Note: This review was made on actual Turbografx 16 hardware with no emulation
This is Shockman. It is the second Japanese game which is simply called ‘Shockman’ when it got released in the West. It is the Mega Man of the Turbografx 16. You ask: “Is this a great classic that time has forgotten?” You wonder: “Has Mega Man 2 finally met its match?” You plead: “Does it earn the Malstrom Award, the Most Distinguished Award in all of Gaming ™?”
We have but one way to find out…
Shockman is said to be a Mega Man clone. This isn’t exactly true. Stylistically, it is like Mega Man with the character being a human that can turn robotic, fires like Mega Man, has a charged shot like Mega Man, and lives in a futuristic robotic universe. But the differences are many. There is no stage select. The stages are few. However, the game turns into a shmup for several levels (in Level 2, for example, it is underwater, and you are in a submarine shmup). Shmups! Shmups! Shmups! This is the Turbografx 16 after all.
Two huge differences from Mega Man style gameplay is that you can shoot UP. Yes. Capcom never allowed Mega Man to shoot up which is interesting. Here, you can. The other difference is that you can play as two different characters which have some different abilities… and you can do so in co-operative simultaneous mode. Both people will be using one life meter though so the game won’t necessarily be easier.
What makes this game, at all interesting, is its musical type vibe (some good stuff), the two characters you can choose, the endless continues, and the two player co-op. It also makes you nostalgic for Mega Man. This game is not fun to play at all. The gameplay is really lacking beneath the neat graphics. No Malstrom Award in this. Avoid!
Disclaimer: The ‘quality’ is gauged only by how often I return to the game. TG16 games are not isolated; they are compared to every other game out there. A game can be ‘bad’ and keep me coming back. A game can be ‘good’ that I never want to touch again. Irrational addictive-ness, which defies quantification, is the only element examined here.
-TG 16 Games Reviewed So Far-
Malstrom Awards: (Addictive and Awesome even today, they refuse to age. Score of 10)
Devil’s Crush ([$68] Imaginative sound and gothic theme. You’ll keep coming back to this one.)
Galaga ’90 [$34] (Purest shmup I have ever seen. This will still be played 50 years from now.)
Gradius [$30] (Four options can cause slowdown, but this arcade port remains difficult and legendary.)
Final Soldier [$30] (Good music and polish, easier difficulty, multiple powerup options. laser bubbles! Consistently fun.)
R-type [$40] (Never gets old because it can never be beaten. Fun to try here and there.)
Salamander [$40] (Challenging and addictive. If you like NES Life Force, you will love this.)
Honorable Mentions: (Good games that are flawed or gameplay has suffered aging. Score of 6-9)
(8) World Court Tennis [$16] (Most interesting RPG on the TG 16. Seriously.)
(7) Alien Crush [$22] (Interesting, addictive, but flawed. Good to play as a break to Devil’s Crush)
(6) Bonk’s Adventure [$33] (Meh platformer oozes incredible charm)
(6) Boxy Boy [$27] (Solid puzzle game, but it gets stale fast. Contains level editor.)
(6) Dragon Spirit [$30] (Jurassic atmosphere is charming. Sluggish controls, hard-to-come-back after dying)
Don’t bother: (Not fun to play today. Score of 5 and below.)
(5) Military Madness [$44] (Overrated, dated gameplay, repetitious, dull colorless setting of the moon)
(5) Neutopia [$76] (boring, bad game design, can’t hold a candle to Zelda, fire wand is only thing going for this game)
(5) Raiden [$72] (Overrated, more frustrating than challenging, no 2 player mode that was in arcade)
(4) Bomberman [$40] (dull and boring, totally surpassed by its sequels on this system)
(4) Ninja Gaiden [$80] (Compared to NES: worse sound and controls, terrible parallax scrolling. Nothing to see here.)
(4) Shockman [$110] (Cool graphics and vibe, no polish, and frustrating gameplay. Play Mega Man instead.)
(3) Moto Roader [$17] (5 player party game, great upgrade system, terrible core gameplay. USE HANDLE B!)
(3) Street Fighter 2: Champion Edition [$20] (2 button controller is terrible for 6 button game. Good luck getting a 6 button controller.)
(1) Keith Courage in Alpha Zones [$10] (The 16 bit version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)