Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wai Wai World 2: SOS!! Parsley Jō (NES)

Wai Wai World 2 title screen famicom
I played the first Wai Wai World game a few months back, and while it was alright, it had massive room for improvement. Getting all the most famous Konami characters together in one crossover platformer is a great idea, and I hope this sequel comes closer to doing the concept justice.

The game starts with pages and pages of text presumably explaining why this castle's escaping into space, but it's all in Japanese and I couldn't read a word of it, so I've got no clue what's happening. I bet that bastard Bowser is behind it though.

Okay I'm pretty sure this is a princess (or equivalent damsel in distress) being kidnapped by the game's ultimate evil. I remember the professor from the first game, but I don't recognise the other three.

So this Mega Man wannabe in red is the hero this time? I guess poor Konami Man and Konami Lady have been dropped from their own game series.

Aw, the poor bloke is only half the height of his girlfriend/the Princess/the President's daughter, whatever. "Don't worry, I'll save you!!! Though it might take a while, I've only got tiny legs!"

Wai Wai World 2 character select screen
Uh... what? In Wai Wai World I unlocked each Konami hero one at a time by rescuing them from their levels, but it seems that in this I get given three of them from the start. I hope this doesn't mean I'm stuck with only three extra people for the whole game.

Also there's no level select this time!

Wow, the game starts with an autoscrolling level. This seems like a huge step backwards from the first game's fully explorable world. Though I suppose it's one way to solve the problem the first game had with my character getting stuck up against the edge of the screen whenever I walked anywhere. In fact I don't even need to walk in this; I can just stand still and let the screen push me along the level.

Also, unlike the first game, I start off already carrying a weapon, and I don't even need to collect ammo for it. Plus it doesn't seem like I have any form of money at all in this one. And I can't even duck.

Collecting a 'C' powerup let me shapeshift into any of my three guest star characters for a short while. Goemon has a medium range weapon like the main character, and can move like the main character, and... well basically he's just like the main character. Though he doesn't use the health bar; instead he loses time off his transformation timer when he's hit.

The rest of the heroes are a little more varied in their skillset. Upa (from Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa) can turn enemies into clouds with his rattle, and then jump on them to float up the screen. Simon Belmont from Castlevania... has a whip. This guy from Contra (I think) has a gun he can fire in different directions, and the last guy (I think) is Getsu Fuma. He has a sword.

I haven't got those last two characters with me right now though, and I'm getting the feeling that I'll be stuck with my chosen three for the entire game.

Well I've reached the world map, but my crimson avenger seems to be lost. Where are you going mate? You're supposed to continue along the world map after completing a level, not run away in the opposite direction to go check out a spaceship. See, this is why the player should always be allowed to select the level.

Welcome to the side-scrolling shoot 'em up stage, where the sprite flicker gets serious. Like the last stage, this scrolls slowly to the right automatically, but somehow it's sending me to sleep even faster. I think it's the fluffy parallax clouds gently drifting across the screen...

Damn, I really must be dozing off here, I've only got one heart left and this isn't even difficult. Well, okay it can be hard to see the enemy bullets sometimes. I guess bright pink doesn't always show up so clear against pale blue.


BUT THEN.


Damn, I actually made it to the next level without getting hit. But my poor hero didn't get a life refill, so he just got killed straight away by a pair of these... flying... man I don't even know what these things look like. Robot crab helmets.

Hey, I've got a double jump! I was so happy to find this out I got distracted and my poor hero was killed again. For the final time.

Wai Wai World 2 game over screen
A difficult choice. Continue: yes/yes? Well I haven't seen much of the game yet, so I guess I'll go with... continue.

Of course continue started me off all the way back at the start of the entire game, so I had plenty of slow scrolling to sit through again.

Oh shit! The boss on the air battleship level is actually a miniature sea battleship... with legs! And it's kicking my ass.

If this was the first game I'd switch to another character with a full health bar fast, but sadly I can only transform when I've collected a 'C' pick up, so I'm screwed.


EVENTUALLY, AFTER A SMALL AMOUNT OF PERSEVERANCE.


Hey, I've reached Goemon's stage! And it's playing that Goemon theme I like from the other games (youtube link). That reminds me of something else I preferred in the first game. In Wai Wai World, the music would change depending on what character I was using, but in this it depends on the stage.

I've no idea what these little angel pick ups are supposed to be, but I get an extra life if I grab ten of them, so they're alright by me.

Nope, can't even go into buildings in this game. This really is much more straightforward and stripped down compared to the original. Though prettier for sure.

Wait a minute, I've just realised that this level isn't autoscrolling! It's like the game's getting better designed the further I get into it. Still can't scroll the screen backwards though.

