Game Tengoku CruisinMix reopens the the gates to shooting game paradise
Jaleco's cult all-star "super hyper goofy shoot 'em up" is being revived for PS4 and PC.
2017 has been a fruitful year for Jaleco custodians City Connection — they've resurrected an obscure puzzle game as a successful launch title for Switch, secured multi-cart releases for their 8/16-bit console catalog, collaborated with Namco to make their IP freely available to Japanese indie developers and, as they've just announced, they're bringing back one of their most cherished titles in the form of an enhanced port for Playstation 4 and PC.
Released to Japanese arcades in 1995, Game Tengoku's (helpfully subtitled "The Game Paradise!") then-novel blend of self-referential humor, moe character designs, recognizable voice actors and frenetic vertical shooter gameplay quickly gained a loyal following. Players were tasked with leading a who's-that of Jaleco mascots and original characters through a a variety of arcade-pastiche stages in a fight against the self-proclaimed "super genius smart guy" Yamada, would-be conqueror of all gaming; it was wacky, it was fresh and it was challenging — by Jaleco's usual standard, anyway — and an expanded Saturn port, a Playstation spin-off and a variety of supplementary media soon followed, but the decline of Jaleco as an independent entity during the late '90s doomed the franchise to an early retirement and only the faintest amount of recognition outside Japan.
Now, 20 years on, City Connection is partnering with publishers Chara-Ani and Degica to bring the Saturn version Game Tengokuto Playstation 4 and PC via Steam at the end of the year; subtitled CruisinMix, this new port will feature all the original content from the Saturn port (including the undoubtedly hard-to-license voice acting) and a brand-new English translation alongside a smattering of new features including online leaderboards and a new arrange mode designed for vertical displays. They'll also be adding additional characters as downloadable content, with the first newcomer — Clarice, the star of Jaleco's 1985 arcade Flicky-wannabe and licensor namesake, City Connection — coming free with retail versions of the game. (As of this writing, the retail PS4 release has only been announced for Japan.)
Of course, much of what made Game Tengoku novel in 1995 is now commonplace in the world of shooters, for better or for worse: damn near every modern Japanese shooting game developer has flirted with the moe aesthetic, and even the uber-stoic Raiden series now features constant back-and-forth chatter during every stage. What does Game Tengoku have to offer that can't be found anywhere else?
Answer: the Tuff E Nuff box. Have fun with Game Tengoku, everyone!