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    The Sega CD was one of the first CD-ROM based gaming consoles. The extra storage space this medium allowed gave rise to inclusion of full motion video, higher quality audio, and improved graphics in games.

    Mega Archive CD: Part V: From Hook to Panic!

    Avatar image for mento


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    Edited By Mento  Moderator

    Ahhh, it's great to be back prowling the seedy streets of Sega CD City. Last one of these we did covered December 1992's octet of Sega CD games to finish off that year, and to get us caught up with where regular Mega Archive is presently on hold we're going to push through and examine all twelve Sega CD games that released in the first four months of 1993. The next Mega Archive CD will pop up some time after we've investigated the Mega Drive's summer of 1993, so about three more regular Mega Archive entries, and then the Sega CD release schedule picks up in the autumn to an extent that we'll be seeing alternating Mega Archive and Mega Archive CD entries for a little while. An exciting time for fans of bad FMV.

    In truth, I think the worst of the system's early FMV embarrassments are behind us now, as it seems the system's going to settle on its core strengths (at least, according to the feedback of the day) by instead porting a bunch of stuff and giving it all fancy Red Book audio and animated cutscenes as value add enhancements. To reflect that the majority of games covered today are available elsewhere, though that's not to say the Sega CD versions don't pull their own weight with the added capabilities the CD optical format provides. Just don't expect anything PlayStation-quality quite yet; not that it would be my jurisdiction regardless.

    (Small historical note here: Falling within this entry's timeline are the Australian and European launches of the Mega CD in March and April of 1993, respectively. Only one of its launch games will be new to the Mega Archive CD, but it scarcely counts as you'll soon discover.)

    Here's all the Mega Archive CD entries so far: Part I & Part II & Part III & Part IV

    ...And here's the most recent Mega Archive, which contains links to all its prior entries as well: Mega Archive: Part XXXI

    Part V: CD38-CD49 (January '93 - April '93)

    CD38: Hook

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Core Design
    • Publisher: Sony Imagesoft
    • JP Release: N/A
    • NA Release: January 1993
    • EU Release: June 1993
    • Franchise: Peter Pan
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Theme: Aging Sucks
    • Premise: A doughy, middle-aged Peter Pan has to rescue his kids from Captain Hook in this platformer that de-ages him back to an agile youngster, which feels like it's missing the point. (You know who didn't miss the point though? Rufio. Yeah, I went there.)
    • Availability: Licensed, so nothin' doin'.
    • Preservation: Spielberg's Hook is a divisive movie to many, building a vehicle around star Robin Williams's childlike chaotic energy and sense of humor by having him embody an adult Peter Pan that has re-learn how to bangarang with the best of 'em. Hook was distributed by Sony's TriStar Pictures, so we have Sony Imagesoft handing out the license to various developers to cover as many systems as possible: the consoles all saw variants of this platformer while computers received a point-and-click adventure game and arcades got a brawler, each playing to their respective strengths. It's one of those cases where you're not sure if there needs to be separate pages for these distinct console versions with different developers; I'm erring on the side of keeping all the platformer adaptations in one place. The contemporaneous SNES release was developed by Ukiyotei, perhaps best known for the stellar Skyblazer, while Spidersoft (not the Geneforge/CRPG guys) made the Game Gear port. Core Design, meanwhile, were behind the functionally identical Mega Drive and Sega CD versions (only the music, taken from the movie's John Williams score, and some additional FMV cutscenes separate the two); we've seen this British studio before on here with a few nondescript platformers like Chuck Rock [MA XV], but the studio would soon find massive success in the PlayStation era with the Tomb Raider franchise. Certainly a whole lot of palaver for a movie that critically did not do so hot.
    • Wiki Notes: This would be a twofer, since I covered the Mega Drive version of the game as well, but as this was a SNES double-dip there wasn't a whole lot to add besides some box art images and releases.

