Yesterday, I mentioned Shootanto: Kakohen, a campy looking light gun game with dinosaurs hitting WiiWare in Japan. Well, I bought it. For the most part Shootanto: Kakohen is what I expected. You control an monkey and chuck rocks at everything on screen. And I mean everything. Giant bugs, lizardmen, mushrooms, trees, humongous pumpkins, and at the end of the first stage a raptor-like dinosaur. The goal of Shootanto: Kakohen is to kill everything and raze the stage.
Meanwhile, everything on the stage is trying to kill you. Lions sprint towards the screen, lizardmen retaliate with arrows, and those humongous pumpkins toss stones for strange some reason. You have to dodge these attacks by moving the monkey with the analog stick. If anything touches you you’re dead, but Shootanto: Kakohen is a breeze since you have infinite continues.
As you progress through Shootanto: Kakohen the monkey evolves into an ape-man, caveman, and later you’re whisked away to the middle ages where the battle with the lizardmen continues with your character becomes an archer. In the medieval era lizardmen wear plate mail and your bombs are replaced with a castle crushing catapult. The final level throws dragons into the mix and copycat lizardmen that got an idea from the orcs in the Lord of the Rings.
Conceptually, Shootanto: Kakohen is B-movie ridiculous, which is exactly what makes it interesting. However, Grand Prix’s game suffers from crippling slowdown in the heat of battle. You can speed the action if you let go of the B button, but that also means you won’t fire any arrows. The problem is there is so much stuff coming at you at once Shootanto: Kakohen is a chaotic mess. Actually, Shootanto: Kakohen would have been unplayable if it wasn’t for the dodge roll. Even in normal difficulty it’s impossible to evade a flurry of arrows, lions, and lizardmen rolling at you on wheels by walking alone.
In the dodge roll animation you’re completely invincible. So, if a dinosaur bites you and you’re in the middle of a cartwheel you’re fine. Is a fireball approaching? Do a cartwheel. You can even cartwheel in place and arrows pass right through you. Basically, Shootanto: Kakohen comes down to: shoot, shoot, dodge roll, shoot, shoot, shoot, dodge roll (repeat…).
Once you beat the game you unlock an extra stage mode that lets you shuffle evolutionary forms and stages. You can put the ape-man in the middle ages and the archer against dinosaurs. After an hour I earned the extra stage mode, but I’m still missing the gun touting modern man form the official site hints at. Not sure how to get this yet, but it probably involves playing through Shootanto: Kakohen in hard mode.
Images courtesy of Grand Prix.