When I think of Brazil, I think of football, Pelé and the less terrifying kind of carnivals, the ones with the girls and the feathered headdresses and less clowns. When videogame developers of the nineties thought of Brazil, they apparently thought of a race of feral, jungle-dwelling beastmen. Yes, it's time for Fighters of the World: Brazil!

Okay, so maybe that's a little unfair: as we will see, Brazilian fighters seem to be split into two categories, only one of which is "feral, jungle-dwelling beastmen". So, why Brazil? Because a far higher proportion of beat-em-up characters than you might think hail from Brazil. In fact, I'm fairly certain there're more Brazilian fighters than fighters from the rest of South America put together. I reckon there are three main reasons for this: one, Brazil has certain attributes that are more easily recognised than those of other South American countries; things like the rainforests and carnivals that seem to be associated much more with Brazil than with, say, Argentina. Secondly, they have their own specifically Brazilian martial art in capoiera, which is always a selling point in a videogame about clobbering people. Thirdly, there's a long (and interesting, if you're into that kind of thing) history of immigration between Japan and Brazil, which must have left an impression on the developers of the almost-exclusively Japanese game shown here. Sorry, Venuzuela, but you just don't have that kind of clout.
Let's begin with Brazilian gaming's most famous son...

Blanka, Street Fighter II

Well, he's Blanka, isn't he? What more can you say? Possibly the most famous Brazilian who isn't a world-class footballer, Blanka sets the standard for Brazilian fighters, as well as being the main inspiration for all the subsequent beastman-type characters from the Amazon basin. Sure, he's a wild man from out of the rainforest, but he wasn't always that way: he was once a young man called Jimmy whose plane crashed into the jungle. Now, we all know Blanka has the power of electricity, but how did he gain this power?
Well, one explanation given is that the electrical storm that caused his plane to crash also gave him the power of a thousand Duracells. YAWN. This is an incredibly dull explanation, something you might expect to see in any given Hollywood blockbuster about some guy who gets electrocuted and gains super powers. Like Short Circuit, but with a lingering smell of burning hair. BORING. No, you should all stick to the story as it is given in the Street Fighter II instruction manual: after crashing in the jungle, Blanka was raised by electric eels. As a child, he received parental care from a creature that shows no signs of affection, could not possibly provide food or shelter and lives underwater. Blanka not only survived all that but also somehow learned how to shoot electricity from his skin. I don't know what he's doing entering the World Warrior tournament in the first place: he's already shown that he's is the most colossal of badasses. What do you have left to prove, Blanka? Nothing, that's what.
In the end, it all works out nicely for Blanka, as his SFII ending shows him reunited with his mother:

Aww. His mother recognises him by the anklet she gave him as a child, which he's still wearing to this day. That shows some real foresight from Momma Blanka, buying her son an anklet that will still fit him when he's a fully-grown, mutated beastman. And they all lived happily ever after, with Blanka even becoming good friends with Dan Hibiki and turning out to be the best character in Super Street Fighter IV (prove me wrong!). God speed you, you big green freak.

Liza, Kaiser Knuckle

No, not Minelli, but another jungle warrior. This one's from Taito's 1994 fighter Kaiser Knuckle, and true to her jungle heritage she has a monkey and a parrot. A parrot wearing a feathered headdress, which seems a little redundant. Well, I say her jungle heritage, but maybe not:

She's looking rather masculine there, I must say, but living in the jungle probably affords you very little opportunity for self-beautification. It's hard to find time to exfoliate when you're being chased by a jaguar.

It doesn't matter what gender Liza is, though, because she can throw a parrot or a monkey at you as a special attack. I can't think of many things worse than an enraged parrot being thrown into my face, apart from an enraged monkey being thrown into my groin.

Not a problem you've ever had, huh Liza?

