Tomahawk Reviews: Taking the Axe to the Terrible


Pocky and Rocky (© Natsume inc. 1993)

PockynRocky Natsume seriously went to town with this one. For such a cute, whimsical art-style, underneath lies true shoot-em'-up terror. This is widely recognized as one of the hardest, most obscure titles on the SNES and I intend to break down the process behind conquering it. There are only six levels in total, but each is more frustrating and action packed than the last. If one chooses to, they can have a second player assist them for the intense, badly translated adventure ahead of them, assuming they aren't driven to violent madness beforehand, as a lack of coordination between teammates will doom their pursuit of victory.

Sunset Riders (© Konami, 1993)

TimetoPay A shoot-em'-up with a western theme, known for dominating arcades with its token-taker gameplay before the SNES release. Considered similar to its fellow eight-direction D-pad shooting counterpart, Contra, Sunset Riders places a large emphasis on fast, accurate shooting, lest the screen fill up with enemy bullets which have a nasty habit of creating undodgeable shapes. As a token-taker, the difficulty curve is quite steep, with a basic tutorial of a first level moving straight into hectic horse-riding in the second, each stage culminating in an exciting matchup with a colorful, unique boss character with a high bounty to claim. While the arcade allowed for four-player co-op, the SNES version limits this to two. One can choose between the four Sunset Riders, who utilize different types of weapons to suit one's own playstyle. Overall it provides a challenging, if not somewhat unfair at times, exciting romp through the old west.