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Wonder 3 Arcade Gears
  PS1Action_VarietyJPN  
  opened by paleface at 03:05:42 09/01/03  
  last modified by paleface at 03:00:41 07/20/04  
  paleface [sys=PS1; cat=Action_Variety; loc=JPN]
           
Three beautiful ports of semi-obscure arcade games from Capcom's golden years on one little PlayStation disc, it really doesn't get a whole lot sweeter than this if you're looking for great quirky action games. The three games, "Roosters" (known in the US as "Midnight Wanderers," I think I actually remember this one from an arcade in my youth), "Chariot," and "Don't Pull," all feature gorgeously animated 2D sprites, two-player (simultaneous for all three, I think, though I haven't tried this yet), limited continues, and non-stop action.
 
"Roosters" casts you as an elfy guy running through a lush fantasy forest, slaying hordes of nasty bugs, goblins and monsters (the first boss is huge and looks amazingly like the Rancor from Return of the Jedi)--a 2D platformer with very smooth control, lots of weapon powerups (you even get floating "Option" gun pods, heh!) and enemies spawning around you constantly.
 
"Chariot," a side-scrolling shooter, has a mythical Mediterranean type of theme with gods, monsters, and sunny islands in a sparkling sea far below in the backgrounds. You have normal shots (again with lots of weapon powerups) and a power shot that uses three charges from your "tail," a chain of red orbs that you pick up and carry along behind you, wrapping around to block shots something like the tentacles in X-Multiply. As in "Roosters" the bosses are huge and everything just feels lush and gorgeous.
 
At first glance "Don't Pull," a single-screen overhead-view puzzler with somewhat plain block graphics, seems like the runt of the trio, but you haven't quite kicked puzzle-game butt until you've run like a maniac through DP's block mazes, slamming blocks into hordes of spawning monsters to squish them flat, clear the board and advance to the next round. Seems way too easy at first but quickly gets hard, and once these monsters get on your tail they do not let up. So squash them quickly and mercilessly! Most stages have some powerups to help you out, such as bomb blocks or items in star blocks that freeze the monsters, give points, or something similarly keen.
 
Very satisfying, and two-player simultaneous (if it indeed does that) would be mad.
 
  paleface 03:00:41 07/20/04
           
I've now played co-op through Roosters and Chariot. What's particularly interesting about these two is that at the end of Roosters, the characters strap on glider wings and fly off with the girl. Then in Chariot there they are in their glider wings, now playing horizontal shooter style rather than platform style. Most of the bosses and baddies are recycled as well. A very unusual type of sequel!
 
Both games have lush graphics and fairly satisfying cartoony violence, often with large bosses (larger on the whole in Chariot). On the down side, not only do they recycle bosses between the two games, each game also recycles bosses all by itself, with for instance one boss in Chariot appearing three times. This would be okay except that it was obviously done, at least in part, to cover for a distinct shortage of different boss characters. And that's too bad, because the bosses the got in are pretty neat, except for a couple with really cheap attacks.
 
Roosters gets a little frustrating near the end with extensive reliance on forcing the players to jump across tiny, revolving platforms. Does anyone really like doing that? Sick people, perhaps.
 
Aside from the jumping puzzles, Roosters seems pretty short, but Chariot, on the other hand, seems longer than most shooters. Which in part is a good thing but again could also be due to the repetitive nature of the boss encounters. Alas. You can get some really nice firepower going with stacked powerups, but it's hard to hold it long due to the size of your hitbox.
    
references:
· Capcom Classics Collection Remixed (PSP)

 
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