I'm sure I've been in this exact place in Mr. Goemon. Though I don't remember the boss having a pogo stick that time around.

Anyway, this fight wasn't so hard. I skipped all that dodging crap and just wailed on him until he fell over. No idea who this guy was or why I had to beat him up, but I'm sure it all makes sense if you can read Japanese. Probably.

Sorry Colonel but I am not Solid Snake, I think you got the wrong radio frequency.

It looks like I have an important decision to make here, though I have no idea what it is. The one on the right starts with 'RPG' so I'll go with that.

Whoa, the game's turned into Twinbee, and it's looking very Final Fantasy down there (or whatever its Konami equivalent would be.) I guess now I know what 'RPG' meant.

I'd imagine this section plays identically to the actual Twinbee games, though it's been a while since I've played any of them. I have a theory that shooting the clouds gives me a bell, shooting the bell turns it blue and collecting a blue bell powers up my shooting. But I'm a bit preoccupied dodging giant floating skulls to really test that out.

Damn, that looks painful. I guess the poor NES hasn't got the power to display all the pieces he'd need for a fully connected stretchy neck.

Anyway I shot him in the fact until he was dead and that saved the day.

Konami Man cameo! Shame I have no idea what he's saying there. Probably something about me being suckered into doing his job for him. Yeah, well, at least I'm not the one with a Kellogg's bowl on my head!

It's time to park my Twinbee here, and go the rest of the way on foot. I've no clue why I'm stopping here, I was under the impression we were racing to rescue someone, but I suppose this must be an essential part of the plan.

Oh shit, I think this level is meant to be Contra! I'm playing through a Contra level as a baby!

Crap, it's a pink Xenomorph from Aliens riding around in a flying hotrod... and it's shooting four-legged alien headbugs at me!

I tried dodging and tactics and figuring out his pattern at first, but it wasn't working out. In the end I gave up and switched to dumb brute force, taking it on in a war of attrition. Eventually he ran out of his health before I ran out of my lives. So that worked out.

Awesome, we can take a rest here and grab some food.

Damn, this definitely looks familiar now. It wouldn't surprise me if these graphics were taken straight from the first world of Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa.

Hey wait a minute; I can scroll the screen backwards now! Which is weird because I couldn't do that in the actual Bio Miracle game, but whatever, I'm not complaining. I'm starting to think they made the first levels in this deliberately basic, so they could make the gameplay less restricted over time.

Agh, it's happening again! Damn fairies, they'd kidnap poor Upa like this at the end of every Bio Miracle level. I thought I'd escaped them forever, but the poor kid is cursed.

Then Konami Lady made a cameo to offer me a choice of levels. I couldn't understand a word she said though so I went with the one that said 'Go Go!' underneath. This turned out to be a mistake.

It stuck me in a bloody driving level with instant-death crashes, and I burned through all my extra lives in seconds. I was terrible at it, and it won't even let me go back and try the other branch instead.

Well I doesn't seem like I'm getting any further in this, so here have a free WORLD6 pass word. I can't remember ever seeing a grid password system like that in a game before, but it beats writing down 24 letters at least.


I think the actual gameplay is definitely more solid than in Wai Wai World 1, and it's nice that I could actually see what was in front of me this time, but they've stripped away all the depth. The original game was more like the Metroid games, all about exploring levels and gaining extra abilities. Getting new characters was a big deal, and essential to make progress. This is just a linear platformer/shooter/crappy racing game, and the extra characters are just temporary power ups. I mean it's an alright game, I just found it really boring.


If you have anything to say anything about the Wai Wai World games, the site in general, or just want to point out that "boring" is a terrible word to say in criticism and that I should be ashamed for using it, you're welcome to leave a comment!

2 comments:

  1. I keep laughing at "I'm playing through a Contra level as a baby!" It's the wrongest thing in the world! That baby doesn't even have a spread gun!

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  2. Wow, dang, I couldn't disagree more with the overall conclusion here. Given, most of the time I've spent with this one (and it's quite a bit of time, honestly) hasn't been in an emulator, and has often been with pals. Both of those things definitely improve the experience at least somewhat.

    To be fair, picking Upa may have been part of the problem- he's just kind of an awful character aside from his stages. Generally, Goemon/Bill/Fuuma is the most overpowered team, although I generally prefer Upa/Bill/Simon and completely ignore Upa.

    The combination of just about every good non-licensed Konami game released up to that point, with new play styles for many of them, is pretty much a dream. Konami games of the time often had a lot more gameplay variety than most (see Lone Ranger, Bayou Billy), but this one really takes the cake since they're all virtually identical to the games they're referencing. You didn't make it to the end, it seems, but there's Frogger and others later on.

    I genuinely hope at some point that you give this one another chance, and see it through to the end.

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