I’m going for quantity over quality today, friends – why should I write an article about one game when I can cover nineteen games at once? That’s just economical, that is. Okay, sure, they’re only minigames. And a lot of them are very similar or even downright identical. And I could be playing WarioWare instead. I didn’t really think this through very well, so let’s get straight to it: here’s Dongsung Wonder Park and Para’s 1997 arcade grab-bag Got-Cha: Mini Game Festival!
I sincerely hope Noel Edmonds isn’t involved.
When I first started playing Got-Cha, I did wonder whether it had been made specifically for a real-world theme park. “Dongsung Wonder Park” definitely sounds like it could be an amusement park, and the game’s got that “festival” subtitle – and then there’s the game’s mascot.
I don’t think it’s ever given a name, but this lion thing shows up throughout the game and you’ve got to admit it really does look like the kind of mascot a theme park might employ. It also looks like a bunch of other things, so I’ve created a handy visual guide to this thing’s make-up.
Yep, that about covers it. On further inspection, it seems that Got-Cha was not affiliated with some mysterious Korean amusement park and is just an arcade game.
As mentioned above, it’s a collection of nineteen minigames that you can either choose to play one-by-one in an attempt to clear them all without running out of lives, or by selecting your favourites from a list. I know this because there’s an English voice over from a lady whose mood is hard to pin down. It’s definitely not the usually semi-psychotic exuberance I tend to associate with voice acting in mid-nineties arcade games… but neither does it sound bored, nor does it sink into House of the Dead 2 levels of unintentional parody. After hearing this lady’s voice a lot – she tells you the rules for every minigame, too – the best description I can come up with is “business-like.” If you’ve ever had to call a company who weren’t big enough to outsource their telephone messages and got Debbie from reception to record them, you’ll recognise the vibe of Got-Cha’s narration.
Right then, here we go with a look at all of Got-Cha’s minigames, each of which are explained in a brief pre-round screen. This minigame’s called Strike Dolls, a name which by rights should belong to an obscure Japanese fighting game with an all-female cast rather than this dull colour-matching challenge.
You can also see Got-Cha’s control set-up here. You’ve got three colour-coded buttons: red on the left, green in the middle and blue on the right. The majority of Got-Cha’s minigames involve pressing the correct colour at the right moment, so try to fix the position of each colour firmly in you mind. Occasionally red and blue work as left and right, too.
In Strike Dolls, you have to knock down the tower by hitting the button that matches the colour of the puck at the bottom of the tower. That’s all there is to it, and if you manage to completely knock down the tower the stage is cleared. You also get to see the mascot standing on top of the stack, and now that I’m seeing a full-body shot of it I’m regretting not including Footix, the mascot of the 1998 World Cup, in the genetic equation I posted above.
Of course, the most interesting thing about this minigame is the giant cat in the background, looming over the trees like an ancient god of the forest. Presumably it was included to distract from the fact that this minigame is boring. I wonder if it’s one of the developer’s cats.
More cats with Hungry Kitty, and also more big digitized photos of pets. In the interests of maintaining the delicate balance between the cat and dog factions, it’s a dog this time. Once again this is the most interesting thing about the minigame, because all you do in Hungry Kitty is hammer the buttons as quickly as possible to make the kitty eat the fish. I suppose it’s helpful that this minigame appears so early in the list, because your fingers haven’t had a chance to get tired yet.
Monster Madness is next, and Godzilla’s got a fresh new look! He’s destroying the city, sure, but once he’s defeated the citizens won’t need to rebuild – dozens of families can simply live inside Godzilla’s baseball cap. The brim is a ready-made veranda!
This is a colour-matching game, where you hit the appropriate button to have your bootleg Ghostbuster zap the red, blue and green (AKA Cool Original) Godzillas as they appear. Press the wrong button and you’re incinerated by Godzilla’s atomic breath. Don’t worry, it just makes you lose a point.
Wash Day works the same as the Strike Dolls minigame – hit the correct colours in sequence – except you’re going horizontally this time, controlling a maid who’s got to bring the laundry in before it starts raining. Sometimes the said laundry is the plug suits from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Having seen Evangelion, I can totally believe that NERV leader and terrible anime dad Gendo Ikari would be the kind of person to hire someone dressed as an anime housemaid to do his chores for him.
