Friday, June 01, 2007

Games You Missed #450- Keio's Flying Squadron 2

Way back when, there was a standout title on Sega CD called Keio's Flying Squadron. It was one of those goofy Japanese anime-flavored games that Working Designs brought to our shores. Bless 'em. I miss those guys. America is far more Japan-friendly these days, but a decade ago, it was pretty much Victor Ireland and Dave Halverson.

Anyway, a sequel to Keio was produced for the Saturn, and it's a bigger, beefier game in every way. It's bizarre and goofy and just weird, all those things you'd expect, and shows off Saturn's complete mastery of 2D. A lot of the cultural references will be lost to Westerners, which I suppose was one reason the game was never released in the US. Of course, it was released in Europe - which is the version I have burned on CD-R, btw - so that excuse falls into pieces.

Keio 2 also mixes in a number of platforming levels, which is a real surprise. You don't get to fly around and shoot things until the third level. You can see some examples from the screenshots above. Pretty much standard platforming fare, earmarked by wonderfully vivid graphics. There's even a crazy roller coaster level later on.

I guess this game reminds me a lot of Treasure's games. It's very much in that style. It also reminds me of all those great games on Genesis and Super Nintendo. Why the suits in charge of Sega America (and Sony) decreed that gamers wanted nothing more to do with those games is beyond me. I can't even begin to explain that level of ineptitude. SOA deliberately shunned many of Saturn's best games - games by skilled development studios - in favor of so many sloppy, malcontented Westernized titles that barely chugged along.

There's a reason Saturn earned the reputation for poor 3D graphics. All the best talent were over the pond, in that suddenly forbidden land, making videogames that weren't modern enough, weren't macho enough. Whatever. Just add this to your downloads and have some fun.

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