Genre: Action Developer: NCS Masaya Publisher: NCS Masaya Players: 1 Released: 1991
One of the only games about the anime devil slayer, Mamono Hunter Yohko: Dai 7 no Keishou (or Devil Hunter Yohko: The Seven Bells) is a Valis-like romp through the world of Yohko. It doesn’t seem to be very well known – I’ve never seen much info on the game at all, just a few mentions here and there. Since I did find and buy a copy of it a while back, I’ve decided to go ahead and review it.
Due to the fact that the story in the instruction manual is entirely in Japanese, and that the onscreen story is told only in pictures, I can only begin to guess what the game is about. Obviously there’s evil around, and a sinister plot is unfolding (presumably centering around the seven bells in the title of the game) – and as usual, Yohko is the only one that can save the world from the evil mastermind and their sinister plot. That’s my guess, anyway.
Well, the story is beside the point. Mamono Hunter Yohko: Dai 7 no Keishou (from here referred to as Yohko) is a great action/platformer game from NCS, the makers of such classics as Assault Suit Leynos, Assault Suit Valken, Gynoug, Shubinbin Man… and the terminally sick series Cho Aniki, which is definitely NOT a classic – it’s just plain disgusting. But that’s beside the point, as we’re talking about Yohko here. Like I said before, Yohko is similar to Valis, although Yohko has a definite lack of powerups compared to Valis. The same basic concept applies, though – a lone girl with a powerful sword must advance through wave after wave of evil creatures, etc, etc.
Yohko‘s graphics, while nice, are very sparse in some areas. There’s not a lot going on in some of the levels as far as backgrounds are concerned. The intro and cut scenes between levels look good, though – not quite a par with the cut scenes from Valis or Gaiares, but not far behind. The animation of Yohko and the various enemies range from great (Yohko) to eh (some of the minor enemies). The music is well done, providing the right kind of feel to the game – specifically the level 3 theme.
The difficulty of the game is a bit on the hard side, though, mostly because of how the life bar is set up. When Yohko gets hit, the life bar drops, then slowly starts to build back up. If Yohko takes another hit immediately after taking a hit, that’s usually enough to kill her. If she doesn’t take another hit, her life bar will refill somewhat. There is some small protection granted by her sword – if you hold down the attack button, Yohko’s sword will create a shield around her. It can also be used for attack, as you can throw the shield at enemies (you’ll find yourself doing that a lot, as close range combat really isn’t wise in this game). Projectiles can break their way through the shield – if the shield is hit by a projectile and there’s another one right behind it, the second projectile will hit Yuko, whereas the first was deflected by the shield. It’s just that when the first projectile hit, it penetrated the shield, allowing the second to get through. That can be frustrating, especially when a cluster of projectiles is headed right for her. There are one ups and life globes to find, though, so it’s not like Yohko’s been left completely out in the cold.
Despite the flaws in the way Yohko’s life bar is set up, it’s still a good game. It can be fun, frustrating and addicting all at the same time. If you’re looking for a decent action/platformer, it’s worth picking up if you can find a copy (I’ve heard that it’s better than either of the DHY PC Engine games) – and it’s a must-own for Mega Drive-owning DHY fans.
Originally posted at the OPCFG.
SCORE: 8 out of 10