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Psychic 5 Eternal is a 2023 remake of the NMK arcade game, coming courtesy of CRT Games, the Korean developer who also made an HD update of Snow Bros. At the core of it is a reasonably accurate replication of the arcade version, with a number of quality of life improvements. The original release used a vertical monitor for a rather narrow view, while this port gives the option for widescreen, expanding the borders on both sides to give a much larger look at the level. You can switch between the original low resolution visuals and the redone HD look, which don’t look great but fit the eccentric look of Psychic 5. Much like the graphics, you can also switch between the original OST and a revamped version, arranged by original composer Shinichi Sakamoto. Also new is a two-player split screen mode which allows players to independently explore the stage.
Also offered are several difficulty levels. In the arcade game, one hit was all it took to kill you, while the Easy and Normal mode hear let you take four and three hits, respectively, while the Hard mode is the same as the arcade. On all difficulty levels, the witch’s broom is significantly easier to catch, which overall makes the game quite a bit easier. A little power bar has also been added to each door to show how long it’ll take to open. You can also resume progress at any level you’ve previously beaten.
Beyond merely replicating the arcade game, which only had eight levels, Eternal offers eight more brand new stages. As the new story scenes show, the portals of Hell have opened, incapacitating most of the original Psychic 5 team and outright killing Genzoh. Five new heroes – Jin-Woo, Jong-Nam, Ppu-Kku, Soo-Yeon, and Sung-Gil, all Korean – show up on the scene to delve into the underworld to fight the demons and rescue Genzoh’s soul. Despite technically being different characters, most of them are functionally identical. Each gets a new projectile attack, activated by holding down the attack button, while the lanky Makoto is replaced by the dog Ppu-Kku, who can squeeze into tight passages. While the music tracks in the main game were associated with each character, the new themes here are tied to the individual levels.
Since you are adventuring through the afterlife, all of these stages are themed around dungeons, castles, caves, and other spooky imagery; the new enemies here are just as ridiculous as before, like the computers and floppy disks, as well as typewriters that have the note “I am in hell. Help Me.” There are four new bosses that replace Satan of the arcade game, all based on various demons and who have slightly different boss patterns. For the finale, you fight an enormous Lucifer, which takes up several screens. After the ending, you’re treated to a bonus stage that introduces all of the heroes and enemies, along with a brief, often goofy backstory.
Along with this are Time Attack and Survival modes, which just add a timer or limits you to a single life, respectively. These aren’t particularly exciting, but the Towering mode is pretty interesting, as it gives you a randomly generated level where you climb upwards while being chased by a burning inferno, seeing how high you can get. You can also play mirrored versions of the levels in certain modes.
Psychic 5 is an unusual candidate for this type of remake, but it’s clear the developers were pretty big fans of the original. It respects the original source material while making some tweaks that make it substantially less frustrating, particularly for those who never played the arcade game. It’s still fundamentally an oddball 1986 arcade game that doesn’t fundamentally change much, but there’s certainly enough here to justify it as a brand new product rather than a straight Arcade Archives emulation.