Fantasic Pinball Kyuutenkai (Saturn/PS1) – Import Gaming FTW! Ep.08

One of the oldest forms of arcade games, the
pinball machine has seen a steady decline in popularity following the Golden Age of
the Arcade of the 1980s. It’s getting harder and harder to find a physical machine these
days, much less an actual arcade. Despite all that, however, the pinball experience
has endured over the years, and a number of pinball simulations have been made for home
computers, consoles, and even handhelds. The newest generation of gaming has only just
begun, but pinball games are already being made for the latest consoles. One quality pinball video game that perhaps
not too many people are familiar with is Kyuutenkai, a Japan-only, 1995 release for the PlayStation
One and Sega Saturn from Tecnosoft. I own a copy of it for the Saturn, so I’ll talk
about that version for this video. Anyway, this game was published right after Tecnosoft
completed Nekketsu Oyako, which I talked about in my last video, and in fact Kyuutenkai is
advertised briefly in that game’s start-up sequence. The game is a light-hearted, 2D fantasy-themed
pinball game with colorful graphics and a quirky cast of characters that truly is “fantasic,”
as the cover so proudly proclaims, typo and all. Three heroes have been called upon to
fight in a pinball-esque world to prevent the resurrection of the devil, who was previously
sealed away centuries ago by the ancestors of the protagonists. With this story setup,
you’d expect the game to be structured into levels like Sonic Spinball for the Sega Genesis,
or have adventure game elements like an epic quest mode…But NO–the game takes place
entirely on one long table, split up into three different sections–heaven, earth, and
the underworld. It’s unfortunate that the game is limited to this one table, but it’s
really well-designed, the ball physics are pretty good, and there are tons of interesting
things to accomplish on it. The three selectable characters all have a
unique special skill and theme song to set them apart. There is the swordsman “Sword
Shield,” yes, that really is his name, whose Strike Sword special skill increases damage
by three times, making him the power character. The mage Yuuki Tonae has a fire comet ability
which will multiply score by 3, which makes her best suited for getting high scores. And
then there is the newly-born Dragon man, er, dragon baby Midoran, whose special ability,
the option shell, creates a set of extra balls that trail the main one, multiplying both
attack and score by 1.5 and thereby making him the most balanced choice of the three.
These special attacks are activated when certain conditions are met, and last for a very brief
period of time. Control and gameplay are very basic in Kyuutenkai.
First off, you have the option between a fast or slow ball. Pressing any direction on the
d-pad controls the left flipper, pressing A, B, or C controls the right flipper, and
pressing either of the shoulder buttons will nudge the game table in their respective direction.
In my opinion, this setup can be problematic, since using your index or middle finger allows
for faster reaction times than using your thumbs, something that is crucial when twitch
gameplay is involved. Sadly, there is no option to change controls, as I would have preferred
that the shoulder buttons control the flippers and the face buttons to nudge the table, but
I got used to it soon enough. Pressing any of the top row of face buttons brings up a
menu, and from there you can turn off the BGM, check the score board, and save your
progress, which includes your scores and how many lives you have remaining. Saving is a nice feature, and if you’re fast
enough, you can save just before you die, because when you reload your file, you begin
at the plunger rather than in the exact location you were previously. When you lose all of
your lives, there is no option to restart the game and you’re sent back to the title
screen. This can be frustrating because of the somewhat long load times in Kyuutenkai. There are a lot of different characters scattered
throughout the game world and make things more humorous and intriguing than your standard
pinball game. One example I’ll bring up is the goddess in the earth section, who will
send you up to the heaven section if you land in her hand. But smack her in the face a few
times and she’ll get pissed, and the next time she catches you, she’ll shoot lasers
out of her eyes, killing any enemies on screen. From there, she’ll rearrange some bumpers
and release you back into the earth section. Anyway, the goal of the game is to defeat
the four bosses that inhabit the game world so you can go on to fight the final battle–There’s
Succubus, who is trapped in a waterfall in the heaven section. Usako, a strange girl
in a bunny suit who is constantly climbing up the neck of a derp-faced dinosaur in the
Earth section, and who also looks eerily similar to Rami from the Keio Yuugekitai series. Harpy,
who resides in the underworld and looks like she should have been the succubus character
for obvious reasons. And finally there’s Satan, lord of the underworld, and basically Kid
Dracula when he runs out of hair gel. You fight these bosses by getting two or more
of their portraits to appear on the earth section bumpers, which basically function
as a slot machine. An entry way will open up near the boss and from there, you must
complete a mini game using one ball and within a time limit to achieve victory. These boss
fights are pretty fun and remind me a bit of the bonus rounds in the aforementioned
Sonic Spinball. Harpy’s stage involves you destroying all items in a small room within
a short time limit, and to defeat Satan, you must score four soccer goals against him as
he dons the role of goalie and dives sporadically around the net. I love how his cheerleaders
pout when you score a point against him. This method of progressions sounds good, but
it’s these slot machine bumpers where my only really big gripe with Kyuutenkai stems from.
Since the conditions for unlocking boss challenges is essentially random, it can take a long
time before you can partake in all of the battles. I was able to challenge and defeat
Satan, Harpy, and Succubus relatively early on, so the only boss that remained was Usako.
Well, after playing the game for several hours, defeating the other bosses time and time again,
and in the process capping the high score, I FINALLY got to challenge Usako…and then
proceeded to fail miserably at her stage. I tried playing a few more times, but I couldn’t
get to her boss challenge again, so I was unable to face the final boss, who looks like
a lot of fun, judging from the back of the game case. One more small thing that I took issue with
in this game was how gaining extra balls are handled, which is also related to the slot
machine bumpers. Normally in pinball, extra balls are gained with score, and sometimes
you get extra plays when you lose all your balls. But not in this game…even maxing
out the score gives you nothing. In order to get an extra life, you must get three crab
enemy portraits to appear simultaneously in the earth section, which only happened to
me twice over the span of five hours. Well, that’s Kyuutenkai–a great pinball game
marred only by a few bad gameplay design choices. Maybe someday there will be a great fantasy
adventure RPG pinball hybrid, but in the meantime, the world of Kyuutenkai will have to do. The
wackiness and charm of its characters and game table makes it worth picking up even
for people who aren’t really big into pinball. As always, thank you for watching and please
leave a comment, rate, or subscribe if you enjoyed what you saw. And check out my channel
for more videos like this one.