    CD39: Psychic Detective Series Vol. 3: Aya

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: DataWest
    • Publisher: DataWest
    • JP Release: 1993-01-03
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Psychic Detective Series
    • Genre: Adventure
    • Theme: Psychic Detective-ing
    • Premise: Katsuya Furuyagi is a detective capable of getting answers directly from the hearts and minds of those he suspects of criminal deeds, which has "mistrial" written all over it.
    • Availability: Some slightly more recent PC adaptations but nothing localized.
    • Preservation: I wondered when the visual novels would start showing up. Strictly speaking, Psychic Detective is a standard Japanese adventure game rather than a visual novel as it uses a menu of commands to drive the action but it's still mostly a passive affair from what I've been able to tell. We also didn't skip a bunch of these: the Psychic Detective games were all exclusive to the FM Towns platform prior to Vol. 3 and would become so again for Vol. 5 and beyond. Data West is a new face and, no, they're not the evil twins of Data East: they were primarily a PC developer, and only occasionally spread out to the PC Engine CD-ROM for their console output. The ports for this and the fourth Psychic Detective game are the only times they show up on a Sega system. By the by, it was tough to find info on these games: as well as being relatively obscure even in their own country, there's also been a heck of a lot of psychic detective games out there including an FMV game from 1995 just called Psychic Detective (you can watch Vinny play it here).
    • Wiki Notes: Screenshots, body text, and releases. Thanks to fellow Falcom fan @bowl-of-lentils for doing some of the heavy lifting here and with DataWest's other games.

    CD40: Yumimi Mix

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Game Arts
    • Publisher: Game Arts
    • JP Release: 1993-01-29
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: N/A
    • Genre: Anime
    • Theme: Anime
    • Premise: Look, I'm trying to narrow down what I want to watch between a dozen new series that just premiered this month (Mashle and Too Cute Crisis are leading the pack so far), so don't think I'm entirely dismissive towards the fine artistic medium that is Japanese animation. But this is some anime-ass anime.
    • Availability: It has a 1995 Saturn remaster but neither were released outside of Japan.
    • Preservation: We have Game Arts back figuring out the capabilities of the CD-ROM format for gaming like very few other Sega CD developers out there. The studio's tried a few things so far, first dipping their toes with the Sengoku sim Tenka Fubu and then hitting it big with Lunar: The Silver Star, and Yumimi Mix sees them essentially create a Dragon's Lair type of interactive movie game with a slice-of-life mahou shoujo (that's "magical girl" for non-weebs) anime that has you occasionally select between multiple choice prompts that rarely have any impact to progress the story. Yumimi is a schoolgirl that gets possessed by a MLP horse queen from another dimension and acquires a bunch of magical powers, and has to figure all that out while also not flunking algebra. The art's great for what it is, created by genuine mangaka Izumi Takemoto, but the animation quality takes a hit presumably due to hardware limitations. It doesn't sound like the Saturn version was that much smoother though (I'm going by the HardcoreGaming101 review for much of this).
    • Wiki Notes: Needed some body text but not much else.

    CD41: SimEarth: The Living Planet

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Game Arts
    • Publisher: Sega
    • JP Release: 1993-03-12
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Sim
    • Genre: Simulation
    • Theme: Global Domination
    • Premise: Someone's entrusted the Pale Blue Dot itself to you, along with the future of the human race. No pressure.
    • Availability: Some PC releases towards the end of the 20th century and the TurboGrafx-CD version was on Wii Virtual Console, but I wouldn't say either's all that accessible.
    • Preservation: February '93 was a quiet month for the Sega CD, so we move right on into March and this lesser Maxis/Sim game where the player is given custody of an entire planet. Definitely more on the macro scale as management simulation games go, as you busy yourself with long-long-term goals like directing the evolution of life or continental drift. I suspect Japan liked this game more than the American audience it was intended for, since it showed up on a bunch of consoles and they didn't even try to localize this version for international markets despite it originating there. It's another Game Arts encounter too, once again branching out into yet another new genre for them with this decent enough port job. Can't say they ever rested on their laurels during this era.
    • Wiki Notes: Hey, a triple-dip. These are pretty rare. That would be SNES and TurboGrafx-CD, both of which were former wiki projects. No Mega Drive version, curiously, and the Mega CD port was Japan-exclusive so there wasn't much to add releases-wise.

