Remember back in the 80s and 90s when everything was Mega? Mega Man, Mega Drive, Mega CD, and Megadeth. Well cast your mind back to the arcades and you’ll recall there was also Mega Twins. Back when I was a lad Mega Twins were the two girls on Fun House or the Alessi Twins from Neighbours but these two doppelgangers were stealing 10 pences quicker than you could say “I really do love Capcom and everything they release is the bestest ever. Please take all my money” or something… Originally released in 1990 by Capcom in Japan as Chiki Chiki Boys, it is a side scrolling platformer. The back story, if you can read the story on the attract mode quick enough, is that once upon a time a monster came to the paradise land of Alurea and kicked up a fuss. 1000 years of peace gone in a flash leaving the king’s twin infant sons as sole survivors. Fifteen years later the lads have grown up a bit (although they don’t look fifteen years old to me) and set out on a quest for the legendary stone called “Dragon’s Blue Eyes”. Legend has it that when the world is in danger, the stone will set all things right. They’ll believe anything these two lads.
Over on Twin Galaxies there are only three submitted entries which is odd as I remember this being in the local arcade and was quite popular at the time. First place is currently held by Clay W W Karczewski with a score of 187,880. I’m coming at this a week into the Ten Pence Arcade challenge, so without further ado, I’m going in…
50,620 – In an unusual twist when starting, you’re prompted to enter your name at the start rather than on a high score table because “Every warrior needs a nickname.” Upon signing your virtual life away, you’re given the option of which round to start on.
Round 1 – Earth. If you start on the earth you have to pass through a forest, a cavern and a valley of magma. So basically Nottingham.
Round 2 – Sky. In the heavens, you can fly. Look for legendary phantom castle. So basically York.
Round 3 – Sea. Rumor has it that a ghost pirate ship can be found under the sea. Perhaps answers can be found there. And that’ll be Penzance because they had pirates and that.
I choose to start on Round 1 because 1 is the start and anything else is wrong because you can’t start at 2 when 1 is an option and don’t even mention starting at 3 and I’m anal retentive.
You move from left to right equipped with a sword, button one swings the sword, button two is for jump and button three is a smart bomb of sorts killing everything onscreen. You make your way into the the forest. The forest of three trees which is not really a forest lets be honest. Hindering your progress are burrowing creatures which resemble The Flumps. Slay these cute fiends and you’re rewarded with coins. Next up are three green bean which are swiftly disposed of and then you’re met with a mid level boss. Four blue rabbits rotate round a boss rabbit in a floating machine. Kill the surrounding rabbits and then you can hit the rabbit right in it’s machine. Once that’s destroyed and the rabbit therein you can gain access to what one assumes is the interior of a volcano. Various moving stalagmites spew fireballs shaped like fish (?) at you, all of which you can destroy and the Flumps make a return appearance. At the end of the level you’re face to face with another stalagmite guarding a door which is emblazoned “CASTLE”. Which is hardly keeping it a secret. It turns out the stalagmite is more than a lowly rock formation, as it rises from the earth to become a rock totem pole of power complete with extendable arms adorned with the obligatory bad guy boxing gloves (see Dr Micro). Hit his arms enough times and they’re destroyed at which point he retreats back underground leaving his basalt bonce exposed. Whack this enough and he returns from whence he came. Collect the resultant coins and key, and the doors open allowing you to stride through like you’re king of the world.
Your scores are totted up, 10,000 for completing the level and additional bonus points for any time remaining. The total coins you collect earn you an amount of points at the end too but also shells and pills which replenish health and bombs respectively depending on just how many coins collected. It seems there’s no reward for conserving smart bombs or any remaining health either so don’t fret about using them to get out of trouble. After Round one you meet Callia, goddess of the earth. So impressed is she with your efforts she gives you a bomb. Hurrah! More death and carnage only on a wider scale with added shrapnel!!! Reflecting back on round 1 I will say this. This bears more than a passing resemblance to Wonder Boy in Monster Land. In fact it’s almost litigiously close right down to the coins. Throw a couple of shops in there to upgrade with and you’re talking lawsuit city.
Round 2 turns out to be a jolt to the senses. The diminutive mega twin is now being flown through the clouds. Well. When I say flown, it’s more a case of being hoisted aloft by his skull by what looks to be a seagull or half an eagle. How the poor lad’s head is still on it’s shoulders I’ll never know. Again you progress from left to right through the clouds your assailants this time round are a little girls who can fly and grab onto you, gun turrets positioned on the top and bottom of the clouds and shower heads raining what one assumes to be acid rain. Showers can be tricky as the downpours are easily missed and you tend to fly straight into them. The level has a faster pace about it, with bullets and coins flying all over the shop. It has more of a shoot em up feel about it than the previous level. A Horizontal Birdhead Lad Shoot-em Up. A HBLSUP if you like. The pace catches me off guard and I swiftly die. Just spare a thought for the seagull. He didn’t ask for this…
53,040 – Just as round 1, there is another mid level boss. Imagine the final boss on R-Type. Now imagine the alien Bydo is replaced with a cherub on a cloud and that instead of babies attacking you it’s shower heads and gun turrets and you’re almost there. The cloud dwelling cherub hides behind a barrier which randomly parts and then you can smack him in the face with your sword. However, when the barrier is open he’s blasts you with wind (possibly a burp..) which blows you back into the shower heads. So make sure you destroy those before getting a whack in. After so when he’s taken enough damage he comes from behind the barriers and summons midges to cause you more bother. A few more hits and he’s toast. Cloudy cloudy toast. He apologises profusely, “Sorry, I had to do that. I was just testing you to see if you’r (sic) a real warrior. They say the shrine of Meius is hindden (sic) by clouds”, the clouds clear and you begin to fall towards washing lines of fire. Somewhat unexpected and I succumb to a fiery death…
61,370 – I make it beyond the washing lines to the end of level boss. The game has reverted back to it’s side scrolling platform style. The boss is a two headed dragon turtle thing who shoots fireballs, streams of hot fire and by some miracle of biology, eggs from it’s mouth. It’s weakpoint is anywhere you can hit it but beware, when the head begins to retract into it’s body, it’s winding up to give you the biggest headbutt know in Alurea which is does and I shuffle off the mortal coil.
