|Image courtesy of |
|"Knock it off, dillweed! Hey Butthead,|
gimme some help over here!"
(image courtesy of Arcade Flyers)
|Forgive the huge, off-center border. For |
reasons that still remain a mystery, VIC-20
games force the user to adjust its position
with the function keys. It really was a
good game system, honest!
The VIC-20's popularity in Japan meant that a conversion of Heiankyo Alien was inevitable, and this one is a dead ringer for the arcade game, aside from a different color scheme and the system's extra-chunky font. Unfortunately, since the VIC only supports single button joysticks, you'll have to hold down the trigger and press up to dig holes, or down to fill them. Alternately, you could tap A and D on the keyboard, but who uses a keyboard to play video games in this day and age? (Shut up, first-person shooter fans.)
|The game doesn't get really hard|
until the Sleestaks arrive...
This time, the titular Booby Kid (I'm sorry... I'm really, really sorry. Please stop hitting me!) has to scoop up oranges in a prehistoric setting while dodging hungry dinosaurs and club-wielding cavemen. The stages are more open than they were in the game's arcade and TurboGrafx-16 cousins, but that just makes it harder to bury your foes... and if you stumble into a monster, you'll have to start your fruit harvesting from the beginning. Did I mention that the levels are kind of long...?
|"Oh God, it's even more painful|
than it looks!"
Anyway, Heiankyo Alien on the GameBoy offers two styles of play. The first is your usual vanilla Heiankyo experience... you guide a skirt-wearing stick figure through a simple maze, digging holes to trap the abstractly drawn aliens hoping to sink their teeth into you. However, the real fun's in the New mode, which takes the graphics and sound out of the 1970s and beyond what you'd expect from a GameBoy launch title. Distinctly Japanese details litter the landscape and the feudal music lends an air of authenticity to the action. The gameplay's not much changed from the original, but it's easier to appreciate when it looks and sounds this nice.
|"Here I come to save the day!|
Uh, somewhere else."
But back to Cratermaze. It's an overhead view maze game that's a few generations removed from Heiankyo Alien... instead of flat rectangles separating the pathways, there are brightly colored buildings and stone walls, and instead of relying solely on digging to defend yourself, you've got a wide variety of weapons at your disposal, including a yo-yo, bombs, and a freeze beam. In fact, the odds are stacked a little too heavily in your favor, so you'll want to pick the higher of the two difficulty settings to give yourself an honest challenge.
NICHIBUTSU ARCADE CLASSICS 2: HEIANKYO ALIEN
It's Nichibutsu's turn up to bat with the Heiankyo Alien franchise, and as usual, the company bunts for first base. In all fairness, Nihon Bussan's first Arcade Classics release was impressive, a collection of their two best arcade games (and Frisky Tom) with special enhanced modes. However, the sequel was schlepped off to an outside developer named Syscom, which had no idea how to bring the game to the Super NES.
|Heiankyo Alien and Bomberman: Two|
great tastes that taste great together!
Like peanut butter and barbecue sauce!
Finally, there's the versus mode, which takes the "new type" mode, splits the screen down the middle, and puts a player on each half. Burying monsters sends them to the other side of the playfield to harass the opponent. This new wrinkle to the gameplay would be brilliant in a fiercely competitive, Twinkle Star Sprites kind of way... if you had any room to dodge the hungry beasties. Maybe "three strikes" would have been a better baseball metaphor for this game...
|Okay, okay, I'm goin', already!|
(Special thanks to Wikipedia for providing valuable information for this article, as always.)