Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa


Review by Rob "Dire 51"



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

Babies. That's a subject for a game that very few game companies have tried to use. If you were to look at baby films in Hollywood - which in this case would be the closest related form of entertainment - you might see why. Baby Geniuses? Don't get me started on that piece of crap. Look Who's Talking? A novel idea for a film that kind of worked, but did they really need to sequelize it - twice even? Baby's Day Out? Sounds like someone took the plot of an really bad unlicensed NES game by Color Dreams, Baby Boomer, and made an equally bad movie out of it. Three Men And A Baby? *sigh*

Rarely will you get an entertaining film that just about anyone can enjoy that stars a baby. The same thing goes for video games. Most game companies have not made games starring babies, unless they're targeted for small children, and the games that have come out are usually extremely bad. Case in point - a game based on Baby's Day Out was released for the Genesis back in '94 by Designer Software and Hi-Tech Enterprises, and it was just as bad as the movie. *shudder*. Color Dreams, Designer Software and Hi-Tech Enterprises aside, I can't think of a single company that released a game for any system in the U.S. that starred a baby as the main character of a game (no, the baby in Capcom's Captain Commando doesn't count, as he was a supporting character).

All that aside, there is actually a good game that stars a baby as the main character - which was only released in Japan, of course. The game? Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (also known as Babyland or, inexplicably, Mario Baby [???]) for the Famicom Disk System - later rereleased in cartridge format in 1993 for the Famicom - by Konami. Yes, the same Konami that created such greats as Castlevania, Gradius, Contra and Metal Gear. And you know what? It really is good. In fact, it's one of the most fun Famicom games I've ever played. No joke.

I'm not really sure exactly what the story is, but the star of the game is Upa, the baby. He's not just an ordinary baby, either - he's practically a superbaby. His main weapon is his rattle (which does make a rattle sound every time you use it). You use it to whack enemies, which then inflate and can be used in one of two ways - you can either ride on them as the float toward the top of the screen - just make sure you jump off before they explode - or you can jump and hit them, causing them to go flying. This causes damage to any enemy it hits - or to Upa if it ricochets off of a wall or other obstruction and hits him. There are several powerups Upa can get as well (these are either dropped by enemies or can be found by smashing open blocks with Upa's face on it with the rattle) - a bottle of milk to restore life, a heart to increases his life meter by one heart (Upa starts with three, and there are two to be found in every world - but when the next level starts, Upa must find them again, a la Super Mario Bros. 2), and an icon that lets Upa stand up and run around, completely invincible.

There are several worlds to go through, all with their own unique theme. For instance, I've dubbed World 1 "Dessertland". The landscape is dominated by giant cakes (World 1-2 is actually a giant cake that Upa can eat through, much like the classic arcade game Dig Dug), popsicles, fudgesicles and ice cream bars - a baby's paradise, as it were. Later stages have Upa scuba diving and jumping over giant vegetables, among other things. Of course, there are plenty of cute little creatures roaming the stages, all intent on stopping Upa from whatever it is he's doing.

The graphics are some of the better ones Konami came up with for the Famicom. They're bright, colorful and cartoony. Upa animates very well, and most of the enemies are very big and bright. The backgrounds are well done too. The music is excellent as well - however, the Disk System version's music is a bit better than the cart's. Most likely there's extra music channels being used in the FDS version. The controls are also quite good - however, it can be hard to hit the inflated enemies sometimes, as Upa either lands on them or hits them at the wrong angle.

Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa had actually been slated for a U.S. release in 1989 - however, Howard Philips of Nintendo (remember the old Howard and Nester comics that ran in Nintendo Power when that mag was actually good?) turned it down, saying that it wasn't good enough for the American market. That's a load of crap. Maybe he just didn't want competition with Super Mario Bros., who knows? Regardless of that, I recommend Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa to anyone that enjoys a good platformer. On a side note, Upa also turns up as a playable character in Waiwai World 2: SOS!! Parsley Castle (complete with his own stage) and in Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius with his sister Rupa.

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Last updated: Sunday, December 28, 2003 05:40 AM