The wonderfully named UFO Witness is all about quick shape recognition. You wouldn’t have to work so fast if the observatory would just open their doors slightly wider, but doors that big must take a lot of power to open and space research is underfunded as it is without getting massive bills from British Gas. So, you’re forced to identify the spacecraft (or Santa Claus) through a very narrow field of view. It’s not difficult, and the most interesting thing about it is that the mascot looks even more like a bootleg Sonic the Hedgehog than before.
Spinning Pictures is about two things: spinning pictures and gratuitous panty shots. A picture of this underwear-flashing anime homunculus appears on the screen, gets covered up and is then rotated a few times at random. You job is to figure out what the rotated picture will look like when it’s revealed. That’s all straightforward enough, although I am confused as to why the last two minigames have included Santa-related content.
In The Write Stuff, Got-Cha’s developers clearly grew worried that the players would become too overwhelmed by the high-speed action, engaging gameplay and cartoon knickers that have thus far been at the core of the Got-Cha experience. That level of sustained mental stimulation simply isn’t safe, so to protect you they included a minigame where you spell a three letter word by using the buttons to move a cursor left and right. Whew, what a blessed relief.
Seriously, though, I have to admire the cheek of any game developer who says “you know how you enter your name on the high score table? Well, what if we made that a minigame?” The irony is that Got-Cha doesn’t have a high score table.
Sky’s the Limit now, where two brooding anime pilots silently judge your attempts to keep your jet fighter on the runway by pressing the green button when it veers over the centre line. No, they’re not really judging you. It’s just that Got-Cha is a three-player game and that’s where the other two players’ planes would be if you had two friends. That seems unlikely, though. Two friends? C’mon, be realistic.
Is this minigame going to be about Kevin Costner movies?
Apparently not, unless Kevin Costner has played either an axe-wielding zombie or a young anime lady. I’m not sure which of those Kevin Costner performances I would prefer to see. Probably the anime girl. It would the greatest challenge of his acting career, after all.
As you can probably guess, this is a “shooting” gallery, where you press the colour of the doors to shoot as many zombies as possible without hitting the ladies. If you do hit the ladies, their shirts fall off and they hurriedly cover themselves off, presumably to trick horny weirdos to lose credits by shooting the girls on purpose. A cunning cash-grabbing trick by the developers, there, although it’s also a shocking double-standard. Why can’t I shoot the zombies’ shirts off? They might have terrifying malformations under there! Malformations, I say! Actually, on closer inspection I don’t think they’re zombies at all. Those joints seem to be skeletal in nature, or possibly exoskeletal. Skull-faced axe maniac skeleton-insect-men? Got-Cha’s definitely got one thing going for it.
All the thrills of a Tiger Electronics hand-held LCD racing game in Rush Hour, plus yet more cheesecake anime art. I think that might be the same girl as the one in Spinning Pictures. They’ve got the same haircut, at least.
Rush Hour is a simple matter of avoiding the traffic by moving left and right across the three lanes, but it is one of the few games in Got-Cha that includes even the slightest element of strategy. You have to pass a certain number of cars to win, and you can make your car accelerate with the green button. The faster you’re going the more cars you’ll pass but the harder it is to avoid collisions, so there’s the faintest bit of risk-reward gameplay in there. It’s better than nothing, I suppose.
Rock Paper Scissors was bound to show up at some point, and here it is. I presume I don’t have to explain Rock Paper Scissors to you. The picture at the top cycles between the three options and then suddenly disappears, leaving you to try to remember what the last picture you saw was and then choose the correct counter-play. The hardest thing about this minigame is that the icons you choose from change order, so you have to pay attention to which one you’re selecting. You shouldn’t have trouble with this one unless you have narcolepsy that’s exacerbated by dot-matrix displays.
From one of the easiest minigames to the one that I personally found to be the most difficult with Jungle Escape. It stars a gorilla in a helmet and lots of anti-personnel explosives, so I have to assume the gorilla works for a landmine-clearing NGO. Between this brave ape and Princess Diana’s ghost the world will be rid of landmines, but first you must guide the gorilla to the end of the stage. To do this you press the colour that doesn’t match the landmine in front of you – in the screenshot above, for example, you’d press either green or blue. Later in the stage things are complicated by there being two mines at a time, and I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve spent the whole game up to this point matching colours or because I’m an uncoordinated idiot but I found it very difficult to pick the right colour. This isn’t a complaint; it made a nice change to play a minigame that I had to actually think about.
Kitty’s Mousetrap sees the return of the fish-gobbling cat from earlier in the game. Having grown weary of an all-seafood diet, the cat has branched out into devouring mice after capturing them using an over-complicated mousetrap built to look like a bridge. A variety of mice scurry around on the bridge, and when a mouse is standing on a portion of the bridge that matches their colour you hit the button to open the bridge’s trap doors and send them plummeting into the bubbling cartoon cauldron that I assume the cat has set up under the bridge.
