Even though I've never been a fan of comic books (well,
American comic books anyway) the idea of crossovers between
famous characters always seemed mega-cool. Given what a big Konami
fan I am, the idea of collecting heroes from several games and putting
altogether in one big adventure was just incredibly cool! And that
game was Konami World. The idea was excellent, and the game was fun, but
the execution was ever-so-slightly subpar. Willing to give the franchise
another shot, Konami retooled the entire game idea around and churned
out Wai Wai World 2: SOS! Parsley Castle! While ditching the adventure
aspects of the original in favor of more straight-out action, Wai Wai World 2
turns out be very fun, if not particularly exciting game.
The outer space fortress of Parsley Castle has been invaded by nasty
beings and the token princess has been captured, so goofy cyborgesque hero
Rick and his Konami followers are off to the rescue. There are a total
of five characters other than Rick: Simon Belmont (of Castlevania) and his
long and powerful, yet unwieldy, whip; Bill (of Contra), with his versatile
gun, Fuuma (the undead knight of Getsufuu Maden, a Japan-only title), equipped with a short
range sword; Goemon (of the game with the same name) with boomerang-type
throwing pipes; and Upa (a litte baby also from Japan-only title named
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa) who can turns enemies into clouds, which can
then be used as platforms. All of the characters appear as cute, super-deformed
version of themselves.
At the beginning of the game, you can choose
a "configuration" consisting of three characters, in addition to the main
character Rick. At points in the game,
little pods fly Contra-style across the screen that will let you
choose which of the three characters. You assume this form for 60 seconds -
getting hit will only shave seconds off the timer. Once this runs out,
it's back to Rick. Not to worry - these power-ups are fairly common.
And Rick isn't exactly a wimp either - though his little blaster gun is
weak and has poor range, he does have a jet-pack that allows him to do
a little double-jump.
After choosing your characters and seeing a cute little map of Konami World,
you're dumped into the first level, which seems to be from a generic
game rather than a specific Konami title. The
first thing I noticed was the automatic scrolling of the game - I always
hated platform games like this. Given that this first level is not
only overly long, but slloooowwwwww, things were not looking good
for Wai Wai World 2.
Luckily, it all picks up from there. In all of the following levels,
the auto-scroll is gone. Rick and the gang will venture
through stages from all of the games mentioned in the paragraphs above,
ranging from the old-style Japan setting of Ganbare Goemon!, the jungle
level of Contra or the bloody world of hell in Getsufuu Maden. Each level
is extremely colorful, and
also features slightly revamped music from its respective game. Not only
that, but there are various extremely cool mini-games. Some of the smaller
ones include a tiny little car racing game, an "arrange the tiles to form
a picture"-type puzzle, and a bizarre tribute to Frogger. But by far
the coolest are the Twinbee and Gradius levels. These play exactly
like the titles they are based from, and are a total blast. The levels
are completely new, and there are touches that are almost jaw-dropping
on the NES - a Space Harrier style 3D level with Twinbee shooting clouds
to gain bells, and a battle with one of those gigantic Gradius 1 boss
ships, somewhat reminiscent of R-Type. The variety and quality of these
games-within-a-game are just astounding for the good ol' NES/Famicom.
While I have to admit Wai Wai World 2 is fun, there's just something lacking.
Given that this is a Konami game, you'd expect some excellent game design
and challenge. But other than the concept and the superb mini-games, the
level designs aren't anything special, and the challenge is almost nil.
The gameplay isn't bad - it's just anything special.
In no way, is it a bad game - contrary to the fact, it's very fun, especially
in two-player mode. A little more effort just could've been put forth
to make the side-scrolling stages, the meat of the game, to be more involving
and....well...harder. In spite of this compalint, which may mainly
be because I was weened on the toughest-of-tough early Konami titles,
Wai Wai World 2 is still a quality title that rivals the early 16-bit games
, not only in variety but in every other department as well.