Gaming has evolved quite a bit over the years, hasn't it? Big franchises have popped up like fleas on a mangy junkyard mutt and, like fleas, there are some black sheep (or black fleas, whatever I dunno) in the family that are considered completely foreign from their family. Case in point: Chinese knock-off games.
Chinese knock-offs span every category of product, so it's probably not going to shock you that games are not exempt from its scope. However, what's really shocking is what kind of bizarre, crappy, and sometimes even cool games you can find on the Chinese knock-off market. The first in this series of spotlights is a fun little platformer called Pikachu Y2K:
Pikachu Y2K is, in all essence, a classic Mario-styIe platformer starring the titular electric pocket monster mouse thing. Going by the aforementioned description, you'd think that this all would be a fun, neat little game that, in essence, would give you a generic experience. HA, joke's on you: this game is nuttier than squirrel feces.
First off, Pikachu Y2K doesn't immediately drop you into the action. To start off with, you're given a short cutscene in which a mad scientist and his pet cat phone Pikachu at his home because they want a magic purse back. Oh, by the way: did I mention that the text says that Pikachu's real name is Felix?
So, er, I guess Pikachu will now be referred to as "Felix?"
After promptly hanging up and using the force to reel in his magical purse, Felixchu sets out on an adventure to...erm...not try to let the mad scientist guy get the bag from him? Honestly, he could have just stayed home and called the cops on him, leading to an arrest and avoiding all the ensuing nonsense but hey, I'm talking about a Chinese knock-off 8-bit platformer so why should I be caring so much?
Anywho, Pikachu Y2K's gameplay is pretty standard platforming fare, ridiculous premise aside. Sadly, it's a little sub-par for a side-scrolling platformer since its rules aren't very in line with Mario, as you can die from jumping on enemies. With stomping on their heads out of the equation, how can Felix-the-Pikachu deter people from snatching his purse?
The purse, of course!
Yes, instead of jumping on enemies, PikaFelix disposes of his foes via a Tom and Jerry-styIe boxing glove that pops out from his bag of wonders.
The animation doesn't include the bag, though...
Given all this, the game seems pretty disappointing, right? Well, what makes Pikachu Y2K a little bit cooler is the ability to collect power-ups that transform the bag into various weapons such as singing, driving a car, riding an air balloon, and even driving a freaking tank.
Also, it shoots bombs with faces.
Take a moment to soak all this in: there's Felixchu in that image up there driving a tank in a happy pixelated 8-bit world. Yes, there exists a game where you can actually play as Pikachu driving a tank. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? Seriously, the war game market is virtually untapped for the entire Pokemon franchise and here you have the Chinese knock-off market taking the initiative while Nintendo sits on their duffs, scratches their heads, and puts out a Gamecube game consisting entirely of watching fake television shows with Pikachu all day. Y'know, because we really need something like THAT on the market, while the idea of Tankemon goes completely over their heads. In a way, this instantly makes Pikachu Y2K better than a good deal of the franchise's official games from recent years.
Aside from the brilliant idea of putting Pikachu in a freaking tank, the rest of the game, like I said before, is pretty generic. The regular enemies aren't even other Pokemon, just some stupid little bird sprites and regular fishes...though there are a few walking trees here and there for no real reason. Ents aside, there isn't really that much to talk about in terms of enemy design and, on that note, there isn't much to say about the level layout. Really, the only thing on showcase here is how bizarre the overall premise of the game is and, beyond that, it's a sub-par platformer.
One last thing, though: the Game Over screen kind of bugs me:
...What's in that garbage can to the left? Seriously, can anyone give me an idea? I don't have one.
Graphics: 8 - Pretty decent representation of Pikachu. Besides, the entire thing's running on an NES, so I'm not that picky.
Sound: 6 - There's a fun little tune in the first level, then it repeats in the second, the third, fourth....yeah.
Gameplay: 6 - It's functional, but there's no pizzazz beyond the power-ups.
Story: 10 - PIKACHU IN A FREAKING MAGIC PURSE TANK!
Overall: 7 - It's worth checking out for about an hour, but not farther beyond that.
So that's all for Pikachu Y2K! Be sure to stay tuned for more showcased Chinese knock-off games!
(also, please someone tell me what's in that garbage can)