15 thoughts on “Fantasic Pinball Kyuutenkai (Saturn/PS1) – Import Gaming FTW! Ep.08

  1. A 80's retro arcade opened 10 minutes from my house. It has an entire wall of pinball, so its pretty great. 

  2. awesome review.. this game looks dope! i dig all the visual/ 'eye candy' and seems there's a good amount of variety/things to do. great stuff man! ive never really played the saturn and im not to hip to the import thing but your vids make me think its def worth looking into! 

  3. Now this looks like a sweet pinball game! I love it when it's more than a standard pinball game. Nice work!

  4. You're adding a lot of games to my want list.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for this.  You do a great job editing your videos.  Always a pleasure to watch.

  5. Hey jimmy..need the ps1 rom copy of this fantasic pinball kyuutenkai …..bin and que file format.i have been looking but cant find the file download complete.please postlink..or email [email protected]

  6. Reminds me of Gary Gygax's Dragonchess played on three overlapping boards also representing Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld

  7. Love this game. Bought one when I was in Japan this year, probably my most cherished Saturn game for the retro style.

  8. Techno Soft had plenty of pinball experience by this point, with 3 Crush games under their belts. However, unlike their earlier pinball games, this one is cute and colorful.

  9. Thanks for the reference to one of my favourite Amiga games Pinball Dreams. Classic game!

  10. which is better, The PlayStation Version or the Sega Saturn Version?

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