The line-up is revealed and it’s a doozy.
Well, they did it. They got Parasol Stars. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that anyone, anywhere – on anything, for any reason, would ever re-release Taito’s seminal, criminally underplayed “Story of Bubble Bobble III”. But lo, here it is. My “absolutely won’t happen” pipe dream, bolstering an absolutely phenomenal line-up.
And here is that line-up in full:
Air Zonk, Aldynes (SuperGrafx), Alien Crush, Appare! Gateball, Blazing Lazers, Bonk’s Adventure, Bonk’s Revenge, Bomberman ’93, Bomberman ’94, Bomberman: Panic Bomber (CD), Cadash, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (CD), Chew Man Fu, Chou Aniki (CD), Daimakaimura (Ghouls ‘N Ghosts) (SuperGrafx), Dungeon Explorer, Fantasy Zone, Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire (CD), Gradius, Gradius II: GOFER no Yabou (CD), J.J & Jeff, Jaseiken Necromancer, Lords of Thunder (CD), Military Madness, Moto Roader, New Adventure Island, Neutopia, Neutopia II, Ninja Ryuukenden (Ninja Gaiden), Ninja Spirit, Parasol Stars, Power Golf, Psychosis, R-Type, Salamander (US/EU only), Snatcher (CD), Soldier Blade, Space Harrier, Super Darius (CD), Super Momotarou Densetsu II, Super Star Soldier, Star Parodier, The Kung Fu, Tokimeki Memorial (CD, Japan only), Victory Run, Ys Book I & II (CD).
Bask in that, because it’s incredible. Seriously, I’ve been trying my utmost to think of anything missing and all I can pull from memory are Liquid Kids, New Zealand Story, Mr. Heli and Bonk 3. And that’s more than a little nit-picky given the calibre of this Mini marvel. Bomberman ’94! Rondo of Blood! Cadash! Gradius effin’ 2!! I don’t want to oversell it, but this is going to be one of the best things ever.
There are some problems and it would be remiss of me to ignore them. Foremost in my mind is the inclusion of Snatcher, Hideo Kojima’s early sci-fi noir-ish visual novel/adventure game.
“Stow it, Gipp” I hear you cry. “We’re sick of your contrarian pomposity.” Let me finish, Nauties! I was as thrilled to see Snatcher on here as anyone would be, until I read the fine print. You see, the TurboGrafx-16 Mini contains a medley of both Western releases and Japan-only games. The CD version of Gradius 2, for example, never saw a US release, but here it is. The official website for the Mini explains that the Japanese/PC Engine games on the system – while largely available worldwide (excepting Tokimeki Memorial, which has been replaced in the West with Salamander) – will not be translated into English. For Gradius and, say, Rondo of Blood, that’s not really a huge deal. With Snatcher? It kills the game.
It’s not a lost cause. There could yet be a translation. But I wouldn’t hold your breath. It’s great for Japanese speakers, naturally, but I’d wager they’re not going to comprise a large amount of the Mini’s western audience. It feels like a huge wasted opportunity to dangle the carrot of beloved cult classic Snatcher under the noses of Western gamers, only to not offer it in English. Maybe it’s just me, but I would prefer it be substituted out for something else than presented in an unplayable form. There’s a precedent, as – like I said – Tokimeki Memorial on the Japanese Mini is replaced by Salamander on the Western device. And I’m not an idiot, I know that translating games is hard. I know that the extant Sega CD version’s English script can’t just be drag-and-dropped. But imagine the good will Konami would generate by making it happen! This is very much a product for hobbyists and I feel as though a new translation of Snatcher would absolutely sell the heck out of more units.
Snatcher-based screwup aside, the TurboGrafx-Mini is probably the best out-of-the-box lineup I’ve ever seen on a product along these lines and I can’t wait to get hold of one. It’s an embarrassment of gaming riches and if it gets hacked (like its NES, SNES and PlayStation predecessors), any straggling titles will simply be able to be added by the user.