Those Japanese are a crazy bunch of people. But, you have to respect the fact that pretty much everything they do is undeniably unique. These are the people who created the Transformers, pretty much every famous video game character, and the pancake bunny. Everybody loves a good dose of Engrish, as it highlights a lot of their oddly-named products (Anus Bar, anyone?) and the hilarity that follows bad translations. But of course, you have to take the good with the bad, and there are some things that somehow mystify and sicken the viewers at the same time, like this game here. I told you they were crazy.
And every day, their culture takes over our Western civilization just a little bit. Just look at how anime has invaded and taken over our TV sets so quickly and efficiently. And of course, they practically invented video games (I’m aware that they didn’t. I did say ‘practically’ after all), which have become more popular over here than even movies and such. So you really have to ask why, despite the fact that we get all of their uber-popular stuff, do we never really see any of their extremely oddball gadgets over on this continent? After taking a little time to conduct some research (which consisted of scratching my ass and making stuff up), I’ve concluded that even if they are destined to take us over, our culture still won’t be changed that easily.
And really, I’m not that surprised. Why play some awesome action game when you could be driving over people or killing cops? Why should you play something totally unique instead of playing a rehashed football or racing game that is exactly the same as the last five? No, no, I totally see why we should reject anything at all different from what we’ve got. …Oh crap, I left the sarcasm on. Whoops. Well, in any case, what I’ve got today isn’t exactly the cream of the crop, but is a hilarious and oddly entrancing game from the Land of the Rising Sun called Hachiemon.
Just as a little side note, I was intending to sort of phase out the intro part, but this one just kinda fell into place while I was writing and then turned into a sarcastic semi-rant. But that’s not really the important. Back to Hachiemon.
Now, I was just doing what any good pirate would be doing, and I was spending my time downloading GBA ROMs again. It happens. What can I say? But anywho, I saw the screenshots and just knew that I had to have this one, even though I was primarily concerned with finding Boktai (which, in retrospect, is a bad ROM idea, as it uses a solar sensor.). So I dropped everything and immediately downloaded the Hachiemon. I knew right then and there that I was going to want to review this baby.
Now you can’t tell simply by the screenshot, but the title screen alone is vibrant and alive enough to warrant a closer look. Hachie, as I’ll call him, is over there in the corner, and starts spewing out characters that despite my intense Japanese training (I learned to recognize their most basic alphabet), were distorted just enough so that I couldn’t recognize them. So I don’t know what he’s saying, but he’s got a very deep voice for a creature such as he is. Yes, there are voice samples in the game, and more than enough of them too. Hachie isn’t a chatterbox like (GBA) Mario or Link, but he does do a fair amount of “talking”.
I took the most logical step and pressed start. This is what it got me. More letters that I didn’t have a translation table for. You may be thinking that even if I did translate the characters, I still don’t know the language. But as it is, a lot of words (particularly those in the characters that I know) are very close to their English counterparts, so I can pick out easy stuff like “sebu” and “batoru tonamento” and get a little better idea of what’s going on. And speaking of what’s going on, I just chose the top option, as that’s usually the “main game” option.
Huzzah for the powers of deduction! I was right, and was taken immediately to the opening cutscene. Now a lot of stuff happens here, and I didn’t take pictures of all of it, so you’re going to have to bear with me for a while. At first, Hachie and his friends are playing around happily in the greens, but suddenly Hachie gets very angry and they all slink away. Why this happens, I have no idea, but we’ll assume that he’s not angry, but has let off some terrible gas.
After that irrelevant little scene, we get show a huge bunch of (for lack of a proper word) Hachie-cows, who are all very jolly until their beaks fall off! Oh my! What could have caused this horrible happening? The hachie-cows have suddenly become very depressed, and not even the fact that they look adorable can make them feel better about their loss. So Hachie pops up in the traditional red hero headband and probably pledges to return the beaks. He stares across the lake at a city, probably where the cow beaks are being held captive.
But then this sinister-looking Hachie shows up. Just look at those glasses. You know this guy is pure evil. He mutters something that’s probably evil, and then disappears. We’re then taken to the world map, which reminds me of Punky Skunk even more than Back to the Future 2 did.
