TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō

Oh, the bygone days of optimism. I remembering heralding TwinBee as a great example of a 2D shoot ’em up in a sea of lesser competitors. Its sequel, Moero TwinBee, made me swallow those words and this third entry just bewilders me. I thought it was yet another lazy sequel cranked out in less than a year, but no. Somehow, they put 3 years of work into TwinBee 3 and it still came out feeling inferior to that charming first game that founded the series.

Twinbee 3 is basically just more of the same. It cuts the vertical-scrolling segments from the last game out entirely, so the game just feels like a level pack for the first game. A handful of horizontal stages, the same power-up mechanic that has you juggling bells, and a mixture of flying and ground-based enemies that require you to alternate between your two weapons.

TwinBee 3 - Poko Poko Daimaou (Japan)_001

In the game’s favor, it does flaunt a better all-around presentation. The spritework is quite impressive and several levels had cute enemies or some impressive animations. This does not excuse the game’s mechanical shortcomings.

TwinBee 3‘s hit-detection is way off and frequently had my bullets passing through sprites unless I hit them dead center, which was especially obvious in boss-fights that all tend to be bullet sponges that take forever to beat into submission. Some of these bosses were just a time-consuming cakewalk while others were relentlessly obnoxious. I won’t blame anybody for dropping the game during or after the first boss. It’s such a bastard that just keeps tanking hits for an eternity while his RNG attacks can potentially leave you without any way to escape taking damage. I wasn’t tense because the boss was hard, but because I seriously didn’t want to die and have to do that whole fight from the start.

TwinBee 3 - Poko Poko Daimaou (Japan)_003

The game is generally passable and I did have some fun, but I want to place the bar higher for this series. It feels way too basic for the third entry in a franchise and its only pretensions toward innovating consist of removing features from the last game. Keep in mind, TwinBee 3 released months before the Super Famicom would hit store shelves. I can’t believe 4 years went by and this series is still doing the same thing, but worse.

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