GBAtemp Recommends #90 & #91 - James Pond II: Codename Robocod & Cho Aniki

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Hadrian, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    It's a double edition today, it's been a few weeks since the last one so thought I'd post two today. I did write one last week...and then I realised that I had already wrote up Superfrog so I abandoned it. One game is my favourite Xmas game and the other is a decent shooter made better by it's "WTF IS THIS?" theme but both are worth a play.
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    James Pond 2 - Codename: Robocod
    First things first, I am NOT talking about the abysmal GBA/DS/PS1/PS2 shovelware game that came out sometime ago, I'm talking about the original game which has very different content. The game debuted on the Commodore Amiga 500 back in 1991. It's aim was clearly to make a console style platformer on the Amiga. The Amiga did already have many fantastic platformers at that time but after Sonic the Hedgehog debuted for Sega and Super Mario World wowed Nintendo fans, gamers wanted something more along the lines of those...and this is where this game comes in.​
    This is the second game in the series and one that is drastically different to it's prequel. In the prequel you played a underwater agent tasked with swimming around, collecting keys and solving puzzles. The sequel however takes Pond out of the water (mostly) in an action platformer more in the style of the Super Mario series.​
    The story goes like this: After the events of the first game, the evil Dr Maybe has retreated to the North Pole and has taken on Santa's Workshop, where he has held the workers hostage and even has turned some into his own henchman. Enter James Pond, he is tasked to infiltrate the base and take on Dr Maybe. However, he is a fish...how can he survive in the open air and in extreme cold conditions? He has a new suite of course which turns him into ROBOCOD! As Robocod he can now breath outside of water, take more damage, extend his torso to reach high places (lol I was tempted to say plaices) and thwart the bad mofo's that stand against him.​
    To be honest...the game itself is nothing new or original, the levels offer the same stand themes as other platforms but it is well made. Some of the enemy design is very well done and animated and there is a lot of variety in there. It starts off like the usual early 90's platformer, jump on things to kill them, collect some stuff, get to the end but it plays very well. Then you get to other kinds of stages that shake the gameplay up to stop it getting boring. The underwater stages hark back to the first game and unlike some platformers, aren't annoying. You can ride vehicles as well such as Planes, cars and erm bathtubs all of which keep things interesting.​
    Chris Sorrell pretty much did most of the game himself, from graphics, level design and ideas and he did this in just over a year, which is quite an achievement. By his side is Richard Joseph who takes care of the sound and music side...and I love the music and sound side! Some of the tunes are variations of others from the theme of Robocop being transformed into a cutesy platformer theme to some public domain songs like "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wold" WHICH ALWAYS GETS STUCK IN MY FUCKING BRAIN FOR DAAAAAAAAAAYS! Yeah, these could annoy some people but I guess nostalgia has conditioned me to grin from ear to ear when hearing these.​
    Graphically it's sound. It looks like an Amiga platformer (a look I greatly miss), it's well drawn, animated, bright and there is nothing offensive to the eyes. The level design is mostly good, however maybe they can be too big and empty at times. There are 50+ levels (even more in some versions) and to be honest this game could be better if there was less but nothing that makes you pissed off.​
    So overall, this isn't a game that is going to set the world on fire. Those who like it...love it...while others don't see why it got so much praise back then. It's just a fun game, not every game released needs to be oustanding, it just needs to be fun and that in essence is what this game is about. It's just fun.​
    Now in terms to version you should play, for me the Amiga 1200 version is the best, you can tell this game was made for the Amiga in mind. However Amiga emulation can be difficulty for some people...lazy people that is so the next best option would be the PC version which would require DOSBox...and if you don't have the latest DOSBox installed on your computer then in my eyes, you're not a proper gamer. For the lazy people I guess the Mega Drive/Genesis version is the next best option as gameplay is pretty much intact though graphically and sound wise it's not as good. I also quite liked the C64 version, purely from a nostalgia viewpoint but it is a very well made port. Avoid the recent GBA/DS/PS1/PS2 game. That game for some reason features all new levels and is a pile of shit. The themes of the levels are all messed up and seem to be made by someone who doesn't understand basic platformer 101. There was a much more accurate port of this game for the GBA and even had Aquatic Games as an extra, the port was complete and even reviewed in some magazines but the publisher lost the rights and the game was cancelled.​
    James Pond went on to star in three more games. Aquatic Games starred Pond and was a shitty little Track and Field style sports game that seem to have only been made to cash in on the success. James Pond 3: Operation Starfish (previously called Splash Gordon) was a decent platformer that seemed a lot simpler, it has it's fans but I never really cared for it. Lastly there was James Pond: The Deathly Shallows for iOS. This was a piece of shit that played like crap and should never EVER be played by anyone. Recently a Kickstarter campaign was made to make a new James Pond game, nothing was shown of it...probably because they didn't actually start it but it was meant to take the best of the series, modernise it and release it for next year. Chris Sorrell was on board too but it failed well short of it's target. Maybe no one cared. Maybe they showed nothing of it and so nobody wanted to back it or nobody actually knew of it's existence (I only found out today) so for the time Pond isn't coming back anytime soon, though maybe that is for the best...though there are many unused fish puns that could be used.​
    Game: James Pond 2 Codename: Robocod​
    Formats: Amiga/PC/Mega Drive/Super Nintendo/C64 and shit loads of others​
    Developer: Vectordean Ltd​
    Publisher: Millennium / EA​
    Released: 1991 to 1993​
    Cho Aniki
    An legendary famous shooter, all for the wrong reasons. Some people say its "pretty gay", but what they actually mean is "camp" but then so was 300 and most of the soldiers in that had women to bonk silly...not like being gay makes you any less of a man, anyone who can take a fist "up there" is a manly man star in my book. This was previously a Japanese only game until 2008 when it hit the Virtual Console service, although cheaply without any English translation. Cho Aniki is roughly translated to Super Big Brothers. This first game in the series is nowhere near as explicit as the following games and some may wonder how it got its reputation, but still its pretty camp and weird.​
    What we have here is basically Gradius but with a Sparta theme, in parts it reminds me of Barbarella. You play either a cape wearing chap named Idaten or a blue hair lass named Benten and these are kinda like your ships in which you shoot the enemies with. They are also accompanied by these two beefcakey camp gentlemen named Samson & Adon, who act as sort of satellites for your character assisting you by shooting out of their head...yeah. These two chap have pretty much become the mascots for the whole series and also do little camp poses on the continue screens. It is suggested that these chaps are the "Super Big Brothers".​
    The whole look of the game is what some could say is "fucked up", some of the time you find yourself laughing at the enemies you have to shoot. The enemy sprites are very well drawn and really carry that mashed up Spartan look. Sound wise its all pretty good, the music like the look of the game is fucking odd, the tunes got inside my head and I feel like I've been abused afterwards but in a good consensual way. The only problem with the music is that its so damn mellow despite what is going on screen.​
    This is a pretty good shooter, it has the right difficulty and enough flare to separate itself from the other shooters on the PC Engine/TurboGrfx. To be honest without the theme this would be just another shooter but the theme makes it fun. Sadly immature people out there have labelled this as being a terrible game just because they feel that its "gay", these same people probably have never played the game. If you are into shooters, grown up enough or have a good sense of humour you can play have a lot of fun with this. Remember people, its only gay if the balls rub...or if you only find people of the same sex as you attractive or something like that.​
    Game: Cho Aniki
    Formats: PC Engine Super CD ROM / Wii Virtual Console
    Developer: Masaya
    Publisher: Nippon
    Released: 1995
     
