|Compilation of five TwinBee "cute-em-up" shooters: TwinBee, Detana TwinBee, TwinBee Yahoo (see entry 65 for those two; NCS calls Yahoo "Twinbee Yahho! Fushigi no Kuni de Ooabare"), Pop'n TwinBee (see entry 990), and what is apparently a full-color, PSP remake of the original GameBoy game "TwinBee Da!"|
In all of these games you play one of two cute little ship robots, flying up the screen, throwing bombs and shooting lasers at cute little enemies, some flying, some on the ground. You can get your arms shot off, which will prevent you from throwing more bombs until a flying ambulance comes along and re-attaches them. I don't generally like the Xevius-style shoot/bomb separate in vertical shooters, but in these ports you can at least bind the functions to the same button, so it isn't so bad. Superimposed menus also let you choose screen resolutions (original in a smaller window, stretched to fill the PSP screen, also rotated if you want to view on the PSP's screen longwise), difficulty settings, autosave, button mappings, and so forth, with one exception, which I'll come to in a bit.
TwinBee is awful; the rudimentary graphics and sound have not aged well at all, and the enemy waves seem plotted specifically to fly out of your way before you can hit them. Rawr.
Detana TwinBee is a massive improvement in every respect. It's actually fun. It does bring in the really annoying form of bell juggling for powerups destined to curse the series, and the Parodius games as well, for the rest of their existence. Bad. Basically, shooting clouds may cause a bell to pop out. Shooting the bell makes it ring and knocks it up the screen, and, possibly, causes it to change color. Colors correspond to different powerup effects, like increased speed or whatnot. The annoying part of this is that usually by the time the bell changes color, you already have other shots on their way to it that will hit it again, changing its color back to normal. And, because you have to shoot at enemies all the time as well, it's hard to grab the bells, regardless of color, because your stray shots are constantly popping them up to the top of the screen, out of reach.
Plus they make that really shrill ringing sound.
TwinBee Yahoo is good and bad for pretty much the same reasons, along with slight improvements in production values.
Pop'n TwinBee is a bit of a step down in terms of graphics and sound, since it was a SNES game, rather than one running on arcade hardware. It introduces several new weapons, like a weird bouncy-ball bomb, and a melee punch attack, which are really just distracting and unnecessary complications. The real problem with Pop'n in this compilation, though, is that it doesn't have a configuration menu like the other games--at least not one I could find--except for button mapping. So you're stuck playing it in icky stretched-screen mode. Yurgh. This omission is sad and completely baffling.
Da is the real surprise of the bunch. Adapted specifically to the PSP's screen resolution, it looks great, and plays simply and crisply. Unlike the other TwinBees, where you lose all your powerups when you die, in Da you have a chance to recollect them, so you aren't entirely screwed. Kudos. Now if only it hadn't kept the bell juggling.