Rila, Breakers

From Visco's surprisingly good 1996 fighter Breakers, Rila is another wild woman with terrible rending claws and the hair of glam metal guitarist. As with several Brazilian characters, she's like a disturbing "sexy" version of Blanka:

Creepy. Actually, she plays a lot differently than Blanka, and is probably my favourite characters in Breakers. Breakers also contains a French pirate who attacks by throwing roses, so being my favourite in that line-up is high praise indeed, Rila.

It's true: I tried living in the forest once. Drinking your own piss isn't nearly as easy as Bear Grylls makes it look.

Golrio, Fight Fever

Up next is Golrio from Viccom's terrible 1994 offering Fight Fever (my recommendation would be to take two aspirins and lie down in a darkened room). He looks like he's from one of Brazil's indigenous tribes, albeit a tribe that founded its society on a brief glimpse of someone playing Street Fighter II. In the vast morass of one-on-one fighters that appeared trying to ape SFII's success, Fight Fever is both one of the worst, gameplay-wise, and one of the ones that ripped SFII off the most. How much did it rip off from Capcom's magnum opus? Well, here's Blanka's jumping medium kick:

And here's Golrio's.

I rest my case. Other than that, the odd thing about Golrio is that he fights like a sumo wrestler. I guess to try and save time the just crammed E. Honda and Blanka into the same rip-off character. Golrio, you suck and I hate you.

Claudia Silva, Knuckle Heads

In that situation - you know, standing in a ceaseless, raging inferno - that kind of costume seems appropriate for the first time ever.
I'm sure you can see a pattern forming here: she's a bit of a wild woman, fighting with claws to protect the rainforest she calls home. She looks a little like a Fist of the North Star character, but the way her sprite is standing makes her look more like a T-Rex that needs its fingernails cutting.

Claudia's goal is to win the Knuckle Heads tournament and claim the prize money. But what can she spend her vast fortune on?

She buys the entire Amazon rainforest. That must have been some cash prize: the logging rights alone must run into billions of dollars! Oh, I get it now; you're going to hang onto the rainforest until the rest of the Earth's natural resources have been depleted and then sell it off for a vastly increased sum. You're a crafty one Claudia.
Oh, I've just noticed the pun in her name. Claudia. Clawdia. Claws. Well played, Namco, well played.

Eddie Gordo, Tekken

At the start of the article I said that there are two types of fighter from Brazil. Well, I've covered the beastman types, and they're by far the most interesting fighters. I find it's hard to remain uninterested when an angry green man is trying to electrocute me.
The other set of fighters from Brazil are the capoeria masters. The most famous capoeira fighter in videogames is probably (sigh) Eddie goddamn Gordo.
What can I say about this button-masher's dream that hasn't been said already. I hate you, Eddie, I hate your tumbling, cartwheeling bullshit. I know what you're thinking, if you can't beat a button-mashing Eddie player, then you're just shit at Tekken. Well, you got me. I am shit at Tekken. There! I admit it. My brain just can't handle the extra dimension, and I hate juggling, but most of all I hate you, Eddie, you festering pustule of a man. I was happy when you got replaced by Christie! HAPPY!

Richard Meyer, Fatal Fury

Here's a capoeira fighter who's much better than Eddie: Richard Meyer from Fatal Fury. Richard has the distinction of being the first character in a fighting game to use capoeira, although a fat lot of good it did him as after Fatal Fury he had to wait until KoF Maximum Impact 2 for another playable role.

My favourite thing about Meyer is that he received a name change in the Portuguese version, from Richard Meyer to Ricardo Maia. I'd like to have been at the meeting for that one. "So this guy's Brazilian? And they called him... Richard Meyer? He sounds like an English bank manager. Tell you what, we'll just change it to Ricardo Maia". Honestly though, I think it's a nice solution.

Khushnood Butt / Marco Rodriguez, Garou: Mark of the Wolves.

