| The developers at Jaleco obviously had no idea what they were doing when they started making Ginga NinkyouDen. Gameplay and plot-wise, there's nothing new about it. It's a platformer, and not much more. Sure they stick in side scrolling shoot 'em up areas for three of the bosses, but they're much too shoddily done to warrant much attention. In theory, I should have stopped playing this game after five minutes. Yet, I continue...
The two reasons why I love Ginga NinkyouDen so much are the hero and the enemies. The protagonist seems at first to be like every other one created before 1994: a guy whose girlfriend was kidnapped by an alien (this in sharp contrast to the protagonist most used after Final Fantasy 3 set a new trend in 1994: a woman who wears tight clothing and tries to kill either the head of an evil empire, God, or both). The way he goes about saving her is something else. His weapon starts out as a weak punch, and after obtaining a power up turns into a knife. After that, it turns into a sword able to cut the enemy vertically down the center, causing two perfect, symmetrical halves flying off the screen in different directions. After beating certain levels, a flying turtle with a hard hat (see picture in menu bar) comes to pick you up at the end. You fly off into space, the turtle transforms into a flying board that looks as if it were taken straight from Tekkaman Blade, and you fight a boss that is laughably easy in comparison to the level you've just been through. And, of course, our hero is so ecstatic after he beats the boss, he does a victory dance which involves him randomly cross-dressing into all sorts of equally disturbing costumes.
The enemies make this game. Many of them are based on various movie characters - Rambo, Godzilla, Jason, even one of the lesser mechs from Gundam - the others range from the somewhat non-original to the completely insane. And even the ones that are only semi-original are made interesting by adding excessive amounts of fat (ie. the sumo pig and the enemies that can only be described as drunken politicians). As for the completely insane, two exceptionally unique enemies come to mind; Tora, the Japanese salesman who attacks using his carrying case and exploding octopi he pulls out of nowhere, and the pirahnas that have, for no reason whatsoever, sprouted rocket packs and now fly around the construction site area, rivaling the stupidity of the construction site-inhabiting killer pies that appeared in Donkey Kong.
Gameplay in Ginga NinkyouDen is about as bad as gameplay can possibly get. The area at the very beginning isn't too horrible, but you'll know something is wrong by the time you get to the first mini-boss. It took me about 20 continues before realizing that I could beat him by simply ducking and continuously hitting the attack button (as it turns out, all the mini-bosses can be defeated this way). Even after that, the simple act of jumping onto the aforementioned turtle at the end is a matter of luck, as there is no set pattern to his movements and you can't change direction in midair. The area with the flying pirahnas is just as bad: the ceiling is just above your head, making it impossible to get the items that float up after killing enemies. The only strategy I found useful in that area was to run forward while hitting the attack button as fast as I possibly could while hoping that no one came from behind me.
In conclusion, Ginga NinkyouDen might not have done anything as interesting as when Taito showed us with Bubble Bobble that we can make fruit by putting a drunken elf in a bubble and popping it. It's still interesting enough, though. It's a god awful game, but you just have to play it. Think of it this way: at least it paved the way for over a decade of randomly placed video game nudity.
Rating: 2.3 out of 5
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