Not a bad little game, this one, as it’s not the by-now-familiar challenge to match colours as quickly as possible. Instead you’ve got to stay patient and try to keep an eye on each member of the mouse swarm, and it’s a welcome change of pace.
I mentioned WarioWare right at the start of this article, and School Daze definitely is the most WarioWare-like minigame to be found in Got-Cha. It’s another one where all you do is mash the buttons as quickly as possible. Doing so makes the muscular, gloved arm click a mechanical pencil, with the goal being to eject as many pencil leads as possible. Wait a minute, that was a WarioWare microgame!
I do like the comedic idea of clicking a pencil becoming a competitive sport played by men with arms that’d make Popeye jealous, though. It’s got all the entertainment value of cricket but you can play along in the comfort of your own home!
Bumper Cars now, where you use the buttons to turn your car left or right while trying to collect more flags than your opponents. Because the CPU cars can drive faster than you and are prone to ramming your vehicle across the field of play, I found a relaxed, zen approach worked best in this minigame. Just let the cars smash you around. You’re bound to end up near some flags eventually.
Okay, is that a Santa Claus themed bikini? I am no closer to figuring out what the deal is with all the Christmas stuff, but I can tell you this – that is a very poorly-drawn arse. Fur-trimmed pants, bulbous hips – I think this character was based on a He-Man action figure.
In Farm Guard, you have to pelt rowdy children with eggs to prevent them from stealing your precious melons. Yep, it’s another colour-matching shooting gallery thing, but mischievous children cannot compete with skeletal monsters or Godzilla, even if they have fashioned previously-stolen melons into crude helmets.
Part-Time Job is all about the game’s mascot being the world’s most irritating fast-food customer, swanning into the place and ordering dozens of very specific burgers that you have to build by hitting the correct button for each ingredient. It’s decent enough, I suppose, although for me the highlight was definitely when the mascot came in and ordered the tomato and lettuce sandwich you can see above. You’re making a mockery of the very concept of hamburgers, you maniac!
Bungee-jumping action in Off the Deep End, where you up the buttons to grab items on your left and right as you fall – items that include cakes, chocolate bars and whatever that thing in the screenshot above is supposed to be. A packing peanut, perhaps. Matters are complicated by the addition of bombs that blow up if you grab them. Maybe once he’s cleared out all the land mines that gorilla can get to work eradicating the menace of hovering cartoon bombs.
Finally – finally – we’ve reach the last game: Galactic Invasion. Press the matching colours to shoot down the UFOs. You could have figured that out for yourself, you’re an intelligent sort, I’m sure. That said, this game didn’t seem to work quite right, in a way I can’t quite pin down. There was a... delay to it, almost, made more noticeable by the fact that all the other minigames played nice and crisply. But none of that really matters. I still managed to emerge triumphant, Paris is saved for alien devastation and Got-Cha: Mini Game Festival draws to a close.
There’s not much of an ending, just a picture of a medal, the word “CHAMP” and, as mentioned, no chance to enter your name in a high-score table. You do get to see your individual scores for each event, though. This is, of course, utterly uninteresting in concept, although I did notice that you can see a picture of the zombie-shooting minigame and the enemy target appears to be a bloke in a trenchcoat rather than a monster, raising the possibility of different graphics appearing either due to randomness or certain circumstances…
...and I did indeed play a bit more and noticed that the mascot was replaced by a dancing anime girl on top of the stacks in the first minigame. I suppose that’s something that might help to keep Got-Cha a bit more interesting over time, and if you’re feeling industrious you can go through and try to find all these variations. Not me, though. I’ve had enough of Got-Cha for now, and probably forever. It’s not a terrible game, though. The games aren’t particularly interesting but they all work fine, and I know I say this a lot but this would probably be more fun if played in multiplayer – it certainly feels like that’s the intended way to enjoy the game. But I played it alone, naturally, and I found it to be okay. Some of the graphics were quite nice and I loved the narrator’s “please stay on the line and someone will answer your call shortly” voice work. It did make me think about Christmas in July, though, so it loses points for that.
- ▼ July (3)
- ► 2017 (91)
- ► 2016 (68)
- ► 2015 (70)
- ► 2014 (90)
- ► 2013 (89)
- ► 2012 (86)
- ► 2011 (98)