Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (NES)

Okay this one's a Famicom Disk System game by Konami called Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa. Sounds like a brand of plant food.

Oh no, don't tell me I'm playing as the baby? Maybe I'll be lucky and it'll turn out to be a genetically engineered bio-weapon disguised as a baby.

Wow, is this place inside the kid's imagination? It's making me hungry just looking at it. Not sure who let all these pigs into candy land though. I should probably do something about that.

Hitting the pigs with the Upa's rattle makes them inflate and float away up the screen, which is handy when I need to reach a high up platform. It's also a really disturbing weapon to give to a child, especially when the poor creatures deflate when they reach the top and fall to their deaths.

Other than the pig inflating, this seems like a pretty standard platformer so far. It's a little basic, but very slick. Upa's responsive and moves exactly as you'd want him to, there's no inertia, and the screen always gives me enough room in front so I can see what's coming up. Shame the camera can't scroll backwards though.


Well now I know what Birdo from Mario Bros 2 would look like if it was a pig.

This creature is the first boss, and it likes to spit out these red creatures at me. I don't even want to think about what they are, or why they were in his stomach to begin with. Unfortunately the guy seems to be rattle-proof, and the baby's far too young to be stomping on enemies, so I need an alternative form of attack.

Damn, I thought I was on to something with that idea. Inflated enemies are apparently harmless to other enemies, so I'll need another plan.

Unfortunately the nasty old pig knocked Upa's hearts down to zero before I could figure it out, and I was thrown all the way back to the start of the level. No mid-level checkpoints in this game.


Well I figured out the trick to kill the boss in the end. Turns out I had the right idea, but the floating enemies just needed a bit of a push to turn them into deadly projectiles.

Killing the pink pig boss revealed a pink chest, but instead of a reward inside were two tiny pink fairies who immediately kidnapped Upa and flew off. This kid seriously needs some adult supervision.

WORLD 1-2.

The fairies dropped Upa off inside a giant rat-infested cake which he has to eat his way through (thanks for that guys). Well I guess now I know why he's a bio miracle; the kid can consume a hundred times his body mass in fat and sugar and still somehow not die.

This level would be pretty easy if I didn't keep accidentally knocking inflated enemies around. They're like the Koopa shells in Mario, they like to bounce back at you when you're not expecting them.

WORLD 1-3.

Crap, I wasn't expecting that to happen. Standing on that sticky red lolly ice slowed me down and screwed with my jump height, so I didn't get enough distance to make it to the next platform. Which is a bit of a pain in the ass because now I only have one life left.

Funny how modern games never let you even come close to killing children (for sensible reasons), but in this I'm dropping babies into chasms every time I screw up.

This cheered me up though; a pointless flamethrower turret just sitting in the middle of the level for no reason. That'll teach those wild animals not to wander around outside, being totally indifferent to me.

Usually enemies will just wander past once, and when they reach the left edge of the screen then that's the last you'll see of them. but it seems that if a floating enemy is needed to get past a wall, the game will keep sending them over to you until you're able to make it across. Damn sensible game design in my opinion.

Son of a bitch! I was killed by trying to jump off another sticky lolly ice. I forgot that I had to press the jump button three times to get enough height to make it.

Well, at least the game has (an indeterminate amount of) continues. Shame it had to put me RIGHT BACK AT THE START OF THE GAME when I chose to continue. Why even give me the option to continue in the first world if it does nothing?


Turned out that the world 1-3 boss was the same as the world 1-1 boss, and he went down the exact same way. Only this time I was given a choice of two boxes to open afterwards! Unfortunately I ended up opening the one containing sinister fairies again.

C'mon guys, I broke you out of captivity, couldn't you just leave me be for once?

WORLD 2-1.

Floating cabbages and celery? I guess this must be salad world then.

I'm sensing a kind of  'food' theme to the game so far, which is suspiciously common in older games. I guess they must have been pushing their game designers to skip lunch too often. I wish I could say I've left the sugary excess of cake world behind for good, but there's no saves or passwords in this, so your progress only lasts as long as the console stays on.

Pictured above is me making a hilariously dumb move. I jumped up into a floating enemy without realising I'd bounce right off the underside, straight into a bottomless pit. Sorry kid.

That wasn't my fault this time. The tomatoes dropped the instant I landed on them, and I wasn't quick enough to react with the jump button. Well, okay maybe it was partially my fault, but c'mon.

Oh shit, now that was definitely not my fault. You can't stick three falling tomato blocks in a row, and then change the rules on the fourth one. That just ain't right.

This is a new disappearing/reappearing variety of tomato block, which looks identical to the others, but has a tendency to vanish just before I land on it, so that I'm left to plummet to my inevitable doom.

WORLD 2-2.

Those asshole fairies dumped Upa at the bottom of a lake! You know I was giving them the benefit of the doubt, thinking they might be helping us get to our destination (wherever that is), but this is just plain attempted murder. It's lucky we had some scuba gear handy or else this could have gone very badly.

Bio Miracle's a pretty simple game, but they have made an effort to add some variety, even if it is with a standard issue underwater stage. Though this scuba level feels so easy after the last one, almost as if they forgot to add something. I keep expecting water currents to suddenly push me into the wall spikes or something, but nope it's playing absolutely fair this time.

No, don't take my scuba gear you assholes, I need it to live!

WORLD 2-3.

I'm pretty sure there's no way these tomatoes could harm me, but I'm still nervous about walking on them now. Maybe they're going to suddenly fall upwards and crush me against the ceiling, or grow a mouth and swallow me whole. Perhaps they're tomato land mines.

Turns out in the end that they were just the falling kind of tomato. Crisis averted... until the next time.

AGH, FUCKING TOMATOES! WHY MUST YOU PLAY GAMES WITH MY MIND? I have no lives left so it started me off all the way back at world 2-1 again, before the scuba stage. I've got no real interest in doing all that again, so I'm turning it off now.

I think I'll have to give this a gold star, because even though I'm sick of it now, I get the feeling I'll be playing it again later anyway. It's a simple, well made, unspectacular platformer which hasn't had any real flaws so far, inconsistent tomatoes aside, and it's probably worth a look. Wikipedia claims that the only reason this didn't get an English language release was because of Nintendo of America's concerns that it wasn't good enough for the US market [citation needed], and yet somehow Total Recall, Super Pitfall and LJN games like Wolverine all got a Western release. Either they had some weird ideas about game quality back then, or this must really fall apart after world two.

Any thoughts about Bio Miracle, the way I hilariously struggled to say anything funny or interesting about the game, other games you'd like me to play, or just want to talk about the site in general? Feel free to leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry, you don't have to be hilarious every time. I actually rather liked this review, it was an interesting game with an interesting premise, and you provided an informative, thought-provoking look at it. Some games just aren't that funny, no matter how hard you try, especially ones that are kind of good. Though I must admit I was expecting a review on a game about a little baby jumping on ass-inflated pigs to be a laugh riot.

    The commentary on the tomatoes was pretty funny though.


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