I've read theories that the reason so much anime is set in high school is because the crushing reality of Japanese working life is so miserable that for many Japanese people their school days actually were the best days of their lives. What a depressing thought. Anyway, here's a pink-haired schoolgirl with eyes the size of a dump-truck's hubcaps, and she's sure to make you forget the misery of your adult life as I take you through Jaleco's 1994 Super Famicom title Kingyo Chuuihou! Tobidase! Game Gakuen!

Kingyo Chuuihou! Tobidase! Game Gakuen is based on an anime series. Some elements of the title screen may have clued you in to this fact. The series in question is rather unsurprisingly called Kingyo Chuuihou, which means Goldfish Warning, and as I far as I can gather from some half-hearted internet investigation the plot is that a rich girl is send to a rural highschool full of idiots and weirdoes. Rich girl tries to bring culture and decency to Barnyard High or whatever it's called, comedy hi-jinks ensure, etcetera, etcetera.

Oh, and the rich girl also has a pet goldfish that can fly and talk. Presumably the title Goldfish Warning refers to the fact that if you can hear a flying pink goldfish talking to you it's a warning that you should get some psychological help.

Despite not really knowing what I was doing, I managed to correctly press enough buttons to reach the character select screen. You can choose from three standard anime girls, two anime boys (one with sunglasses that cover 90% of his face) and an angry cow because why not? Cows need secondary education too. Just one look tells you that the cow is the school's tough guy with a heart of gold.
I chose the pink-haired girl, whose name is Wapiko, as my character, and the blonde and the angry cow as my opponents. I refuse to believe there is anyone out there who didn't include the cow in some capacity the first time they played this game.

I might have been somewhat disparaging about the characters being the most bog-standard of brightly-haired, saucer-eyed anime schoolgirls, but this is really some pretty nice art - crisp, colourful and with the nice addition of that poster on the left-hand side that was obviously written by animals. Yeah, it all sounds whimsical and fun now, but just wait until you're assigned a group project and your partners are a cow and a chicken. You can kiss that A goodbye, farmyard animals have a very poor work ethic.

Huh, I would have expected the angry cow to be sat at the back of the class like a proper delinquent. Anyway, Kingyo Chuuihou! Tobidase! Game Gakuen is a collection of competitive minigames, sort of like Mario Party but with travelling around a board replaced with making it through three years of high school. As the classroom setting suggests the minigames are (very loosely) based on school subjects, and after three-to-six minigames a semester, three semesters a year for three years, a winner is crowned. Can I guide my pink-haired avatar to victory over the posh blonde and the angry cow, accumulating enough points along the way to win what I'm sure will be a very grand prize at the end of it all? Of course I can! Yeah! I can do anything!

Well, except read Japanese, which is unfortunate when a sizeable portion of the minigames are these Japanese-language quizzes. Taking a cue from my real-life approach to academia I decided to blag it and throw myself upon the mercies of the multiple choice questions with a series of wild guesses, and it worked out surprisingly well. It helped that the pressure of this event was clearly too much for the cow to handle, and he kept leaping in with an answer even before all four possible answers had been revealed. In his panic the cow almost always answers incorrectly, eliminating a possible choice and increasing my chances of guessing correctly from 25% to 33%. I even won a few of the quiz rounds this way, but hopefully I'll be able to conquer the rest of the minigames by actually having a bloody clue what I'm doing.

Hey look, it's Puyo Puyo. I definitely know how that works. Pairs of blocks fall in from the top of the screen, place two matching blocks next to each other and they'll disappear. In this first puzzle round it's as simple as matching the same shapes, but things get more complicated in later iterations when you have to match capitals letters with their lower-case equivalents, or combine two single-digit numbers that add up to ten, or this variation that it took me a while to figure out:

Internet descriptions of Kingyo Chuuiho! Tobidase! Game Gakuen led me to believe there would be much less reading than this. I eventually figured out that in this instance you have to match the colour of the blocks but the character written on them have to be different. By the time I realised this, the cow had already reached the hundred points required to win. In fact, I didn't win any of the falling block stages. I think I spent too long trying to build big chain combo, which is pointless in such a stripped-down version of the Puyo Puyo formula. Plus I think that cow was cheating.

