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Quick review because I'm bored: Pooyan

On 06/14/2019 at 03:23 PM by SanAndreas

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Hamster's most recent release of its Arcade Archives this week is a 1982 game called Pooyan, by Konami. 

Pooyan is basically a game version of the Three Little Pigs. The wolves have abucted your piglets, and it's up to you to rescue them. This game is a horizontal shooter. Armed with a bow and arrow, your pig rides in an armored capsule suspended on a pulley atop a huge tree. In the first stage, the wolves are attempting to conquer your tree and steal piglets by dropping from their tree on balloons. Your job is to use your bow and arrow to pop the balloons and send the wolves falling fo their doom. The wolves throw rocks at you as they descend in an attempt to dislodge you from the crane, costing you a life. Every once in awhile, a piece of meat will appear. Picking it up and launching it will allow you to take out multiple wolves. If the wolves make it to your tree, they will attempt to bite you from behind. Once you've taken out enough wolves, the stage ends.

The second stage has the wolves ascending using balloons to the top of another tree, where a giant rock sits. If seven wolves make it to the rock, they push the rock on top of you and crush you. The boss of the wolves rides up in a flashing balloon that takes five arrows to pop, and stray balloons will also fly up, blocking your arrows and causing thrown meat to bounce off of them. Once you complete this stage, your piglets are rescued, you get a bonus stage, and then the game repeats with more, faster wolves. 

Believe it or not, this isn't an obscure Japan-only game that's seeing its first release in the US. The arcade version was sold in the early 80s by Stern Electronics, and home versions were made for Atari consoles and computers. I played Pooyan on the Atari 8-bit computers when I was a kid. There was also a Family Computer version, but by that point, single screen arcade games were definitely passe in favor of games like Castlevania and Contra, so that version never got localized. 

Like many an arcade of the time, the soundtrack consists of classical and folk songs that were in the public domain. I learned an awful lot about classical and folk music from playing early 80s arcade games.

I actually have the second highest score on the Switch leaderboard right now. Of course, this game is niche with a very small audience, so that wasn't a difficult accomplishment, but still, it's kinda cool, I guess? Anyway, this is a fun little early 80s arcade diversion.



Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/14/2019 at 04:13 PM

I don't think I've ever seen this in an arcade. 

I wish companies still put classical music in their games. They used to do it all the time, expecially on the C64. I still get Defender of the Crown's title music stuck in my head. 


06/14/2019 at 04:58 PM

I never saw it in the arcade, either, only on Atari. I was amazed that they made a 2600 version of it though.

Super Step Contributing Writer

06/14/2019 at 06:44 PM

I looked up a video to see if I could tell what folk song was playing in the game. I can not. 


06/14/2019 at 07:34 PM

The stage 1 music is "Humoresque," by Antonin Dvorak. The game also plays the opening bars of Foster's "Oh! Susanna" after you complete stage 4. Kangaroo, a pre-NES platformer by Sunsoft, also played that ditty when you made it ot the top of a level.


06/15/2019 at 08:36 PM

I think I played this on some collection or other. Maybe it was was on Xbox 360's Game Room?


06/23/2019 at 05:00 PM

It was on a PS1 Konami Collection, I believe.


06/28/2019 at 10:36 AM

I may have that around here somewhere.

Cary Woodham

06/16/2019 at 01:33 PM

I don't remember seeing Pooyan in arcades as a kid, but I know it was in the US because they showed it a lot on the 80s game show Starcade.  Anyone remember that show?  I used to watch it all the time as a kid.

I mostly played Pooyan on the Konami arcade collection that was on the PSOne.


06/23/2019 at 05:00 PM

I never saw the arcade version. I played Pooyan on the Atari XE computer. Datasoft handled that version.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

06/17/2019 at 08:32 AM

I think I may have seen it on the Atari 2600 (I know I played Kangaroo on that system). But I definitely emember playing it a lot on Konami Arcade Classic on the PlayStation 1. I love that game.


06/23/2019 at 05:01 PM

I wonder if Kangaroo will get an Arcade Archives release. I don't know if you're old enough to remember Saturday Supercade, but it had Kangaroo cartoons on it. Pooyan is a fun game, but I can't get past round 5.

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