Yes yes, his name is Butt. That's only because it was changed from the more normal-sounding (and much more Brazilian-sounding) Marco Rodriguez, apparently to avoid confusion with mixed martial artist Ricco Rodriguez.
Khushnood is the odd-one-out in this list: neither a beastman nor a capoeira fighter, he practices Kyokugenryu Karate, most famously used by Ryo and Robert from Fatal Fury. So congratulations to Butt for breaking out of the Brazilian stereotype and overcoming his deepy unfortunate name. I just wish I was as cool as this guy.

So, Brazil, then. Feral, jungle-dwelling beastmen? Sure, there are plenty of those, along with capoeira fighters and the occasional karate badass. Frankly, it's a more diverse bunch than the previous countries I've looked at, so congratulations to Brazil for being less easily pigeonholed than France and Russia. Now I'm off to create my own Brazilian character based on British stereotypes of Brazil. She's going to be a passionate, thong-wearing, beach volleyball-playing supermodel, and her game will sell millions.

Previously in the Fighters of the World Series:



You know, I once applied for a job as a Blade Master. It wasn't until after the interview that I realised the job actually involved putting electric fans together on an assembly line. Luckily, I put my crushing disappointment behind me and started VGJUNK, and that means you all get the opportunity to read about Irem's 1991 arcade slash-em-up Blade Master, you lucky devils.

It's a side-scrolling beat-em-up, so let's select our ch... what do you mean, "what's the plot?" I have no idea - the game certainly makes no mention of it. Why don't you have a wild guess? If your guess involved the words "kidnapped" and "woman" then you'd be spot on. It's the default plotline, necessary to get things moving, but I wish once in a while they would replace "kidnapped woman" with "stolen DVD of Batman Returns" or "lost kitten".

So, a lady who is almost certainly either a princess or the girlfriend of one of the heroes gets hauled away by some no-good monsters. Okay, okay, so who wants to go and rescue Princess Girlfriend? Step forward, oh noble heroes!

Blade Master has two playable characters. On the left is Roy, the swordsman and speedster of the pair. One the right is a huge musclebound freak called Arnold, which I'm sure is a reference to something but, dang it, I just can't think what it could be. Arnold has a spear, and he attacks more slowly than Roy. Both Roy and Arnold are dressed in their underpants, as befits a Master of Blades.

Once you've selected your hero, the battle to rescue Princess Girlfriend begins. At least, I assume that's what our heroes are up to and it's not just a huge coincidence that two Blade Masters happened to be walking by.
While the controls are pretty standard (one button to attack and one to jump), the mechanics are at least a little different. Your attacks don't combo together, which feels very strange indeed in a game from this time. So, they can't combo, and now the title Blade Master is starting to sound ironic. However, their training wasn't completely for naught, because they can parry their opponent's attacks, as seen above. If you attack just as the enemy is about to hit you, you block their attack and hit them with a counter of your own. It's a nice touch that adds just a little something extra.

So on you go, along a bridge, fighting orcs or trolls or whatever those things are supposed to be. Whatever they are, they are (rather inconsiderately) wearing thongs:

Not cool, orc dude, and not combat-appropriate. After making your across the bridge for a while, admiring the really rather nice graphics, you reach the first boss.

He's a pretty standard-looking mutant freak, with big claws and eyes sprouting all over his head like acne on a teenage fry cook. Sadly for him, he's an utterly laughable opponent, and if you get in the right position with Arnold you can stab him and he can't reach you, even with his giant claws. It makes you wonder how he got promoted through the monster ranks to occupy the position of "Stage Boss", really. The only thing I can think of is that he just happened to be nearby as the game began, and he was left behind. "Hey, Mutantor!" the orcs cried as they fled with the kidnapped girl, "some guys are coming to stab us to death for kidnapping their girlfriend/princess. Slow 'em down for us, will ya?"
"Wait, what?" Mutantor cries, "No, guys, I'm not ready yet, I've only just joined up, oh God he's got a spear AAAARGGGH!"

