Super Chinese World 2 (スーパーチャイニーズワールド2 宇宙一武闘大会)
Released 10/29/1993, published by Culture Brain
This is yet another game in the prolific series “Super Chinese”, a series of mostly blends of action and RPGs, with a few pure action or fighting games. Zenic Reverie covered a few of the earlier entries that had been localized: Little Ninja Brothers, Ninja Boy 2, and Super Ninja Boy. The previous games seem to have had a mix between platform stages, random action-based battles, and command-style RPG fights for the boss battles. SCW2 dropped the command-style fights and retained only the action and platformer sections.
I’m not all that good at action games. I’ve managed to complete most of the early Mega Man games, but fighting games are a particular weakness of mine. When Street Fighter 2 came out I was never able to get Ryu to do the Hadoken, and I’ve never really improved that much. So this game is not my preference. I often felt like the characters weren’t doing what I wanted them to do, but that could be my own lack of skill or emulator issues, or game design.
The game begins at a “space peace conference”, but then the Galaxy Warriors (who I gather are standard antagonists in this series) arrive. They kidnap the rulers, including the ruler of Chinaland where our main characters Jack and Ryu hail from. Shubabarn, a leader of the GWs, demands that we enter a martial arts tournament to get him back, but to even reach the tournament we’ll have to find a bunch of star fragments.
Jack and Ryu set out, but crashland on the first planet.
A nearby town has the first shops and a convenience store, which gives you a password. Yes, in 1993 we’re using passwords to save. Fortunately emulators have save states to get around that annoyance. Also the first battles.
A battle shows you the enemies, and then gives you the chance to run or fight. I’m not a big fan of the way the fights develop. They start with 2 or 3 enemies. When you beat one, another comes in. The fight simply ends after a while, based on a combination of time and how many enemies you beat. I would prefer simply beating the enemies there to end the fight. There are boxes that give you items (I never figured out what the S icons did), especially good is the hammer that kills enemies in one hit. There are various moves you can do, and L can use items (like a sword), whereas R does techniques (healing, escape, fire rain, etc).
You soon gain the ability to transform into “Hyper Chinese” form by holding down L until the K-meter at the top left fills. This gives a bit more power and some new moves, including special moves that I never really learned how to use (I should have had an instruction manual for this game).
The other aspect of the game, which comes up quickly, are the platform sections.
This was definitely my least favorite part of the game. I felt like the control was clunky compared to designed action games like Rockman or Mario. A lot of them have scrolling screens where if it catches up with you you die (and lose half HP). Enemies often knock you way back into pits. And such. I used a lot of save states to pass these parts.
The game goes in a standard way — you arrive at a town, have to solve some problem there, and then get either a way to progress to the next place, or a star fragment. There are five galaxies with several planets each, which might make it seem like quite a long game. But after the first two galaxies, the remaining three have no world maps on any of the planets. Maybe they ran out of development time, but in the end the game is pretty short.
About 3/4 of the way through the game you get very powerful swords that pretty much slaughter the rest of the bosses with little trouble — I was happy to see this given my difficulty with the action aspect of the game.
Eventually we reach the tournament, which is a bunch of bosses one after the other. Jack and Ryu win, of course, and then beat Shubaban. But it turns out that Ginga Maola, the head of the Galaxy Warriors, abandons Shubaban and begins to use a big weapon that will destroy all planets in the galaxy. After fighting some old bosses again (including a mind-controlled Shubaban), we reach Ginga Maola.
He has several forms, but the powerful swords plus some healing techniques make it not so bad. The only tough one is the first form, which you have to beat with counterattacks. I never got the hold of guarding vs. moving backwards (both of which are left/right D-pad), but I managed to do it just by mashing the buttons until it worked.
Jack and Ryu save the universe and their king, and live happily ever after…at least until Super Chinese World 3.
Regular updates with a bit more substance will be back next week. I’m skipping Aktarion, localized as Secret of the Seven Stars, and Ys IV, which I played a couple of years ago (and isn’t all that good). Next up is a PCE action RPG called Ruin: Kami no Isan.
2 NES games and 2 GB games have that mixture of turn-based battles (exclusively for major bosses, from what I recall) and action RPG-style battles. Interestingly, this game was supposed to be localized as Galactic Defender, but it was cancelled mid-development. The SNES port of the first game has an infamously bad localization, with loads of Engrish. I really enjoyed the 2nd NES game way back when, but the company got kinda lazy with the series, since all of them use the same music for example.
I used to hate passwords. Copying them down was error-prone. But now with video recording equipment connected and old cart batteries dying, I'm thankful for passwords. Also, it allows not just friends, but everyone checking out blog posts and FAQs to utilize them to explore portions of games not easily reached.
It seems like Cultural Brain games were often adorably ambitious, but always a little to wildly janky. I'm mostly familiar with them thanks to SD Hiryu no Ken, an SFC fighting game they did the next year which it appears must've taken its graphic style after this, which is interesting to see. It looks like they really hit their stride as far as art went around this period.