You see? You see? World map. I told you. Here, we can really start to appreciate that great graphics that make up Hachiemon. It’s not exactly the most original style, but it’s very colourful and is quite funny, what with all the Hachie-cows and such. No, you obviously have to go into the first level before you can get anywhere else, so I presses the A button and I was off. Little did I realize that this first “level” was just another cutscene of sorts. In this cutscene, Hachie happens upon one of the lost cow beaks, just laying there on the ground, but as soon as he grabs it…
A pair of evil Hachies show up and start making fun of him or something. Eventually, they force him to relinquish the beak, and not only are Hachie’s feeling hurt, but his pride is shattered as well. So the evil Hachies walk away laughing at poor Hachie, and leave him crying and alone. But all is not lost! Hachie pulls himself together and catches up to the green evil Hachie. They gab for a while, and then the greenie runs away. He seems to have pissed off Hachie, as he gets quite angry after greenie runs off. He gives chase again, and this time he looks as if he means business.
After that, we get yet another cutscene, this time it starts with Hachie rolling in the grass. Here we learn that Hachie has not only eyes and a beak, but an ass crack as well. I think I just figured out why this game will never get here. Bored and overprotective moms don’t like asses, after all. Then he starts singing to himself. This game is making less and less sense every time something happens. I really wish that I could at least get a few words out of the narrative so I might have a clue what’s going on. But anyway, Hachie walks off again and then we get to progress to level 1. For real this time.
Grrr… Another cutscene? Yup. Only this time, it’s just Hachie yakking it up with a couple of Hachie-cows. After that brief scene, we finally get into the game. As the little intro thing plays out, it seems to me that I’ve been charged with finding some beaks in the level. And not even cow beaks either. Just normal Hachie beaks. Oh well, Off to the chase for me then! So, I started the level all gung-ho and confident that it would be a cinch, but there were plenty of things that I never expected. Firstly, and most importantly, all the different things that Hachie can do.
Firstly, he can move around and jump. That was obvious enough. Though I guess it would be more of a bounce for a creature like Hachie. Next up, is a strange move assigned to one of the shoulder buttons. It makes Hachie speak and produce a bunch of characters above his head that seems to say “Kantere” or something close to that. Like I said, the characters are a little distorted. Wait a minute! That’s the same thing he says at the title screen! Uh… anyhow, the move doesn’t seem to do much. Using it by an enemy does nothing at all, and using it by a destructible block shows whether there’s anything inside or not. A pretty much useless move as far as I’m concerned.
Next up in the beak stretch. This is easily the most useful move in the game aside from moving. It does everything. Firstly and most importantly, it can be used to latch onto walls to use as a primitive grappling hook of sorts. While grappled to a wall, Hachie can jump again to do a MegaMan X-esque wall climbing technique. Also, it can be used to catch items that are just out of jumping range. It can also be used to stun enemies, and finally to catch the attention of female Hachies, which I will discuss later. I can’t help feeling that I forgot something else that this can do, but it won’t matter, I got the important stuff down.
My personal favourite move, this one is what I call the “Beak Boomerang”. Maybe it’s because I love using boomerang chips in the MegaMan Battle Network games (don’t know why, they’re just fun), or for some other reason, but I just really enjoy watching Hachie toss his beak like a boomerang. It’s got the same item-scooping properties as the beak stretch, but this one goes through walls, so it can pick up stuff on the other side. It can also be used to stun enemies or finish them off once stunned. Other than attacking and collecting items, it doesn’t do much else, but would you really expect it to?
Finally we have the Hachie Roll. The name really says it all, but for the sake of any idiots out there, I’ll explain it. Pressing down and jump make Hachie spin into a rolling attack that can take out enemies as well as breakable blocks that might bar the way. A wall of these blocks was stopping me at one point (before I’d discovered the roll), and I was going to give up and forget about reviewing it. But by some miraculous fluke, I found the rolling move and was able to press on. It was a happy day, since my dream of reviewing Hachiemon was once again possible. Oh, and after a little rolling, Hachie gets dizzy and has to stop for a bit. I’ll also point out that you can see his crack in the pic above.
Above is a shot of me taking out some nasty green Hachies with the boomerang. While it would be a lot more convenient to bowl through a group set up like this, I already told you that I get a kick out of the boomerang. On a completely different topic, by that time, I had already found more than enough beaks to get me through the level, but I wasn’t even halfway done. Why would this be so easy to do? Well, I later found out that there are difficulties in this game, and that on easy you only need 3 beaks to finish the first level, but on hard you need 13 or 14. I’m not sure that I even saw that many beaks in the entire level, so I’m guessing that hard mode is quite hard.
