Right. Here we are, near the end of the day, and I've done the security check for the night.
Locked all the doors, closed the shutters and scared the bastard dog next door away.
Finally, a bit of peace and quiet. Now it's time to review a bad doujin game, Asahina Mikuru no Yoko Scroll Action!
[AHA! I've caught you in the act, you miserable little weeaboo!
Ed? How the fuck did you get into my house? And at this hour?!
[Your cantankerous editor works in mysterious ways, little man! Oh, and I have a key.]
[Don't think I'm letting you get away with this shit without me sticking my oar in!]
Get away with, er, what? You haven't really caught me doing anything.
Just playin' a shitty video game in the dead of night, as I am wont to do.
[Don't hide the truth. You're playing a shitty video game that is also porn. Cartoon porn, no less, you sick fuck!]
I can assure you it is not porn.
Besides, we've already met our quota for electro-grot for this year.
[It sure as shit looks like porn. Isn't anything involving maid costumes automatically porn of some kind?]
[Anyway, I'm not letting you review this garbage. It's bad for our image.]
And reviewing Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball somehow wasn't?
['Course it wasn't, because it was my idea to review it. Now you're just being a maverick.]
Tough shit. My site, my rules.
[You know what, fuck it. Out the chair, I'm doing this fucking review.]
Hey, get off! Don't kick me out of my office! What the hell, man? Not again!
[If we must throw around ords like 'Yoko' and 'Mikuru' on this site, then I'm gonna do it, not you. So fuck off and let me do this.]
Uh, fair play, but could you at least do it in a bigger font?
[Will this do?]
... Yeah, that's fine.
I'd better warn the readers, though- this is Ed's third April Fools' Day 'review' and does not reflect the opinions or political stances of the other staff members of Gaming Hell!
And by that I mean 'I need new keys for my office, house and probably the garden shed too'.
[Now, I'm not sure if this is a coincidence, but every time I get the opportunity to stick my beak in like the bastard I am, it always involves anime chicks, either playing really shitty volleyball or indulging in shitty platform adventures. Asahina Mikuru no Yoko Scroll Action (or, if you'd rather have it in English, Mikuru Asahina's Side-Scroll Action) is firmly in the latter category. As the titular heroine (complete with a rididculous maid outfit, incredibly stubby arms and legs, and jiggle physics, sigh) you must make your way through four stages of boring platform action which are populated almost entirely by disturbing cat-like creatures (including ones that breathe fire and flying ones that sport Superman costumes) and beat the boss at the end of each. The minute you start playing you know you're in trouble because Mikuru controls like she's on fucking ice constantly, which wouldn't be so bad but the game expects you to keep control of her at all times for all the platforming you'll be doing. Especially since said platforming involves enemies placed exactly where you do not need them and platforms so tiny that Mikuru can barely fit onto them. Mikuru isn't very big so that spells out how tiny these fucking platforms are. Whenever I died in this game it was either at a boss or because the slippery-as-fuck controls sent me hurtling into an enemy (one hit and Mikuru's dead) or down a pit (of which there are plenty). It wasn't because I'm terrible at games, it was the game's fault. Honest.]
[Probably the only interesting thing the game does is its use of weaponry. At all times, Mikuru is packing heat in the form of dual pistols (why? Don't ask, man) which pew-pew-pew at a decent rate until you hold the button for too long and they slow down. Tapping is the order of the day, evidently, even though the enemies take at least a dozen bullets to kill each. Also, for reasons entirely unknown to me, Mikuru can pick up coloured contact lenses that give her an extra weapon and let her take an extra hit before kicking the bucket. These weapons- a burst of rifle fire, a close-range beam, the Black Hole Bomber from Darius Gaiden and the terrifying Mikuru Beam- have to charge (either by themselves or manually) so you can't spam them, and they give the game a tiny bit of strategy- there are some situations where you'll need one specific weapon to get through... But naturally, these weapons are usually placed nearby the part where you'll need them. So there isn't much strategy outside of making sure you don't get hit and lose the bloody things. Which you will, because the controls are FUCKING AWFUL. Seriously, Mikuru controls with all the grace of an elephant on rollerskates on an ice rink on the shitting moon, and the fact that the boss encounters usually have three or four contact lenses available spell out that Mikuru is going to get hit and there is toss-all you can do about it.]
[Throw in the fact that the enemies take ages to kill and the lack of variety in level design, and you have a fairly shoddy game altogether. And this is coming from a cantankerous old boot who has barely played any games beyond 1988 so my only frame of reference for this kind of gumf is Super Mario Bros. and, uh, Toki. The sad thing is, I actually did some research into who I'm pretty sure is the developer- they seem to go by a million names, but the most common two given are Shindenken (on their website) and Kanagawa Denshi Gijutsu Kenkyusyo (elsewhere)- actually developed two of my writer cohort's favourite doujin games. Well, I think, anyway- the info on this circle is scarce and often conflicting, but what we think is that they were also responsible for Dig Baku (which is Dig Dug with more explosions) and Touhou Defense Force (which is, well, exactly what it says on the tin). So, you know, they're not bad and have some good games under their belt, but this ain't one of 'em is what I'm saying. Try harder next time.]
