3/31/2012

Space Dynagon

So,  in 1992, there was a charmingly bizarre shmup released for the Super Nintendo, titled Pocky & Rocky (奇々怪界~謎の黒マント). P&R was a scrolling shooter, that's main draw was that your character was a person, instead of an aircraft; keep in mind this is during the early Nineties, years before Touhou made lolis and cuddly-things the norm. Furthermore, your character wasn't airborne, and could move around much more freely than in a more standard shooter, though you were still only making your way down long, single-screen-sized corridors. Now at this point, you're probably wondering why I'm going on about P&R; it was made by Natsume, a rather reputable company, and it was met with pretty handsome success. Surely it doesn't fit the criteria for a write-up here? Well, you'd be right, except I'm not talking about Pocky & Rocky, instead, I'm talking about a doujinshi that took what Pocky & Rocky had to offer, and ran far, far away with it.

Wat?



Space Dynagon (りーふせいじん☆あたっく) is a game about a 'feudal' Japanese priestess who makes her way through the invading alien infantry, killing Space Onion after Space Onion. Yeah, it's that kind of game.

I can't even think of a witty caption.

Space Dynagon takes the idea of ground-based shooting from Pocky, and combines that with many elements from Zelda, of all things. You are no longer gunning through  long, linear levels, but now are free to explore the open, almost maze-like stages that Dyanagon consists of. Each stage is puzzle like, requiring you to flip switches, and perform other tasks in order to advance.

Your enemies are all 'Leaf People', Onion-like... things that are distinguished by their various head-wear.
There are some that fly, some that wear top hat, a few have afros, there's even an American Leaf Person, who is angrier than the rest;  likely he is a Patriots fan.

Here's a mere sample of the many weirdos you'll meet in Space Dynagon:

They have several Kings. Space Onion government seems like it would be very confusing.

You can see, the Leaf People come in two colors, red and green, with several variations, of each; there are also Pumpkin-men, who sport similar permutations. Normally I'd go into detail about the various strengths, weaknesses and abilities of each enemy-class, but the problem is, that each enemy goes down so quick, that with few exceptions, you'll barely notice the difference between enemy-types, other than their affinity for flamboyant head-wear. There is an in-game glossary, which is written in Katakana, and is of no-use to me what-so-ever.

"Pffft. Can't read it? What are you, a Baka Gaijin?"
-Somebody on 4chan

The Leafs are pretty nuanced in their special-abilities most of them are pretty alike, with only marginal differences; remember, regardless of class, Red Leafs are always faster, and Pumpkins act the same way, but are slightly smaller targets. You may or may not notice their specialties as you effortlessly mow down wave after wave of them: The guys who can fly, are obviously capable of flying, the 'Seeders', as they're called throw seeds the explode on impact with you. The 'Oshare Leafs', with the dandy top hats, are suicide bombers, that send a series of explosions along the ground, whereas the cats with the Afros simply go all out, and explode in one large, centralized area. Some enemies, specifically the Royal and AMERIKAN Leafs have lifebars and act as sub-sub-bosses; Royal Leafs are weaker than AMERIKAN Leafs, but they make up for it with their ability to plant even more Leafs. Fucking Leafs. The guys with Magic Panties on their heads act as support Leafs, and cast spells that repair the pot-planters that the Leafs grow from. Then there's the most irritating fuckers of all, the 'Metal Leafs', they are the guys adorned with samurai helmets, and they are immune to bullets. That's right. A shmup with an enemy-class that is immune to fucking bullets. Classy. The only way to deal with these guys is to bury them alive, which brings me to mechanics...

Space Dynagon, as I said much earlier, takes the Pocky's gameplay all the way into adventure-game territory, making it something akin to a cross between Zelda, Gauntlet and a shmup, with some arena-shmup, and even a bit of roguelike thrown in. It's a culmination, is what I'm trying to say.

After clearing out this house, feel free to rub the defeat in, by watching their TV.

The game consists of shooting legions after legions of Leafs - and yes, Leafs, it's a proper noun, deal with it - while solving brief puzzles, and finding switches, or navigating mazes. This game is completely free-roaming, not-unlike Zelda, and you have free-reign to do whatever you feel is necessary to prepare for the next wave, by which I mean grind for power-ups. You are timed, though the time-limit is extremely generous, and almost malleable, in fact; when time runs out, the game doesn't automatically, instead you are bombarded with suicide-bombing Leafs who will try to kill you. It's entirely possible to not only outrun these nuisances, but even finish the stage long after you've timed out.

Bullets are fired in a spread pattern, similar to Touhou, though their range is very limited, forcing you to walk over, and Robotron the shit out of everybody. Your starting spread is determined by the difficulty your playing through, but can be quickly beefed-up by means of easily obtained Shot-Items. You always walk forward, a la' Zelda, so there is a shift-key for strafing that allows you to continuously facing on direction while firing. Pretty much everyone who isn't a boss, or American goes down like a bitch; except for Metal Leafs.

This is where you're Shinto-shovelling comes in handy; you can dig a hole, and wait for stupid enemies to fall in amongst the shuffling-madness; once they re stuck in the hole, return to the hole, and press 'dig' again, to bury them. When you walk over a buried Leaf, they will unleash a massive explosion, and any Leaf caught in the explosion will explode as well, cause a chain-reaction of combusting Space Onions. Leafs that have exploded inexplicably leave behind various pieces of sushi for no discernible reason, which is apparently a secondary goal of the game, according to the stats screen. idk.

Girugamesh.

As you've probably already concluded by now, the Leafs are grown in those giant planters, not unlike the doors from Gauntlet, that spawn ghosts and orcs, only in this instance, they are used to grown Space Onions. Destroying the planters, obviously inhibits their ability to grow more Leaf people, though not for long; the Leafs are determined to invade Japan, and aren't going to let $8 worth of broken ceramics, and a trip to Lowe's stop them. Planters respawn quick, and immediately start harvesting new foes, so be vigilant. Try to break the planters before the screen gets flooded and you die.

It smells like Otakon in here!
The game features a variety of items and pickups that have various effects on gameplay:

The Banana Diet even existed during the Feudal Era.

  • MoonPhase Orbs -  Increase your total remaining time by about a minute or so each.
  • Bananas -  Restore your life.
  • Red Potions - Increase the power of your bullets
  • Green Potions - Increase the capacity of your lifebar.
  • Yellow Potions - Increase your defense (by reducing damage taken)
  • Blue Potions - Increased the spread of your fire.
  • Gems- Are shiny.
 There are also 32 hidden items to unlock. As far as I know, they don't do anything, outside of 100% completion. The game also has Sushi that you can find amongst the fallout of explosions. The greatest power-up of all, however is the Coiled-Turd that grants you invincibility-

Wat?

 So, to put things in perspective, Space Dynagon, is game where you kill Space Onions who wear novelty hats by shooting Shinto Prayer slips at them, and when you put animal feces on your head, you can tackle them, and they explode violently, leaving nothing but raw-fish hors d''oeuvres in their wake.

Also, one of them is a traitor:

"The wholesale slaughter of my kin? Haha! It ain't even a thing!"

Here's the second stage of Space Dynagon in full, for your viewing en bafflement:






1 comment:

  1. "doujinshi" is not the term you're looking for here, and Leaf Seijin Attack is not Space Dynagon's Japanese title, it's a game PlatineDispositif released after desParaiso. 

    You also probably shouldn't link to certain sites which have links to download commercial games, Space Dynagon being one of them.

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