Here’s one of those female Hachies I was talking about earlier. It seems that when you use the beak stretch on them, they get all blushy. Nothing else happened immediately, so I bounced around for a bit, when to my surprise, a small Hachie popped out! Holy moly! In Hachie world, kissing is enough to make one pregnant! Because I didn’t want Hachie to have to deal with the troubles of being a single father, I had him eat the kid, which earned me an extra life. I wonder if hamsters eat their young in hopes of getting extra lives as well?
So I finally made it to the end of the level, and the game pulled a Super Mario Bros. 2 and forced a slot machine on me. Only this one was covered in words and such, so I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to line up. I just jammed the button, the spinners stopped, and nothing happened. I guess it’s probably for the best. But I tell you, I could have used a couple extra lives from this thing, because the next level was quite dangerous indeed…
It seems that my likening the beak stretch to a grappling hook wasn’t all that far off from the truth. In level 2, there is a place with a huge pit and some goodies on the other side. I tried my hand at getting across, but due to poor control conditions, I ended up losing more lives than anyone would have liked. And that female Hachie over there, she must be on the pill or something, because kissing her doesn’t produce children. Instead, she throws produce at Hachie, who happily gobbles it all up. And she just keeps throwing it too. I must have gotten 30 or so carrots out of her before I gave up and left.
At the end of the level was this huge Hachie-head. It took some convincing, but he finally decided to fight me. All the guy really does is dash back and forth, so hanging on the wall proved to be an excellent tactic. Until I decided to fight back, that is. I dropped from the wall and rushed him from behind, smacking him upside the head, but if proved futile and he turned to dash at me. I tried to get Hachie out of the way, but I just wasn’t fast enough, and Hachie suffered quite a horrible fate for it.
Yes, Hachie got flung all the way into orbit and around the world, somehow landing in the exact spot the he left at. As you might have suspected, I got creamed by the big guy. Another round would prove just as disheartening. And on my last life, I just barely made it through the fight. After getting whomped by Hachie, the big guy was none to pleased and let me though. I, on the other hand, was quite pleased with myself, and let out a small “booya!’ as a sign that I had triumphed. Of course, Hachie just waddled over to the exit, where I was forced to do the slot machine thing again. And for a second time, I probably failed.
At the end of this map was a final point, and on that point was another cutscene. This time, Hachie ran into that thing there, which I call Hachiemama. She seemed to have a slightly unhappy disposition, and I didn’t care what would happen, so I just went and skipped it. After that, we pressed on to the water levels, where Hachie donned one of those inflatable water donuts to keep afloat. At this point, I was certain that I had more than enough to compose a proper review, so I quit. It also didn’t help that The game wasn’t nearly as fun as it was kooky.
This is getting far longer than it should be, so I’ll just summarize all the review-type stuff here quickly. The graphics are colourful and bright. Animation is done very well, and the overall look of the game is great. I can’t really grade the music, as it was very choppy due to the bad emulation speed. Sound effects that I can remember include Hachie’s voice, which seemed to be good, and not overused either. Controls were probably good, but I was using a keyboard, so once again it’s hard for me to give an accurate account. And as for fun, it was an okay game, but it lacked a little bit of that je ne sais quoi that most of my favourites have in bucketfuls. Overall, Hachiemon is a decent game that I’d like to at least be able to play through once on a real GBA, and not a slow emulator.
So that’s it. It took me a couple extras days due to computer hogs, but I finally did it. It only took me about 3 hours to type it up too, which it a little under the average for these things. If you include pictures, maybe 3:30, but it’s still a good time. I think the best thing that I could do right now is to go find a FAQ or something so that perhaps I could understand a little better what’s supposed to be going on in this crazy game.
You know, these outros are really just a pain in the butt for me, because they’re not supposed to relate too heavily to the game (else they’d be in the body), and they shouldn’t be too off-topic, so I don’t know what to do with them. They shouldn’t be too much about when I did the review or news about the site, because only regulars will really get what I’m talking about. I’ll be trying to phase it out, like with the intro, but they’ll have to go at the same time, because it would be weird to have one and not the other. Well, I guess I’d better quit babbling if I ever hope to end this thing, so here’s a final note: TV ghosts are shy. Don’t expect much out of them.