Thanks to Neo Demiforce for the
translation and logo!
If comic book crossovers happen all of the time (remember
the hideous Hanna Barbara cartoon Superfriend?) why
not video game characters? Although a cartoon series
was made with various stars for American TV (Captain N:
The Game Master) there hasn't been an actual video game
like that. Konami World is an interesting Famicom game
that takes various Konami stars and puts them together
into a neat action/adventure title.
Konami World is under attack by vile aliens and baddies!
The protagonists of a bunch of Konami games have been
kidnapped! Under the command of Twinbee's Dr. Cinnamon, they must
be found! You start as Konami Man and Konami Girl, you pick one
of the six stages available to rescue them. (Konami Man had guest
appearances in The Goonies 2 and Stinger for the NES, and Legend of the
Mystical Ninja for the SNES.) Two players can take
on evil forces side by side. The group of heroes include Simon Belmont
from Castlevania, Goemon from the Goemon games (Mystical Ninja), Getsufuu
from Getsufuu Maden, a Moai head from Gradius, Mikey from Goonies, and
Donkey Kong from, well, Donkey Kong (which was actually made by Nintendo,
but it doesn't matter much.) Probably the reason this game was
never released in the United States was that nobody in the USA had ever
heard of Goemon until Mystical Ninja for the SNES, and Konami skipped
over Getsufuu Maden completely. So nobody would know who some of these
Once you enter a level, the game has a somewhat adventerous feel. You must
first hunt around the level to find a key, and then find the captured hero
before he can be unleashed. A few of the levels has bosses guarding the
keys. When a player is rescued, you can change into them at any time.
Each character has their own method of attack (Simon has a whip, Moai
bashes enemies with his head, etc.) and their own life bar. There are
also special weapons hidden throughout the stages for each character (Mikey
has a slingshot, Simon throws crosses, Konami Man and Girl get Beam Guns, etc.)
However, firepower is limited, as each time you use one, you use up
missles that are dropped by enemies. These missiles also serve another
purpose...get 100 of them and you can resurrect a dead hero. There are
also a few additional power ups that increase your offense and defense
abilities, as well as gifting flight to Konami Man and Girl.
Although you can choose you levels, the pattern you must follow is actually
rather linear. For instance, you can't enter the Moai or Getsufuu stage
without having Kong (unless you find the flying cape), you can't enter the Kong stage without Mikey, and you
can't really do anything in the Goonies stage without Simon. In other words,
you really only have to pick between Goemon (who has the ability to pick
up and open flashing boxes on the ground) or Castlevania.
Once you've saved everybody, you get to choose between the Vic Viper (from
Gradius) and the Twinbee (from the Twinbee games) and fly in an overhead
shooter segment. Considering how difficult Konami shooters can be, this
part is actually rather easy. After defeating the hideous boss monster, you
fly into its mouth and into its body, where you exit to attack on foot
for the final side-scrolling level.
All of this would make for an excellent game...I personally love exploration,
finding the various Konami characters in their own levels is pretty cool,
and the addition of the shooter segment is incredibly awesome. Unfortunately,
also like many Konami games, it's damn near impossible. Since you start
off with only Konami Man and Girl, once you lose them, it's game over.
Their attacking range is pathetically short and weak, as many enemies
take more than one hit to kill. The enemies drop plenty of hearts, which
is nice, but it's still not enough. The game gets easier as you add
more characters to your force, but it still remains hard.
And one of the reasons why it's still difficult is the control. While normally
controlling okay, there are a few instances where the mechanics get in
the way of the game. When you jump and press backwards, most of the time
you expect to face the opposite direction. Not here. You simply move
backwards, still facing forward. This gets really annoying when fighting
bosses, like when you need to turn around and attack. Also, your hand-to-hand
attacks can't harm more than one enemies at once, which gets on your
nerves A LOT at the end of the game. Plus you don't pause the
game to change characters, you cycle through them by pressing Up and
A. Add this with the overly
agressive enemy attacks and difficult stages, and at times Konami World
becomes a real tool of frustration.
When you rescue the hero of the level, you aren't sent back to headquarters.
Oh no. Instead, you must trek back through the stage to the entrance.
So if you're nearly out of energy by the time you get to the end, it's
incredibly difficult to get back. You DO get to keep the rescued hero
if all of your characters die (so you don't have to play the blasted level
over), but you'll need to gather tons of missiles
in order to pay for the resurrection of your pals.
The visuals live up to the typical NES Konami standards. Although not
jaw-dropping, they're well detailed and well represent the game you're
supposed to be in. The music in the game is affected by whom you control
and not the level you're in. Each character has their own theme and
it's all pretty cool (Simon has his "Vampire Killer" first level theme from
the original Castlevania. I would've preferred if Mikey had Cyndi Lauper's
"Good Enough" song as his theme, but I guess they couldn't get the rights.
In a nutshell, Konami World is an excellent idea that is slightly tarnished
by some gameplay problems. It's still an incredibly neat game to play
through, even if the aggrivation can get a bit overwhelming.