manga style artwork for these entries, but the art (and artist) they are using is good and reminds me of the old D+D Monster Manual stuff.  Some of the scanned artwork from various sources is rather pixelly, however its always good to see old woodblock printed stuff.

The beginning has a massive section dealing with the various media that Yokai have appeared in including a look at Kaiju movies and Hideo Nakata's Ring Series.  I never knew that Raichu was a direct take off of the thunder beast Raiju, though they are right in saying that Pokemon has a massive amount of mythical beasts in it and would take a book pointing them out.  Sadly they never talk about video games and yokai in that context ever again, which we'll certainly do after this review. 

All in all the book is a good read and while much more ruthless proofreading is required of it, is certainly worth the £14 they are asking for on the Center for Fortean Zoology website.  Anyway where else can you find a parasitic Yokai that cause you to crave acidic food and live in your spleen. 

The Not So Great Yokai Videogame Appendix.

Like I outlined above, there are plenty of games that let you experience the yokai at first hand.  Its not just Pocket Monsters, where you can find yokai to play with, I'll outline some of the best Yokai experiences below with my top 5 Video Game Night Parade.

5: Pocky and Rocky Series (Ki Ki Kai Kai)

A series of games that pit you as a Miko (Shrine Maiden) called Sayo Chan and her Racoon buddy Manuke.  Seemingly a vertical scrolling shooter from Taito this game is not only rock hard but stuffed full of yokai.  From the lantern ghosts that swirl round as cannon fodder to the massive showdowns with 9 tailed foxes, this is one of the best old school shmups featuring Yokai.  The original is available on the Tatio Memories 2 compilation for XBOX, PC and PS2.  You'll need an emulator to get the original SNES games to play, but its worth it.  More Info here.

4: Ganbare Goemon Series

A series of games that were never really translated here, only the N64 games and a SNES game ever made it out of Japan, however what did come out I can heartily reccommend.   Based on the story of Ishikawa Goemon the Japanese Robin Hood, it stars Goemon, his hapless pal Ebisumaru and (in later games Ninjas Yae and Sasuke).  Though obviously a comedy platformer, there are strong yokai themes in this one, including a village haunted by various obake and walking umbrellas, and Tanuki that is used as a save point.
You'll need an emulator to play both SNES and N64 games but its worth it.

3: Otogi.

This is a really obscure game released by From software for the Original XBOX only.  You take the place of Raiko, a samurai assassin that was killed off and back to life to unleash vengence on demons.  It had pretty good graphics and allowed you to wreak havoc on all sorts of demonic beings and mythical beings.
There is a walkthrough on youtube but its best watched on mute.

2: Shin Megami Tensei Series.

A vast series of games that revolve around you recruiting demons in some fashion.  This sounds like a horrible paraphrase to the series but let it be said if you love both role playing games and Mythology then the Megaten series is the best.  We would reccommend getting either of the later Persona games for PS2 or the remakes for PSP, for a more Modern day Japanese experience horror experience especially Persona 4 with its Ringesque investigation into a serial murder case in Inaba town.  Theres still folklore and stuff but its more up to date and current as well.

1. Okami and Okamiden

The best Yokai game and another sprawling adventure game.  You play as the incarnation of the goddess Amaterasu, reincarnted as a white wolf (providing a lovely double pun, Okami being wolf in Japanese and an honorable way of speaking of the gods), its loosely set in Sengoku era Japan (1500 ish) and has a massive array of yokai and characters from  myth.  The follow up Okamiden sees you as a puppy incarnation of Amaterasu and has even more yokai fun.  You want Sugawara and Daidarabotchan (incarnated as a giant rabbit robot owned by the moon tribe) you got it.  Evil cartwheels that roam around, oh yes, they even have Namahage as well in case you think they are being lazy.  Best of all its still available for both Wii, DS and PS2 though Okamiden is DS only. 

Conclusion.  We omitted some of the Japanese only stuff including a whole series on GeGeGe no Kitaro that would never be translated officially in a million years, and a bizarre PS1 RPG thats getting a PSP Remake, that'll never be released in a million years in the west.