Finally, some raw action. For the science lesson (hey, I said they were loosely based on school subjects) you take the controls of a stubby red spaceship and fly through an organic fleshscape, shooting germs and avoiding the white blood cells that fall down the screen. Gain points for shooting germs, lose points if a white blood cell collides with your ship. It should all be straightforward, but the shooter scenes aren't as much fun as they could be thanks to the overly-busy and cramped gameplay. You can see in the screenshot above that all three player's ships are piled on top of one another, which makes it difficult to tell exactly where you are and subsequently makes it very difficult to dodge anything. That's why I've got zero points in that screenshot - well, that and it seems I'm just really bad at scrolling shooters, no matter the platform, speed or general level of cutesiness.

The sting of my shooter-related inadequacies is soothed somewhat by the music. It's one of my favourites from a soundtrack of unexpected quality, as well as the one that best sums up the slightly unusual nature of Kingyo Chuuihou's score - sunny and cheerful but with a slightly weird edge, which in this case I'd put down to that thrumming bass sound that feels as though it's wandered in from a different, far more threatening track.

After each semester there's a brief scene where you have to pick from one of three mystery cards. The cards are then flipped over, and you receive a points bonus or penalty depending on the card you picked. I think. All I can say for certain is that my character seems very pleased to have uncovered a picture of a blonde woman while the cow is furious that he's stuck with some guitar-playing kid standing on a mountain. I can't say I blame him, look at that kid's eyes. I can't tell if he's supposed to be wearing really thick glasses or if the animeization process has been taken to its terrifying extreme.

Next up, a bit of track and field. Do you make your character run by alternately hammering the A and B buttons as fast as you can? Of course you do. If you've got a better way to make a videogame character run fast I'd like to hear it.No, really, I would. My thumbs are killing me, swollen and red like a baboon's arse.
You also have to press up on the pad to jump over these cats, otherwise you won't get any points. I know this because the first few times I did I I trampled those cats into the ground beneath my whirling cartoon feet. In fairness, I was distracted by the cows in the background. I know those are probably supposed to be nose rings, but I can't see them as anything but fat gold chains.

Here you have to complete the picture by picking up the missing pieces from the selection at the bottom of the screen and dropping them into the appropriate gap. I almost messed this one up because I spent too much time pondering how a goldfish could possibly wear a bow-tie - I eventually came to the conclusion that there are magnets involved - but I somehow managed to come out on top despite the fact my character felt like she was wading through treacle for the whole event. I put my success down to all those art lessons at school where they taught me to walk across the room, pick up a picture and put it down somewhere else.

Hone your reflexes in this next minigame, because as the teacher plinks away at the piano one of the buttons will be displayed on screen. Be the first to press that button and you'll score five points, press it too slowly and you'll only get two, don't press it at all and you'll get no points but at least you won't suffer the embarrassment of being placed centre-stage with nothing but a tambourine to play. No one chooses to watch the tambourinist, but at least the audience are making and effort to enjoy this performance of that famous staple of the classical repertoire "Grieg's Piano Concerto Plus Three Guys With Tambourines."
I'm enjoying it too, because for all its simplicity this is one of the more enjoyable minigames even if the sluggish speed of my reactions only serves to remind me that the yawning void of the grave draws ever closer.

Okay, what I think is happening here is this - the characters participate in some kind of RPG. You choose some food from a grid at the start, and that seems to determine your stats. Then you fight some monsters.

Beyond that, I have no idea what's going on and to be honest I don't care. The cow is dressed as a vampire now, that's all that matters. I shall call him Count Beefula, and he will suffer the agony of a thousand stake / steak jokes.

Your memory is also put to the test with a friendly game of "dig up the flags of the world's nations that have been buried under these paving slabs." Granted, it could do with a catchier title, but that's what you're doing here -  a flag is displayed and you have to find a match hidden under one of these bricks. The challenge comes from remembering the grid's layout, because it doesn't change and obviously knowing where each flag is gives you a significant advantage. Or you could just do it my way and randomly uncover blocks until you find the right flag.

A later variant of this game replaces the bricks with ice and the flags with words, words that are thankfully in English but are missing one letter. In the example above I clearly should have gotten the points for completing the word "goon" but apparently that's not the specific word the gaggle of shifty-eyed penguins had demanded, and so I received nothing but an appropriately icy stare.

Sweet, some football action. Now I'm back in my comfort zone. Penalty kicks are the order of business here, and you get three attempts to score goals by kicking the ball either to the left, right or down the middle. Once your three shots are up you take your place in the goal and try to save you opponent's shots. Having two goalkeepers might seem like it gives the defending team a substantial advantage, but that's only because it does. Still, I managed to score three out of three penalties despite facing two keepers as well as the added disadvantage of having this guy staring out at me the whole time.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then this weirdo has a pair of patio doors looking out onto a dark and eerie desert. And what the hell is that animal supposed to be? Smug cat-rabbit? This whole scene is getting a little too sinister for me, on to the next game.

