Retro-Bit Generations: Part 4

So if there’s one thing I’m learning from playing this Retro-Bit Generations console is all sorts of games made by Jaleco.  They even had a mascot of sorts, a little red clad ninja that starred in a bunch of games!  A few are featured in this batch, plus many more!

Ninja Jajamaru-kun, Ninja Jajamaru no Daibouken, and Maru’s Mission

So yeah, Jaleco’s mascot of sorts is a little ninja wearing red.  He’s been in all sorts of games in Japan.  In the arcade, on the Famicom, Saturn and PlayStation, and even the 3DS.  Most of the games are side scrolling 2-D platformers, but there are some others as well, like RPGs.  Many of these games were going to be released in the US in some form or fashion, but most got cancelled.  There is actually a pretty interesting article about the history of these games over at a site called Hardcore Gaming 101, so if you are interested, I suggest going there to learn more.

The first game on here, Ninja Jajamaru-kun, reminds me of arcade games like Mappy.  You can scroll the screen left and right a bit, but that’s it.  You jump up and down platforms while throwing stars at enemies and when they’re all defeated, you move onto the next level.  This game was on the Famicom and was even brought to the Virtual Console in the US at one point.  Ninja Jajamaru no Daibouken is more like a traditional 2-D platformer with the character.  Maru’s Mission is also similar to that, but it was a Game Boy game and featured improved graphics and gameplay.  If you’ve ever played Retro Game Challenge, the Haggleman games are definitely a tribute to the Ninja Maru titles.


It’s a block pushing puzzle maze game.  The unique thing is that when you push a block, the whole row of blocks moves, so there are some new strategies involved.  It looks like it, but it’s not an old game.  Looks like they reused some assets from other games like the “Let’s Go” sound from Lemmings.


I didn’t realize it when it first came out, but Mercs is actually the sequel to Commando.  I’m pretty sure this is the console version, not the arcade versions, as it’s kind of choppy.  I know Mercs was on the Genesis, but I’m not sure about the SNES.  Anyway, this does have two games to choose from: Arcade Mode and Original Mode, both with different levels.

Monster Club

This is a Jaleco Famicom game, and it’s all in Japanese.  You play as a guy who must run and jump up a vertically scrolling platform stage with garish backgrounds as you shoot monsters like bats and ghosts.  But they move around so much and/or take too many hits to defeat, so it’s really hard.

Mr. Bloopy

You’d think I would like this game, as it stars a little blue blob and I love the title name.  It’s a really weird new game, though.  It’s 16-bit in style, and seems to be a mix of 2-D platforming and puzzles.  The story is really out there, so much so that I can’t remember it.  Sometimes you must jump over obstacles, but other times you can’t progress until you press a button to change the color of your blob and shoot pellets upward to create a picture with squares that matches an example.  It’s really easy to get stuck in the platforming sections, though.  I fell down a pit and couldn’t get past a fireplace without getting burned.

Night Defender

It’s an exact ripoff of Donkey Kong, except Donkey is now a giant clown that throws skulls and snakes, Pauline is a little girl, and Mario is now…a teddy bear?

Night Defender 2

Hey, we get a sequel to such a ‘great’ game!  And no, it’s not a ripoff of DK Jr.!  You’re still the teddy bear, and when you start the game, the screen shows a message for less than a second that says, “God gave children to man as a treasure.”  That’s an odd thing to start a game with.  Anyway, each single screen stage has platforms and diamonds to collect, and when you get them all, you move onto the next level.  The graphics kind of reminds me of Balloon Fight, even though the gameplay is different.  There are ghosts that move in a set pattern in each stage for you to avoid.  If you hit one, you’ll have to start the stage over again.  You can jump and also press down to charge up, and then press another button to release a shot that can stun the ghosts for a bit.  It took me a while to figure that out.  Not really a fun game, though.

Super Thor Quest

It’s exactly like the first Night Defender game, except the clown is now a yeti, the girl looks older, you’re now a little man with a helmet, and the background is a crappy stock picture of a snowy mountain.  Same sound effects and everything.  Yeah, we really needed two Donkey Kong clones on here.


This is another new game, with a barbarian setting.  When you press Start, they show you a map, and I couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I mashed a bunch of buttons, and eventually I got to a screen where I was a barbarian guy in a 2-D platform 16-bit area.  There was stuff happening all over the place so it was tough to avoid anything and I had no idea what any of the things I was collecting did and how much life I had left.  It was a mess. Reminded me of some of those crappy shareware PC games from the 90’s.

Pinball Quest

I always thought this game was cool as a kid.  It’s a video pinball game, and even has an RPG quest mode.  It does have some problems, like the RPG mode is really hard, and I didn’t like how you had to press up or down to move the flippers to where on the table you ball is.  So the game isn’t as good as what I remember it being.  But I still like it.

Pizza Pop!

This is a cartoony 8-bit platformer where you’re a pizza delivery man trying to deliver pizzas on time.  You avoid enemies and obstacles like cats and dogs that have been given too much sugar.  They bounce around so much that it makes the game very difficult.

Plasma Ball

It’s all in Japanese, so I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing.  You first choose a character, what looks like a group of flying knights.  Then you go to an arena with another knight and bounce a ball all over the place.  Not sure how you win or score or whatever.  Another 8-bit Jaleco game, of couse.


So this is an overhead viewed 8-bit quest game that looks like of like Zelda. But the way you fight enemies is different.  You can press a button to charge a meter, and if that meter is higher than an enemy’s hit points when you touch it, you’ll win the battle.  If not, you’ll lose a heart.  It’s very confusing, and reminded me of a crappy RPG I rented on the NES once called Hydlide.

Super R-Type & R-Type 3

These were two games in the R-Type shooter series on the SNES.  R-Type was super popular, but I didn’t like it as much because it was so hard.

Ring King

I saw this boxing game quite a bit in arcades back in the day.  What’s interesting is that while it has the Data East symbol on the map, Namco is credited on this game, too.  I think Namco and Data East collaborated on some games back then, because Data East is also credited on Namco’s Wacky Gator whack-a-mole style game.  I just find that kind of stuff interesting.  The in-between fight scenes in Ring King look really questionable, though.


It’s a Boulder Dash clone, and not a very good one.

Rocky Rodent

Ugh.  One of the reasons why I’m not a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan is all the me-too mascot platformers that came out after his popularity.  Rocky Rodent being one of the most unimaginative ones I can think of.  Your character is the ugliest looking thing you’ll ever see, and he jumps around urban 2-D environments stomping on armadillos and such.  The gimmick here is that if you find a can of hair spray, you can give him a spike on his head that lets him defeat enemies with it, as well as latch onto certain ceilings and swing up to the next platform.  It sounds fun, but never appealed to me.  Is it any wonder why during this time, I was mostly playing 16-bit RPGs?  Come on, Irem, you can do better!

And that’s all for now!  Tomorrow is the final part!  –Cary

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