“Jajamaru no Daibouken is one other almost-classic within the sequence”
Daibouken means “huge journey”
I’ve a critical soft-spot for Jajamaru-Kun. It was Jaleco’s almost-classic sequence of video games. None had been all that nice, however they tried their little hearts out. 1986’s Jajamaru no Daibouken was the second sport within the sequence (third if you happen to depend Ninja-Kun). Tremendous Mario Bros. dominated the earlier yr, so for the sequel, Jaleco determined to alter the method to be extra of a side-scrolling platformer.
1986 was the yr that Metroid and Castlevania hit the scene. Subsequent to them, Jajamaru no Daibouken is fairly embarrassing. It’s an apparent try to sustain with the pack however makes so many errors that it’s not batting in the identical league. Regardless of that, it’s all the things I like about plumbing the Famicom library. It’s distinctive, it’s blatantly Japanese, and it appears to exist in a second that we by no means noticed within the West.
Jajamaru no Daibouken has the identical story as Ninja Jajamaru-kun. The princess has been taken prisoner by the Catfish pirate. Go save her. The large distinction right here is that as a substitute of clearing out a bunch of quick ranges, you alternate between reaching the proper aspect of the extent and combating a boss.
The degrees are fully horizontal and sometimes encompass a bunch of floating platforms. A few of the blocks are destructible and include both cash, power-ups, or a bomb so you may die in a hearth. There’s all kinds of enemies standing in your manner, and also you throw shurikens to make them die. Fairly normal stuff.
The controls in Jajamaru no Daibouken are terribly floaty. You’re additionally allowed solely two projectiles on display at a time, so if you happen to miss, you’re ready till these infants fall off the sting of the display earlier than you throw one other. It’s not that tough in idea, however there are 20 ranges (earlier than it simply loops again to the start) and no continues. Minute-by-minute, it’s easy-peasy, however truly climbing to the highest is monumental.
The bosses are enjoyable, however not within the sense that they’re satisfying to battle. They’re very fundamental and quite simple to defeat, however they’re issues like warrior monks and Raijin (who seems to be peeing on the floor at excessive velocity). The monsters themselves are distinctive. I used to be delighted once I hit the sport’s depiction of rokurokubi, the long-necked girl yokai. Basically, I benefit from the sport’s sprite-work. Its squat critters are fairly charming.
The ability-ups are the place issues get bizarre. The contents of blocks are randomized, so you may get one at any time, and 4 of the 5 of them trigger invincibility. There’s a cart that allows you to run over enemies, a potion that turns you intangible, and if you happen to gather these and the shuriken improve, the display simply goes ballistic, and all the things that seems on display immediately dies. Seizure warning. If you happen to’re actually fortunate, you’ll discover Jajamaru-kun’s frog, Gamapakkun. Additionally seizure warning. He too makes you invulnerable and may eat enemies. Every certainly one of these overpowered pick-ups lasts a very long time, so you may scoot by means of big parts of a degree on a single power-up.
The truth that discovering these are based mostly completely on luck is hilarious to me. You’ll find a cart within the first block you break, then the extent is simply cake. It’s the equal of being born wealthy. Struggling is for poor individuals. Simply inform the sport that your dad performs golf with the chief of police and that DUI by no means occurred. See you on the end line.
As sloppy as Jajamaru no Daibouken is, I discovered it to be numerous enjoyable. As I mentioned, it’s not in the identical league as Castlevania, however it has an infectious allure to it. If you happen to’re privileged sufficient to search out all the great power-ups, you may have the entire sport completed quite shortly, however luck has a behavior of not arriving on time. It had the mindset of arcade-to-console ports on the time in the truth that you had been purported to play them for the excessive rating.
To my data, Jajamaru no Daibouken was by no means ported from the Famicom. That’s till the Famicom video games had been gathered up into the Ninja Jajamaru Assortment on Change and PS4. In fact, that was solely launched in Japan, however we’re residing in a (largely) region-free world. It’s simply too dangerous we didn’t get a localized model right here within the west, since among the video games are extra text-heavy.
You don’t really want to know Japanese to play Jajamaru no Daibouken, although. There isn’t a lot textual content in any respect, and the toughest to discern a part of it’s the rating that every enemy offers, because it’s written within the traditional Japanese model. If that also throws you off, I used to be capable of finding a fan translation of it.
Try earlier Famicom Fridays proper right here.