Keio Flying Squadron

Sega CD

Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 8

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Ah, young girls in bunny suits… there just aren’t enough games with young girls in bunny suits.

Well, I’m not the greatest at these shooter-style games, but I have Keio Flying Squadron’s number. Although it’s not particularly hard, there’s another reason why I stuck with it until the end. It does something that should keep any borderline shooter fan happy. It’s interesting, and it’s fun.

KFS is a side-scrolling shooter, and one of the few “exclusive” Sega CD games that make the system worth owning. No fancy FMV stuff (if you’re familiar with the system’s games, you’ll appreciate this), no exaggerated load times… just a fast, fun, and colorful game. Mechanically, the game isn’t much different than any other side-scroller you’ve ever played, and it certainly takes a page from the Parodius book , but it stands as a unique game on its own.

So what’s with the young girl in a bunny suit? I can’t really explain. Like most Japanese-based anime, you just have to accept it. This particular young girl in a bunny suit rides a baby dragon and has to find a missing key or her grandmother won’t let her eat ever again. And she needs the food, trust me. Even Kate Moss would snicker at this girl’s scrawny physique. Standing in her way is a massive plot to turn the world into a society of super-genius raccoons, a plot hatched by one particularly clever raccoon who has a fortress inside of Noah’s Ark and the power of the U.S. Armed Forces on his side. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up unless you’re a Japanese anime guy.

As you might expect from a game with this kind of plot, the characters are far from normal. Actually, they’re hilarious. There are raccoons spinning in saucer-like ships, puppies on flying carpets, airborne fish, frogs mounted by more raccoons, and lots of others too numerous to detail. The bosses are quite inventive, usually taking up the full screen and following the “hidden weakness” formula that I particularly like (kind of like R-Type bosses). In addition, each level has at least one-mini boss to keep you off-balance. The characters in this game are without equal in a shooter, although nothing beats the bosses in Parodius this game has it’s overall cast beat by a mile.

The music is a mix of feudal-Japanese pop and Sega CD plain vanilla overtures. It’s almost schizophrenic, moving from hyperactive to soothing. I suppose that just fits the overall chaos of the game! Sound effects are superb, and play an important element in the game. When you lose one of your optional satellite dragons (that follow you around and fire at will), you have to pause a moment while a new one materializes. The best way to time it is to listen to Rami’s (the bunny gal) verbal prompt. Everything from the “thud” of your weapon hitting the target to the various meows, barks, moos and yelps is done just right, and really enhances the crazy atmosphere of the visuals.

There are humorous cut-scenes with minimal animation, the opening and closing scenes are fully animated and worth watching through – especially if you’re a fan of anime.
The game is not without its problems, but they’re negligible. For instance, there are only two kinds of weapons – a straight ahead shot and a three-way shot – each of which is upgradeable to several strengths but more would have been better here. Your secondary weapon helps make up for it, with three different kinds of attack. I would have also liked the game to have had more “over the top” attacks to fit the style of the characters. Instead, it resorts to shooting fireballs. Ho hum.

I’ll go ahead and give KFS the “best Sega CD shooter” nod, just edging out Lords of Thunder and Robo Aleste. It’s like a goofy interactive anime, and it’s fun to play. That’s a recipe right out of my favorite cookbook.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:27 PM