    CD42: The Ninja Warriors

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Aisystem Tokyo
    • Publisher: Taito
    • JP Release: 1993-03-12
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Ninja Warriors
    • Genre: Brawler
    • Theme: Ninjas that are Warriors. And also robots.
    • Premise: Two ninja cyborgs have been built by the resistance to assassinate the tyrannical POTUS, Banglar. Are you a bad enough ninja to murder the President?
    • Availability: The Arcade Archives version is available on PS4 and Switch. That's based on the original 1987 arcade game though, not this one.
    • Preservation: Hell yeah, gimme that CD quality Daddy Mulk. That's a sentence that reads perfectly fine on review. Taito's famous side-scrolling action game that features a boy ninja and a girl ninja killing a whole lot of generic soldier dudes (and some dogs) was a big hit in the arcades, so it was ported to almost every home system in the following years. However, the Mega Drive is one of the few platforms that was skipped over and this Sega CD version was exclusive to Japan for reasons that elude me. Shouldn't be that hard to sell a cool ninja game with almost no dialogue overseas, I would've thought, but perhaps by 1993 it was feeling its age a little and Taito got cold feet on a US version. (The SNES also didn't see this game, but they got their own special exclusive remake/sequel called Ninja Warriors Again that added more robot ninjas to the mix so it does feel like someone was playing favorites.) Zuntata, Taito's in-house live band, also gets a credit on the main menu and a special "Zuntata" mode gives you a little clipshow of the game's backstory with the bandmembers acting out the roles. That's cute. We need more Zuntata representation around here.
    • Wiki Notes: A TGCD double-dip. Didn't have to do a darn thing. Putting my feet up instead.

    CD43: Jaguar XJ220

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Core Design
    • Publisher: JVC Musical Industries (NA) / Sega (EU) / Victor Musical Industries (JP)
    • JP Release: 1993-03-26
    • NA Release: April 1993
    • EU Release: April 1993
    • Franchise: N/A
    • Genre: Racing
    • Theme: Mid-Life Crisis
    • Premise: Drive around in a fancy sports car for hours on end. Almost as good as the real thing, probably.
    • Availability: Nah, there are better simulation racing games out there now. Better Jaguars too, I'd imagine.
    • Preservation: Wouldn't be a Mega Archive without an Amiga conversion and Jaguar XJ220 (named for the real-life car model represented in-game) is Core Design's not-so-subtle attempt to take on Gremlin Graphics's Lotus series, the latter also seeing a couple of Mega Drive ports. Well-regarded by Amiga racing fans for its simulation aspects and attention to detail it was a safe bet for the slightly more powerful Sega CD, skipping the regular Mega Drive entirely. I was going to say how messed up it was that it never got an Atari Jaguar port but I guess they didn't have money to burn on expensive frivolities, unlike most Jag owners.
    • Wiki Notes: Box art, releases, some text clean-up. What was there before read like a commercial.

    CD44: Anett Futatabi

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Wolf Team
    • Publisher: Wolf Team
    • JP Release: 1993-03-30
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Earnest Evans
    • Genre: Anett-Em-Up
    • Theme: Indianime Jones
    • Premise: Anett and Earnest Evans are finally prepared to lay the smackdown on the shady dude they've been chasing for three games now. Just gotta beat up all these weird armored henchpeople first.
    • Availability: Never released on anything besides the Japanese Mega CD.
    • Preservation: Kind of an ignoble conclusion to the Earnest Evans trilogy, which began back in 1991 with El Viento. El Viento's female protagonist with the boomerangs happens to be Anett Futatabi, the protagonist of this game also, but rather than a side-scrolling Ninja Gaiden sort of action-platformer this is pure brawler town complete with a depth of field and trash you can destroy for free floor food. Has a Golden Axe flavor to it, as everyone has weapons and you can cast magic with increasing tiers of power whenever the chips are down (though it won't work on bosses). Real generic stuff overall, though carrying over the proper animated cutscenes courtesy of the CD format and a slumming Madhouse from the Sega CD Earnest Evans does make it a bit more intriguing. We're getting real close to Wolf Team hitting the big leagues with the first Tales game, but I'm curious to find out how many more oddball projects like this they had in them until then (including three more Sega CD games, you might be happy (?) to learn).
    • Wiki Notes: It was missing a deck and the main body text. Added a few screenshots too.

