Chō Aniki: Kyūkyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyō Otoko PSN Import Review
Publisher – MonkeyPaw Games – Developer – Pre-Stage – Genre – Action – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS, Saturn (Japan only)
I didn’t really know what to expect going into Chō Aniki: Kyūkyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyō Otoko (the title roughly and oddly translates to Super Big Bro: The Strongest, Most Ultimate Invincible Man in the Milky Way), although what initially became apparent to me is that this is definitely up there with one of the most bizarre games that I have ever played. As a series, Cho Aniki is hardly unique, being a part of the dime a dozen scrolling shooter genre, although its themes most certainly are.
The game, originally released on the PlayStation and Saturn back in 1995, has you taking control of one of two characters, as you move from the left to the right of the screen, shooting enemies and dodging them and their attacks. The difficulty increases steeply pretty quickly, and you’ll find the screen awash with enemies and projectiles, of which a screen clearing special attack proves to be particularly helpful. So far, so normal for a game of this type.
Alongside your character you have two satellite companions, which not only add to your firepower, but can also be used to block enemy attacks, which will eventually lead to them taking a rest, meaning that less firepower is the trade-off for using the satellites as shields, be it intentionally or as a mistake. The formation of the two characters can also be altered, locking them into position to perhaps block enemy attacks or to better spread out your firepower, although this is a little awkward to accomplish at times, with it being fiddlier than it should have been.
The most unique thing about Cho Aniki is definitely its themes. This iteration utilises digitised graphics, and typically is a bit camp with its use of half naked men, and the first boss has an attack which sees a man stretching out from where you’d expect his private parts to be, which certainly looks very rude. If you have that kind of mind, you may even find this amusing. This is a series that undoubtedly feels unique because of its themes.
Like I said earlier, this is one tough game. There’s lots going on, and even factoring in the two player option, this is one that proves to be difficult to conquer. If you’ve smashed furniture in the past due to tough games, then Cho Aniki is probably one you should leave alone. But for those who enjoy a stiff challenge, then this is one game that presents just that.
Having spent years as a Japan only game, Chō Aniki: Kyūkyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyō Otoko is cheap enough to be purchased for its curiosity value alone, and many people are going to do just that. But there is a good, tough game to be experienced as well. It’s also unarguable that its bizarre and homoerotic themes, as tame as they are, make it standout in a crowded genre.