Sunday, November 29, 2015

MOS: Maybe just let the frog go

In one of the most mysterious and seemingly unnecessary displays of localization meddling ever seen in the history of games, Chou Wakusei Senki: Metafight underwent graphical alterations to its introductory sequence, changing from a serious tale of near-future interplanetary warfare to Blaster Master — a story about a boy whose frog got irradiated, grew to a giant size and escaped underground.

Take a moment to think about this. The game's concept was originally "aliens attack; kill aliens." This is a tried-and-true formula. Countless games before this one (including commercial tours de force like Space Invaders and Xevious) had made good use of the alien trope. And clearly the trope wasn't getting tiresome for gamers, or else how do you explain the subsequent success of games like Metal Slug and Contra?

So a game that would have been just as successful in the US as it had been in its native Japan received a new (and decidedly idiotic) opening cutscene depicting Jason and his pet frog, who — OOPS — jumps onto a big box marked "RADIOACTIVE" (that just happens to be in Jason's backyard) and grows to the size of a minivan. Then the frog — OOPS — jumps down a yawning sinkhole which also just happens to be in Jason's backyard. Jason follows the frog down the hole and — OOPS — happens upon a gnarly-looking pink tank which just happened to be underneath Jason's backyard.

He then finds a pilot suit and helmet (which fit him, even though he's a kid) and concludes that the only way to save his frog is to lay waste to the hitherto unknown world of mutants that populate the subterrain.

Is it me, or is the alien attack scenario more plausible?

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