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"A Flying Schoolgirl that'd Make Capcom Proud!"
Dreams, revenge, and
Pork. It's all part of the preparation for Sakuru, a young schoolgirl with
a big tournament coming up in a week's time. But when Sakuru refuses to
pay Bano the fortune teller for his services, it's Bano that hops into
the machine and invades Sakuru in her dreams!
Just as she wakes
up, Sakuru makes even more enemies after eating some really bad pork. When
she spits it out, an army of pork foes armed with bacon arrive and fight
back! With three levels in all, can Sakuru make it through this training
alive so she can enter the great tournament?
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|Once again, Hyper Anime does wonders in
the graphics category by mixing well-animated demo sequences with a good
ratio of high-quality ingame graphics. Also, the game is flickerless (much
in difference to Hyper Anime's Puzzle Bomber series).
Since there are so many QB shooters out
there though, it's very hard to have a new one ready without making direct
comparisons between them. In terms of Graphics, BAkuen SAkuru are a little
on the choppy side. But this is forgiven somewhat by the fact that there
are so many on-screen enemies moving at once. No other QB shooter (let
alone QB game) even comes close to the sheer number of enemies on-screen
at the same time, and even though the graphics aren't pixel-by-pixel movement,
it's very playable and still quite addictive.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|Considering that this game does excel
in the Sound/Music category because of the sheer number of sound effects
and music featured, it's a bit surprising that it's also BAkuen SAkuru's
low point. I believe the problem here is just the way the sound effects
and music blend in terms of volume. The music is unoriginal but a little
refreshing. However, whenever a sound effect plays out it seems to override
the music and is a pain to the ears, disrupting the flow of the music.
In the end, I found the game a little more enjoyable with my Sound Blaster
speakers on mute.
|Gameplay (n.)The precision of control
and involvement of character within its universe
|BAkuen SAkuru is your typical shooter,
with a twist. Instead of playing a ship, you fly around as a schoolgirl,
getting ready for a tournament of some sort. During each level, you use
the arrow keys to move and press the Control key to shoot enemies (basically
everything you see is an enemy). While shooting down enemies with standard
weapon will get you far, sometimes there are some enemies that are so strong
that better firepower is needed. Thankfully, BAkuen SAkuru comes with such
a remedy, in the form of a meter.
This special meter fills up in the game
depending on the number of enemies you shoot down. Then, you can press
the Alt key to unleash a special weapon depending on how full your meter
is. With this system, you can tap into three extra weapons, including the
powerful and screen-covering love love heart snake! This is easily the
largest weapon ever made in a QB game, and it packs as much of a wallop
to the eyes as to anything that stands in its path.
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|Good. Japanimation and shooter fans will
both have a lot to appreciate from BAkuen SAkuru. For one, it's yet another
QB game with a female heroine instead of a man (and also the third Hyper
Anime game to feature a female as the lead character of the game!) Also,
in typical Hyper Anime tradition, there are many non-disruptive and wonderfully
animated cutscenes between each of the game's levels. The cartoon-like,
flickerless animation is all thanks to an FLC player especially designed
for QB and a lot of extra work done by Hyper Anime.
What probably would have helped in this
category is a little more story development and polish during the game's
demos. The English isn't quite perfect, and a little more could have been
done to give the game's story some flow. Copy Rezo, the main programmer
of Hyper Anime, does cite the story problem due to the fact that the story
demos were made in a day.
By the way, if you get past the first level,
you'll learn why BAkuen SAkuru instantly received an "M" rating, although
the rest of the game doesn't really have much profanity, violence, or whatnot.
It's proof that all you need is one crazy scene to move your game's demographics
by a long shot. It's actually pretty good in terms of graphics and you
have to see it to believe it.
|Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience
can be repeated again and again
|BAkuen SAkuru is pretty much at the standard
when it comes to replay value. If shooters are your favorite type of QB
game, this addition will probably fit nicely with your copy of Monospace,
Shell Shock, Mooncrap, Project: Zeta, Dynamic, and whatever other QB games
you happen to have laying around in your hard drive. But BAkuen SAkuru
has a different appeal since the gameplay and look of the game is different
from other QB shooters!
Again, the sound and the graphics are probably
where BAkuen SAkuru could shine a little more. The audio isn't quite to
the point that it's absorbing yet but the gameplay is quite solid and all
it's own compared to other QB shooters. Also, since the game has a pretty
decent challenge level throughout, it's a little hard to put this game
down once you've started it.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|From the first level up, you'll be quick
to notice that BAkuen SAkuru's enemies rely more on sheer quantity than
speed to defeat you. The game is not shy about having dozens of on-screen
enemies at the same time, and if you spend the whole time trying to dodge
the enemies instead of blasting back at them and filling your power meter,
you're going to enter an early grave.
The key to winning in BAkuen SAkuru is
persistence. Know where to stand your ground, then fire your weapons as
much as you possibly can. Make you you learn about your cannon's special
powers, including the ability to shoot a snake-like stream, and the rare
shooting ability of firing to the rear. Also note that some baddies in
the game are invulnerable to your attacks.
The bosses also prove to be a challenge
in BAkuen SAkuru, and are probably the most elaborate bosses ever made
in a QB shooter yet. The first level boss, the insane fortune teller Bano,
has attacks that literally cover the entire screen. So you're going to
have to do a lot of jerking around while making sure that you can maintain
your own offense. Once you beat the first boss though, you should have
enough skill to beat the other two.
|Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Average. Perhaps this is a matter of personal
preference, but when I play side-by-side shooters I always prefer the "Gradius"
approach of gaming best, where there are loads of power-ups and score bonuses
so that there's always a reason to go back to play another game (a.k.a
to beat your high score or find hidden bonuses). BAkuen SAkuru doesn't
have either of these features, but does shine in other aspects. There's
no score system, and weapon power-ups are created if you can shoot down
enough bad guys to charge a meter. The game itself is fine the way it is,
but it sure could have used one feature or the other.
Still, BAkuen SAkuru is incredibly tight.
There are always a lot of on-screen enemies at a time, and the screen is
literally covered with enemy swarms and your own firepower, especially
when you learn to charge your weapons. If you like the kind of shooter
where you have to find hiding places and shift from place to place constantly
all while seeing how many enemies you can shoot down, then BAkuen SAkuru
will do you right.
BAkuen SAkuru Reviewed by Vance Velez
||Genre: Arcade Game
||To solve: 3-5 hours Final Rating: 20/35
To download this game, click here.
play BAkuen SAkuru, unzip the file and run "SAKURU.BAT".
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