Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Super Nintendo Essential Imports: Lupin III: Densetsu no Hihō o Oe!

Console: Super Famicom
Genre(s): Platformer / Puzzler
Players: 1
Published By: Epoch
Released: 1994

Lupin the 3rd is no stranger to anime/manga fans of all generations. Dating as far back as the late 1960's, the Lupin III franchise has been featured in everything from manga series to Broadway style musicals in Japan. There's even a train line in Japan that is covered with the murals of Lupin III characters. In many circles, Lupin III is regarded as being one of the best anime series of all time.

Lupin III: Densetsu no Hihō o Oe! was released on December 27, 1994 for the Nintendo Super Famicom system exclusively in Japan. It was published by Epoch, who also produced the popular Doraemon series of video games.


This puzzle platformer, like the manga, is based around Arsène Lupin III, a master thief who is tasked with saving his long time love interest, Fujiko, who has been kidnapped. In order to rescue his beloved Fujiko, Lupin must perform the simple task of finding the fountain of youth. The situation is further complicated by Lupin's arch nemesis, Inspector Zenigata, who has sent an army of police robots to capture Lupin.

Gameplay:

You take control of Arsène Lupin III in his daunting task of saving the beautiful Fujiko, who is being held captive in an industrial styled skyscraper. Upon arrival to the site that Fujiko is being held, you quickly find out that this is not your typical structure. The place is littered with booby traps and robotic enemies patrolling the maze-like layout of this building. This becomes blatantly obvious within the first few steps as large concrete blocks begin to fall from the roof above followed by gunfire from a sentry gun with its sights set on Lupin. After successfully traversing the first handful of pixels, you will be greeted by a grouping of electrical traps along the floor that will zap Lupin if you mistime your jumps. These will all become standard hazards as you play through the game, so keep an eye out!



Lupin's life bar system is pretty standard overall, you take enough damage and you die. However, there is one major difference in this game, you have unlimited lives. After you thoroughly take a beating or fall from a few stories to your death, you simply start back at the beginning of the level to try again. This is a great feature in this game simply because it's a big maze with, typically, only one way to reach the exit of each level.

We've talked a bit about how to effectively kill Lupin, but how do you manage to stay alive? Well the developers were kind enough to give Lupin a handful of different tools and weapons to use during your travels. Some of which will run out if used too much, but refills can be found along the way and are typically hiding in different rooms throughout the levels. Each tool is outlined below with their respective uses.

Dynamite:
As expected, this little gem will create a small explosion capable of causing damage to your enemies. The fuse causes a small delay before it goes off.
Gun:
You will use this quite frequently. The gun is a semi-auto pistol that is capable of causing damage from a distance. You will need this during the boss fights, so try and save ammo!

Health Jar:
Refills your health back to full. Save these whenever you can, you also need these for boss fights!
Rope:
Allows Lupin to ascend or descend from the ceiling. This is very useful when trying to get into an air duct opening from the floor. First jump and then shoot out the rope.
Spring Shoes:
Great tool to have! These shoes are spring loaded and will allow Lupin to jump twice as high and far. Very useful in certain situations.
Flash Bang:
Will send out a bright light that temporarily stuns your enemies allowing you to run right past them. To be honest, there were only a few spots that I used this tactic.



Each of the stages are setup similarly to each other in the fact that they all take place inside of a building (except for one) and they all have multiple floors with ladders and/or elevators connecting all of them. Be careful of trap doors or over shooting a ladder because a fall of anything over one story will result in a dead Lupin. Each of the levels also have a number of doorways that will lead you to another section of that stage and further add to the maze. In a lot of cases, most of the doorways will be locked until you find the main computer. You will need to use a variety of different techniques, including crawling around in the air ducts and/or using your spring loaded boots to leap over various health hazards, in order to reach the main computer. Once it has been located, you will need to destroy it in order to unlock the doors and navigate to the end of the level. Every now and then you will need to face a boss to complete a level. Tip: Sometimes you can use the air ducts as a means of bypassing some of the hazards.




