Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 (NGPC)

Today I'm looking at Dark Arms: Beast Buster 1999 on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. It's apparently a spin-off of an arcade rail shooter called Beast Busters, and it came out in 1999, so that's why it has the weird title.

I like the Giger style biomechanical frame around the screen, but I'm not much of a fan of the character sprite. I guess it must be unshaded for technical reasons.

I know he looks a bit... dodgy, but don't worry he's cool. This is just our roommate, the Master. He's going to help us out on our mission to find an indestructible weapon to enable us to defeat the people of the darkness. I think.

He gives us a 'catcher' and tells us that our first task is to go out to the graveyard and collect a seed and some food.

This is the Master's house, and those are pretty nice graphics in my opinion. It doesn't look like I can actually use anything here though, except for the skull which is a save point.

Nothing else to do but visit the graveyard then.

This looks like the place. In fact it's all graveyard around here.

It turns out that the catcher is actually a gun, so I guess the food we're catching is... zombies?

These guys shamble around and spit acid at me, but they die easily enough, if not quite quick enough. It doesn't help that my catcher runs off a recharging 'POW' meter, so I have to keep running away to let it charge up.

I fight off five zombies and break into a crypt. It turns out that the egg looking thing on the top left is the seed I was sent here to collect. Now I just need to get back to the Master's house with the loot.

I feed the seed with 'food' (enemy souls) to power up the weapon.

Okay I've loaded everything I have onto this thing, time to turn it into a weapon!

Well it turns out that 'initialising' the gun doesn't make it ready to begin use, it actually deletes it. So I just wasted my time. Back to the graveyard then.


Huh, this place seems different from how I left it. I guess the levels change between day and night. But I've got some more food so I'm gonna get the hell out of here before I'm killed. I still haven't figured out how to get more health in this game, but I'm sure hanging around acid spitting zombies probably isn't it.

Oh, I can sleep in the bed! That makes sense.

I can't seem to remake my gun so I'm heading back out to find a new one.


I've found a captive to heroically rescue from gold skeletons. Step one: kill the gold skeletons. This may take a while.

Saving the guy gets me a key! Next I need to find a lock.

The key unlocked a door leading to a room with graves and a button. Shockingly, pressing the button released the occupants to harass me. I really wish I had a better gun right now.

Hang on, I'm sure it was the other door that was open a second ago. I should investigate.

Oh shit, ghosts, GHOSTS! I think I took a wrong turn.


Hmm, this seems to be a memory puzzle. The solution flashed on screen for a second as I entered the room, and now I need to remember where all the pairs were.

I'm not sure what the penalty for screwing up is, but I'm not eager to find out.

Oh shit, oh shit, it dropped me back in the ghost room! The penalty for failure is ghosts!

After one last unintended visit to the ghost room I finally solved the puzzle and got myself some orbs as a reward. Hey, you don't suppose that perhaps I'd be able to use these to create some kind of gun do you?

Good news is, I have made myself a real gun! The bad news is it doesn't capture souls. Why do I have to choose between kicking ass and collecting souls? Can't I do both?

Oh plus there's other bad news, I'm in a boss battle! Fortunately the capture gun and the handgun have different POW meters, so I can switch between them when one needs to recharge.


Well my character didn't learn anything from completing that level, but at least my gun did.

Even the town is crawling with zombies. I'm at the point now where I'm just avoiding them because trying to kill them just takes too long.

Yeaaahhhh.... I don't actually care.

It's a shame these places don't look as nice as the Master's house, which is weird because a lot of it is the same art. It's missing the shading though.

I'm just taking a break to look at this waterfall animation. It's so simple but it looks great.

Okay fine, I'll go back to shooting zombies and skeletons.


What? WHAT? How long have I been able to come back and pick this thing up? Well that would have been handy earlier.

I also evolved my handgun to a devastating BeamGun by feeding it 100 points of souls. It definitely does the job, but I'm not getting any souls back this way, and the upgraded catcher's still fairly pathetic.

It's a shame really because this seems like something I could have liked, but it sabotages my fun at every turn. Next game then.


  1. I enjoyed this game when I bought it for my NGPC a decade ago.
    Back then it was Pokemon or this one and Biomotor Unitron.
    If you haven't played the second one yet you'd better do while you are still playing NGPC titles.

    And find CAPCOM Vs SNK too (the first card games are in english).

    1. A Capcom vs SNK card game? Sounds like it'd be worth a look.

  2. Whaaaa? You've never heard of the majesty of Card Fighter's Clash? It's pretty much the greatest game ever to exist that involves trading cards.

    1. I have to admit, I don't know a whole lot about games involving trading cards. Or anything at all about them in fact. But I'm always working at trying to fill in the massive gaping holes in my vg knowledge, so I'll probably check some out.

    2. I agree that you need to check out the Cardfighters Clash. The 2nd one is now also available in English (was a Japanese-only release). See

  3. It's pretty much the greatest game ever to exist that involves trading cards.

    Better than Pokemon Trading Card Game 1 & 2 and Metal Gear Ac!d 1 & 2 and Baten Kaitos, and Origins and Lost Kingdoms 1 & 2 and Phantom Dust?

    Now this I gotta see.


Semi-Random Game Box