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Baku Baku

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Released: 1996

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Sega

Submitted by: Matt Gander

With its sleek black casing, colour screen and a certain blue mascot, it’s fair to say that the Game Gear had a cooler image than the Game Boy did. I wonder though if this had been the case if the handheld launched with Baku Baku instead of Columns. After all, the premises of Baku Baku sounds like something you’d read in a children’s book – match up the animals with the foods they like to eat.

Like Pac-Attack before it, Baku Baku puts a nice twist on the falling block puzzle genre. Blocks of two fall down the screen; some have animal faces on while others have food. Match the two together and a giant animal head appears on the screen that’ll devour the blocks and make them vanish. You can see how the CPU is doing by looking at the tiny postage-stamp sized image of their puzzle on the right hand side – scoring combos will send block onto their screen to fill up their puzzle quicker.

What’s good about the game – other than the bizarre host of characters and nicely rendered cut-scenes – is that different tactics to Columns and Tetris are required. I usually start stacking food of one type on either the left or right of the screen in order to clear 5 or 6 blocks at once and use the rest of the screen to deal with things as they come.

If you’re a fan of bad boxart then “Google” the US and European artworks – the US version has crudely drawn cartoon animals on the cover that bare no resemblance to the characters in the game with the Euro version features a huge CGI simian on a psychedelic looking background. I know which one I prefer…