Monday, June 25, 2012

Game of the Day - Twinkle (and Xess/New Hyperman)

Today's GOTD is two games of the day and in fact actually more.  Confused?  Let me break it down...

Twinkle is the sequel to Hyper Pac-Man that takes everything another step.

Xess is actually not a game itself, but a 3-1 that contains New HyperMan (the game I'll talk about below) as well as the original Hyperman (actually the same as Hyper Pac-Man - maybe they lost the license to use the "Pac") and some other game I haven't played.So, first, let's tackle Twinkle.  There are a million Pac-Man sequels...(Ms., Jr. Super, Baby, World, Hyper, etc).  I like Twinkle because it has nice, quasi-3D graphics, lots of tools/power-ups and extremely fast gameplay.  You have to go around munching dots (surely) and avoiding/eating ghosts (of course), but there is so much more.  There are a ton of power-ups and maps galore.  The maps are loaded with treasures to collect...  Some can't be seen unless you collect the sunglasses power-up.  Some can't be accessed until you've used the TNT to blow certain areas up.  There are just lots of fun tools to make the maze chase more interesting, and lots of diff mazes that are used imaginatively.  Also, some of the power-ups result in you getting to shoot at the enemies (button 1) or jump over them (button 2).  So, it's not just a chase, but some shooting and platforming as well.

Other cool touches include invisible walls and other walls that you can go through despite not being able to see why... There are many enclosed areas where you have to discover which wall piece is the "trick door" you can go through (or just get the sunglasses to see).  Some other power-up examples include shoes (run faster) and a helmet (shield).

What makes the game great is the fast pace.  You die if an enemy touches you or if you run out of time.  The clock is short and relentless, so stop trying to get every treasure and finish the damn level!

With fun graphics, lots of cool power-ups, tons of time pressure and many different kinds of levels to explore, Twinkle adds a new level of fun to the old franchise.

Now then, the game Xess is a 3-games-in-1 piece of software that contains a game to be played called New Hyperman that is a sister to Twinkle.  I have seen the original Hyper Pac-Man as a stand alone game and so is Twinkle, but I can NOT find New Hyperman anywhere referred to as a stand alone game - it may, in fact, only be contained here in the 3-1 software called Xess.  Anyway, New Hyperman is a significant improvement over Twinkle for two main reasons:  It does away with the strict maze and as a result uses an 8-way joystick instead of 4-way one.  So, the playfields are still only one screen wide and tall, but they are much more open with organic barriers like trees and lakes.  Also, the barriers aren't just in 90 degree angles - it's much more free-form.  So, when you go running around like a madman there are many more possibilities as it is much more open.  You can run (and shoot) on the diagonal and generally go anywhere you want (so can the bad guys).

So, in summary:

Twinkle is the official sequel to Hyper Pac-Man - Modern maze craziness with lots of power-ups and different mazes...

New Hyperman (which is a game within the 3-1 game called "Xess") goes one step further liberating you from the maze containment and giving you an 8-way joystick.

Fun stuff.


  1. They never had permission to use the name Pacman, it's one of the few cases where Namco are said to have taken action against a one of the Korean arcade companies (or more likely Fabtek who distributed it in the US)

    There is another game which seems to be based on roughly the same engine in the '4 in 1 Puzzle King' bootleg, alongside a Tetris game a nasty sounding bootleg of Snow Bros.

  2. Oh, and Semicom's other maze game 'Mr. Kicker' is also an excellent game showing that they were capable of mixing original ideas in too, although it has a bug in MAME which means it stops working the next time you attempt to boot the game after getting a high score (you have to delete the nvram file in your /nvram folder to get it to work again)