All Together Then: KonaMIA (Again!)

More Konami games you are NOT ALLOWED TO BUY.

A fair auld while ago now (in the forgotten mists of 2019), All Together Then covered three Konami games that had never seen re-release. And one of them was Sunset Riders, which - would you flippin' believe it? - hit PS4 and Switch just this week! You can go and play it right now!

It got me to thinking, though - there must be more unported, unavailable Konami bits and bobs; they were so prolific, their games so good.

So let's get to another All Together Then, starting with a game mentioned in passing last time.

All Together Then!

Mystic Warriors: Wrath of the Ninjas (Arcade, 1993)

Now! We've had Sunset Riders at last, so let's have this. The spiritual sequel to that Old West masterpiece, Mystic Warriors is a journey, laced with character and charm in the same way as its predecessor. As one of the titular warriors, you must take control and defeat the evil Skull Enterprise organisation. As you'd anticipate from a game in the Sunset Riders lineage, this basically amounts to shooting stuff; though you use kunai and shurikens here rather than rifles, which are extremely un-ninja-y. The game takes on a number of twists and turns and - for a coin-op - it has a genuinely quite emotive story. But, of course, all that is filtered through your then-typical Konami action-platforming madness. It's excellent, and I can only hope it's coming to Switch soon as part of Hamster's unbelievable Arcade Archives series.

Astérix (Arcade, 1992)

These Romans are crazy! If by "Romans" you mean "Konami" then yes, they are crazy for not letting anyone have a go on the sodding Astérix machine since 1992. It's a belt-scrolling beat-'em-up like their beloved Simpsons, Turtles and X-Men cabs - no, it's not quite up to the calibre of those, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get any chance to play it! Taking control of Astérix or Obelix - they of band desinée and Parc fame - you'll journey across Caesar-controlled Gaul, beating the paste out of Legionnaires and Centurions alike. Devouring Magic Potion (which Obelix is NOT ALLOWED ANY OF) and wild boar, you can pick up Romans and slap them silly, or biff them out of their sandals just like the bloody brilliant comic books. Except for Astérix and the Falling Sky, that one was pump.

Bucky O' Hare (NES, 1991)

Another licensed game, but an absolutely cracking one. Based on a rather under-rated cartoon, Bucky O' Hare for NES was directed by Masato Maegawa - the founder of beloved cult developers, Treasure. And you can definitely see that DNA at work in this game, a lengthy and extremely challenging platformer characterised mostly by a seemingly-neverending surplus of ideas. Each planet you visit is made up of many, many smaller segments, each one either meaningfully distinct, or an effective embellishment of the last one. You'll rescue the members of Bucky O' Hare's crew as you go, each with a new skill to bring to the table - but, to be honest, they're a little bit redundant. Still, it's a brilliantly-designed game, with fantastic graphics that evoke the NES aesthetic at its absolute best. One of the very greatest games on the system, and still criminally underplayed.

Ninja Five-O (Game Boy Advance, 2003)

Here in the UK, this game was called Ninja Cop, not that it made any kind of difference when it was steadfastly ignored at retail in favour of, ooh, I dunno, SpongeBob Squarepants: SuperSponge. It's a defiantly old-school action platformer, with a nice line in quasi-realistic graphics that reminds me of the slightly obscure (but brilliant) Elevator Action Returns. The game is rather like Shadow Dancer, with hostages that must be rescued on each stage before exiting. The main gimmick here is the Ninja's use of a grappling hook to get around, a spectacularly versatile and fun thing to experiment with. Unfortunately, it sold a total of one cop - accidentally purchased by someone who thought they were buying Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy.