I recently received a new package from Thailand home of the Famiciom Pirates. Enclosed were 8 new Famicom purchases some bootlegs some not but 7 of which fall into the SHMUP catagory of gaming, meaning they are either Vertical of Horizontal Shooters. Today we look at the first of these being EXED EXES .
On first inspection this game is a bootleg copy of a CAPCOM/TOKUMA SOFT game you can tell by the poor print quality label and screw-on back (most official games for the famicom are snap-cases ).These pirates were brave in keeping the company logos on the sticker. I have never played the home port of EXED EXES but remember seeing the arcade version. So on to the scary part of buying bootlegs I plug the game into my Famiclone ( A fake Famicom system ) and.... IT WORKS !!
A small percentage of time these copies don't work or even contain the game displayed on the sticker but we will discuss those more as they come up.
The game seems the standard space ship vertical SHMUP with the A button shooting laser weapons and the B button ...wait what is the B button doing ? Making black portions of the screen flash grey ? I kept pressing until it would run out it seemed to be a bomb attack with no graphics no sound and did absolutely nothing? Weird? But whatever I'll work it out ...so back to the game. The enemies are bug types varying in size and style but charge in patterns rather than shooting you, leaving random items of fruit ....in a space bug shooting game ? I must be AMAZING at it because i don't seem to be dying or its incredibly simple. To be fair its a little of both...so i finally die and I am offered to continue so I press Start, ok I press A...no fine B, Ummm Select ... nope Start button again ...finally i figure out you need to press A+B even though its offering me to continue its like a secret , well what ever. The Boss battles are kind of like the early beginnings of the Bullet Hell genre as bullets litter the screen causeing you to choose dodging over shooting. This is a very kool part of the game. Oh and by the way 3 Bosses in I figured out that the B button flash thingy makes the bullets on screen disappear, very handy at the time and a bit strange concidering all the regular baddies don't shoot you, but again whatever its kool. All the Bosses are variants on each other with the same properties just adding more guns and skulls each level with different shapes. Yes I said Skulls. The FINAL BOSS is tough but is beatable although this not the end the game because it continues on but stops declaring stage numbers after stage 17. The only way to end the game is to score 10,000,000 which will stop the game no matter where in the game you are, this is tough since continuing resets your score to 0.
I learned TOKUMA Soft CAPCOM's backer for this game set up a contest in its Famicom magazine where you would send them a photo your score and and they would send you a Silver, Gold , Platinum or Royal (9,000,00 points) sticker to replace your original one on the cart and to prove you were a serious player. From the pic above you can see my pirate copy is of the gold member sticker rather strange for a pirate to have a add-on as such.
EXED EXES is one of first Vert SHMUP to have both the 1st and 2nd Player play simultaneously. It also included a few items that were staples in the CAPCOM games of the time like the Yashichi and the POW power up. The game is bulit on the 1941 engine so if you enjoy that series check it out .