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Hammerin' Harry
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Kizuchida Quiz da Gen-ssan Da!
Daiku no Gen-san 2

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Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san
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Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san (がんばれ大工の源さん) - Super Famicom (1993)

Japanese SFC Cover

On the surface, the Super Famicom Gen-san game might be the closest you can get to the arcade version, but that's really not the case. The graphics, while decent, are more colorful and cartoony than the original arcade, but they're lacking the high quality pixel art that Irem was known for back in the day. The backgrounds graphics are banal, but some of the bosses consist of bizarre characters, like a chainsaw wielding housewife, a bearded skater dude, and a Japanese business who wears a robotic suit. The levels have been expanded to add more vertical space, but the designs are fairly dull and straightforward.

Part of this is because the game's just too easy. Gen has a huge life meter - much larger than the Famicom or Game Boy games - so most of the game feels like an insignificant breeze. There are a couple of stages where you ride on a motorcycle, although these are also short and simple. There are some new power-ups, like different colored vests to absorb more damage, and pants to make Gen jump higher. You can also find "muscle" icons, which allow you to use a special attack which somehow causes the hammer to shoot sparks. Unfortunately, you can no longer block enemies by ducking. Technically Ganbare! Daiku no Gen=san plays well, but its setting is dull compared to the Gameboy games, and it ultimately comes off as mediocre.

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Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san (SFC)

Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san (SFC)



Daiku no Gen-san: Robot Teikoku no Yabou (大工の源さん ロボット帝国の野望) - Game Boy (1994)

Japanese Game Boy Cover

The second Game Boy game takes out heroes to the final frontier - outer space. The basic gameplay is much the same as its predecessor, although it's a bit more difficult. At a few points, you'll be accompanied by some robot helpers, who show up at specific points in each stage to spring you over walls or supply extra firepower. It also has a particularly cool final battle where the roles are reversed - instead of being a lone character against a huge machine, you control a huge machine against one single character, a wily ninja who blinks in and out of existence. This one was only released in Japan.

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Daiku no Gen-san: Robot Teikoku no Yabou (GB)



Various Pachinko Games - Pachinko, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Windows, Game Boy (1996-2007)

Japanese Game Boy Cover

Japanese PlayStation 2 Cover

The Japanese sure do love their pachinko! For those not in the know, pachinko is kind of a mixture of pinball, except there's no flippers to use, so you just shoot tons of tiny little balls through a board and see where they land. It's more about luck than actual skill, though, so it's much closer to gambling, except it's actually legal in Japan. After the last portable games, Gen gained quite a bit of popularity as a pachinko mascot for Sanyo Bussan Co. There are several different releases, including several on home platforms, including Pachinko CR Daiku no Gen-San GB for the Game Boy (pictured here), Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 4 for the PlayStation, and Sanyo Pachinko Paradise 7 and 10 for the PlayStation 2.

Pachinko CR Daiku no Gen-San GB (GB)

Pachinko CR Daiku no Gen-San GB (GB)


Daiku no Gen-san: Kachikachi no Tonkachi ga Kachi (大工の源さん カチカチのトンカチがカチ) - Game Boy Color (2000)

Japanese Game Boy Color Cover

A notable departure from the arcade-style action of its predecessors, the sole Game Boy Color installment is more of a puzzle platformer, and was developed by a company called Biox. (It's also remarkably similar to Samurai Kid, another title by the same developer.) Each stage is fairly large and filled with enemies and minor obstacles, as well as keys to find. Gen has three different types of enemies - one will kill enemies, one will turn them into blocks, and one will anger them so they'll follow Gen around the screen. With this in mind, you use these tools to turn enemies into blocks and utilize them to hit switches or springs. Gen can also use his hammer to climb onto platforms, hop on like a pogo stick, or use as a umbrella to control his falls. Even though it's pretty ugly, it's actually a nice little diversion.

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Daiku no Gen-san: Kachikachi no Tonkachi ga Kachi (GBC)



Hammerin' Hero / Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (いくぜっ! 源さん 夕焼け大工物語) / GenSan - PSP (2008)

American PSP Cover

Japanese PSP Cover

European PSP Cover

After spending the better part of a decade moonlight as a pachinko mascot, Irem resurrected their old friend for a new outing on the PlayStation Portable. It's also one of the first games in the series officially released in America, published by Atlus under the name Hammerin' Hero. This time, it's a 2.5D side-scroller with a more cutesy, cartoony feel than the previous games. You play as Gen through twelve stages, which include the usual Japanese suburbs, a carnival, a TV station, a haunted hospital, a beach, and an office building, before finally jumping into a ship that suspiciously looks like an R-9 from R-Type (and can also transform into a mech wielding a giant hammer) for a climatic battle in space.

The levels are generally pretty short, but each is loaded with character. The game keeps a running tally of all of the different items, people, and bonuses you find throughout each stage, unlocking their description in the menu, and advises you of your progress. Since it's a relatively short action game - it can be beaten within an hour or two - it helps add a bit of replay value, to ensure that you've combed every bit of every level. By default, you can only take a single hit, like the original arcade game, but you can also play each stage in Easy mode, which lets you take three hits. Also, anything that can damage you is outlined in red, making it easier to pick out dangerous projectiles.

Throughout each stage, you can find various citizens with little "anger" balloons floating above them. If you knock these out of they way, they'll come out of their stupor and begin helping you. Gen's arsenal has also been vastly expanded. In his default uniform, he wields his hammer, with two types of swings with various powers, and a special move executed by jumping and hitting down and Triangle.

Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari

As you progress through the game, you can unlock different "jobs", each of which gives Gen a different set of weapons and skills. As a baseball player, you're obviously armed with a baseball bat. As a DJ, you can toss records and swipe at foes with a gigantic boom box. In one stage, you're required to don a swimsuit to swim underwater. In the second-to-last-stage, you can disguise yourself as a dark suit/sunglasses clad businessman (thug?) to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters. At the beginning of each stage, your lady pal Kanna will offer to cook a meal for you, which can be used at any time during the stage, Depending on what you've unlocked, these can restore your health or let you change into another job in the middle of the action.

This is by far the most ambitious, most inspired entry in the series, but there's one major problem - the action itself is slow and sluggish. Compared to the blazing fast pace of the arcade games - or even the slower pace of the Game Boy titles - Hammerin' Hero feels remarkably sluggish. It doesn't help that it's also filled with tons of slowdown. It doesn't ruin the game, but it does keep it from nesting alongside other high-quality PSP sidescrollers like Dracula X Chronicles, Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, and Prinny.

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Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (PSP)

Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (PSP)

Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (PSP)

Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (PSP)

Ikuze! Gen-San: Yuuyake Daiku Monogatari (PSP)


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Additional Screenshots


Anime: Ikuze! Gen-san (2008)

Around the time of the PSP game release, an anime based on the series, simply titled Ikuze! Gen-san, was broadcast on the online site GyaO. The whole series consists of 12 episodes, each 9 minutes in length, and focusing on many of the characters in the PSP game, including Gen, his lady friend Kanna, the red haired guy Dan (who originated in the second Famicom game), and various other members of the Kuromaku Industries folk. A DVD compiling the episodes was released in April 2009.

Ikuze! Gen-san


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<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Hammerin' Harry
Hammerin' Harry: Ghost Breeding Company
Kizuchida Quiz da Gen-ssan Da!
Daiku no Gen-san 2

Page 2:
Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san
Daiku no Gen-san: Robot Teikoku no Yabou
Daiku no Gen-san: Kachikachi no Tonkachi ga Kachi
Hammerin' Hero

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