Oh no, he's back? Well, at least this time I get to shoot him as this is another of the shoot-em-up-sections. This time you have to shoot the filthy and barbaric English letters he shouts at you so that they turn into glorious, pure Japanese characters which you can then collect for points. He's also in a UFO, which goes some way to explaining his enormous eyes if you assume he's a grey alien wearing the skin of a human face as a mask.

Not content with saving the Earth from space invasions, the characters of Kingyo Chuuihou are ecologically-minded enough to spend their spare time cleaning up the beaches. The waves roll in and bring with them rubbish that can be collected for points, as well as beach balls that you can throw at your opponents, stunning them momentarily and reducing their score. Get to close to the waves and you'll be dragged out to sea and docked a chunk of your score, so don't so that.
This is one of the most enjoyable events, thanks in no small part to the decision-making aspect. Do you rush to collect the garbage and therefore the points, or do you head for the balls in order to slow the opposition down and cancel out their hard work? I mean, I always go for the latter option because I'm kind of a dick, but the choice is there and that's the important thing.

Back into space now as this school's position as a rural, run-down establishment is revealed to be a lie - they've got orbital space-lasers, and those things don't come cheap. Maybe the cow's father / ranch owner is obscenely wealthy and has donated vast sums of money to the school. I imagine it'd take quite a substantial bribe to get grazing cattle enrolled.
This is another fun one, your mission being to figure out which part of the Earth the giant monster is attacking by checking the top-right window, and then firing a laser from your satellite to destroy it. Because the Earth is rotating you have to lead your target a little, and it's generally best to wait for your competitors to have a go, wait for them to miss and then use what you have witnessed to produce an accurate shot.

The final type of minigame is kinda like Bomberman but without the indestructible blocks: a mysterious man places bombs in the room, and you have to avoid the explosions and strike the bombs to send them towards your opponents. Five hits and you're out, last person standing takes the points. Another fun and hectic round, and it seems that Kingyo Chuuihou has saved the best minigames for the end. Well, mostly, there are still plenty of quizzes even at this late stage.

After thirty-six minigames, mainly quizzes and Tetris variants and with mercifully few finger-destroying button mashers, the high school days of these three individuals have come to an end. I have the most points, and therefore I win. Let's hope this is the Japanese version of UCAS, because I surely have enough points to be accepted by the most prestigious universities in the land. Just don't tell them that I got most of these points by randomly guessing at quiz answers and being relatively good at non-regulation football penalties.

My reward for victory is a diploma. I guess that means my character is an adult now. A pink-haired midget dressed as a sailor, but an adult none-the-less. Sadly, the angry cow came last, and now his future comes down to either working at McDonalds or being a McDonalds.

As this is a a Jaleco game I am probably guilty of judging it before I'd even started - average with the occasional flash of something more interesting is the Jaleco way, after all, and that's a good description for Kingyo Chuuihou! Tobidase! Game Gakuen. For once, though, part of that is down to me for not speaking Japanese and for being an antisocial shut-it. I get the impression that played with friends and with a full grasp of the language this would be a neat little party-game title, enlivened by some excellent graphics and music, like this track that plays during the quizzes.

If, unlike me, you have both friends and a working knowledge of Japanese, then you could probably squeeze a fair amount of enjoyment out of Kingyo Chuuihou! Tobidase! Game Gakuen, and even if you don't it's still a pleasant spectacle. And hey, you can play as an angry cow! You don't get that in your Grand Theft Auto V's, now do you? Saints Row, maybe, but not GTA.



Today's article stars grotesque mutants who live in the New York sewers and survive on a delicate balance of pizza, gnarly surfer lingo and ninjitsu. When you see it written out like that, it's not surprising that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became as popular as they did (and indeed still are). I'm sure you're all familiar with Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo already, but which of their many videogame incarnations did I choose to look at today? Their famous NES adventure? One-on-one fighting game Turtles: Tournament Fighters? Perhaps one of their much-loved side-scrolling beat-em-ups? No, no and no. Instead, here's the Amiga version of Merit Software and Brian Rice's 1990 floodfill-in-a-half-shell-em-up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: World Tour, AKA VGJunk Decided He Needed a Break From Proper Games.

TMNT: World Tour is part of a series of home computer graphics applications called Electric Crayon, which tells you all you need to know about how this works - it's a digital colouring book. Pictures of the Turtles enjoying their worldwide vacation appear on screen, and you can colour them in by picking a colour and clicking on the part of the drawing you want to appear in that colour. That's it. It's not really possible to get away with calling this a game, and as such I suppose it falls outside the usual VGJunk remit, but like I said, I needed a break.