Er... Ed, are you done here? We're not even at the half-way mark. Can't put this up if you haven't written a good deal, man...
[Ah, thing is, there's something that's bothering me about this game. Goin' back to the small text for a minute.]
['Cause, like, the maid costumes, the schoolgirls, all those cats... This has gotta be based on some nerd cartoon, yeah?]
It's not a cartoon, it's a-n-i-m-e. It's based on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is...
[Whoa, quit your flappin' there, slick. I want to research this myself before I'm finished here.]
[Unlike you, I'm a consummate professional.]
Well, I can let you borrow the series on DVD from me, I guess...
[HA HA HA SO YOU ARE A CLOSET OTAKU! So far in the fuckin' weeaboo closet you're in bloody Narnia!]
Nah, if I was a real otaku I'd have bought the limited edition boxsets designed only to siphon money out of people.
I own the series on DVD because, uh, of a joke with a friend that got a little out of hand.
Not an otaku. Honest.
[Bollocks you aren't. You've got a Marisa Kirisame doll. So fucking weeaboo.]
Well, you got me there, but at least I didn't pay much for it like some people I could mention...
I mean, that is your eBay account, isn't it...?
[... Er... I, um... Wait, no! This is a lie!]
[The only pages that chart my completely fictional obsession with Alice Margatroid were the Touhou Time pages, and they've been flushed! This isn't canon anymore!]
Ohoho, is my darling editor trying to weasel his way out of this? There's no escape from the truth, you know.
How adorable, ze~
[Cut that Touhou joke shit right out!...]
[And, uh, yeah anyway can I borrow this series? Knowing your enemy is the quickest yadda yadda yadda...]
Whatever, knock yourself out.
Six hours later...
[I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU]
[THAT WAS FUCKING AWFUL]
Calm down, dear. Try forming some coherent sentences for us.
[I... Augh! I know I'm not the target audience for this kind of thing, but how the fuck could anyone watch that without wanting to jump into the TV and knock that Haruhi asshole the fuck out?! Her being some kind of crazy witch god thing doesn't excuse the fact that she's a spoilt dick to everyone who's nice to her and you're stuck with her, for six hours, because she's the main fucking character. And that poor Mikuru, constantly molested for the audience's amusement! Don't tell me that shit's there for any artistic merit, it's played for laughs! God-damn was that un-fucking-comfortable! Let's not forget the cloying, boot-licking, creepy fuck Koizumi, who really neeeded a good punch to the face, and the smarmy, know-it-all Kyon (and again, we're stuck with him, he's the narrator). Fuck, the only likable character here, aside from secret robot Yuki (who is a slate so blank she's transparent) is the computer club chief who, despite appearing in only three episodes, puts up with an inordinate amount of shit with a certain amount of dignity, and aside from the insufferably sarcastic narrator, seems to be the only person in the whole universe who knows that all this shit is so wrong! He's technically an antagonist of sorts, though, so when my loyalties lie with him instead of the protagonists, you done fucked up. God-fucking-damn that shit was obnoxious! Six hours of my fleeting, irrevocable youth, wasted!]
Geez. I haven't seen you this mad since that time we played Knuckles' Chaotix together.
And 'irrevocable youth'? Come off it, Ed, you're ancient as shit.
Only someone as old as you could list their favourite video game as The Pit. Oyaji.
[SHUT YOUR MOUTH YOU LITTLE SHIT I AM NOT AN OYAJI YET]
I didn't think it would offend you to quite this degree. Have to say, it's pretty entertaining to watch.
It's a shame you folks at home can't see this. He's frothing at the mouth and everything.
Really, though, I should've just shown you this instead (yo colony drop how you doin').
They said most of what you just said, but, y'know, better.
[GO EAT A DICK SANDWICH]
No thanks, I just ate. Now are you going to get to this review or not?
[Shit, you're starting to sound like me. Let's get this nonesnse on the road already].
[So after suffering the indignity of having to watch The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiuya in one punishing marathon session, at least one thing has changed in my perception of this slightly shoddy video game- I have to beat it now, because I want Mikuru to win. A little context- Mikuru is one of the main characters in the show, and is repeatedly molested and used throughout the series by Haruhi, the demi-god character whom the show centres around. This was the most uncomfortable element of the show to watch, and while I might be a misanthropic hate machine at the best of times (read: all of the times) this got to me. So, I can see the appeal of the game now- it lets poor Mikuru exact retribution on her persecutors, and top of the list is the world's most annoying schoolgirl, Haruhi Suzumiya. Of course, in order to do that you have to actually, you know, play through each of the four stages and beat the final boss. To deliver justice, though, I was just about willing to suffer through the game.]