Stage two, and more bridges await our heroes. This time, they're guarded by enemies riding what appears to be the "Roton" craft from the He-Man toyline:

Still, a good spearing causes it to explode underneath them, although it's a little disappointing that you can't ride around on one and cackle like Skeletor. There are also birdmen to fight, birds who have given up the power of flight for the much less interesting powers of wearing armour and carrying swords.

They breathe fire, as all good species of birds can, and they sound like they're shouting "Rick!" when you stab them. I'm not sure what to make of that. Is this whole game a case of mistaken identity? "Excuse me, we're looking for Rick, have you AAGH why did you stab me with a spear?!"

Once you've butchered the poor birdmen, it's time to face the boss. He's a big armoured knight with two axes, and well, he's obviously a step up from the previous boss. At least this one can attack me, but it does him no good as I parry his blows and sent him crashing to the ground. Huzzah! The best bit about this is that once he's down, you can jump onto his chest and repeatedly slam your weapon into his vulnerable areas. Okay, that sounds disgusting.

Disgusting as it may be, one you've thrust your blade into him enough times, a creepy insect flies in and offers you a ride on it's back like a taxi driver straight from a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

After a short section of flying through the air and fending off some very serious-looking eagles, you land on yet another bridge. This one has some curiously adorable spiders, though, so that's okay. It's nice to see this kind of racial harmony in the evil mutant army: you would think that having birdmen and spiders work together would lead to an epidemic of soldiers eating their comrades.

The rest of the stage isn't all that interesting, but once you reach the end of the stage, you're confronted with not one, not two, but three big purple monsters who wish for nothing more than your brutal death at their hands.

The older brothers of stage one's boss, perhaps? In a nice touch, you can chop of their limbs and such if you do them enough damage, and like the last boss, you can indeed jump on top of them and pound away. That keeps coming out wrong.
Stage four is next, and to be honest it's pretty dull. At least it doesn't take place on a bridge: no, you have to battle along a series of platforms bolted to the side of a mountain. The only real thing of note is the reappearance of stage one's boss as a regular enemy.

He's no more prepared than they were the first time around. At least the boss is interesting.

The biomechanical look is always one I appreciate, so stage four's boss gets a thumbs up from me. I'm not sure about the physics of where or indeed how the boss is standing, though. Does he even have legs? Is he a hovering torso, and if not, what is he standing on? I guess we'll never know, but I'm going to assume he's wearing a jet-pack. Best of all, he attacks by extending his neck, and due to the way his shoulder is drawn and animated it looks like he's using his arm to winch his head back into place after every attack.

There's a new enemy type in stage five, and the level is swimming with them. Ha ha, geddit? Because they swim. Quite how they swim so gracefully in water that is clearly only knee-deep I don't know, but swim they do. Then they hurl themselves at you with their pointy face. Parry, stab, you know the drill. It's a very short stage, with only flying mermen for company, but stage five is redeemed by it's boss. Pardon my eighties vernacular, but he is kickin' rad.

You wish you were an octopus of this colossal size, and I wish it too. But we're not, and we'll have to struggle on somehow in our inflexible, non-cephalopod bodies. Octoboss has some very cool animated tentacles, but they're not the real problem: your main issue will be with the deformed baby Octoboss hanging out at the front. You see, he can spit water at you. Incredibly damaging water, a splash of which is apparently more painful than a horned fish flying into your mush or getting clobbered with a morningstar. Perhaps if Roy here had worn something more protective than a pair of y-fronts and an ill-fitting sports bra, the water wouldn't be a problem; it might even have been a refreshing change.
In the end, I just assumed that the small Octoboss somehow super-heated the water before he spat it at me, and with that neatly rationalised, I got on with the task of stabbing him to death. Forgive me, Octoboss. You were too cool for this world.

