By Michael Mygind
This is another look at some games that we never saw a release for on our side of the world. This time around, I’ll be focusing on three action games on the Super Famicom, N64 and Sony PlayStation.
Sengoku Densyo (1993, Data East, Super Famicom)
Sengoku Densyo is the home port of a 1991 SNK arcade beat-em-up released for the Super Famicom by Data East. Unlike most beat-em-ups of the early 90’s that were centered in an urban setting, Sengoku set itself apart by incorporating a very unique story. A tyrannical warlord is defeated by two samurai warriors. He seeks revenge in the present day by sending undead forces of feudal Japanese warriors who are opposed by two lone warriors, a ninja named Dan and a cowboy (who looks more like a pimp) named Bill, descendants of the two samurais that defeated the warlord long before.
It plays like a normal beat-em-up, but you can gain power-ups which will either replenish health, enable your character to use swords or transform into one of three spirits: An armor-clad wolf, a ninja or a samurai. Each spirit has its own unique strength.
Visually, it’s a very impressive game in regards to its art style. The player will often be transported randomly to an unearthly realm where they fight another horde of enemies. This along with the ability to transform truly make this stand out from other beat-em-ups. Another highlight is that this is a co-op game, so grab a buddy and kick some undead ass as a ninja and a cowboy/pimp!
Sin and Punishment (2000, Nintendo, N64)
Sin and Punishment is an on rails third-person shooter by Treasure that truly stands alone on the console. The story is pretty far-fetched and isn’t the easiest to follow. Where it shines is in the gameplay. At times, you’re shooting on rails with gameplay similar to Star Fox. In other sections, you are taking on enemies in a stationary view which is reminiscent of Cabal shooters, with the ability to run/dodge side to side while shooting at the enemies ahead of you. The gameplay is non-stop, and the bosses are enormous. This game is a must play, and even though it never saw an American release, it spawned a sequel that was released in North America for the Nintendo Wii.
Night Striker (1995, VING, Sony PlayStation)
Based off a Taito arcade shooter of the same name, Night Striker was ported to the PlayStation, Saturn and Mega CD outside of the US. This game is very reminiscent of on-rails Sega arcade shooters such as Space Harrier, After Burner and Super Thunder Blade. The game features a hover car with pulsing laser fire that can also drive on the road to take out enemies on the ground. Levels range from cities to factories and can be reached in any order by means of choosing your path across a grid after each level. If you liked any of the games that I previously mentioned in this recommendation, you may be a fan of Night Striker already and don’t even know it.
Playing Import Games on your American (NTSC) SNES, PlayStation & N64 consoles:
Super Famicom: Please see my first Foreign Favorites piece below for the various methods.
N64: Much like the SNES, there is no region encoding, but the cartridges were made to only fit in their country’s respective console. The American N64 cart (on the right) has two recessed areas on the back of the cart’s corners while the Japanese cart (on the left) has two recessed areas more towards the center of the cart, preventing it to fit into an American console. But, there’s several easy ways to get around this.
1.) Swap the back of a Japanese cart with that of an American cart using a Gamebit driver, which is a must for any retro gamer. These can be picked up for about $6 and shipped from eBay.
2.) Purchase an adapter: Specially made adapters were made to play import games. But, a GameShark adapter will work perfectly and will cost much less at about $12 shipped from eBay.
PlayStation: The original PlayStation was region encoded, so you’ll have to get a boot disc and soft-mod your console with either a sticker tab that prevents your PSone’s lid from closing or a spring that prevents your original PlayStation’s lid from closing. For about $20 from Amazon, I was able to order a PS X-Change 2 kit with the swap disc and options included for both models. The installation of each mod is very easy. The only downside is that if you go the PSone route, your lid will never close. That’s nothing that a jewel case on top won’t solve, though.