Hello Retroware readers! For those who missed out on last weeks article, here’s a quick recap:
Last week’s Still Loading article introduced an examination of anime to game and video game to anime adaptations. While reorganizing the piles of anime DVDs in my apartment, I started noticing all of the series that were intertwined with anime. Disgaea has an anime, Persona has two, and the Sakura Wars games have inspired a bunch of anime and manga adaptations. This inspired me to look through my anime and gaming collections and do a write up on some games that I hadn’t realized were based off of anime. In the end I settled on three direct video game to anime adaptations that surprised me. (For those curious, you can catch up here.
Today I will continue with my look at anime/game adaptations, and examine a few games that will probably surprise you with their origins, with these titles being either altered or completely masked.
UN Squadron/ Area 88
One game that was brought to my attention through a personal friend and a comment left in last weeks article was UN Squadron. UN Squadron is a side scrolling shooter in the vein of of arcade games like 1942, is a fairly popular game in the US and was well received, with IGN even ranking it 37th on their top 100 Super Nintendo Games” list, and I have to agree. UN Squadron is a great game, one of the few in this genre that I have really latched onto. Strong gameplay and graphics aside, another really neat aspect about it is that UN Squadron was based off a very strong anime license; the fan favorite manga and anime series, Area 88. In fact, the game was directly titled and adapted after the manga series. In Japan the game is simply called Area 88. What’s great here is that the game didn’t really lose much beside its name for an overseas release. It get’s to keep the charm and charcter of the original, something that didn’t always happen (- other series weren’t so lucky.) But still, because there aren’t really any big localization changes to the game, it makes me wonder, why retitle it? If you ask me, UN squadron is a more boring/generic name than Area 88, and given the rich story and background for the characters in the game, (Which would take too long to describe here,) it is a shame Capcom renamed it, since the popularity of the game could bring new fans to the anime it was based on.
Ranma½ on SNES
Ranma ½ is… well, a little hard to explain in a sane way, so I’ll let Anime News Network do it:
“Saotome Ranma, a teenage martial artist, and his father Genma travel to the ‘cursed training ground’ of Jusenkyo in China. There, despite the warnings of the Chinese guard, they fall into the cursed springs. From now on, whenever Ranma is doused in cold water, he turns in to a girl. Hot water changes him back into a man again, but only until the next time. To make matters worse, his father engages him to Tendo Akane, a girl who hates boys.”
It’s a campy, martial arts, love triangle-y, gender bending, slapstick sort of comedy, and it was largely popular in the mid-late 1990’s here in the US, and has even been credited as a major contributor for helping manga and anime reach a broader audience, (again, here in the US.) The fighters and fighting styles in this series are amazingly insane. (a legally blind master of hidden weapons, Martial-rhytmic Gymnastics- Arts, cat-fu, noodle bowl fighting, fighting bespectacled pandas, the list goes on. For all these reasons I’m not surprised this game got a release here. Just picture the odd-ball match ups you could play in a game! What does surprise me is how the game was released here.
This is Ranma ½
This is Ranma ½ released in America as Street Combat
What the frick happened here? Well, it seems that when Irem picked up the first SNES Ranma game for an overseas release, they decided to heavily localize the game by replacing all of the characters, music, and some of the backgrounds. the original product wasn’t pretty but this new paint job from Irem makes it gorgeous by comparison. Not that it really matters too much though. In the end, the game itself isn’t really fun to play. The controls are sloppy, the hit detection is wonky, and the game options suck. So in the end, paint job or not, the game is to be avoided. It’s just a shame that the Ranma 1/2 name couldn’t be utilized better. The second of the three Ranma fighters did make it to the US and Europe unscratched, and although it’s far from perfect, it’s a noted step up and is worth checking out if you are an anime loving retro gamer.