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Ai Cho Aniki (Turbografx-CD) artwork

Ai Cho Aniki (Turbografx-CD) review


"The first thing that you’re going to notice about this game, and this is neither good or bad but merely a fact, is that it’s full of naked men."




The first thing that you’re going to notice about this game, and this is neither good or bad but merely a fact, is that it’s full of naked men.

Buff, burly men.

Tiny, limber men.

Men singing classical opera.

It’s like an action-packed parade being held in honor of oiled-up musclemen throughout the galaxy! Oh, and they’d all be completely in the nude if it weren’t for those itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini briefs girding their loins. So if you don’t think you could enjoy a quality horizontal shoot ‘em up simply because it’s practically bulging with unclothed men then I guess you’d better stay far, far away from this game.

Go on, shoo!

But make no mistake, Love! Super Big Brother is indeed a quality shooter. Did you know that this is just the second installment in a beloved series of games stretching all the way from the Turbo CD to the PlayStation 2? Yes, there’s obviously little shortage of gamers who know a good thing when they see it; the masculine mastiffs of ChoAniki are an eagerly embraced part of Japanese pop culture! Don’t act so surprised. It’s not as if scantily-clad studs hurt Final Fantasy VII any, and that one had a whole hot tub full of them in addition to a protagonist who liked to put on women’s clothing and hang around in bars.

Samson and his brother Adon don’t hang around in bars. Well of course not – they’re far too busy saving the universe from the clammy grasp of evil, pumping iron at the gym, and putting each other in headlocks. That’s because the heroes of this game are REAL MEN, not some wussy starship that loses all its power-ups the minute you graze a bullet. Who wants to control something dumb like that when you could have two totally shaved and totally ripped bodybuilder bros who don’t sport anything on their bronzed, perfectly sculpted flesh except those tightly-packed loincloths and beaming grins of unabashed (fraternal) affection for each other?

Whoa whoa whoa, hold on a minute! You can’t just gaze at chiseled pectorals all day or you’ll never even make it past the first stage! Even without the waves of gyrating weirdoes all over the screen you’d still find that this isn’t going to be your run of the mill blastathon, oh good heavens no. For one thing you don’t have “lives” in the traditional sense – note the row of hourglasses at the top of the screen, the ones that the naked flexing midget up there is casually heaving over his brawny shoulders. Much like it is as I write this review, your lack of remaining time is constantly bearing down on you. You’re always in a rush to destroy all the enemies as quickly as you can; running out the clock instantly ends the game, and every time you lose all your health you’ll be violently stripped of an entire hourglass just like that!

And while Benten (the chick from the first game) will sometimes swoop down to replenish your health and time, there aren’t any standard power-ups to be found either. Your basic attack is a tiny glowing ball of white . . . light . . . that shoots out from Samson or Adon’s crotch and automatically homes in on the nearest enemy. Occasionally useful, sure – but not very manly. And that, my friends, is why you can mash the d-pad using simple Street Fighter-esque combinations while firing for super secret FLEX attacks, inspiring our heroes to arch their muscular bods in all directions and bust out searing rays of cream-colored might or sprinkle pinches of pixie dust! Hey, it’s just like Cotton 2! . . . except that Cotton 2 didn’t expose the main characters’ tightly-toned buttocks in the process, and you weren’t aiming at swarthy male fairies with butterfly wings and giant antennae.

FLEX
Take that, bare-assed cherubs!

FLEX
Kiss fairy dust, you bug-eyed fish with beefy arms!

FLEX
Choke down my gushing beam of justice, giant guy in an hollowed-out asteroid bowl!

Just imagine, if you will, that you’re soaring down the local street corner to fend off winged vials of poison and midgets hiding behind gigantic devil masks . . . when suddenly a locomotive with a towering platform (not to mention a bulbous nose) comes chugging along into view. Its cargo? A pack of tiny men in speedos – that’s right, it’s time for everybody to come aboard the MANTRAIN! Higher and higher the little men climb until finally these pint-sized villains leap off the edge and bounce off a strategically-placed trampoline to fling themselves through the air and force you to dodge their furious barrage of the MANAPULT. That’s about when a giant cannon sprouts up to splurt out a steady stream of midget ballast, who then proceed to rain down from the heavens – but don’t worry, most of your encounters won’t be this pedestrian.

Don’t worry about wasting your money, either. Even if you don’t particularly care for naked men you’ll still think the soundtrack is burning hot AWESOME. Seriously, even on a system famous for outstanding CD soundtracks, this one ranks with the best of them thanks to an inspired fusion of techno, traditional Japanese flutes, ridiculous carnival medleys, and grinding dance beats – not to mention a healthy amount of perfectly timed percussion in the form of grunts and groans – and it’s all in glorious redbook audio. Lords of Thunder might have its thrashing guitar chords, but you’ll be amazed at the upbeat energy of infectious steel drums backed up by bassoons, chanting, and of course “BOIOIOING!”. Even Square had to sit up and take notice of composer Koji Hayama, never again merely to be known as “that gay porn guy.”

“OOH”
“AH”
“OOH”
“AH”
“OOH”
“AH”
“OOH”
“ANIKI!”

The music is totally sweet even just by itself, but it’s even better in its proper context like the MAMBO OF MANLINESS that plays as you’re tangling with the Massive Bush of Doom. There’s only four stages to the entire game and it’s not too difficult either – especially the bosses, who quickly succumb to your outrageous assaults. But while you really can’t play without wishing that it could be longer and harder, at least each of those four levels is nice and girthy, not to mention broken up into a wildly diverse range of settings that all have their own songs! One minute you’re floating through a pastel garden of temptation avoiding the snaking vines and the humongous hulks wearing construction cones atop their bald heads and sporting equally humongous bulges between their legs . . . the next you’re deep under the sea braving the perils of two rather flexible individuals locked in a dubious wrestling hold. I’m not sure how they can aim properly considering that their faces are clearly buried in each other’s jockstraps, but you’d better watch out for those lasers emanating from the meaty union of their waving legs!

And unlike our heroes, things are pretty hairy in the later levels, which is why you’ll have to summon up your majestic SPIN POWER to avoid danger. You’re completely invincible as your glistening body glides through the air, so spin your way through to safety with all the grace of a dainty 250-pound ballerina! Unusual as it may seem to twirl past anything a shooter can throw at you with total impunity, it’ll certainly come in handy considering the massive size of many of your foes and their many man-eating projectiles. And don’t let the timer run out on its own while you’re occupied with conserving health via pretty pirouettes, or it’s the Game Over screen for you – a heart-breaking shot of the Brothers Buff pressed close in a tearful embrace of shame!

You may have already picked up on this despite my characteristic subtlety and tact, but this game is completely INSANE. It’s impossible to go for more than a few seconds at a time without something incredibly bizarre happening, and somehow each new freak of nature manages to be even stranger than the last. Such a boldly beautiful display of male nudity harkens back to the golden days of Ancient Greece, when statuesque male models would regularly tear off their robes and grapple with the many-headed Hydra. This is more than just a mere oddity, though – it’s a legitimately fun game with equally unconventional mechanics beneath all that wanton depravity. But mostly depravity.

SEXY DYNAMITE

Rating: 8/10

sho's avatar
Staff review by Sho (April 30, 2005)

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