Night of the Emus #17

The only Dragonball game I’ve ever played, mainly because no one in America had any idea what Dragonball was yet when this came out. Dragon Power is a weird beat-em-up/action-adventure game where you visit strange locations looking for “crystal balls” so you can get a wish from a dragon. Some levels are just straightforward punch-fests, while others make you search a bunch of little buildings for items you need to progress, like a…shapeshifting pig-boy.

The cutscenes are some of the most ridiculous and badly translated ones you’ll ever see in an NES game and I feel like I should be annoyed that the same damn song plays for almost the entire game (though it is a very catchy song), but these things are part of the game’s sloppy charm.

What kind of ruins it though, is the fact that you only have one life and your health is constantly draining. You can only survive by constantly finding health items and they only drop randomly from enemies or inside secret rooms. Even worse, later on you’ll find that if you die anywhere after the mid-point of the game you’ll be sent all the way back to the mid-point when you continue. This makes the highly difficult later levels practically impossible, even with save states. I actually got all the way to what I think was the final boss, but I just couldn’t get there with enough health to survive the fight. So close…maybe someday…(or maybe I’ll just get the Euro version, which supposedly has a level select cheat).

What a weird, sloppy game this was. There are so many things going on in Bart vs. The Space Mutants. The first level is a confusing kind of adventure/puzzle game where you have to find a certain number of purple objects and find ways to re-color, cover, or destroy them. Some of them have to be spray-painted, some shot with bottle rockets that you have to buy in a shop, and others require very specific chains of events to even find. It sounds interesting in theory, but it gets annoyingly convoluted, especially with how questionable the controls are (run and jump are THE SAME BUTTON!!).

Oddly enough, the game just completely ditches this style after the first level and switches to simple items that you just touch to collect for most of the rest of the game. The exception being the last level where things get super convoluted again as you have to find all the power rods, but they’re spread throughout an extremely maze-like area and you can only pick up 4 before you have to go drop them off in the basement. The final rod is also extremely annoying, as you can only get it from Maggie, and only once you’ve found and placed all the other rods, and you have no real way of knowing to do this unless you’ve done it before.

Still, there’s something catchy and memorable about the experience. Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but even though it’s such a clumsy game in general, it’s fun in its own way and it certainly makes a good effort at doing something new and unique for a basic platformer of its time. I’ll have to jump back into Bart vs. The World next time.

A guilty pleasure series as a kid, Valis was a “girl’s game” (by the standards of the late 80’s/early 90’s), but I liked it anyway because of it’s cool 80’s anime theme. Valis is about a Japanese schoolgirl who gets a magic sword and transforms into a fantasy warrior who then has to fight a bunch of outlandish monsters and an evil wizard boss named Rogles. I suppose it is kind of like a less flamboyant, more violent Sailor Moon. 

I never really played this one or the second one. I got into the series when Valis 3 came out for some reason. Seems to be pretty much the same formula across the series though, very basic jumping and slashing gameplay, but it has great visual design and music and some really nice looking cutscenes for the time (though they are extremely slow-moving and long-winded). Will probably move on to Valis 2 next time. That’s all for now!

6 comments on “Night of the Emus #17

  1. Dickieee says:

    Yeah, the Simpsons definitely did it right with the arcade game. Vs the space mutants could have been better. Thanks for your reviews.

  2. The3rdPlayer says:

    A little part of me glows when I hear folks mention Valis, as I rented it once when I was a kid and loved it but completely forgot it existed until getting to know some other gamers and thir blogs. I remember really enjoying, though!

    Never hears of Dragon Power, but can honestly only remember Bart vs.’ first level and I don’t think I ever got past that, haha. I also remember Bart vs. The World being pretty tough, too, so my memory of The Simpsons on the NES is not super fond.

    Awesome rundowns on these games!

  3. The Otaku Judge says:

    I played Valis 3 on an emulator years ago and enjoyed it. A modern Valis game would be cool. Who knows if that will ever happen though. The last Valis title that came out was an erotic visual novel.

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