Sega (Picross) Genesis (Part 2)


Welcome to part 2 of “Kelp googles Sega games for context”…except I no longer need to google! I found one of the great treasures of the internet – an extremely well-curated, crowd-sourced fan wiki. Please check out Sega Retro for more information on all these games (and much more!)

To start off, I had already looked into Alien Storm (“Golden Axe but with aliens”), but I kept running into other [Alien] [S*] games…

Alien Soldier

Alien Soldier is a run-and-gun developed by Treasure, starring “Epsilon-Eagle”, who is, actually, an eagle. Well, an anthropomorphized eagle. Who’s also a bio-engineered time-traveling parasitic entity? The story seems very strange.

Alien Syndrome

Alien Syndrome is also a run-and-gun, but this time a Sega arcade port. Seems like you kill some aliens.

Bio-Hazard Battle

That boss also shows up as a puzzle

In other confusing naming conventions, the shoot-’em-up Bio-Hazard Battle is not at all related to the other Biohazard (which I figured, but). For lore-related reasons, the “Bioships” you can select are actual living creatures, which is why the one pictured in the puzzle below looks more like an insect.

The most interesting thing about this game (to me, anyways), is that the Japanese title is Crying: 亜生命戦争. 亜生命 aseimei is an interesting way to convey “alien life” – seimei is a common word used to mean life in the sense of “Is there life on other planets?”. 亜 is technically part of 常用漢字, the base set of characters taught in school, but it isn’t very common, and 亜生命 seems to be a novel compound. The obvious interpretation is something like “sub-life” as 亜 is often used similar to the prefix sub- in words like ‘subspecies’. Another possibility is “the life that followed”, as 亜 can be used in place of the more familiar 次. But there’s also the fact that 亜 was used as ateji, characters that were used to phonetically spell out non-Japanese words prior to the conventionalization of katakana. In other words, Japanese text written with characters like 亜 is ‘foreign’ and ‘other’.

Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way, A plus on the naming job and the graphic design.

Two very different title screens

Dynamite Headdy

No surprise that the puzzle that disturbed me the most came from a game I really struggle to describe. This platformer is also by Treasure; for those of you that witnessed a playthrough of McDonald’s Treasureland Adventure, this may explain some things. Or it might not!

One of the antagonists (pictured left) is Maruyama, a bear doll. Who happens to look very much like a cat. (EGL fashion fans will readily understand this hybrid aesthetic.) The localization decided to spice it up a bit, so in the US version this fellow is instead named “Trouble Bruin”. In all honesty, I did not get the pun until after I finished streaming, despite my chat explicitly pointing it out, as my brain was far too melted from its unflinching stare.

Gritty mascot energy?

In fact, the page this puzzle appeared upon was a bit cursed, as later on I had to contend with these frogs. Are they cute? My chat sure thought so. But I couldn’t unsee a six-eyed, eldritch amphibian that knew that which can never be unknown.

They see all that is and will be

Lastly, what is Sega Picross without our favorite hedgehog? I actually have never played any Sonic games, as the defining feature of the series (going fast) is at odds with one of my defining features (susceptibility to simulation sickness).

The titular hedgehog

Apparently, going Super Saiyan results in hair(?) loss

We also were blessed with Sonic’s most well-known sidekick’s…full legal name? 

Please, Mr. Prower is my father

I couldn’t stop thinking of the cartoon gag where a character flashes their driver’s license.

Even Rocko doesn’t have a family name!

Apparently the actual reason is that his name is a pun on “mile per hour”, but while looking up archival sources to confirm this, I got distracted by the glory days of 90’s video game magazines. I never subscribed to any gaming publications growing up – the closest things I had was the ads that would pop up in MAD Magazine. Fun fact – one of those ads spurred me to buy Fire Emblem (Blazing Blade), as it pictured a cool girl with a sword right alongside the requisite dude with a sword. (Of course, anyone who’s played that game knows you wanna give Eliwood a lance ASAP. Actually, anyone who can use a lance needs a lance. It’s lances all the way down.)

That does it for this edition – we’re nearing the end of Picross S: Genesis & Master System, so I’ll prolly make one more of these to wrap up. Keep an eye out for a poll to determine the next nonogram game!

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