Sunday, March 2, 2014

If you're not familiar with the Lupin III manga/anime franchise, you may have to stick around for a Lupin movie before you leave... If you ARE familiar with the series, you know it is one of the most celebrated and long-running in anime history for a pretty good reason: Lupin III bleeds infectious style. Not only are the stories fun and interesting, but the animation style, character dynamic, and iconic art direction transcends age demographic and time period to produce a kind of fiction we all know as CLASSIC.

What a lot of people, fans or not, don't know about Lupin III is that a series of pretty shitty games came out surrounding the series. "Pandora No Isan" is probably one of the most basic, and oddly, the best of the lot. Players pick one of three characters; Master thief Lupin, expert marksman Jigen, or the katana wielding Goemon. None of the characters have a defacto advantage over the other, aside from Goemon who spins a sword (totally the worst move ever...)

The game itself plays a lot like a bad version of "Gumshoe" for the NES. Players run right through a mildly interesting but ultimately infuriating cityscape, collecting minor items and power ups, and avoiding enemies who touch you ONCE for a kill... The difference, though, between Gumshoe and Pandora No Isan (aside from the zapper), is that Gumshoe is actually fun. This game is brutal and pretty frustrating. The maps aren't very clear about what you can and can't walk on, there are no health bonuses, the controls are janky (press up AND A to jump high...rly?), and as the world progresses it just makes you more pissed when you die from some asinine reason... But its Lupin so who cares about all that!

Amidst all the faults of this game, one thing keeps me playing... The style. Those suited gunmen, the little black ninja guys, bats, cats, and items to collect! It may sound odd but the overall crappiness of this game doesn't deter me from trying again and again, falling into some hidden pit and slamming my USB controller against the couch. What this game needs is a hard core MOD/hack. The indie developer that takes this turd and polishes it up to include health, more incentives and bosses will end up with a classic.

We can only hope.
[Play it HERE]