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The Games of the Turbo Grafx-16 Mini: Part 3

On 08/13/2020 at 08:10 AM by Cary Woodham

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And here’s the last of the blogs about the games on the Turbo Grafx-16 Mini’s US releases.  Well, mostly.  I’ll combine a few of them that had both US and Japanese releases on here like I did last time.  So let’s take a look at the rest of them!

Ys Book 1 & 2

The game that started it all.  Although these top down action adventure series started out on PC, I think the Turbo Grafx-16 was one of the few US releases.  The music is awesome in these games, and the intro to Book 2 is especially rockin’!  The reason why is because Yuzo Koshiro did the music!  One bad thing about these first few Ys games is that since they were originally on PC and were more simplistic, you didn’t have a button to swing your sword. You would just ram into enemies and hope for the best.  Usually I prefer the old ways to do things in video games, but this is one case where I prefer more modern controls with a sword button.  But this is still a good game.  You can play the Japanese version of this on the PC Engine menu, but I’m not sure why you’d want to.


And speaking of top-down action adventure games, Neutopia was the TG-16’s answer to Zelda.  It’s so similar that you even use bombs to blow open doors to caves and such.  It’s not as good as Zelda and has poor hit detection.  But it’s still good enough that I probably would’ve had these games if I owned a TG-16 back in the day.

Neutopia II

It’s just more of the same.  You play as the son of the hero from the first game.  You’re out to rescue your dad who has gone missing.  You can also play the Japanese versions of both these titles on the PC Engine menu, but the text is all Japanese.

Parasol Stars

Oh yeah!  This is one of the many sequels to Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands and it rocks!  You use an umbrella to dispatch enemies in single screen mazes, but the way you use the umbrella is so versatile.  I once called this game “Bubble Bobble with technique” because of that.  I’m really glad this is on the collection!


Another Taito game.  It plays like a 2-D side scrolling hack and slash, kind of like another one of their games called Rastan.  Except in this one, there are more RPG elements.  You can talk to people in towns, collect money and experience points, and select from four different characters.  My friend and I first played this game in arcades, and we thought it was neat how it still had RPG elements and two people could play this at the same time.  We hoped they would make a NES version so we could play it together, but sadly it only came out on the TG-16.  It’s still a good game, but very unforgiving sometimes because if you fall into the water, you’ll take knockback damage and will never be able to get out until you die.  Ugh.  What’s interesting is that both this game and Parasol Stars were brought to the US by Working Designs.

Space Harrier

It seems weird to think that some of SEGA’s games came out on the TG-16, but it happened. I think because the TG-16 might’ve come out a little before the Genesis maybe?  I don’t think this one is any better than what it could’ve been on the Genesis, but it still plays all right.  The voices are horrible and so muffled, though.  Did you know this game is set in the same world as Fantasy Zone?


While it may look cheesy now, this horror themed 2-D action game was very controversial back then because of the violence and gore.  It was very shocking that this was on a home console!  Unfortunately, shock value is all it has, because the gameplay is not very good.

Chew Man Fu

I had this game on the Wii Virtual Console and really liked it.  You just push giant marbles around a maze and get them to sit on the same colored squares.  You can also kick marbles to temporarily dispatch enemies.  Two can play at the same time, too.  Just a fun little game right up my alley.

J.J. and Jeff

Holy crap this game is awful.  It’s a 2-D platformer and it’s one of those like Super Mario Bros. where you can’t scroll the screen backwards.  Controls are slippery and you have a puny kick attack and it reminds me of Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, another awful game.  Did you know that in Japan, this game was called Kato and Ken, and starred two popular Japanese comedians who had their own comedy variety show back then?  One of their segments was brought to the US and would become America’s Funniest Home Videos!

Military Madness

And last is this strategy game that reminds me of Advance Wars.  But I’m not a big fan of these kinds of games so I couldn’t get into it.

And those are all the US releases on the TG-16 Mini!  For the last two blogs we’ll look at the Japanese PC Engine games on here!  Later!  --Cary



Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/13/2020 at 01:53 PM

Ah, Splatterhouse. I never played it, but I remember seeing the commercials and saying "Cool!"

Space Harrier was on SMS too. I had one. I had that and Outrun and some lesser games. 

Parasol Stars is a good title. 

It's funny how these games are lost to time until re-releases like this. Of course, most games never see the light of day again once their time passes. 

Cary Woodham

08/13/2020 at 09:38 PM

You had a SEGA Master System?  As a kid, I only knew one person who had one.  I'd go over to his house to play Fantasy Zone: The Maze and Spy vs. Spy.  I didn't want to admit it, but the SEGA Master System version of Spy vs. Spy was better than the NES one.

Parasol Stars is a GREAT game!  I suggest you look it up sometime.

Yeah one bad thing about video games is there is a rush to see the next big thing, and not appreciate what we already have around us, so things tend to get forgotten more.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/14/2020 at 11:23 AM

Yeah, I had one. It didn't get as much play as my NES, but I spent some quality time with it. I really liked Space Harrier. It's not a great game, but it tickled my imagination. 

My older brother was still playing games at that point, and I would watch him play Hang On and Astro Warrior. 

Cary Woodham

08/15/2020 at 08:54 AM

You had both a NES and a SEGA Master System?  You were a lucky kid.  Every kid I knew back then only had one or the other, and most had NES.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/15/2020 at 10:01 AM

Yeah, I was definitely spoiled, but I had two brothers so it wasn't just for me. I had a Sega CD eventually too, but never a SNES. 

Cary Woodham

08/16/2020 at 07:54 AM

Well if you didn't have a SNES, I guess you weren't THAT lucky as a kid. :)

Through most of my childhood, I was an only child.  It wasn't until my parents divorced and married other people and had kids around when I graduated high school that I had little brothers.  Shortly after they were old enough to play games, I was reviewing games for the newspaper, so they definitely benefitted from that!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/16/2020 at 08:33 AM

I didn't really miss it at the time, but in retrospect there were a lot of games I wish I had played. 

Cary Woodham

08/16/2020 at 09:01 AM

Well the SNES is my number one favorite console of all time, so I'm a bit biased. :)


08/13/2020 at 08:34 PM

I'd like to play Ys and Cadash for sure. 

I have the Splatterhouse that came out on Xbox 360 years ago. It also contains the three Genesis Spatterhouse games, so I've kept it all this time. But yeah, theylook good but don't play very well. 

Cary Woodham

08/13/2020 at 09:41 PM

Ys and Cadash are great, but they do suffer from some problems that old games have that have been improved upon since then.

I got the Splatterhouse game on 360 for 20 bucks.  It was actually the special edition from Namco's Web site when they had a huge sale, so it came with a Terror Mask statue, too!  I also got the game because I knew it had the three classic titles on it, but you have to beat the main game to unlock those, which I knew I'd never do after playing it.  Blech.  Only good thing I can say about the new Splatterhouse game is that Jim Cummings was the voice of the Terror Mask.  I was hoping he'd say something like "Let's get dangerous." but I don't think that happened.


08/15/2020 at 08:39 AM

Wow, Jim Cummings has been in everything. 

Cary Woodham

08/15/2020 at 08:55 AM

Yeah sometimes I like to call Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers the "Jim Cummings Show."


08/14/2020 at 01:24 AM

The original Ys games reminded me of Tower of Druaga, only with a lifebar. Given how popular Druaga was in Japan, I'm guessing that was a major inspiration for the gameplay in those games. 

Cary Woodham

08/14/2020 at 08:02 AM

Well at least Druaga has a sword button. :)  I think a lot of other games were inspired by Druaga, too, including The Legend of Zelda!

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