Monday, December 22, 2014

Super Nintendo Essential Imports: Gan Gan Ganchan

Console: Super Famicom
Genre(s): Maze / Arcade
Players: 1-2
Developer: Team Mental Care
Published By: Magifact
Released: 1995-10-27



Unlike today, many great titles on consoles of the past were not created with the intent of giving us 80+ hours of fresh gameplay to experience. Instead what many titles focused on was accessibility and challenge. What I mean by that is these games were easy to pick up and play, but often times very difficult to master.  Gameplay, level design, and AI many reviewers  would now write up as "cheap" was common ground then, and only added to the sense of accomplishment when completed. Gan Gan Ganchan for the Super Famicom is one of those titles. On the surface it looks to be just another Pacman clone, but when played you will find it is much more than that.



Gameplay:

Playing as Ganchan, your first priority is to search the level and collect 4 sphere or cone shaped characters of each color. These little characters will be found in red, yellow, blue, or green. Once collected they will follow behind you one after another in a chain formation. You will now need to take them to the exit door located somewhere in the level. Sounds easy, definitely not. Standing in your way are a variety of enemies also searching the level, looking to take you down and break your chain of devoted followers. If these enemies touch your chain of colorful companions, it will break and your friends will be released, possibly eaten (not verified). If these enemies touch you, you will die (verified). You will also notice an energy bar at the top of the screen, This is a key aspect of the gameplay. Ganchan is constantly using energy and the only way to refill it is to get more friends to that exit door! Once you have fulfilled the requirements for each color, a key of that color will appear on the map. Collect the 4 keys of the different colors (red, yellow, blue, green) and the exit gate will open for Ganchan. Mission completed.

 As the levels progress, so will your enemies. Each level gaining weapons and speed. Luckily for us Ganchan has a few tricks up his sleeve to defend himself, and his friends (sometimes). First , you are able to increase the speed at which you run through the level, making you able to outrun your enemies.  This will consume more energy, so make sure you have some to spare if you are going to flee. Second, you have the ability to turn to stone. While in stone form, enemies that make contact with you will be pushed back a little, and become temporarily immobilized.This will also put quite a drain on your energy so  be sure to  use its sparingly. The third, and last ditch option appears to be to sacrifice one of your colorful little friends in your chain. So strap some explosives to them and hurl them like projectile at the oncoming enemy! Sounds like good times , but one must make sure they aren't standing too close when throwing exploding buddies . Getting caught up in the explosion will cause you to lose all the friends still remaining in your chain.  Leading certain combinations of characters safely to the exit will results in a power up like a bomb or shield, which will be greatly appreciated in the heat of battle. You are able to view the different combinations required by pausing the game during gameplay. This game starts off easy, but the difficulty ramps up quickly. There is also a Versus mode available which allows 2 players to face off.

Graphics:

Gan Gan Ganchan is a bright and vivid game filled with cute characters that you will most likely be cursing at when things get rough. The isometric view they used works great. Levels are simple but well executed (Too bad there isn't more of them).

Music/Sound:

I really enjoyed the music in this game, the upbeat music is complex and perfectly accents the arcade style of the game. The composer of the music on this game was Minako Adachi, who later went on to do composing, and arranging for Riviera: the promised land, Summon Night, and various Pokemon Games. Being that there is only four worlds, the music variety is rather limited, but what is there is great.

Controls: 

Much like Pacman, Ganchan moves keeps moving forward until his direction is changed by the player or a wall. Fast paced and deliberately tricky. This plays much like a true arcade game. Not forgiving, timing is everything.

D-Pad:         Turn character
A Button:      Sacrifice colored character in chain- explosive projectile
B Button:      Run Fast
X Button:      Not used (from what I can tell)
Y Button:      Turn to stone

Final Impressions:

Gan Gan Ganchan is a fun and challenging arcade style game that rewards good timing. The versus mode is a great time and will provide some intense battles for you and a friend. Best for a gamer that enjoys a good challenge and wants to experience an often forgotten title on one of the best consoles of the past.


Tips:

You are able to hang out at the exit door as long as you need to avoid contact with enemies. Your energy bar will continue to drain but not at the rate it would from using run or the turn to stone move. Use it as a place to seek refuge between drop offs.


Passwords:

Hard Area 1 City                       yellow, red, blue, red
Hard Area 2 Beach                    blue, green, yellow, green
Hard Area 3 China                      red, yellow, green, yellow
Hard Area 4 Egypt                      green, blue, red, blue
Normal Area 2 Beach                  blue, blue, blue, green
Normal Area 3 China                   red, red, red, yellow
Normal Area 4 Egypt                   green, green, green, blue
Play as secret character                red, yellow, blue, blank

Side Note:

 I have seen this game listed for sale as both Ga Ga Gachan and Ga Ga Ganchan.




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