Stage six. Bridges. More bridges. An unending stream of bridges, stretching on into infinity. At least they have new and interesting architecture. There's also an appearance from the world's goofiest chimeras, as seen above. With those bulbous heads and red noses, they look like amusement park mascots that have been fused with a chicken in some terrifying black magic ritual. You can see the gleam of sadness in their eyes as they remember what they used to be, the smiles of the children, the rattle of the rollercoasters... all gone now, dead and gone. Death is the only release.
The stage is short, and features no real surprises. The boss is two Stage Two bosses.

Yay. At least they're different colours. It could be an incredibly frustrating fight, but fortunately whichever Iron Giant you're not kicking the shit out of feels no compulsion to step in and help his partner out, leaving you free to face them one at a time. They're the worst partners since that time I tried to make my hawk and my scorpion team up and solve crimes. Claw Cops: Sting Operation, it was going to be called.

Things rumble on to stage seven, which is almost identical to stage six. The same backgrounds, enemies you've fought before, and a mid-boss. A mid-boss against three of the Armour Knights.
Also, I've just noticed that the Armour Knights are wearing what appears to be a pair of shorts made out of plate armour. You know, for added flexibility and air flow.
After a long and extremely tedious fight against a bunch of recycled enemies, you finally reach the end of the game. It's just a shame that the last two stages were so disappointing: I honestly cannot think of another game where the creators so obviously just gave up as they reached the end. Sad, really. Anyway, Princess Girlfriend is waiting for you at the end.

Hello there! We're here to save you! Wait, what are you doing? Oh, you're transforming into two giant snake women. I see.

Well, there you go. The final boss is two giant snake women in revealing outfits who have swords that can shoot lightning. The battle, while not massively difficult, does go on forever, with the snake ladies groaning suggestively whenever they get hit. If you fancy playing Blade Master and live with the kind of people who worry about suggestive moaning, then you might want to turn the volume down for this fight. Don't let them see you playing it, either, because they will start to think that you have some bizarre sexual fetish involving snakes and you'll be forced to see a psychiatrist who'll ask you all sorts of questions about that trip to the zoo when you were young, and hours later they found you crying in the reptile house.
So, eventually, they get stabbed to death, and Princess Girlfriend is returned to her rightful form.

Huzzah! The princess is saved, and the creepy flying bugs appear and once more whisk our heroes to safety. Then, in a rather odd decision, the entire plot of the game is recounted, in Engrish, over a shot of out heroes flying to safety. It's not quite in the same madness range as Violence Fight, but it has it's moments. Here is is in full:
"When a dark cloud dipped down to the ground, phantom soldiers sprung up from there, captured Princess Emina and coerced her to set their king free from the world of darkness. Only she knew the spells to release and lock up the beast. There the freed King of Darkness transformed Emina into the same figures as his incarnation, a woman with a snake body, and deceived her into attacking her own rescuers, Roy and Arnold. Both heroes perceived his wicked trick though, and realized that the only way to change Emina back to her original shape was to knock out the evil one who was using black magic on her. After a fierce fight, they finally defeated him and saved Emina, who then chanted a spell and shut him up again. When he was thus made powerless, his vicious army turned into a huge flame and appeared to have disappeared, leaving only grey ashes behind. Before his castle also collapsed and vanished like a mirage, Emina, Roy and Arnold had narrowly escaped and returned to the peaceful world of white light."

I can't quite decide what the best part of this heroic ode is, but it's either "chanted a spell and shut him up again", which makes it sound like Emina scolded the King of Darkness into silence, or "appeared to have disappeared". I'd love to see this method of storytelling become commonplace in mainstream media. Imagine an action movie, where Vin Diesel and Jason Statham battle it out for an hour and a half, with absolutely no communication between them or any other member of the cast. Then, just before the final credits, a voiceover reads a badly-written script explaining the events of the movie you've just watched, and suddenly it all makes sense. A hard sell for the studios, sure, but an visionary artistic decision that will echo through the ages!

