Monday, 31 October 2011

DecapAttack (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Uh, why does he have eyes in his chest when he's clearly got a head? Also, why does he have eyes in his chest?

This is actually the western version of a Japanese game called 'Magical Hat Flying Turbo Adventure'. Seriously. It was originally based on an anime called 'Magical Hat', but all references were removed for the western release, and the hero was replaced with a decapitated mummy.

The story starts with a giant skeleton... island... thing... blowing apart, with each part of the 'body' drifting away to all corners of the map.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
In the Japanese version it just looks like a regular island. Still a bit unusual though, it splitting up like that. It's not something islands typically do.

Apparently this guy on screen is Max D.Cap. He's about to unleash his underworld army and conquer the surface world, which I guess is just the skeleton island. He's going to be in for a bit of shock when he finds out someone's already shattered it into pieces.

Anyway, the mad professor and Igor are on my side, and want me to go and stop him. Well I don't have anything better to do so I might as well.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Whoa, they look a little different in the Japanese version. The doctor and Igor have been replaced with a pink mouse and the world's oldest 12 year old.

I'm guessing the text says something entirely different too, and yet exactly the same. I don't have to be able to read Japanese to know they want me to start heading right and jumping on things.

This place looks a bit bleak. Hey, what happened to my guy's head? On the title screen he was carrying a skull.

There's skulls hanging off the trees, skulls on the level sign, I wouldn't be surprised if it started raining skulls... but no skull for me.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
There's no skulls in Magical Hat, but it's clearly the same game. At least so far.

Oh shit, what the hell is that? It looks like a face shoots out of his torso like an Alien chestburster. That's just nasty.

On the plus side, those statues I broke had a skull inside for me. Which I can wear as a stylish hat.

Damn! I can survive a hit, but my skull couldn't. I went back to the statues to see if I could grab a replacement, but it seems to be gone for good.

What are these things anyway? Wild animals don't typically fire arrows at people, I doubt any bandit would try to mug a mummy, and there are scarier things than me around for him to shoot. I suppose he must be part of Max D.Cap's army of the underworld, come to enslave humanity... or whoever it is I'm supposed to protecting.

I should probably kill them all just to be safe.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Seems I was way off when I said Magical Hat was the same game. The level design has become totally different, and I'm facing different enemies. For one thing, these guys aren't firing arrows at me.

Also I carry a happy egg instead of a skull... which is nice.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Plus DecapAttack hasn't yet sent me off a blind jump straight into a pit of instant death lava.

Actually any threat is instakill in this game, because unlike DecapAttack there's no health bar. The egg can save me from one hit, but even that is useless against lava.

Man, even the spring pads are skulls. I have to wonder what made the designers think 'hey this cute Japanese game could be a big seller for us... if we can just add a few more skulls.'

Also I have to wonder where the hell I'm meant to go from here. I bounced on the skull pad a few times but I can't see anything up there except for a hole in the wall.

Oh, of course. The semi transparent, barely visible, 'hole' was actually a ledge. Well now I know what to look for.

More statues, more prizes! This time I get a couple of potions. They don't do anything obvious when I collect them, and unlike Magical Hat there's no score to add to, but I'm sure there's some purpose to them.

It's nice to have a few ways to take out enemies in this. I can slide down a hill into them, fire my mouth out at them, or stomp them into the ground.

Stomping takes the longest, but it's funny to see the enemies just freeze in place, their eyes staring straight ahead, as I slowly hammer them into the earth. Plus it only takes one jump to stun them for a while, and they're only going to respawn if I kill them.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
DecapAttack just throws me straight into the next level after finishing the first stage, but Magical Hat has a fruit machine bonus round. I bet all my coins and lose every time. No bonus for me.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Hey, the two games are the same again on stage 2, at least in level design.

And they both have clouds I have to jump on... that look pretty similar to the clouds I can't jump on. I know they've got to have some unrealistic platforms around, it's a platformer, but it'd be nice if they'd be consistent with it.

