CRAYON SHIN-CHAN: ORA TO SHIRO WA OTOMADACHI DAYO / Banpresto / Game Boy
 
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Crayon Shin-chan is a manga/anime series that seemed to do pretty well in Japan, but only got a brief and not-so-successful run on the Cartoon Network in the mid-2000s over here in America. It's basically Calvin and Hobbes but with no Hobbes, a lot more crassness, and crappy scrawled art.
 


It looks like the very first Shin-chan game was actually some sort of oddball puzzler for the NES, but this one is the first of what became a surprisingly long series of platformers. There's no English translation, but it appears to be based on Shin-chan's first animated movie, in which he partnered up with some Kamen Rider dude to recover a mystical stone from Leotard Devil. What this actually ends up breaking down to is just roaming through suburban Japan, climbing stuff and dodging a barrage of assaults from other asshole kids.
 


The platforming is about as simple as it gets. Ol' Crayon can only jump until he finds broom icons that temporarily give him the ability to blow a bubble at enemies, so much of the game is relegated to nothing more than pit-jumping and dodging attacks. Crayon can defeat enemies by jumping on them Mario-style, but absolute pixel precision is required, if you aren't right on the crown of their head you lose a life. The bubble weapon pickups are infrequent, and often involve going out of your way to do something dangerous to get; I ended up almost never bothering with them anyway because the attack comes out so slow and there's so many situations where it can't actually hit an enemy.
 


The main thing to spice up this routine is a mini-game inserted in the middle of each level, triggered by talking to a character who you're usually forced to walk through. These mini-games are themed along the lines of typical kids games, like whack-a-mole and Red Light, Green Light. Often these games are actually more fun than the regular game, especially the little Excitebike clone in level 3.
 


There are only four levels total, and they aren't very long, so the game is basically just padded out by artificial difficulty. There are a bunch of frustrating jump sequences, made even tougher by a very tight timer. I found that in every level past the first, I had to burn at least one life solely due to the timer running down before I could complete the level (you pick up close to where you died with a fresh timer).

It's a servicable platformer, but nothing special. It's a little too finicky to be great, with everything revolving around pixel-precise jumping and trying to bomb through levels as quickly as possible. The mini-games were a nice touch, though, and the whole thing is fairly polished and at least somewhat enjoyable.
 
 
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