Blade Master's problem is fairly obvious. It starts off rather well, with nice graphics and good music, an interesting take on the standard SSBEU combat and lots of nice little touches, like being able to break the enemies' shields and Roy's attacks leaving trails in the water in stage five. They, the staff clearly just... stopped bothering. Perhaps it was a deadline issue, and the game needed to be put out right then, or maybe they just ran out of ideas. Blade Master is like those gigantic lollipops you used to get from the seaside as a kid: great fun at first, and different enough to be interesting, but after a while you realise it's just the same flavour all the way through and you start getting sick of it. That said, I can't hold a grudge against a game that features a giant octopus, so I guess Blade Master is alright by me.



Before I start, I just want to say that, yes, there are mushrooms in this game. Mushrooms that look like penises. See?

Okay, now we've hard a good laugh at that, let's get into Konami's 2004 everything-'em-up Gameboy Advance title Pyuu to Fuku! Jaguar: Byuu to Deru! Megane-kun. Enjoy that title while you can, because I sure as hell won't be writing it out in full again.

Pyuu to Fuku Jaguar is based on a manga called, well, Pyuu to Fuku Jaguar. The manga revolves around the titular Jaguar, a musician so talented he can play any instrument to perfection. Sadly, he only wants to play the recorder.

As to the plot of the game, I couldn't tell you. Obviously it's all in Japanese, but as is so often the case with Japanese games being able to read Japanese probably wouldn't make the plot any less baffling. So, I decided to just dive in and start a new game.
It's a street! In Japan! and there's Jaguar, running back and forth, jumping occasionally and attacking with his recorder. It plays like a standard side-scrolling platformer... for now. Soon enough, an enemy hoves into view. It's a sumo wrestler!

Or maybe not. What, just because he's a fat Japanese man in his pants, he has to be a sumo wrestler? You racist. Maybe he has a glandular problem, and someone just mugged him and stole his clothes. I hope that's not the case, because I just battered him to death with a flute. Seems like it's be adding insult (and injury) to injury. The stage is over very quickly, and that's PtF's modus operandi: themed worlds broken into four or five very small stages, perfect for portable gameplay.

After the intro stage, it's onto the first world proper, which is an ancient Japanese temple-slash-floating walkway storage area. There are ninjas and angry-looking dogs to fight, if you're into that kind of thing. The gameplay changes here from being a side-scroller to free-roaming, the first of PtF's many gameplay shifts. The gameplay's nice, with smooth movement and combat, even if it is a little simplistic, and I'm having a jolly old time until I get to area two and encounter these... things.

It's a duck with arms and a cat's head, holding a sword. Not much you can say about that, really. Not much you can say that won't get you locked in a rubber room, anyway. Just beat it with your recorder and move on, don't question it and whatever you do don't look into its beady little eyes.
In addition to your flute, you can also use one of the penis-mushrooms you have so lovingly collected to summon a helper. There's a girl in pink who you can see in the picture above; she helps you out by clobbering enemies, and you can call a guy who throws rocks. You can also summon a disturbingly underdressed Astroboy homage, complete with this rather odd cutscene:

The reasons for PtF not receiving a Western release are becoming clearer.
The next area sees you traversing a maze of floating platforms while being attacked by what I think are evil dolls. Mind you, I think all dolls are evil. When you wake up one morning with your mouth sewn shut and buttons delicately stitched into place where your eyes used to be, a rag-doll whispering "our revenge beginsssss" into your ear, don't say I didn't warn you.
There's a boss fight: it's against one of those duck-cat things. Except he's, y'know, bigger. I accidentally killed him before I could get a picture, but if you're really desperate to see it, just take that picture of the catduck above and zoom in 200%. Lazy, Konami. Anyway, world two!

Underground caverns! Adorable fish-men! Goddamn woodlice falling on your head! After dashing through this short side-scrolling section, it's on to a spooky pirate ship.