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  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    So few people know about James Pond these days which makes me sad.

    That said the same could be said about much of the Amiga library.

    Never played Cho Aniki though, seen it mentioned many times but if ever I fire up the PCE emulator the draw of Bomberman is too large.
     
  3. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    Fast said it. I will definitely try out James Pond. You can tell a quality game by how the original stacks up against the modern ports/games based off of it. And Cho Aniki sounds... funny. People don't have a sense of humor nowadays; what a shame. I love games that can give me a good laugh.

    Edit: Why don't people comment on these articles? Would people rather spend all their time in the EoF than browse actual articles about games?
     
  4. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    What people do with their spare time is their own business. I spend time writing these out and if people don't like them, well that's up to them.
     
  5. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    True. But those people who don't read these are missing something enjoyable. Maybe.
     
  6. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Well unless I write about some RPG or something famous, no one seems to care and I don't play many RPGs or see the point in recommending a game everyone knows about. Looks like this feature is dead soon.
     
  7. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    It's a shame that these articles have to die like this. I really love them. It gives me a chance to increase the backlog of games that I want to play. I don't know where else I could find such good suggestions for games. :(
     
  8. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    There's some good Youtube channels that talk positively about many older not so well known games. Lazy Game Reviews, Happy Video Game Nerd, Game Sack, The Gaming Historian etc. http://retrowaretv.com holds some of these and some more too.
     
  9. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my posts...it's over 9000!!!

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    robocod is the very 1st platform game i ever played on the amiga
     
  10. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I loved the second James Pond game on the Megadrive. Aside from the SNES version I didn't know it had a superior version on the Amiga (which has Mr Nutz Hopping Mad, and Lionheart -I ought to check it out :P)

    About Cho Aniki, my brief experience with the series was with the higher res PS1 version. While this game you showed was bearable a bit, in the PS1 one the backgrounds were too distracting .. and to an extent far too disturbing for my personal preferences...
    Which is why I don't dare to try these series ever again (then again, I loved Sexy Parodius, where this kind of erotic/yaoi action isn't too detrimental to the actual game, but maybe Masaya was going for graphics over substance with these series..
    I loved Masaya's Assault Suit Valken series though, it's not that they were going with that approach for these games.

    About Cho Aniki, there was a similarly themed extremely weird fighting game on the Super Famicom where fatalities were ... anal beams of something? Anyone remembers this game?

    I like reading these features but I don't comment very often... Then again reading the above made me feel a bit guilty
     
  11. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Yup, that was Cho Aniki: Bakuretsu Rantouden. It was a pretty bad fighter.
     
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