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RELEASE DATE (JP): April 29, 1993 GENRE: Platformer
// review by FlagrantWeeaboo

For a cat from the 22nd century, he sure is SLOW.

As far as mascot platformers go, GG Doraemon is as vanilla as they get. The game doesn't appear to have much in the way of a story (if at all), the gameplay is simple and it appears to be selling exclusively on the popularity of the dead mascot skin it is forcing itself to wear. And yet, considering all this, the game isn't even remotely bad. This is as inoffensive as mascot platformers come, bland enough to be unremarkable, yet interesting enough to not completely gloss over. This is simply a decent game and well made.

As I said, the game has no story. Upon starting the game you're thrust right into gameplay. No goal but to move to exit while defeating enemies (mostly in the form of animal robots). Doraemon can jump up to and down from platforms using Button I, allowing the player to scale up onto walls and power lines. Solid walls can be climbed using Doraemon's cat powers, something I don't often see explored in Doraemon games. The exit isn't always clearly marked, with levels sometimes just ending unexpectedly. Pits that look like they should kill you don't, and pits that look like they shouldn't kill you actually do.

In each level there are hidden items that look a bit like bean cakes, so that's what I'm going to say they are. Collecting all of the bean cakes in a stage awards you a bell, which is an extra life. The game will max out at 9 lives, I'm going to give the game the benefit of the doubt and say this is intentional seeing as Doraemon is a cat. You can also find Doraemon's future gadgets, which give you an attack you can use on Button II. These don't hang around forever, as when you change areas you will lose the weapon. They're great fun to use but they're not good for anything besides attacking.

It's a good job Doraemon can get up to 9 lives because he's as fragile as they come, and with only a few continues so graciously supplied you'll need to earn those bells whenever you can. A single hit from an enemy spells certain doom as Doraemon is defeated in mere nanoseconds from an unexpected enemy attack or from a bullet or projectile that managed to pass through a solid object. Unless Doraemon is holding an item, in which case the item takes the bullet and you've got another chance to not die. The constant defeat marries well with the annoying and repetitive music tracks that start to become very uncomfortable to listen to over and over. I wanted to put the game down but then I'd have to admit I was defeated by a game intended for children, so I stuck with it.

Nyeow... that hurts!

There is one extremely obnoxious section later on where you have to pass through an area that has been completely obscured. Essentially, you have to "feel" your way through a platforming challenge and it is by far the worst part of this game. This last "Future" themed world will have you pulling out hair, until the final boss which is insultingly easy. I've even provided you a video to show just how easy.

Yep, the robot dog just stands there and takes punishment. I suppose the developers thought that if you made it this far, you must already be quite tired and want it all to be over. This must also be what the developers felt like, who just wanted their paycheck so they could go home and eat cup ramen and watch Macross, or whatever it is Japanese game developers did in the '90s.

This game would have been a lot better suited to the Master System; thankfully in 2016, someone started porting the game to that platform in their spare time. The increased screen size does make everything a lot easier to see, with those big sprites taking up much less of the screen than before.

By Vincent Van Gogh standards, GG Doraemon may not be Starry Night or Wheat Field with Cypresses, but I'd maybe say it's good enough to be The Potato Eaters if you squint really hard and try to make the shapes out. A real distinct lack of vision, though. Cash grab through and through.

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