    CD45: Sol-Feace / Cobra Command

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Wolf Team
    • Publisher: Wolf Team
    • JP Release: N/A
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: 1993-04
    • Franchise: N/A
    • Genre: Compilation
    • Theme: Two is a bigger number than one
    • Premise: The European Mega CD needed something included if they were hoping people would fork out for an expensive peripheral, so why not two things?
    • Availability: Pack-in only, so your best bet is buying a new Mega CD somehow. Or just get them individually.
    • Preservation: Wasn't sure to bother including this one, as we've covered both games in this compilation individually before, but it is the only unique European Mega CD launch game. Or at least unique in a tenuous sense of the term, what with it being a new SKU of two pre-existing game cases stitched together with packing tape. Sol-Feace [MA XVII] is a fairly standard horizontal shoot 'em up (and the only game to be a launch game for all three major regions) while Cobra Command [MACD II] is an FMV action game in the Dragon's Lair style of hitting buttons at the right moments while a video plays. Now here they are together. Welcome to life, European Mega CD.
    • Wiki Notes: Created a page and felt weird about it afterwards. Compilations do deserve separate pages but this felt like it barely qualifies since they didn't come in the same case or anything.

    CD46: Final Fight CD

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: A-Wave
    • Publisher: Sega
    • JP Release: 1993-04-02
    • NA Release: June 1993
    • EU Release: July 1993
    • Franchise: Final Fight
    • Genre: Brawler
    • Theme: Fresh Garbage Chicken
    • Premise: Mike Haggar's daughter has been kidnapped by Mad Gear hooligans and hoo boy if that don't chap some hides, consarnit.
    • Availability: The original arcade Final Fight has been rereleased many times, most recently as part of the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle from 2018.
    • Preservation: Now, this is more like it. Tough break for Anett Futatabi to release days before the King of Brawlers, Final Fight, which makes a strong case for its CD debut by being the home version closest to the original arcade game (including all three playable characters and a two-player mode, both of which the SNES port dropped the ball on) with an excellent CD soundtrack on top. This is the sort of game that should've been used to sell Sega CDs, I would think, at least in this 16-bit period where console hardware couldn't really make full use of all that memory beyond cutscenes and music: arcade-perfect renditions with slapping tunez. Final Fight the game probably doesn't need much of an introduction, but it is to brawlers what Capcom's Street Fighter II is to fighter games in that it set a high bar for both quality and accessibility. Capcom themselves didn't port this game; that was left to A-Wave, a contractor-slash-animation studio that would usually be brought in to help on graphics. Seems like they did all the work themselves here, excepting the music (done by T's Music, a prolific third-party contractor full of session musicians that is still active).
    • Wiki Notes: I'm not entirely sure we need a separate page for this, since like most Sega CD ports it's just the core game with some new audio and cutscenes. However, the page we have is pretty good (though it needed a lot of clean-up) and already has a bunch of videos and lists attached to it so I'm inclined to leave it be. Just needed a few more screenshots, releases, and the EU box art.

