Teddy Boy Blues (Sega CD) review
"Those crazy developers at Sega heard a catchy pop song by a cute Japanese idol singer... so they decided to make an arcade game based on it! Thus was born Teddy Boy Blues, a fun 50-level arcade game that probably inspired Bubble Bobble."
Remember back to when Sega was cool. Remember back to 1985.
Those crazy developers at Sega heard a catchy pop song by a cute Japanese idol singer... so they decided to make an arcade game based on it! Thus was born Teddy Boy Blues, a fun 50-level arcade game that probably inspired Bubble Bobble.
Not surprisingly, Teddy Boy Blues used Yohko Ishino's pop song as its soundtrack. The game was later ported to the Master System with the expected visual downgrades, and also with an unexpected change: the theme song was replaced. It wasn't that big of a deal. No matter which version you played, it got pretty damn annoying to listen to the same song loop over and over and over and OVER. But the game itself was pretty fun.
In this lost classic, gamers controlled a prepubescent lad in a cute hat named "Teddy Boy". He'd jump from platform to platform, shooting enemies and collecting their paralyzed bodies for points. Each stage took place on a single "looping" screen. Similar to Pac-Man, Teddy could walk off the left side onto the right, top to bottom, right to left, or bottom to top. This made the stages feel bigger, and it also made for some harrowing experiences; monsters could drop off the bottom of the screen and then fall from the sky... onto poor Teddy's head! Players had to beat both the creatures and the time limit to move on to the next stage.
After every fifth level, players got a special treat. They'd get to actually play as Teddy's snuggle buddy Yohko-chan in a light-hearted bonus round. In this pink -- very pink -- level, Yohko-chan would run from treasure chest to treasure chest, popping them open to see what goodies might be inside. Within each golden coffer, she might find a Teddy doll (1-up!), a Teddy bear (points), or perhaps a vicious monster that would slaughter her mercilessly.
Fast-forward to 1992. Sega was still cool.
With a ton of awesome soundtracks under their belt, and with frothing demand for more energetic music, Sega put together a special band for live shows -- the Sega Sound Team "SST". Similar to Falcom's JDK, SST toured Greater Japan, putting on high-powered performances that, in retrospect, were probably the nerdiest thing ever. The important thing is that Sega took pride in their music. It wasn't just Sega; this was a golden era for video game soundtracks in general. This is the era during which Yuzo Koshiro, Motoi Sakuraba, and Nobuo Uematsu became famous. With the rise of those new-fangled "CDs", gamers could purchase original soundtracks, image songs, remixes, and tribute discs.
SING!! Sega Game Music is one of those discs. It features hilariously cheesy (but awesome) full-English vocal songs based on classic Sega games like Outrun and After Burner. In other words, some band called "B.B. Queens" performed a few songs with real instruments, made up some silly lyrics about ECSTACY IS YOU AND ME, then slapped it all together on a single CD.
However... SING!! Sega Game Music is not like other tribute discs. Even though it was marketed as a music CD, this is actually a Mega CD game, featuring an updated version of Teddy Boy Blues!
Wikipedia and emulation sites will tell you that the Mega Drive version of Teddy Boy Blues was cancelled, but they are WRONG. It was released on July 26, 1992, and I now hold the proof in my powerful left hand! (It was also released in 1994 as part of the well-known Sega Games Can vol. 2, but we'll ignore that because it makes my shocking discovery seem less spectacular.)
For the Mega CD port, the arcade version's enemies have been completely overhauled. Instead of masked men and fireballs, Teddy Boy is now plagued by toy soldiers, Picha slimes (imagine Puyo prototypes), and pumpkin-headed wizards. Teddy still has to spray everything with his squirt uzi and then collect the corpses for his undoubtedly nefarious purposes, but it's all a bit brighter and more colorful now.
Fun as the game is, I'm about to tell you why you should really care.
You should really care because, while Teddy Boy shoots people with a water gun, some Japanese guy in the background howls DAY AFTER DAY AND NIGHT BLOODY NIGHTS, I WILL BATTLE FOR ETERNITY.
That's from the Golden Axe II image song titled "(I Fight) Fire With Fire". Lucky gamers who own this particular version of Teddy Boy Blues can select any of the disc's vocal songs each time they start a new game or continue... and the music RULES, which fixes the original's biggest flaw (that being the annoying, looping music). Is there anything better than playing a Bubble Bobble clone while listening to awesome music from Sega's arcade racer Super Monaco GP or Game Arts' feudal strategy game Tenkafubu, best known for the scene where an arrow plunges through a guy's heart?
Answer: NO. THERE'S NOTHING BETTER. NOT EVEN SEX.
Unfortunately, it's now 2006 and Sega doesn't care about us anymore. Are there live performances of the Billy Hatcher original soundtrack? Why isn't there a tribute disc for Virtua Quest? Does anyone even want a vocal image album for Shadow the Hedgehog?
I know I don't. But this disc... yes, this disc is something special. This disc lets you play Teddy Boy Blues while listening to awesome music from Earnest Evans. It's proof that for at least one sweet moment, one small drop of time, Sega cared.
When the night fills up the sky
I can feel the moon's chilling light
I dream of you and I
And the love I had to leave behind.
Staff review by Zigfried (December 25, 2006)
Zigfried likes writing about whales and angry seamen, and often does so at the local pub.
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