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Retro Monday – Gekibo: Gekisha Boy

Gekibo: Gekisha Boy is a Japan-only PC Engine game that came out in 1992. It was made by Tomcat System and was published by Irem.

This is a game that again I never heard of, and with good reason as it wasn’t released outside of Japan. The game is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up… well, kinda – you shoot a camera. The game scrolls along and you automatically move with it, you can move your character left and right, and jump, but moving left and right also moves the cursor with which you take your shots.  For me it was a little on the fiddly side,  I think a modern control scheme with dual analogues would work great or a mouse to use for the cursor.

The game itself is OK, I think the gameplay is average at best. To me the main draw of the game is the things you can take photos of, interesting little things that happen as you walk through the level. For example, in the very first stage, you can take a photo of UFOs, one abducting a car, a plane crash, a flasher – yes, a pervy guy flashing his junk – and even a DeLorean flying in the sky then jumping through time. On stage two it ranges from King Kong to Micheal Jackson.

Unfortunately, with its slow-moving cursor and things appearing at set times only briefly, it’s hard to get good pictures. It’s really one of those games you have to play over and over to get used to when and where things are going to pop out, which is OK. But once you’ve seen the cool stuff that it shows you, you don’t really get the thrill on the second or third playthrough.

Graphically the game is rather good, there’s a great style to the characters and locations. The downside is I can’t even remember the music. I’m sure there was some there, but it’s totally forgettable. I think this is a game to try – not for how good or bad it is – but because it’ll be fun to see references to real life, films, music and just plain wacky stuff.

Verdict: Tentatively recommended.

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