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  • Update 4/3

    Posted on April 3rd, 2010 keving 1 comment

    Hooray! I’ve updated all previous PC Engine entries with TG16 box art where it’s applicable. (I think NEC of America did Japan better only once so far, with Deep Blue. Otherwise, I’m not sure what they were thinking. Even if they didn’t want cutesy anime-style box covers, why did they redraw the box for The Legendary Axe using the same staging and art style?)

    I also fixed broken Nicovideo links dating from before the site allowed embedded playback. Now you can learn how to play gateball without registering for a Nico account!

  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] Naxat Open

    Posted on April 3rd, 2010 keving 2 comments

    Naxat Open

    Maker: Naxat Soft
    Release Date: 5/30/89
    6300 yen
    HuCard (3 Mbit)
    Genre: Sports
    PC Engine FAN Score: 18.98 / 30.00
    Kōgien: “There are two modes (tournament and round) in this game. Like in real golf, the 18 holes are all connected to each other, so the game continues even if you shoot a ball outside the hole boundaries. A golf game unique in its attention to realism.”

    Looking back, maybe it’s a bit fortuitous that this game was released just five days after Power Golf in Japan — they each take remarkably different approaches to the game of golf, and your personal preference will probably depend on how much you care about realism.

    Hudson’s Power Golf, like the Nintendo-y games it imitates, is all about pick-up-and-play arcade action. You tap the I button a few times, the ball goes in essentially the direction you meant it to go, you cheer, everybody’s happy. Naxat Open isn’t like that. It’s a bit more for actual golfers, I think, the sort of people who’d be playing Links 386 Pro (I’ve mentioned that game far too often lately) if they were PC-owning Americans.

    What makes me say that? A few reasons. The game’s course is all laid out in a single overhead view which scrolls from hole to hole as necessary. This offers a lot of realism that previous PCE golf sims didn’t have — there’s more curving and variety to the course, the holes progress like they would on a real set of golf links, and it undoubtedly looks different from the rest of the pack game-wise. There’s also the gameplay, which is as harsh and unforgiving as golf itself. The system is the standard three-tap jobbie, but — again, just like in real golf, I suppose — get your aim or timing wrong, and the ball will simply bounce a few yards forward or sail effortlessly over the green and into OB territory, not a care going through its small urethane mind. (Putting out is even harder, to the point where I often found it easier to chip shots in from 15 or so years than to actually putt.)

    With all this in mind, would I call Naxat Open fun? No, I wouldn’t, thank you. The gameplay’s slow-paced and frustrating, the graphics (once you get over the novelty) not all that interesting, and the sound boring and tinny. Many people in Japan, though, call this one a lost classic in the genre. Your call.

    (Naxat released a sequel, Super Naxat Open, for the Super Famicom in 1994. It’s notable mainly for featuring Spike McFang as a playable character.)