117,870 – After several attempts to overthrow the dragon turtle two headed fiery shell egg spitter, I finally manage it. A cloud comes down to carry you up upwards where you can collect coins on the way. Collect every one and you’re awarded a perfect bonus of 10,000 points. At the very top of the clouds is a control tower of some kind of another operated by the green beans from round 1. Avoid the spinning bar and kill the beans, which isn’t particularly taxing and that’s round 2 polished off. The points here really come from completing the levels. I hovered around the 50 – 65k score point for each go until I completed round 2. So key to the high scores here is to polish each round off. Before heading to the next round you meet the inhabitant of the control tower thingy. It’s a goat headed fella who proclaims “Hey, whats the matter with you? Don’t you know this is the shrine of Meius, god of the Heavens.” Whether he’s Meius or just looking after it for him is up for debate but he’s pleased to see you “You’re <insert name here> aren’t you? Please take this TYPHOON.”
For round 3 you take to the sea. Very similar in terms of control mechanics to round 3, flying babies have been replaced with fish, turrets replaced with lobsters that resemble Ronnie Barker and mines instead of the showers. The Ronnie Barker lobster also builds pearl which they fire at you. I take one full in my baby faced chops and experience a salty wet death… The typhoon that you’re promised at the end of the previous round has to be collected by picking up the first shell. So don’t overlook that. Meius (or whoever it is) never mentioned particular detail did he…
128,610 – I make it to the mid level boss and it’s a step in term of difficulty. The target here is a red lobster who lives in a shell and is ably assisted by a steady flow of Ronnie Barker lobsters and, every few minutes, a flow of mines from a sea anemone. His major attack is to dart for you every now and again the shell opens and you’re hindered by it trying to pull you towards it, along with the mines… Bosh. Game over. Again.
153,360 – I don’t recommend picking up the Typhoon at the start of the level. The bomb is a weak sauce just fizzes about above you and when using it against the red lobster it’s easy to miss your intended target. I give it a miss this time and the standard bombs are far more effective in defeating him and his mates. You then begin to make your way through a shipwreck which isn’t particularly taxing. Take your time and it’s an easy path to the end of round boss, who I’m christening mega flat ray fish with light thing on his head bad guy. Rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? You have to defeat him twice. First time round he’s an easy target, moving from top to bottom. After taking him down, he unleashes hundreds of little pink fish and returns for a rematch. This moving from side to side as well as up and down. He catches me off guard with an unexpected thrust (oo-er) ends the game for me.
201,770 – I defeat mega flat ray fish with light thing on his head bad guy and I get to meet the incorrectly spelt Poseiden “Wow you must be SUL” he proclaims “I never expected to meet you here.” To be fair neither did I. I’d only nipped out for milk… “I wanted to give you this but don’t tell anyone OK? Please take this BOUND”. Cheers mate! It’s one of the better Wachowskis films. After that there’s a cut scene where after collecting the third gift I obtain the Dragon’s Blue Eyes!!!! Yay! Woo! I’ve completed the game… Hang on a sec, there’s a bloody Round 4. Bugger. Round 4 is made up of 5 stages, with the first being Discovery of Monster Castle (another barely concealed Wonder Boy reference). It begins in a jungle and the flumps from Round 1 are back but now they can float. Make your way through the jungle, through a watery cave with a few fish in it and you’re face to face with the two headed dragon turtle thing again. Or considering I chopped it’s heads off on Round 2 it’s probably a relation. A third cousin or something. The attacks are somewhat different this time round. The fireballs have a tendency to bounce back at you from the left hand side of the screen. A few careless moves and he deprives me of life force. That score does put me first on Twin Galaxies though and can easily be furthered with a bit more practice. However the two weeks Ten Pence Arcade deadline draws clear so it’s time to call it a day.
In the main, Mega Twins is an admirable platformer but somewhat short of the quality you’d expect from Capcom. The levels are all too brief and boss battles aside, the enemies lack any challenge. If they’d have omitted the mid level boss encounters and made the enemies harder to defeat by requiring a couple of hits instead this would have improved things. It’s been a fun time playing Wonder Boy in Capcom land but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back any time soon…
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