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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

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