Here's the first scene, showing the Turtles preparing to embark on their grand adventure and having forgotten that they generally try to keep themselves of of the sight of regular people. They're not just on vacation from fighting crime, they're on vacation from giving a fuck, as shown later by their decision to travel the globe in a giant turtle-themed blimp with TURTLES written on the side.

There you go, I did some colouring. I clicked on the red bit of the palette at the bottom of the screen, then I clicked on the background. The background is now red. The system works!

You can also "mix" any two colours, although what actually happens is that it dithers two colours together in a checkerboard pattern. As you can see, mixing blue and red and applying it to the background has created a fuzzy purple effect. You can even mix whatever colour you like by going into the "Picture" menu and fiddling with the RGB sliders, but that seemed like far too much effort to be expending on something as basic as TMNT: World Tour.

Here's the picture coloured in "correctly," and if I was to attach any kind of gameplay element to this it'd be that you can make a game of deciding which Turtle is which. In this picture they're all pulling the same gormless, tongue-lolling face, so it doesn't really matter, but later on you get more chance to let their personalities shine through.
So, the Turtles have packed their bags and they're ready to embark on their world tour, but where will they go first?

I can't help but think that if TMNT: World Tour had been made more recently, there'd be fewer pictures of the Turtles flying aircraft toward New York landmarks.
Tasteless jokes aside, what's going on with the Turtle face on the outside of the blimp? Is that the cockpit, and we can see one of the Turtles performing his piloting duties with a dopey grin on his face, or it is a picture they've slapped on the outside just in case the citizens of New York were confused by the big TURTLES marquee and the overall shell-based theme of the blimp?

Zut alors, it's the Eiffel Tower! Will I take this slim coincidence as an excuse to post a link to a Pixies song? You bet I will. As you can see, I've coloured both Turtles' bandannas red as a homage to the original comics where they all had red bandannas, and definitely not because I've stopped paying attention to what I was doing already.

The one other thing you can do in TMNT: World Tour is to bring up a screen that provides you with some facts about whatever landmark the Turtles are currently causing irreparable damage to by swinging all over it. I honestly didn't know that the Eiffel Tower was used to broadcast TV signals, so at least I have learned something from this game. You can ignore that bit about it being one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World" though, because there is no such list. Or rather, there are tons of "modern wonders" lists, rendering the whole enterprise pointless.
I'm a little confused as to why the button to leave this screen says "Yes" instead of "OK" or "Exit" or something. Do you really need my validation that much? They're your facts, try to have a little confidence in them and don't rely on my approval to make you feel loved.

Well, would you look at that. It turns out that if you make the Turtles flesh-coloured they look really creepy. Like giant, shell-clad babies. They're in the Alps, by the way. High up in the Alps, enjoying a spot of naked skiing. The executioner's hoods they're wearing definitely add to the carefree atmosphere of this image, don't you think?

The Heroes in a Half Shell visit the Kremlin. The Berlin Wall falls, and over its rubble climbs a group of musclebound mutants trained in the deadly martial arts of the far east. The Iron Curtain is hastily reinstated.
The Turtles cartoon started in the Eighties, right? But as far as I remember they never fought a Russian villain. Said villain would have been a mutant bear, of course. I was so amazed that this Communist mutant bear villain ever happened that I looked it up on Google, only to discover this - "In Russian comic books Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are lead by the giant Russian bear with a balalaika-gun." I have no idea how to respond to that, so I'm just going to move on.
Oh, and if you're wondering why I coloured Raph's teeth that way, just remember that he lives in a sewer and eats nothing but pizza. What colour do you think his teeth are?

Also astounding: the fact that the Turtles visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the "Leaning Tower of PIZZA!!" joke is kept as subtle as it is, if Leo's slice is even meant as a joke. Of course, none of this explains why everything in this scene appears to be floating in the sky. Maybe spontaneous levitation is one of the lesser-discussed parts of T-U-R-T-L-E Power.

Staying in the Mediterranean, the Turtles visit Greece and head straight for the Acropolis. Acropolis means "High Place". That's... a touch underwhelming.

The Acropolis is also the Endless Flesh, a labyrinthine prison of the soul where the Eyeless Ones witness nothing but know all, understand all, their unflinching vigil kept for the promise of salvation when the time comes for the Ancient Ones to rend the very Earth asunder. All in all, I'd give it an eight out of ten, although the gift shop was extremely overpriced.

