Review by superpeaches
"Difficulty is your friend"
Bosuka Wars is an interesting game in the fact that it is claimed by many to be "the worst game ever", which could really be as far from the truth as possible. It is widely misunderstood, despite it's fairly simple gameplay, which is impossible to master. Literally, the game has a lot of luck thrown into the process that seems like it leaves a lot of skill out of it. This also could be as far from the truth as possible. One fact about it that is true, is that it is hard to play. While it has simple control mechanics, they don't work well, and the concept of the game is very difficult to understand. Only by reading the well written FAQ by "D" did I figure out how to play the game.
GRAPHICS: Not that bad actually, simplistic yes. Not very colorful, yes. however, the purpose of graphics is not to look good, it's to show what you are playing. Back in the days of NES this was how it was at least. Some games had such horribly done graphics that you couldn't tell what you were controlling and just made a garish mess of things. Bokosuka Wars, is functional. The graphics are simplistic and easy to see where all the action is. The units and tiles don't look too similar for the most part, and this is really all that matters. Average for the day and age when the game was made.
SOUND: Ouch, this really hurts the game. There is a 12-note theme song for BW that can drive a man insane if he listens too hard. Sound effects are along the lines of a simple digitized beep noise for changing units to digitized grinding for a battle. The sound in this game is just bleh, but hey, just be glad that the theme song has an actual melody.
STORY: It's not exactly presented in the game. Taken from another source is the fact that there is a protagonist (Blue and white guy), and a Bad Guy (Red guy with staff and crown). The bad guy turned all of the good guy's soldiers and knights into trees or locked them up in a few places. You are the good guy trying to take revenge on the bad guy.
GAMEPLAY: This is the only reason to play this game. It is a strategy game, and a unique one at that. strategy games will make sure that you know what characters will beat what and so on with a rock paper scissors type of battle system. In BW it's a little different, the Good Guy is the strongest unit in the game, but if he dies it's WOW! YOU LOSE!. The Knight (he looks like a guy with a big head) beats most units. The Soldier (looks like a stick figure sort of) loses to most everyone, except for a green demon looking enemy unit near the end, which they are VERY strong against. It is also note worthy that after 3 fights the knights and soldiers will turn gold and become much stronger.
OK, so you start out at the beginning, with 600 squares of hell to cover to get to the Bad Guy. You must bump into trees to release your soldiers and knights and you should level up to get stronger. Then you just keep progressing until you get to the end and beat the bad guy. But it gets tricky after this. It's mostly because of the way battles are fought, rather than rely solely on stats like most strategy games, BW will do a Dungeons and Dragons style dice roll (invisible dice roll I might add) to determine the outcome of the battle. Whoever loses is erased from the map. Since it's quite hard to win a lot of battles after about 200 yards, you must find ways to avoid battles rather than destroy all opponents. Your goal is avoidance rather than attacking the enemies weaknesses. This is the main difference that makes Bokosuka Wars interesting.
The next thing that makes it interesting is the sometimes mind-numbingly high level of difficulty. There are many factors you can't control very well, and there are a lot of enemies. Every 100 yards there is a wall that you must surpass to get to the next 100 yards.
CONTROLS: Unfortunately what adds to this difficulty is the fact that Bokosuka Wars was ported from another system. Rather badly ported, the controls are some of the worst I've ever seen and make the learning curve of the game like a brick wall. Added to this fact is the AI, they can only go so far, but in that area, they will stick to the Good Guy like glue; it's pure chaos. And after you beat the game, the difficulty only goes higher. The game adds death squares that only soldiers can remove and eventually will consume the screen to the point where you cannot get anywhere.
So that is in essence the game that is Bokosuka Wars. It's widely misunderstood and you should try it out if you consider yourself good enough (and patient enough) to beat it. I honestly haven't beaten it as of this review, I have gotten into the last 100 yards though, so it's just my luck to have lost. The strangeness of this game brought me in, and although it's not the best strategy game ever, it's different and I will always defend it as NOT the worst game ever. I believe the original is on the MSX and has far better controls and the game is literally endless in levels. And please do read a FAQ or have extreme patience before starting the game. I congratulate you if you can obtain the coveted BRAVO! YOU WIN! screen. And yes, the WOW! YOU LOSE! screen is so demoralizing it just makes me want to try to beat the game; the key here is in liking the challenge.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/08/04
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