It's the same with the trees as well. Some I can jump on, some I can't. And the differences between them are pretty subtle.

Also I'm kinda stuck here. I just can't reach those ledges up there. I'm pretty sure it's got something to do with that wall of bouncing arrows, but I'm just not getting the height from it.

Oh come on, I was so close that time!

I ended up getting my poor mummy killed here, and was respawned right back at the start of the stage. I didn't even get a checkpoint. Plus the statues were still broken so I couldn't even collect a replacement skull. The enemies were all back though of course.

That gives me an idea though. Maybe one of those potions I grabbed earlier can help me out here. It's a shame this menu is so awkward. To even get a description of what each potion does I have to highlight it, select 'Ask' from the menu (while carefully trying to avoid selecting 'Use'), and then flip through a few pages of text.

If they'd gotten rid of Doc Forrester and TV's Frank and used the space to make the text box a bit bigger they wouldn't need multiple pages, and they wouldn't need an 'Ask' button. They could have just put all the text on screen the instant I highlighted something.

Anyway moving faster and jumping higher got me past the wall of arrows, and the exit was just over on the left.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Magical Hat surprises me with another minigame between levels, and DecapAttack once again comes up empty. This time I have to choose the path for my little clones to walk down. Whenever they they hit a branch they'll take it, and wherever they end up is the bonus I get.

Which in this case was a few extra lives. DecapAttack was never this nice to me.

But on the other hand, I trust DecapAttack not to kill me with a surprise pit of lava at the end of a leap of faith.

Son of a bitch... that bird came out of nowhere! Wow, that was my last hit point? They disappear so fast.

Wait, what? No continues? I have to start the game again from the very beginning?

Wow that's totally put me off the game now. I was starting to like it too, to be honest. It's actually a very solid platformer, and it moves well. Even the music's alright.

Okay fine I've talked myself into giving it another go. From the start then.


TWO AND A BIT LEVELS LATER.


Okay I'm just below where the bird killed me last time, and... this potion just froze the screen and played a little tune. It seems to be an important little potion.

Hopefully not so important that I'd get a bad ending if I'd missed it though. Because that'd just be stupid.


SOON.


Oh crap, it's a boss fight. Uh... I'm going to need potions.

Yeah yeah, come on, talk faster! Wait, IMMUNE to attacks? 10 seconds? Well that's halfway decent at least. I'll drink it!

Don't tell me what I can't do! It's my potion, I'll drink it whenever I damn well please.

Okay fine, what else do I have? Freeze enemy movement... can't use this now. Fine, I'll take extra attack power.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken
Meanwhile, in Magical Hat... I can't tell if it's an identical boss fight because I got killed too fast. No hit points in this. At least I seemed to restart from halfway through the level in this one. And then got killed again.

Man, nothing about this picture looks right.

10 seconds really isn't much time to get attacks in, especially when I'm wasting it running the opposite way. And my potion's just ran out. Great, what else do I have in here?

Hell yeah, I'll take it!

... wow. So that's all it does then?

Whatever, enough wasting time, I'll just get over there and hit him. I think I know his pattern now, he stomps around, he throws his hat, it swoops for a bit, he stomps around... I can do this.

Okay maybe I didn't know the pattern then. And it's too late now because I'm out of lives again! To get back here I'd have to replay it all right from the start. For the fourth time. And I just don't like the game enough to do that.


Sorry DecapAttack, sorry Magical Hat. You could have been contenders but you blew it. Next game.

5 comments:

  1. Weird, I've been writing my own ramblings about Magical Hat...great to see someone else has at least heard of it!!

    Shame you weren't a fan, but cracking article none the less.

    Cheers

    Paul

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  2. I totally forgot that Decap Attack was one of the strips in the Sonic The Comic magazines. You can find more information about it by searching stc.wikia.com

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  3. Fuck you, this game is awesome!

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  4. I agree with Juanillo lechuck, great platformer from early years of this outstanding console that the Mega Drive/Genesis was.

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