Don't give me that look, Leonardo. You're the one who wanted to come to the Sahara Desert despite knowing full well that a large part of your genetic code is that of an aquatic reptile.
Also, you have no idea how long I looked at this picture while trying to come up with a Lawrence of Arabia / TMNT pun. The best I could manage was Lawrence of Chelonia.

As the point of this article was to give myself a break from writing about games that have actual content, I'm going to treat myself to making a really lazy drugs / psychedelia joke. Ready? Ahem. "Don't drop acid while visiting the Taj Mahal. Trippy, man!" There you go, it's out of my system now.

Speaking of getting things out of your system, do you remember the cartoon Once Upon a Time... Life, an educational series that explained how the body worked? I do. I remember thinking it was a bit unsettling that the white blood cells, who were portrayed as fairly normal-looking humanoid policemen, got rid of germs by eating them instead of bonking them with their batons and taking them to germ jail. Therefore, I have decided to recreate Once Upon a Time... Life, but with the Turtles cast as the white blood cells. No more eating germs, they can defeat them the old-fashioned way: by battering them into submission with two sticks tied together with a chain.

This is Mount Fuji. The description states that is considered sacred by some people, and as we can see the Turtles are treating it with the kind of respect and appreciation that something so culturally valuable deserves. Especially Michelangelo at the back there, he's showing his respect and appreciation by grinding his entire body against the mountain. When you get back, Mikey, I would avoid telling Master Splinter that you've rubbed your junk against one of his home country's most venerated landmarks.

In the Australian Outback, Leonardo stares at a kangaroo with a strange look in his eyes and his three-fingered hands raised in a grabbing position. Judging by the way his tongue's hanging out, I'd say he either wants to eat that kangaroo or make love to it.
Lest you think I'm reading too much sexual intent into Leonardo's gaze, here's what happens when the turtles arrive on the Galapagos Islands.

Yikes. I could just about accept that Leo is innocently riding around on the back of that giant tortoise if it wasn't for his expression. There's no innocence in that face. I can't say I blame him, mind you: when then only other members of your species are your three brothers, a giant turtle is probably the best you're going to get. It's just... did you have to climb aboard right in front of Raphael?

Their baser urges sated, the Turtles board the spectral ship that will carry them back to the good ol' USA, where they can once again return to their lives of being shunned by the ordinary run of man, forced to live beneath the city streets. They must not serve pizza on the Galapagos, I can't imagine why else they would have left.

Pictured above: the cover art for my alternate universe fanfiction where mankind evolved from turtles and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Mammals are trained by Splinter - in this universe, a hobo who lives in a storm drain - to fight the evil ninjas of the Shell Clan.
To TMNT: World Tour's credit, I learned something about Mount Rushmore, and that is that the monument was designed by a man named Gutzon Borglum. Nice to hear that orcs can get this kind of large-scale sculptural work.

The Turtles also visit Canada and pretend to be Mounties. It is a testament to the character and training of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that the Mountie in the background is displaying no reaction to the bizarre events unfolding before him.

The Turtles' final stop is the White House. Moments after this picture was taken, Michelangelo was felled by a hail of Secret Service gunfire, which is what happens when you climb onto the roof of the White House. I decided to recolour the White House pink in order to celebrate I Can Be USA President Barbie's inevitable election victory and subsequent inauguration. Barbie's first executive order is to authorise drone surveillance of the general populace in order to determine those not committed to perkiness and fashionability. I bet you wish you'd voted for the Bratz party now.
Finally, while it may be considered treasonous to paint the White House pink, I should point out that it is literally impossible to colour the Stars and Stripes correctly. Truly, a disgraceful slur against the pixellated flag of this proud nation. I tried to colour it as best I could, but it came out looking a bit... fascist-y. Some free advice to any vexillologists out there - don't make your flags red and black unless they're intended to promote an under-18s Emo night at a local rock club.

The Turtles return home, weary but yet enriched by all they have seen and happy to have finally gotten their collective end away. The plane tickets for next year's trip to the Galapagos have already been booked, but for now they'll relax with their memories and whatever duty-free they managed to bring back with them. I coloured the picture brown in an attempt to make it look like a sepia photograph, but all it's done is make me think of the Cheers intro.

What can I really say about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: World Tour? It's a colouring book with some info from a children's encyclopedia taped to it. It's got the Turtles in it. It does what it does well enough, and I know that if I'd had this as a kid I've have used it a bunch. I can at least say that I feel oddly relaxed after going through it, and these days I will take "relaxing" any day of the week.

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