Graphics:

The graphics are great, especially if you are a fan of the anime or manga series. There are a lot of cut scenes throughout the game that feature a lot of the characters from the series, but they are filled with Japanese dialogue that make it difficult to follow along with unless you are well versed in the language. Lupin's movement characteristics are like the anime and are very cartoony. The small animations in this game are great. An example would be when you stand idle for too long and Lupin turns his back to you to have a smoke break, but peers back at you between puffs. Awesome stuff.




Music/Sound:

The music is decent. I wouldn't say it's the games strongest attribute, but it's not bad. The sound effects are decent as well. Each type of movement has its own sound associated with it. One downfall is that every time you are injured, the sound effect is the same. For example, if you are shot by a gun, the sound effect is the same as when you get electrocuted. It seems as though they could have improved this portion of the game.

Controls:

The controls are pretty basic for this type of game. You have the ability to run, jump, punch/kick, and use specialty weapons. Jumping is pretty predictable for the most part, but can be a bit tough to pin point your landings. While running you will sometimes over shoot your desired stopping location because Lupin will go into a hard skid if you hit back to stop. Overall the controls are still very friendly and easily mastered.

D-Pad Up: Climb ladder/ Enter doorway
D-Pad Down: Duck
D-Pad Left: Move left
D-Pad Right: Move right

B Button: Jump
A Button: Punch/Kick
X Button: Special Weapon/Item
Y Button (hold): Run
L or R Button: Select which special weapon/item to use

Final Impressions:

I really enjoyed playing this game. There were times, however, when I wanted to walk away and kick something. Like when you finally found the correct combination of doors and ladders, but fall victim to a falling brick because you neglected to use one of your health pick-ups. Besides those few moments, I thought the game was really enjoyable. I guess my biggest complaint with this game is the lack of level designs. There are a total of 14 levels in this game, but really only 2 variations of level design (with exception to one level that was a completely different style of play all together). What I mean by that is that the same tile sets were used over and over again. The majority of the game is played inside of an industrial style building with the same types of enemies and booby traps. Don't get me wrong, though, each level was it's own unique maze that gradually increased in difficulty as you progressed which would keep you being challenged. I also wish they would have added more boss battles to the game. There are really only a total of two bosses in this game, however, both are pretty tough to beat, especially if you run out of ammo. With all that being said, this is still an enjoyable experience for anyone who is a fan of puzzle platformers and a must play for anyone that is a fan of the anime or manga.

You will typically see this game sell anywhere from $20 - $50 on Ebay, depending on where it's being shipped from.

Passwords:

You will be given a password after completing each of the 14 levels. Here is the list of passwords if you choose to jump ahead.

Level 2: Lupin, Jigen, Zenigata, Fujiko
Level 3: Goemon, Lupin, Lupin, Jigen
Level 4: Jigen, Goemon, Zenigata, Lupin
Level 5: Zenigata, Lupin, Fujiko, Jigen
Level 6: Lupin, Goemon, Lupin, Fujiko
Level 7: Fujiko, Goemon, Zenigata, Lupin
Level 8: Jigen, Jigen, Fujiko, Lupin
Level 9: Goemon, Lupin, Zenigata, Goemon
Level 10: Zenigata, Lupin, Jigen, Goemon
Level 11: Goemon, Fujiko, Lupin, Zenigata
Level 12: Fujiko, Lupin, Goemon, Zenigata
Level 13: Jigen, Fujiko, Goemon, Fujiko
Level 14: Zenigata, Fujiko, Lupin, Fujiko

There is also a hidden sound test!

Sound Test: Goemon, Jigen, Lupin, Fujiko


Side Note:

You will also find this game under the names Lupin III: Hunt for the Legendary Treasure! and Lupin the Third: Hunt for the Treasure of Legend!

Bonus Images





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