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PC Genjin

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Released: 1990

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: PC Eng/Turbografx-16

Publisher: Hudson Soft

Developer: Atlus

Submitted by: Retro Gamer

Sometimes you see a game featured in a magazine and know that you just have to have it, no matter what the cost. Viewing PC Kid in CVG was one of those times.

I’d already been drawn to the machine due to the likes of Gunhed and the astonishing-looking port of R-Type, and I would impatiently wait for each new issue in the hope of more PC Engine goodness.

Unfortunately, the PC Engine’s high price tag ensured that I wouldn’t be able to treat myself to a machine until I was a working adult, and when I finally bought myself a PC Engine GT – I love handhelds – PC-Genjin, or Bonk’s Adventure as it was hilariously known in the States, was one of the first games I picked up for it.

I wasn’t disappointed either, as it’s a truly wonderful platformer. Then, of course, there’s Bonk himself – or PC Kid, as I’d always called him. Packed with Mario’s charm and Sonic’s irrepressible cool, he became something of a figurehead for NEC’s tiny machine and went on to star in numerous sequels and spin-offs.

But that first game, especially when viewed on the PC Engine GT’s glorious little screen, was where it all began for me, and I was not disappointed with the end result. The bright, cheerful backgrounds, cute animation and excellent audio didn’t look aged when I first played the game in 2002 – yes, it took that long for me to finally get a machine – and it still looks great now.

Gameplay is admittedly simplistic, but it remains fun to play thanks to its well-structured level design, great variety in its environments and its entertaining nature. Mario may have had his bottom bounce and Sonic his spin dash, but PC Kid had a devastating head butt that could always be guaranteed to raise a smile. After all, who doesn’t like running around, nutting dinosaurs?

While the sequels were arguably better games, I’ll always have a special fondness for the original. In fact, this spread is an approximation of the very first screenshot I ever saw of it. That’s how much of an impact it had on me back in the day.

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