Developed and Published By: Ratalaika Games (originally Winds and Masaya) Categories: Retro, Platformer, Action Release Date: 05.19.23
Ratalaika is at it again with another Masaya title ported to modern consoles. It’s always a pleasure to see PC Engine games ported, of which today’s game is. Cyber Citizen Shockman! And for the first time in the west too. Wait, didn’t we already have a Shockman in the west? We did, but this is the game’s predecessor. In Japan, these games are from the Shubibinman series, of which there are four titles, most Japan only.
Shockman is a bit of an interesting game. It’s the kind of action platformer you’d see everywhere back in the day. Standard would be a good word for near everything in this game. Outside of it’s art, it’s just kinda bland. Lets talk about what I like first. The stages are all short and sweet, spread out like something you’d see in Bionic Commando. You’re going to travel to each level and rescue someone, usually this means they heal you, give you a key item, give you money, and so on. It’s a good reason to be extra thorough, even if some bosses can be a bit tricky. Defeating enemies can get you money, which is used in different parts of town to either heal yourself to buy upgrades.
Now lets talk about what I dislike. The biggest thing is how shoddy hitboxes can be. This is especially noticeable in a boss fight. You see that dragon? The hurtbox for it is just a big rectangle and not shaped to the boss, meaning if you jump even remotely close, you’re getting hit. Movement in general is a bit funky too. You move slow, very slow. There’s a bit of a momentum, and this factors in with jumps, but you always feel slow. Some platforming gets rather tight, which makes this very much an issue. At least healing items are usually scattered around.
Ratalaika’s format is once again, the same here. Excellent screen options, and just standard everything else. Rewinds are always nice at least. Shockman’s release has a pretty decent gallery too, which not every release has. I do wish the manual had a translated version too, but having it as well as huecard scans is always appreciated. It should be noted too, that this is the first time the game has been officially translated and if you want to play that or the Japanese version, you can.
To me, Shockman as a release is probably more historically interesting than “this game is good, you should play it, it’s a hidden gem”. I hope we get the rest of the series brought over as they do improve from this middling first entry.
Buy Now: $5.99
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review