[It's time for revenge. Let's attack aggressively.]
[The first stage is pretty basic, with absolutely no surprises in store. Make your way through, and show the enemy no mercy.]
[The boss is Tsuruya, Mikuru's 'friend' who fires lasers and orbs from her fingers. Kick her ass.]
[The second stage is slightly tougher, with some more platform shenanigans, but it shouldn't tax you if you've played any video game ever.]
[The boss is two-in-one- Kyon's friends, Taniguchi and Kunikida, who attack with a baseball. Show 'em who's boss.]
[The third stage is where things get nuts, as you are constantly barraged by cats. They'll either walk into you or breathe fire.]
[This stage contains the most frustrating section of the game, where you have to cut a swathe through endless groups of walking/jumping cats.]
[Fortunately, the boss is a lot easier, Yuki Nagato- probably the least annoying character from the show. She's dressed as a witch. Take her down.]
[The final stage is total bullshit from start to finish, and if you don't hold on to the Black Hole Bomber item, you're fucked.]
[The final boss is, of course, Miss Haruhi Suzumiya herself, who attacks you with words from her megaphone and devastating explosions from her summoned golem.]
[This is a tough battle, but you must persevere. You must get revenge. Use the charged-up Mikuru Beam and send this schoolgirl back to the depths of hell!]
[And then, it's over. There was a lot of moaning and whinging on my part, but I finished this fucking thing and destroyed them all.]
Ohoho, you think it's over, Ed? Not so fast.
Here comes the second loop!
[Oh, you son-of-a-bitch!]
[After you finish the fourth stage, the game loops on itself... Sort-of. The game refers to each stage as Stage 1, 2, etc. and each one retains its respective bosses, but they're actually completely different, with new layouts and tougher boss attacks. The game also becomes even more obnoxious, with worse paltforming and blind leaps of faith aplenty, and it's at this point that I lost the will to carry on. It took me half an hour to reach this point, and I figured that was twenty-fucking-nine minutes too many.]
[Fuck it. I beat Suzumiya, my work here is done. Let's wrap things up and go home.]
So you're giving up.
[In conclusion, I'm going to surprise you. Asahina Mikuru no Yoko Scroll Action is pretty bad, yeah, but it's so bizarre I'm willing to put it at least one rung above the likes of, say, SUPER nin-e SISTERS. Mostly because it doesn't rip off one of the most respected platformers of all time. It does its own thing- it's actually kind-of interesting that you have to knock enemies away rather than outright kill them sometimes, and the assortment of sub-weapons is a bit like Castlevania albeit with a hell of a lot less thought put into it- but it's just too irritating, and the controls too slip-shod, to recommend playing extensively... And holy shit I'm being sincere for once! Me, Ed the Editor, being as sincere as fuck about a crappy video game! For the first time I've picked a game for April Fools' Day that isn't complete garbage but is, like, almost half-decent. I'm more angry at the source material, to be honest! But then again if I'm going to watch cartoons from Japan, it's going to be along the lines of Cyber City Oedo 808 so I guess there's no accounting for taste. I mean really, when it comes to cartoons, this one still has no equal. Anyway, I'm getting off the point, as I am wont to do. Asahina Mikuru no Yoko Scroll Action just barely gets a pass- it's incredibly frustrating and sloppy, but it is odd enough to merit perhaps a brief play-through. And to get revenge on the dread spectre of Haruhi Suzumiya.]
[For nutso platforming games, though, I think I'll stick with J. J. Squawkers, ta.]
You know what? Kudos, Ed. That was pretty well-done.
Not as many exaggerations, and you even crammed an anime review in there... Kinda.
Hell, you even made sure to avoid any swipes at anime fandom in general. Stuck to the subject at hand. Classy.
You didn't quite finish the game, but I don't blame you. High-five, man!
[Well, sometimes I come into my own. About once a year.]
Just one note, though, I don't think otaku and weeaboo are necessarily interchangable words...
[Fair play. What I know about anime culture wouldn't fill a pot of tea. Luckily, I don't give a shit. Is that your only problem?]
Well, it's also massively outdated. The Haruhi Suzumiya anime is over five years old now!
[Maybe we should use something more recent and even dumber, like, I dunno, Milky Holmes or Puella Magi Madoka Magica...]
Hey! Don't talk shit about Madoka Magica, asshole! I liked that show!
[Hit a nerve, have I? Fuck me, didn't have you pegged as a Madoka fanbrat]
Well, yeah, but better to be a Madoka fan than to actually know what Milky Holmes is
[... I... Fuck, you win! Well played, Monsieur Poirot. Well played indeed.]
That's Miss Marple to you, dickhead.
Anyway, Ed, that's enough from you. Gimme my DVDs back and fuck off 'till next year!
Oh well, see you next April Fools, Ed!