So you’re looking to buy Ikki Tousen: Shining Dragon, and you’re asking yourself . . . “Should I pick up the regular version, or should I drop a few extra for the limited edition?”
Fortunately (for you), I foolishly spent the extra money, so I can help you make your decision. There are two bonuses to the limited set. One is a drama CD, completely in Japanese, and it’s pretty bad. Too much squealing, too few characters, and not enough background music. The other addition is a bonus game — Ikki Tousen: Ikki Tochi! — which basically translates to “Jump over the wooden horse!”, and that’s what the game is. You play as fierce fighter Ryomou Shimei and, instead of fighting, you jump over a wooden horse.
When I first booted the game . . . well, it loaded for a while. Check out the amazing gameplay video, but keep in mind that I trimmed the initial load time by several seconds.
Once the game was done loading, a dim title screen appeared, showing off Ryomou’s busty figure, clad in French maid attire. She also wears an eyepatch, because in Japan, the only thing cuter than a French maid is a pirate maid. This title screen tells us to PUSH START button. On the surface, it’s a simple message, but I found it very curious — why was the word “button” written in lower-case? Is it somehow less important than PUSH or START?
With some reluctance, I PUSHed the START button, and there she was: schoolgirl Ryomou. As if playing a next-gen Track & Field, I tapped X and O repeatedly to run. Upon reaching the wooden horse, I had to press Triangle to jump. And then, I had to go back to tapping X and O repeatedly to maintain my momentum.
I successfully cleared the wooden horse, even going so far as to perform a somersault. I was very happy. But then, something horrible happened. After landing on the mat, Ryomou fell down.
“No,” I whispered. I began to seethe, as if possessed by a demon. “NO! I followed all of the directions! I did exactly as I was told!”
I did not give up. After several GAME OVERs, after tripping, stumbling, and falling, over and over, again and again, I finally cleared the wooden horse and maintained my footing. I was rewarded with a two-second Ryomou happy dance. Then I moved on to . . . a taller horse.
I failed to clear the taller horse. My game ended.
If this were Track & Field on the NES, I would try out a different competition. If this were Decathlon on the Atari 2600, my performance would be noted and I would move on to the next event. Perhaps I might even challenge a friend to see who could earn the better score.
This is not Track & Field on the NES. This is not Decathlon on the Atari 2600. This is Ikki Tousen: Ikki Tochi!, and one single-player event is all you’re going to get. This game which takes 20 seconds to load, this game which occupies the same amount of space as Panzer Dragoon Zwei or Guardian Heroes, is shorter, more frustrating, and less entertaining than similar titles on the NES or Atari 2600. Hell — I had a shareware, multi-player Decathlon game for my IBM XT that played the appropriate national anthem for the winning contestant, and that came on a single 360K floppy. Since it was a free bonus, Marvelous was probably trying to make a humorous kuso-ge, but it just felt insulting since Shining Dragon itself was pretty crappy.
On the plus side, Ryomou has breasts.