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TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Dai Maou (NES) artwork

TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Dai Maou (NES) review


"In Detana!! TwinBee (aka: Bells & Whistles), the entire game exhibited the same sort of imagination these bosses did. There were floating cities, waterfalls in outer space and other enchanting sights to fly over. Here...there's a quintet of generic-looking backgrounds ranging from the mundane beach-and-water combo of the second stage to the atrocious checkerboard design of the final level."



The best part of TwinBee 3 is the bosses. They're imaginative creations that fit right in with the "cute-em-up" style of shooter this series calls home. In one level, I wound up confronting a jazz trio composed of ghosts who deluged me with musical notes while drifting from one side of the screen to the other. The next level put me face-to-face with a gigantic dragon. But this beast wasn't here to fight -- it needed help. A horde of rodents had taken up residence in its teeth, causing a great deal of anguish. As the dragon opened and shut its mouth, I had to blast each and every one of the critters away while dodging the hammers they flung in my direction. At times like this, I appreciated the thought Konami put into their third NES installment in the series.

Unfortunately, the rest of the time, I was thinking that TwinBee didn't really hit its stride until the next generation of systems. In Detana!! TwinBee (aka: Bells & Whistles), the entire game exhibited the same sort of imagination these bosses did. There were floating cities, waterfalls in outer space and other enchanting sights to fly over. Here...there's a quintet of generic-looking backgrounds ranging from the mundane beach-and-water combo of the second stage to the atrocious checkerboard design of the final level. The closest to interesting was the first stage and its air islands, but the graphics just weren't able to live up to the concept's promise.

While many of the game's foes likely would never be seen in a Gradius or R-Type game, being able to occasionally take out a wave of saxophones or snare drums didn't really bring a smile to my face. They were boring cannon-fodder foes that just possessed an appearance different from the norm. Even though all of this game was vertically-scrolling, I was still reminded of the previous game in the series (known in America as Stinger) in that I was playing a pretty dull and generic shooter boasting a few neat bosses.

I suppose I could say that while TwinBee 3 isn't particularly exciting, at least it's competently designed. Your ship can fire bullets at airborne foes and bombs to take out enemies on the ground. It takes three hits to kill you, but after two shots, you lose your ability to use bombs unless you can catch a first-aid pack that drops from the top of the screen -- in which case, your ship will be completely restored. While you can occasionally grab a power-up by bombing various foes, the majority of your improvements will come from bell juggling.

Scattered throughout every level are a number of clouds. By shooting one, a yellow bell will appear. Grab it for a small amount of points or start shooting it. Each shot will cause it to bounce in the air and occasionally change colors. Collecting bells of different colors can speed up the ship, improve its weaponry, add clones to the arsenal and other desirable things. Of course, if you spend too much time focusing on juggling, the odds of blundering into a bullet or enemy are raised, but you know -- no risk, no reward!

Sadly, the experience of playing TwinBee 3 wasn't rewarding enough to make me want to touch it again. While the power-up system is fun, this still is a short game where nothing stands out as particularly neat other than the boss fights. This is a pretty forgettable shooter that just happens to possess a handful of moments which stand out as pretty cool.

Rating: 4/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (July 01, 2010)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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