    CD47: Sangokushi III

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Koei
    • Publisher: Koei
    • JP Release: 1993-04-23
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
    • Genre: Strategy Simulation
    • Theme: Red Cliff, Red Cliff, no-one should; terrify the neighborhood (through constant warfare)
    • Premise: Unite China under your banner for the third time with Romance of the Three Kingdoms Three. Because it's the third one we're changing Cao Cao's name to Cao Cao Cao.
    • Availability: Nah, but Koei keeps making the same game with iterative improvements so just find the most recent localized one. As of writing that would be XIV, released in 2020.
    • Preservation: The Mega Archive has already covered Romance of the Three Kingdoms III [MA XXIV] so I'll keep this brief. Not a whole lot's new here besides the music—I didn't see anything by the way of fancy new animated cutscenes, just those seen in the prior games—and it never left Japan anyway so it's probably not the best choice if you were looking for some retro Ancient Chinese warcrafting.
    • Wiki Notes: Does it count as a triple-dip if one of those earlier systems was the Mega Drive? All it needed was some Sega CD-specific stuff like releases and screenshots.

    CD48: Ranma ½: Byakuran Aika

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Masaya
    • Publisher: Masaya
    • JP Release: 1993-04-23
    • NA Release: N/A
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: Ranma ½
    • Genre: Adventure / Visual Novel
    • Theme: Accidental Transgenderism
    • Premise: OK, but is this the good Ranma ½ game?
    • Availability: Licensed, so don't hold your breath.
    • Preservation: Always a pleasure to see a Ranma ½ game in the wild. For those not in the know, Ranma ½ is a broad romantic comedy anime about a male martial artist who becomes female when splashed with cold water due to a curse he received while training in the mountains (most of the extended cast have similar transformation curses, though not gender-related). He has many female admirers as a boy and almost as many male ones as a girl, but is mostly an oblivious buffoon who is constantly flummoxed by his bizarre circumstances. Most of the Ranma ½ games play up the show's martial arts angle by being fighter games, though since there's a lot of story and character stuff in the show we'll occasionally get adventure games like this one too. It's also an advantageous genre for a game released on a console that might provide some presentational benefits such as FMV animation, for example. Because this is on a Sega platform, they also had to shoehorn in some janken (rock-paper-scissors) to keep things annoying. Speaking of Sega, and we do that a lot here, I believe this is the only Ranma ½ game we're going to see on either Mega Archive or Mega Archive CD; there's many more on SNES, Game Boy, and PC Engine though.
    • Wiki Notes: Main body text and screenshots. I stitched together multiple screens of a panning shot of the ancillary cast for the header and I think it worked out pretty well. Toot toot. That's my own horn.

    CD49: Panic! / Switch

    No Caption Provided
    • Developer: Sega / Office I.
    • Publisher: Sega (JP) / Data East (NA)
    • JP Release: 1993-04-23 (as Switch)
    • NA Release: October 1994 (as Panic!)
    • EU Release: N/A
    • Franchise: N/A
    • Genre: Adventure? I guess?
    • Theme: Randomly Clicking Things
    • Premise: Slap, a kid charged with saving the world from a computer virus, must click around various screens until he's mercifully allowed to die. Or maybe even actually save the world.
    • Availability: There's a Japan-only PS2 remaster out there, but I don't think it'll make any more sense.
    • Preservation: I'll occasionally see Panic! show up in various places (including this site) as it's one of those games that some believe perfectly encapsulates what a lot of early CD-ROM gaming was like: arbitrarily clicking around to make random shit happen in lieu of gameplay that might be considered "traditional" or "fun". Nominally, in Panic! you are a kid with a pink baseball cap called Slap (the kid is called that, not the cap) who is tasked with finding a central computer database and applying an antidote that will fix a virus that threatens world security. In reality, it's an excuse for a series of goofy jokes and non-sequiturs as you press buttons and hope for the best. There's no real challenge involved; it's all guesswork and it's just as likely you'll get kicked back a few screens than make any forward progress. Still, in its defense, the gags can lead to some unexpected laughs and there's not a whole lot of (non-Amanita Design) games doing this kind of thing. Probably for the best, as Panic! almost makes Mario Party look like a game of skill in comparison.
    • Wiki Notes: Minor clean-up but that's all. We got some Panic fanatics around here.
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    Didn't realize there were so many Japan only Sega CD games. I always thought that Sega did most of their 16-bit business in the U.S. and Europe.

    Oh, and a panic switch is something completely different.

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    Is this the good Ranma game?

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