Kaette Kita Cyborg Kuro-chan Review by: yoshirulez!Psycho Cat Saves the Grandparents
Taking a look at everything that North America don't get can give a good idea of how every culture has it's own good's and bad's. While some cultures don't have access to some things such a European Hatchbacks, snacks that are praised among otaku, or some very nice DLC that for some reason never made it overseas, they might have some things such as football, freedom, or maybe even some videogames. In this instance, we might have those things, but we don't have access to the vast library of games typically from Japan. This is an unfortunate thing, but luckily with the magic of emulation, your dream can come true. And, I think, experiencing this different culture is something that everyone should do. Whether it's food, music, or videogames, it's something that should be shared with the world. And so, I bring your attention to the Cyborg Kuro-chan series. Seemingly a gritty reboot of Felix the Cat, it originated as a shonen manga series by Naoki Yokouchi, the manga spawned an anime series as well as 3 shoot-em-ups. The first two were very nice railshooters, but this particular game no longer restricted to such rails. Allowing full control over your character, you are given an arsenal of weapons and are granted permission to destroy anything and everything in your path. You play as Kuro, a housecat abducted by the vile Mantaro Go or "Dr. Go" as he is commonly referred to, and turned Kuro into a cyborg cat as well as his own personal soldier as an addition to his Nyan-Nyan Army he plans on using to take over the world. However, Kuro-chan breaks free and now lives to fight to protect his owners, as well as his friends Mi-kun (or Mie in this game) and Matatabi, former childhood friend and now notorious antihero, from the forces of Dr. Go as well as any other threats that he may cross paths with.
You play through 6 levels full of chaos and explosions across 3 characters with varying arsenals of destruction. Kuro's main weapon is a gatling gun, which is probably the most effective weapon in the game. It also has infinite ammunition, giving you the upper hand in the war against Go. Mi-kun's primary weapon is a Sword, capable of destroying everything on the screen with a single swipe. Matatabi returns with his infamous Boomerang, which can be rapidly thrown and makes it quite versatile. Among other things, you have a Flamethrower, a Missle Launcher, and a very large Hammer or other Melee weapon, all upgradeable through the game's unique level-up system. Collecting level-up pickups across stages, you can use them to upgrade your speed, your defense, your weapons, or just use it to replenish health. Without having to go to a level-up screen or anything to do this, it provides a great action experience as you swiftly make decisions while dodging a hail of bullets, missles, and random objects coming at you.
Graphics: 8/10. This game has some very impressive sprite work, everything is nice and colorful and clear, even in the midst of total chaos and mayhem. Seeing everything scramble across the screen in such a fashion is quite pleasing to the eye, and entertaining in a way. They managed to keep everything up-to-date with the Playstation's graphical capabilities for a 2D game, and although it doesn't look very manga-like, they managed to keep Naoki's distinct graphical style, which pays a lot of homage to the original design. The cutscenes are rich and vibrant, and despite not being animated, they still give you a very good idea of what's going on in the plot. Considering the game is incomprehensible due to the fact that most of the game's text is in Japanese, at least.
Sound: 7/10. Most of the music in the game seems to rely heavily on synthesizers, but that doesn't stop it from being catchy as hell. Although a lot of the music is really unfitting for the moments, I don't think that it should be changed because there's something about dashing around and destroying things while a happy song is playing. If you're into serious gaming it might be an issue, but chances are you'll find some way to make an exception for this mistake. If there's something you should complain about, it's probably the fact that there's 4 unused tracks that sound pretty sweet. Aside from the music, the sound effects and voice clips are very very clear so you can understand what they're saying. At least, if you spoke Japanese...
Addictiveness: 10/10. From the first moment I shot something and saw it go boom, I was hooked. I didn't stop playing until I wound up beating the entire game, which was more addicted than I've been in a very long time. Actually, I didn't even stop there. I went on to beat the game as the two other characters as well. Basically, I beat the game 3 times in a single session because it was that addictive. Anything that makes me want to play the game again right after beating it gets a solid 10 in my book. And who knows, maybe you'll do the same, or maybe you'll have better self control than me.
Story: 1/10. I say this because I actually don't know the story, due to the fact that the entire thing is in Japanese. The only thing I understood was that you were fighting the Nyan-Nyan Army for some reason, which is a generic and boring plot. I'll edit this if I ever wind up understanding the true plot behind this game..
Depth: 6/10. Although you have many many arsenals of weapons, 6 levels, plenty of customization and 3 characters to choose from (not counting the alternate outfit you get for Kuro) there's not much else about this game. It's very straight and to the point, it doesn't drag on for a long time, and it doesn't have any side things to do. It's probably more fitting as an arcade game, to be honest. I guess I can let go of that considering it's a shoot-em-up, but I just really wish there was more to this game besides that.
Difficulty: 1/10. It's not very hard unless you're limiting yourself to how many credits you can use. There's an infinite amount of credits and you can pretty much blast anything to bits, so it shouldn't give you any grief when trying to get through the game. Some parts are usually unfair instead of difficult, and the bosses are either incredibly weak, or incredibly overpowered. Some serious balance issues happened somewhere along the line and you'll probably be a bit annoyed at this game if you let it get to you.
Chilling out to the wonderful sounds of destruction and the soothing sounds of some nice synth is incomparable to a lot of videogame experiences. And since life is about experiences, everyone should experience this. At the time of writing this, this game only has 1 play and it wasn't even me since I played it elsewhere. So I'm hoping that, eventually, this game -- or even this series, will get a decent amount of recognition. You'd think that since it's about a ripoff of Felix the Cat being turned into a cyborg and given weapons of mass destruction would get people's attention, but due to the fact that it was released in Japan and not other places has rendered the game virtually unknown and only has a cult following. Hopefully, you'll enjoy this game as much as I did, or maybe even more. And maybe if it gets enough attention, it might even get an english patch and we can all enjoy it all over again in a comprehensible language.
Thanks for reading, and happy gaming.