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  • Baraduke (Namco, July 1985)

    Posted on November 4th, 2009 keving 6 comments

    With its most recent version upgrade, Nico Nico Dōga now allows inline movie linking from any site, including Magweasel. (Until now, you could inline nicovideo movies only on Japanese blog domains that had agreements with the site; that requirement’s been removed.)

    This means that I can now link lovely, long, full-sized TAS and classic video-game clips (of which Nico has about a million) without requiring you to fill out a complex Japanese-language form in order to get an account. Great news for everyone, I think you’ll agree. (Don’t forget to click the “…” balloon on the lower right to turn off scrolly Japanese reader comments.)

    To celebrate I want to talk about Baraduke, a 1985 game that Namco never ported to anything until Namco Museum Volume 5 in 1997. The game was designed by Yukio “Takky” Takahashi, who also worked on Genpei Tōmaden and later contributed to assorted D3 Publisher games; the programmer was Yoshihiro “Kissy” Kishimoto, who later became famous as the chief mind behind the Family Stadium series. Yuriko Keino, who (along with Junko Ozawa) revolutionized the concept of “game music” in arcade titles like Dig Dug and Xevious, handled sound in this game; Ozawa herself is the voice behind “I’m Your FRIEND-O” at the beginning.

    As you watch the above video, you’ll probably note that Baraduke looks a lot like Metroid, from the atmosphere to the color of the hero. This game came out a year before Metroid, and considering the similarities (including the twist at the ending if you stick around for it), you can’t help but wonder if Nintendo took at least a weensy bit of inspiration from this game.

    This runthrough is all about getting as high a score as possible, which means two things: the player racks up extra lives like a fiend (since they’re transformed into points at the end), and he also shoots down the first 20 Paccets he sees, which unlocks hidden pickups — actually unflattering portraits of Kissy and Takky — worth a total of 30,000 points. That’s nothing to sniff at in Baraduke, which is pretty frugal with the points, but shooting all these Paccets means going without any shield upgrades whatsoever for the opening of the game, which makes things extremely difficult around Floor 10 or so. (This was one of the few arcade games, really, where enemy bullets were as quick as yours. That makes things seem nearly impossible for beginners, then and now. If you don’t believe me, try it.)

    Here’s the second half, starting at Floor 31. Note how the largest level in the game (31) is immediately followed by the smallest (32). Also note the Pac-Man stage a little before the halfway mark.