Future Boy Conan: The Videogame (PC Engine CD-ROM)

Hayao Miyazaki fans have been screaming for videogame adaptations of his classic animated movies for years. Thankfully, our prayers have been Japan, at least. This is Future Boy Conan on the PC Engine CD-ROM, which was released in the West as the Turbografx-16 and TurboDuo. It is based, obviously, on the 1978 Miyazaki television series, which is just about the greatest cartoon series ever made.

Unfortunately, neither the anime series nor the videogame ever made it to our shores, but thanks to the magic of import shops (and internet downloads, cough, ahem), we can enjoy Conan in all his greatness.

I will freely admit that, strictly on the standards of videogame criticism, Future Boy Conan is a somewhat standard, almost rudimentary side-scrolling action-platformer. Its layouts and level designs are nowhere near the genre's greats, and if you're expecting the next Super Mario or Sonic, you'll be greatly disappointed. The game largely exists for players who wish to relive the TV series, by walking from Cut Scene A to Cut Scene B. For these reasons, this game will probably only appeal to fans of the series.

 That said, fans will have a terrific time. The many cut-scenes use the in-game graphics engine to depict its scenes, instead of merely playing compressed MPEG video clips. This means that graphics are extremely clean, sharp and colorfully detailed. The animation is a touch limited but very impressive, and the programmers did an exemplary job in recreating many of our favorite Future Boy Conan scenes, including the title sequence ('70s anime always had the best opening credits).

Hudson Soft made a strong push to promote the PC Engine/Turbografx library on Nintendo's Virtual Console, including a number of CD titles. I do wish that Konami (who now owns the Hudson name and library) would continue the good work and bring us more games, especially the many CD titles that never left Japan. Like the Sega Saturn, the PCE is an endless treasure trove for classic gamers at a time when videogames and anime were practically joined at the hip. Today's most game designers are trying to mimic Hollywood blockbuster movies. They should mimic Miyazaki anime instead.

Just tell me you wouldn't go completely gaga over a videogame version of your favorite Studio Ghibli movie just like this one. Indie developers, assemble!

I previously wrote a post about this game way back in 2010, but only shared a few screenshots. Now we can watch an extended gameplay video that really shows you the guts of this wonderful little gem.

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