In this episodic series we go back in time to remember the earlier attempts to adapt the story of Octopus City into “video games”. Obviously, Ghost in a Bottle Megacorp’s version is a proper Octopus City simulation and not a mere “video game”, and this series is not meant to compare our simulation with inferior toys. Nonetheless, it is still insightful to examine these early attempts and to see where they fell short of expectations.
As you probably know, many people were inspired by the discovery of the Samarduk octopus city ruins and the story of Kaf Kafkaryan. Dozens of octopus city novels, comic books, plays, movies, and video games were produced over the years, with varying degrees of success. Video games in particular were always received badly by critics and consumers alike. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, the octopus city story is a multilayered and complicated epic, and video games as a medium were never meant to convey serious ideas and themes. Instead, these games have opted for extremely simplified and skewed presentations of the subject matter.
The first game we will discuss is Kaf Kafkaryan’s Super Virtual Boxing Champion 2 : Tentacle No Rumble, a game by Nippon Computer Systems in 1989. Due to poor sales of the first game, Tentacle No Rumble was released exclusively in Japan. The game uses the same engine as Misao-Chan’s Super Virtual Boxing Champion 2: Saru no Ai and the only difference between the two games is the character sprites. In this amateur boxing game, you control one of four characters (Kaf, his friend, Kaf’s mom, or a mutant beetle) as they fight the 3 other characters and a special final boss. Each boxer has two special moves and a health gauge. The game only attempt at any form of story telling is through humorous manga cutscenes after each battle. Tentacle no Rumble fared poorly due to bad marketing, laggy controls, and being a cheap attempt to make money off the recent octopus city discovery by recycling an existing boxing game.
The next game is a platforming game heavily inspired by Mario. Tentacle Cutter Kaf The Hedgehog is really hard to find these days, as it was developed by the now defunct Tengen without acquiring a license from Nintendo. The game was cancelled and forgotten until a prototype was listed on eBay. It is reportedly a very generic and buggy game, and players are unable to make it past the second boss due to a collision bug that causes the player character to fall through the floor. In Tentacle Cutter Kaf The Hedgehog, you play as Kaf Kafkaryan who is armed with dual blades that allow him to cut tentacles blocking his path. As in Mario, the player can collect “chaos beetles” to activate the ‘Super Kaf’ mode, which was never actually implemented. Other ideas taken from Mario games include giving Kaf a spin dash move and the ability to use his blades to propel himself like a helicopter for a short period of time.
That’s all for today. Next time we will learn about the infamous Love! Love! Kaf : Tactics and the surprisingly decent Legend of Octopus City Crystal Saga : Official Game of the Movie.