Friday, March 18, 2011

How I Came To Know The Cosmo Gang

Isn't it great when you randomly find a gem of a game from the past you never heard of? I thought I had all but milked the Super Famicom dry, but found that was not the case when I stumbled upon the Cosmo Gang. How I came to know them is interesting enough. The first time I saw them was on this Tattoo set from a Namco Arcade. I don't think they have these in Canada. I found this one on E-bay almost ten ago.
You can see the gang leader there. I would often find stickers, cards and stuff toys of these guys. Even on some Japanese sites I would see them and almost always they were identified as Dig Dug characters. I don't recall seeing them in any of the Dig Dug remixes, or sequels.
Then one day many years ago I looked up Pac-attack on wikipedia while I was bored at work. The article had a very interesting piece of information on it. Pac-Attack was originally a game called Cosmo Gang the Puzzle. Well, how interesting! I immediately looked up the games title on Wiki, but at the time there was no info on it. I am sure I did a quick google search and discovered the characters had made an appearance in an payout arcade machine. Sadly I let the new found knowledge slip through my fingers, forgot about it entirely and never bothered to look up the game. Isn't that always the way with wiki? XD

So fast forward to 2011....I am looking at my youtube subscriptions and see a very peculiar Bandai hand held LCD game video. The title is called CosmoGangs. Something about these jibber jabbering characters tugs at something in my memory...but what? At first I dismissed the game as the most annoying LCD of all time. A game that buy rights any parent should yell at and smack their child for playing within hearing distance. Just watch the video:

An image of the LCD game based on the hit arcade machine.

The fact that it was unique in it's speech and character designs had me looking it up on E-Bay and that is when I found it! Two of it actually. The Cosmo Gang had stared in two Super Famicom games produced by Namco in the early 1990s. Not just any games either! No! The first game made in 1991 was called Cosmo Gang the video and of all things it was a sequel to one of the greatest game series of all time Galaga/Galaxaian!!!!

First off just check out the awesome artwork that is spread all over the front and back of the box. Gosh how I miss video games like this! Quirky, cartoony, wacky and full of color!!!! NO DIRTY GREY, MURKY GREEN AND DULL BROWNS! It's a miracle!!! You couldn't release a game like this today. XD Cough...sorry..for all the amazing graphics games have today, it wouldn't hurt some game creators to explore the entire spectrum of colors. XD Even the characters of Marvel Vs Capcom 3 were highlighted in a shade of black darker then night itself.

The great box art was not just there to dupe you into buying some inferior product either. I have played through most of the Super Famicom and all of the arcade version and I can tell you right now: this is my retro pick of the year. If you are a Galaga fan and you have not played this yet, you are seriously missing out. The game takes the craziness of Galaga '88 and amps it up by providing an even more unique and hilarious cast of characters and super challenging game play. Don't let the cute designs fool you. The Cosmo Gang are touch cookies!

One of the things about the game I really admire is cast. Unlike a lot of strange shooters, where you are just shooting a lot of random silly things like fruit, or brooms and giant mechs, the Cosmo Gang enemies center on a defined cast of baddies. And what a cast it is, from the arrogant demanding leader, to the sassy grunts, each sprite will have you smiling from cheek to cheek. The game mixes in sound effects and attacks patterns from Galaga, but also introduces attacks you have never seen before. You space police captain will get all sorts of bizarre and amazing power ups. Wait till you see the wicked last boss with his Super Adventure Island style tune rocking in the background! Just for good measure Namco even included the arcade machine as a bonus round and they even change the them each time you get to it! Truly Namco has made one of their biggest blunders of all time by keeping this amazing game hidden in Japan.

Just take in that box art. Even as a full grown adult, I had to run to E-bay and pick up a copy of this game immediately. Games like this remind me why I got into video games in the first place.

As much as I like the classic Pac-Attack, I have always found the game a little drab and slightly depressing for some reason. When you pop this game in, it's a whole different story. It's much more vibrant and alive. Even the blocks look nicer. I get the feeling this might be a sequel game. It looks like the Gang is trying to rebuild their society after the great war of the last the title left them fairly devastated. They are hardy little guys :P Sadly I cannot get the Mame version to work. I keep getting a type miss match error message.
The game must have been popular because you can find it for sale all over e-bay. If you don't have a Super Famicom, or means to play the games on your SNES, then do your best to locate the Rom for both SNES and MAME. You won't regret running into the Cosmo Gang! :D

P.S. Get the Japanese Version of the arcade game, the US voice acting is HORRIBLE!

1 comment:

  1. Sw33t! we still have that machine in one of the arcade stores :D but rarely played now, mostly kids play those and you get tickets depends on the score - FallenAngel



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...