Review by The Manx

"Ultraman: Towards the Garbage Can"

In the 60's, a TV show about a giant alien superhero who battled Godzilla-like monsters in each episode was dubbed and brought to the US. It was called Ultraman, and I understand it enjoys a cult following to this day. It started off a chain of sequels containing the likes of Ultraman Jack, Ultraman Leo and Ultraman Ace. In the 90's an attempt was made to make Ultraman popular in the US again. Except this time, it wasn't done by dubbing a show and importing it. They shot their own version of Ultraman with their own monsters, their own english-speaking actors, and their own plot (if you can say that an Ultraman show really has a plot). It was called Ultraman, Towards the Future, and because it was the era of Captain Planet and Widget, a be kind to the Earth message was inserted into the show. As a little extra insurance, a video game was released based on it. Unfortunately, neither the game nor the show were very good, and were both pretty quickly forgotten.

The plot (which doesn't affect the game) is astronauts Jack Shindo and Stan Haggar see a slug-like monster (Gudis, your first opponent) on Mars, which attacks them, and kills Stan. Ultraman fights the monster, which turns into germs that travel to Earth and mutate creatures into monsters. In order to fight them, Ultraman combines with Jack and returns him to Earth. Whenever things get too hot to handle (which they do at least once per episode), Jack can change into Ultraman to save the day.

So. You're Ultraman. Your job is to kill giant monsters. But the video game Ultraman is worse at it than the TV Ultraman (and considering that the Ultraman in Towards the Future moved like he drank a case of nyquil before coming to the fight, that's saying something). His moves lag and it takes a long time to charge up his energy attacks (I guess to explain why he doesn't just blow them away until his time limit is almost up like in the show, since Ultraman can only be around for a couple minutes at a time). He can't just blow them away until he beats their life bar all the way down to where it says ''Finish'' anyway. And after your super attack power is charged all the way up. And after thatyou get to unleash a big full power Ultra energy arm-blast on your enemy's monster behind, lather rinse and repeat for like ten more monsters.

Good luck enduring this past your first two monster fights.

It probably doesn't sound so bad, but Ultraman, Towards the Future suffers the same flaw as any game where your guy doesn't fight very well; all the guys you're expected to fight do know how to fight well. Their attacks are quick and damaging, and they know exactly how to use them. As opposed to yours which are unresponsive, awkward and only useful if the monster is right next to you (unless you feel like using up your valuable energy attack power). Your worst enemy isn't Gudis or Degola, it's the sluggish fight controls. Plus, the monsters get their life back while it's really hard to get close enough to do damage to them in the first place. And the whole game is just monster after monster after monster. It's really monotonous with nothing done to fill in the gaps. If you've ever seen the Ultraman shows, you can see how they're as much about humans protecting themselves from the monsters as Ultraman protecting them from the monsters.

The graphics and sound are okay for a SNES game, but graphics and sound don't carry a game if the controls don't work like they should. I bet Bandai was really happy to put this little mistake behind them.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 04/25/04, Updated 10/22/05


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