There's a widdle skweton with a widdle sword. Dark magic may animate his decaying bones into a blasphemous mockery of life, but that doesn't stop me wanting to give him a hug (the same thing is true of Sir Patrick Moore). The ghost ship has more of an exploration element that previous stages, with lots of little rooms that you can enter to get treasure and to try and escape this cursed ship of death! If you're looking at it and thinking "well golly gee that sure looks a lot like Castlevania", then yes, yes it does.

The next stage is decidedly un-Castlevania­-like, because it's an underwater swimming stage. Ugh. I hate swimming stages. They're slow and boring and exist only as an excuse to make the game more difficult by making your character respond to your commands as though they've just swallowed a wheelbarrow full of temazepam. However, PtF redeems itself somewhat by having obstacles that aren't anything as boring as a sea-mine or a jellyfish: oh no, they have cartoon giraffes breathing the pocket of air trapped in an upturned drinking glass. Of course! It's so obvious. Now my plan for an all-giraffe sea invasion of France can begin! I can tell you this much - they'll never be expecting it.
After the swimming, PtF gives up any pretence of not being Castlevania.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. One the one hand, it smacks of Konami lazily retrofitting the GBA Castlevanias to make up a large portion of some licensed game they probably don't care about.

On the other hand, I love Castlevania.

I think my love for Castlevania wins through in the end, mostly because the fishmen have an animation where they fall on their sides and flap around like a freshly beached trout.

The boss is a huge yellow demon wearing a Klan-style pointy hat and his y-fronts. It has to be said that this is not the most menacing combination in the world. He fights a lot like the Balore bosses from, you guessed it, Castlevania. Except in his pants. And in the Klan.

The next world, and it's back to the top-down free-roaming stuff in a jungle environment that sort of reminds me of Secret of Mana. Obviously it's not as good as Secret of Mana, but it does have evil totem poles. What is it with fucking totem poles? Every time they appear in a game, they're always there to screw you over. They're never helpful or friendly, and they frequently have access to advanced laser weaponry. I guess the native Americans got the last laugh over the White Man after all.

Then you're in an Egyptian temple. If videogames have taught me anything, it's that the ancient Egyptian civilisation was entirely based around filling all their buildings with deadly traps, usually involving timed jets of fire and falling masonry. So it proves in PtF, the same as it ever was and forever shall be. Still, it could be worse: it could be a minecart level.

After a quick dash around a treetop maze, Jaguar finds himself heading through a bazaar. This bazaar in noteworthy for two reasons. First of all, look at the enemies in the picture above. If you're looking for an enemy that makes a swimming giraffe in an upside-down cup look normal, a depressed-looking pig wearing shorts and boxing gloves who sits dejectedly in your path and attacks by firing snot at you will do it.
Secondly, the music. It's a homage to The A-Team!

Which is odd, because there's literally nothing in this stage that would remind you of The A-Team. If you were riding around in a black van and maybe getting hired if people could find you I'd understand it, but you do nothing of the sort. Unless there was an episode I missed where Hannibal and the team fight an army of mournful boxing pigs, I'll just have to chalk it up to whimsy.

Oh, and the boss is a giant enemy crab. I don't think I need to add anything more.
On to the next world, and I hope you all have your nostalgia goggles firmly affixed, because this is NES World!

Aww, isn't that nice. Yes, Konami went the whole hog in giving PtF an eight-bit makeover, even giving this stage a rather jolly chiptune soundtrack:

And it's always nice to see the Moai heads make a return. The first stage has Jaguar travelling through a series of doors that warp him around the stage. Sadly, a shift to NES aesthetics also means a regression back to eight-bit gameplay mechanics, and the whole stage is a tedious slog, culminating in a decision to hide the final door in a hole that would normally kill you if you fell into it. So, if you fancy giving PtF a try, that's my one piece of advice to save you from getting caught in a long, dull loop: jump down a bloody hole.

