Sometimes I forget why I
do anything at all. Yes, even the mighty and aloof me have moments when
I look around my room, decorated with game posters, DVDs and MechWarrior
pieces and just wish I could turn back time and play sports or something.
But something always seems to come along and bring back the warm fuzzies
to my destructively nerdy pastimes, and today that something is the
Super NES thumb-scarrer, Kendo Rage.
It really all began when
I played that shitty Miracle Girls game all those years ago. It instilled
in me a love of irrational, random Japanese SNES games, with their odd
mix of soothing pastels and synthesized music, and horribly frustrating
controls and really skewed hit detection. Kendo Rage is a game which
against all odds, made it into the USA with a suitably screwy translation
in the vein of the Samurai Pizza Cats. You are Jo- no, I don't care
what your real name is. For the purposes of this rant-slash-review,
you're not just named Jo, you ARE Jo, and you're adorable and knock-kneed
and you're always late for school.
Jo lives in a remote part
of the mountains, with a mere six mile commute to school every morning.
She trains with the fearsome Kendo master- BOB. Who is in no way at
all suspicious in his trenchcoat, or with blue skin and pointed ears.
I'll let the green hair slide since it's a Japanese thing. So, again
terminally late for school (4 AM is late?!), she embarks on the journey
with a fetishistic golden elephant that gives her a frilly foo-foo outfit
in which to fight evil. I think the icing on the cake is the implication
she does this every single day, since this is her school route.
The funny thing about all
the localization they pulled, is that even after turning the heroine
into an American (Jo), they gave up trying to excuse the very Japanese
setting by just saying she's going to school in Japan. Woo.
Basically, gameplay is as
follows. Jo arrives on the stage. She makes a sarcastic quip. Jo runs
around killing things. Jo gets mauled by a bear. Jo runs around some
more and finds a boss. They get in a fight, Universe wins. Universe
Man. Then Bob descends from the heavens to deliver a sound bite stolen
from Samurai Shodown as the bus comes to take Jo to the next stage.
I'd always assumed that Japan had better mass transit, though, considering
even in my piddly little hometown I never have had to battle anything
during transfers and layovers.
The first boss you encounter
is a monster in an unflattering mascot-type Jo costume, proclaiming
itself the new you. Again, these forces of evil must be pretty well
acquainted with her in order to lie in ambush at the right bus stop,
dressed up like her. Maybe she ought to look into getting a used car
Visually, it's good but not
great, and feels sort of unfinished. For instance there's a water stage
where you don't have a swimming animation. You just keep jumping and
jumping and every time you come down, she falls holding her skirt down
like when she drops from real high. Seems like they had fanservice priorities
to keep there. Anyone care to venture what sort of power up system is
in place? It's a platformer where the heroine uses only a magic weapon.
If you guessed 'beginning slash/stab attack, followed by various fireballs
launched by attacking,' you're correct! And possibly played too many
of these! I'm sorry. Let's go drink and forget about it all a while.
Jo has many hit animations.
Apparently her being hit and killed was very important to the developers.
She gets a standard knockback, an SD flail, and when she dies an SD-flail
croak fadeout thing. And when her final life goes down the can, the
elephant thingy forsakes her and leaves her as normal-Jo to be beaten
and mauled further.
Bears HATE you. That Perfect
Hair Forever anime parody thing on Space Ghost was on the money with
that one. And if you missed that cartoon, don't worry. There are many
exotic drugs available in your own home town to reproduce the bewildering,
"Did that really happen???" sensation said cartoon instills
in lab rats and people alike. But yeah. Bears fucking hate magic girls.
They pop out of bushes and snow drifts to swipe at her. They're much
more ruthless and brutal than even many of the bosses in their hate
of Jo, and frankly I was sorely let down that there were no SCUBA Bears
in the water level. The karaoke men in the snow stage are amog my favorite
enemies for no real reason other than... they ARE men in suits... singing
karaoke... in five foot drifts. And apparently so into it you suffer
grievous injury from bumping against one. This again calls attention
to the fact that to remain identifiably 'hot,' Jo is about twice as
tall as most enemies. Fair enough. Bear in mind though that the game
occurs in a left-to-right, horizontal scrolling pattern, with enemies
predominantly moving on the X-axis (also horizontally.) This means you're
basically a tennis net in a tutu, and the enemies are tennis balls being
served by someone who thinks they're the next Serena Williams. Or Venus.
Which one sucked less?
So what else is there to
say about this thing? I think I saw it on Nick Arcade or something once,
which I'm sure is worth a few raving, nostalgia fueled paragraphs on
its own, but I'm tired and sort of losing my steam for this bit now.
Maybe I should take a walk down to the Rite-Aid for some caff-
BOB: You must now embark
on a quest against evil. You have thirty minutes to walk across the
overpass, battle a horde of ninja, your old principal, and a robot killer
you, then give correct change to the cashier, since she's out of quarters.
Really, that's a bit much,
I think I'll settle on water.
BOB: Don't forget your training!
Repeat the drill with me one more time!
(wearily) X,Y,A,B, X, Y,
BOB: Good luck and godspeed.