Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Burning Force - Dat Hover bike! Dat Ass!

Most of my childhood is a blur but the games I played back then I remember clear as a bell.  How I even acquired most of the games I owned back then still eludes me to this day.  Of course the obvious answer is that my parents bought the game for me, but I wonder what went through my mind when I got this game.  Now that I'm man, I completely understand now: it's for dat ass.  Ha!  Just kidding.  What we really got here is a solid arcade/genesis action title.

Namco's Burning Force for the Sega Genesis was released in 1990, but was originally released for Japanese arcades in 1989. We never got the game in American arcades so we have to make due with the genesis version, which actually fixes the game's difficulty a bit by allowing you to take multiple hits! The game is still hard but not nearly as hard as say....Pick Axe Pete.

Day 3 was kind of trippy.
You play as a cadet named Hiromi Tengenji who aspires to be a space pilot. You guide her on a 5 day training mission fighting a whole bunch of robotic enemies. If you ever played Sega's "Space Harrier" then you get the right idea. Each training day is broken up into 4 parts. The first 2 parts take place in the morning and afternoon as you ride a hover bike dodging bullets and enemies coming at you from all directions and you're only limited to moving to the left or right so you're not very maneuverable. The boss of the day takes place during the evening and your hover bike is upgraded to a full-blown fighter space ship that enables you to move up-and-down as well as side-to-side. Which makes this whole game kind of weird because that makes the boss fights EASIER than the stages leading up to it! Of course this game is hard enough to make you thankful for the extra advantage given with spaceship flight.

This OST album art isn't suggestive at all.
Of course, as the Japanese game poster might imply, you do spend a good amount of time staring at the behind of Hiromi, too bad it's only 16-bit and very far away! Plenty of other games have much better fan-service so there's no point in talking about it really, but hey it did make you read this blog post! Admit it! Graphics aside, the game is backed up with a fitting soundtrack. Each day has it's own backdrop and song with the 3rd day standing out as you race across what seems to be a giant chess board. The game actually had a soundtrack released for it under the name of "Namco Game Sound Express Vol. 2" which features remastered versions of the songs in the game. It sounds very early 90s, so check it out!

Overall though, there's nothing too terribly special about this game. I enjoy the fact that it reminds me of both F-Zero and Space Harrier, and the gameplay is fast paced if not difficult. I spent a ton of time with this game as a kid, probably more than my other genesis games at the time, it was tough but it was also fair in that you get continues to keep going, so this game is VERY beatable. What's interesting though is that somebody actually remembers forgotten videogame heroine Hiromi Tengenji and put her in the Namco X Capcom game released for the PS2 in Japan back in 2005 with a remixed theme song to boot! I'm glad, because I felt the entire character was wasted potential when they did nothing with her after this game. Oh well, check out the footage:


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