The next area is a maze full of locked doors, and you have to collect the keys to progress. That's all well and good, but rather frustratingly you spend 90% of the stage waiting for elevators. Just standing there, waiting for a slow-moving pink block to come close enough for you to jump on before it begins its inexorable upward climb. Except, you mistimed your jump, and now you have to wait for the elevator to come back around and you realise that you're distractedly trying to slit your wrists with the GBA's (sadly) rounded edges.
Then there's a box-puzzle section that repeats the same puzzles several times but with more boxes and is pretty dull, but then it gets a bit better with the next stage...

...because it's just Zelda. There's not much more I can add to that, except to say that it's a fun section of the game, even if the disturbing catducks have made a return.

The final stage of the NES World is a rather accurate recreation of an 80's one-on-one fighter, specifically Konami's own Yie Ar Kung Fu, in which Jaguar has to battle several opponents to proceed. Now, I have no idea if they're characters from the manga, but I'm going to go on record as saying that this "Blee" fellow is obviously the coolest because he has a "regent" style hairdo. The most impressive thing about this stage is that it really does feel like you're playing a forgotten arcade game; the only difference is that it's possible to complete this one.

The NES World is complete, and the graphics go back to the way they were, and suddenly you're in space! Luckily, Jaguar came prepared with a jetpack, and that's a problem. PtF has been straddling a line for the whole game, with my opinion of it balanced between "good fun with nice parodies" and "lazy and frustrating", but this stage is tipping it towards the latter. You see, this stage has you floating in space, using a jetpack to get around. Okay, that's fine. However, Konami simply took the (already shonky) underwater mechanics and simply changed to graphics from underwater theme to space theme. This means you can't control Jaguar properly and you're constantly being dragged downwards, which sort of defeats the purpose of a jetpack in the first place. Why don't you just walk!? There's a perfectly serviceable floor right there. It would have been quicker that trying to navigate the stage using a jetpack that appears to consist of a random assortment of fireworks crammed into a duffelbag.
On the plus side, the background looks like Cybertron. Hey, I'll take my comforts wherever I can find them.

There are a couple more standard platforming stages, including the one above with what looks like a Metroid in it. Hey, Mr. Metroid. I still remember Metroid II, and as revenge I'm going to beat you to death with this flute.
You know what I said about the jetpack stage? Forget it, PtF is redeemed by the next stage.

It's a remake of Gradius' first stage, further establishing that all things are improved with a liberal sprinkling (or wholesale recreation) of Gradius; see also this. Jaguar rides around on... something and attacks by firing energy out of his flute, hurr hurr. There are volcanoes and Moais with ripple lasers, and at the end you have to face...

Big Core: Giant Ninja Head Edition! Well, it had to be a Big Core of some description, right? You know what to do. Sadly, once the boss is destroyed it's back to regular ol' non-Gradius reality and a battle with a robot head with legs coming out of its ears.

I'd like to point out the placement and shape of his gun. That is all.

Once he's dead, the final final boss arrives. I think it's a ninja in a Victorian bathing suit riding the head of the previous boss, although I will admit that is open to other interpretations. He fights be extending tentacles of deadly light and spinning around like some demented disco octopus. The way to beat him, and in fact the way to beat every boss in this game, is to stand right next to him and mash attack. It's no Demon's Souls, that's for sure, and almost as quickly as the fight starts, it's over and Jaguar is victorious.

Pyuu to Fuku is an odd game, and not just because of its bizarre source material. At times it feels shallow and rushed, which is par for the course for a licensed game for a handheld console based on an obscure manga. But then, surprisingly, it's still good fun. the graphics are solid and the music is often very nice. Lazy, sure; copying Castlevania feels like an easy way out, but luckily my huge stockpiles of affection for Castlevania saw me through. In the end though, I think the Gradius stage swung it for me. Conclusion: time spent playing PtF was not time wasted. Just.

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