Gekibo: Gekisha Boy TurboGrafx-16 Review

A bit of a confusing review title really, as I know this game to be called Polaroid Pete for the PC Engine. Gekibo: Gekisha Boy is the Japanese title of this game, which spawned a sequel, Gekibo: Gekisha Boy 2, and it was this sequel which was renamed Polaroid Pete when it was supposed to be released in Europe for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, but never was. However, as I know this game as Polaroid Pete, that is how I will be referring to it!

There are some celebrity cameos not listed on their Wikipedia page!

So before Frank West was photographing zombies and other weird goings-on at Willamette, there was Polaroid Pete, who was taking pictures of strange events in his own town years before.

Confusingly, gameplay involves you taking control of the stalkerish David Goldman, who loves taking pictures and so enrols at L.A Photography School. However, after suffering from a tragic loss, David drastically loses his confidence. The Dean of the college sees him though, and offers him a proposal – complete 8 tests by taking 8 special photograph shots in 8 different locations, and he will allow David to graduate. I would have thought that’s the sort of thing David would have enrolled at college to learn anyway, but, okay.

So David goes out with a camera, and the wackier the photos’s he takes, the more points you gain. David slowly moves along ‘on-rails’, with you being able to move him forwards, backwards and up and down, whilst also controlling the camera cursor. The more points you gain rewards you with extra film, increased speed or a bigger camera lens, allowing you to take more pictures or giving you a higher chance to capture something interesting with an enlarged cursor.

Moving the camera cursor, you can aim at all kinds of events happening on the screen and can snap pictures of anything and everything. People pass you by, alien abductions occur in the background, you’ll see flying cars, people slipping on banana peels or falling down, aliens disguised as people, and much more as levels progress. You can even see a flasher, and not from the camera! Gameplay is certainly enjoyable as you look out for whatever strange or exceptional occurrences happen next, and it’ll certainly leave you expecting the unexpected!

Some events curb the line between innocent and adult, such as this lady taking off her clothes, revealing her undergarments!

David’s movement is steady but what makes it all the more challenging is the fact that you have to avoid obstacles as you walk along, and doing this whilst trying to look out for and shoot unusual events is what makes the gameplay testing. Balls will bounce towards you, bowling pins will roll towards you, skateboards will try and run you down, and David must jump to avoid being hit as much as possible, or risk losing valuable camera film; if you lose too many you won’t be able to complete the level, and you need to achieve a certain score in order to move on to the next.

Graphically, the game has a pixellated cartoonish style, and is overall very colourful and quirky. The soundtrack of the game, however, is a bit of a sore point. With how steady gameplay can be, the music can be rather rough to listen to, feeling a tad loud and obnoxious, and you’ll unfortunately be listening to the same repeated notes for quite as while as you try and play the game, and it can become distracting. It’s definitely a soundtrack that grates on the eardrums!

Overall though, gameplay is both steady but equally challenging, and even though the graphics are dated, there’s enough strangeness going on that you won’t mind, and the gameplay more than makes up for this. So go on and get snap happy!