I should start by saying that, when I first wrote a review for Bokosuka Wars, I called it bad because I didn’t look farther into it, and I was happy to jump on the bandwagon and ride it all the way to imbecile land. After I played it a few more times and looked into it a bit more, though, I realized that it actually has some depth, instead of being as shallow as a wading pool.
You take control of King Suren. All the poor, stupid bastards in his military were turned into trees and rocks by King Ogreth, and he’s even taken over your land and probably had his way with your queen by now. So you take King Suren and you bravely dash to the left (Yes, you go from right to left in this game) in order to save everyone and everything from Ogreth’s destruction. Can you do it?
Now, the gameplay is exceedingly simple, but it’s due for some long-winded explanation anyway. You move King Suren about 600 meters to the left. Enemies are there, and you move onto them to fight them. Some trees, rocks, and other small scenery may actually be allies, and you control them the same way. However, if you want to control a single group of allies (Either soldiers or knights; those are the only two you can find), then press A or B, and you’ll switch between controlling Suren, Soldiers, Knights, and all three simultaneously.
The worst part of this game has to be the fights. The fights are ridiculous, too random, and one-sided. Basically, you run straight into the enemy, and a “B” logo and two swords appear. If you win, you continue. If not, you get a nice embarrassing game over screen that’s actually surprised that you lost. For the battles, it’s all random “die rolls,” so to speak. You could easily die on your first few fights with Mickey McStickwielder because somehow your big sword failed to scratch him, he dodged, and then he sliced you in six pieces, or something. The game over screen takes those wounds from your defeat, opens them up, pours a mixture of salt and lemon juice in them, and then leaves you to fester painfully. Maybe it’s just me, but when I lose a game, I don’t want the game to say “WOW! YOU LOSE!” Hell, I even have a demonstration of it here.
The other big complaint I have is about the music in this game. It’s fine for a couple of minutes, but then it just goes on monotony mode. It’s like a little kid repeating his favorite words over and over until you want to stick duct tape over his mouth and throw him in the trunk of a car to get him to shut the fuck up.
One thing I do like about this game is its cleverness. Why, yes, I am talking about stuff I like in a game for once! Wow! For an old game, this has a remarkable amount of depth to it, sans the fighting mechanism. You can actually choose if you want to fight enemies or not, though, in all actuality, sometimes they clusterfuck so bad that you need to yell “THIS IS SPARTA!” and charge through, mowing them down like a school bus bursting into a playground at recess time.
I also like how each character has its ups and downs. King Suren can plow through trees and must plow through the checkpoint at the end of each section. Soldiers can survive booby traps (indicated by skulls) and get rid of them, and they are as frail as a 110-year-old person. Knights can free the poor trapped soldiers at the end of each area by bravely cutting down the bars. They’re as frail as a 70-year old man, though. After a few fights, if your friends can live through the initial hack-and-slashing, they’ll become different-looking and golden, and they’ll be more powerful and shake off some of their frailty.
The game progressively gets more and more difficult, and it’s incredibly challenging to defeat even the first time around. It makes for a lot of restarts and attempts to keep going, and once you finish the first round, you start again, with things getting a bit more difficult with skulls introduced. Step on those, and you’ll get zapped like a fatality from Raiden from Mortal Kombat. And like most games of the time, Bokosuka Wars will repeat indefinitely until you get game over. I question the game over screen even more now, because now I think it’s just being a sarcastic little bastard who’s textually flipping you off.
I feel this game could have definitely used a port over to the States. There’s nothing really to be translated; it’s all in English. Hell, you could’ve just given it some wacky name like “King vs. King” or “Fight of French” or “Revenge of the Pissy Fairy-Tale King Who Doesn’t Like Sons of Bitches Stealing His Castle and Enslaving His People.” It would’ve been a nice release in the States.
And now for the breakdown!
If you’re into games that are difficult to get through, this’ll kill some time for sure. Once you’ve also done your research on the game (Wikipedia and GameFAQs are your friends), this game will probably go from “This game sucks!” to “This game is growing on me!”, like it did for me. It’s not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely worth a few plays. However, the battle system is frustrating and will repeatedly kick you in the ass just to be malicious.
Lots of novelty to it. Bokosuka Wars is a Japan-only release, so you’re not really going to find a cart version around here. Once that little novelty wears off, it’s just got the feel of an average NES game. Not too much to write home about, but it still has its place in the game world.
The music is pure ass because of the repetitive nature. It feels loud, and my skull wants to cave in like a black hole after about five minutes of this crap. It’s not pleasing in any way, and it just makes me wish I could turn it off. Sound effects are…decent, I suppose. They’re there and do their job, but they really sound too much like burning noises or static. I suppose when you’re cutting trees down, it’s all right, but when you’re burning down cell door bars, um…not so much.
Not bad for mid-eighties stuff. The little bits of scenery are pretty good, but the character sprites are simple and, for the characters, kind of bizarre. Suren looks like he has an octopus on his head, the color scheme of regular Knights reminds me of a bad attempt to be Gill from Street Fighter III except for the color scheme on the armor, and some of the enemies look odd, too.
The controls are so sickeningly simple that it’s just impossible to screw things up. However, it is difficult keeping your crew in formation as you go over cluttered terrain, and the controls make some characters respond later than others. Other than that, no real faults for it.
Replay Value: 6/10
This is just giving it a number for the sake of giving it a number. If you like playing the same thing over and over, you’ll have a field day. If not, you won’t. That’s really what it boils down to.