ああ播磨灘 ● Genre: Action ● Release Date: 1993/09/03 ● Developer: SEGA ● Publisher: SEGA ● Media: 16Mbit ROM Cartridge ● System Specific: MEGA DRIVE
■OVER THE TOPSUMO WRESTLING !
The mighty and rebellious「HARIMA-NADA」won't stop at nothing on his goal to become the greatest Yokozuna in the history of sumo. The question is... Are you skilled enough to control his raw power!?
■AH GREAT INTRODUCTION
AH HARIMA-NADA is a sumo wrestling game based on the manga & anime series of the same name by manga artist「KEI SADAYASU」(さだやす 圭). Neither the manga nor the Mega Drive video game are really that well known outside of Japan (and from what I can gather the MD game is rather obscure even in Japan), so this is a good chance to introduce at least this quality sumo wrestling game from SEGA.
The first noteworthy feature about AH HARIMA-NADA is certainly the attractive game packaging. On the front cover we can see the main character HARIMA menacingly pointing with his finger at any potential buyers that dare looking his way. If looked from a distance (like from the store shelves for example) the cover really gives the sensation that is telling you「Hey! You Over There!! Buy this game! or else..!!」I don't know if this was done on purpose, but it really feels like some kind of hypnotic marketing stunt... (^^;;
■AH GREAT PROLOGUE
Tradition and status dictate the world of professional sumo wrestling.
Wearing the mysterious-looking mask, the new Yokozuna appears before his public as for his name...「HARIMA-NADA」!
Boastful and overconfident, the young Yokozuna has only one goal in his mind: To beat the seemingly unbeatable winning record of 69 consecutive wins set by the legendary 35th Yokozuna:「FUTABAYAMA SADAJI」(双葉山 定次).
But can the rebellious HARIMA-NADA really achieve this feat? His unruly and carefree behavior is often seen as unfit for the harsh life of the professional sumo wrestler.
Can a man like this really become the first sumo wrestler in history to reach the 70 consecutive winning mark?
The road to victory will not be easy...
■AH GREAT GAMEPLAY
Just because this is a sumo wrestling game that features characters with a huge oversized body mass, don't be thinking for a second that the action will be slow-paced. Quite the contrary, the game will demand some fast reflexes from the player (as well as a heavy dose of button mashing!) to avoid getting pounded into oblivion or being thrown of the ring at the first chance your opponent gets!
Real life sumo matches are known to last only a few seconds in most cases and the minimum lapse of concentration from the wrestlers can make them lose the bout before they realise what just happened. This fact about sumo wrestling is something that was translated remarkably well into the game as it doesn't matter if you have a full life bar and are just one hit away from knocking down your opponent. If you let your guard down just for a moment, then you can indeed end up being tossed out of the ring before you know it.
Of course this is something that works both ways (although more for the player than for the CPU really). So you can get beaten down to a pulp, but with just a single well-timed throw or reversal you can be the one coming on top. And it is precisely this gameplay trait what ultimately makes the game so much fun to play because you know that regardless of how well you're doing during a fight, you can never relax. While on the other hand even if you're losing badly you know you still have a chance of winning.
■AH GREAT HARIMA'S MOVE LIST
● Basic Commands : ※When HARIMA-NADA is facing right. If HARIMA-NADA is facing left, reverse the left/right controls.
Control Pad... Advance, Retreat, Defense, Jump
Start Button... Pauses Game
A Button... Weak Attack
B Button... Strong Attack
C Button... Grapple
Run... F, F
● Advanced Commands :
Low Kick... D + A or B
Hawk Attack... (while in the air) B
Aerial Throw... (while in the air) F + B
Hell Tightening... (while standing next to the opponent) D, DR, R + B
Headbutt... (while running) B
Flying headbutt... F, D, DF + B
Counter... (when receiving an advancing attack from the opponent) DB + A+B
●Grapple Commands :
Push forward... D, DF, F + A or B
Side Throw... D, DB, B + B
Side Suplex... F, UF, U, UB, B + B
● Special Commands :
Back Breaker... (while grappling the opponent) U, D, U + B,B
Fire Hand Palm... B (hold), F + B
Telekinetic Wave... Rotate the control pad 360 degrees + B
Out of all the moves available to HARIMA, the grappling ones are by much the most useful. First because they can end up in a ring out, and second because by remaining grappled to your opponent you can stop them from performing any special attacks.
If you try to throw out your opponent near one the ring corners you will engage in a「POWER STRUGGLE」to determine who gets thrown out of the ring. During this instance you must push the A + B buttons and move the control pad as fast as you can to avoid being the one biting the dust.
■AH GREAT STORY MODE
In the「1 PLAY」mode your goal will be to win 70 sumo matches and beat the record of the legendary Yokozuma FUTABAYAMA SADAJI.
There are 3 difficulty settings to choose from :
・KOMUSUBI「小結」(EASY / ends midway, can't see the ending)
In both NORMAL and HARD modes the CPU will start relatively weak and easy to beat but it will get dramatically more difficult along the way. Since there aren't 70 sumo wrestlers in the game, this means you will have to fight the same characters at least three times, and as expected, they will become more difficult and violent the next time you face them.
If you lose a match you will be able to continue up to three times before getting a game over.
Although one would think that losing a single match would defeat the whole point of the campaign (which is to achieve 70 consecutive wins) - in reality continuing the game has no real consequences and doesn't affect the ending.
But of course don't be expecting HARIMA to show the slightlest sign of humility even when defeated. If you happen to lose a match along the way HARIMA will say something like :「Bokke! It was only because this player guy (you) is lacking skill that I was defeated!! Let's do this again, you and I!!」. (^^;;
Winning 70 sumo matches can sound like a lot, but since the matches themselves generally won't be lasting long and are only a single round affair, the main campaign in reality won't take that much longer to complete than the one in the average fighting game. Still, because the game can be hard to complete the first time with only 3 continues. Or if you simply want to call it quits for the time being. Then you can simply use the game's password system to resume the campaign at a later time.
After every 8 matches or so, the STABLEMASTER will be showing up to give you the current password (which is all in Japanese hiragana characters).
The passwords are actually simple catchy phrases that Japanese players will most likely find very convenient and easy to remember.
But of course for all the non-Japanese players who aren't used to deal with hiragana characters, the passwords can be a real pain in the arse to write up.
■AH GREAT ORIGINAL STORYLINE
The original game storyline is very simple and self-explanatory so players don't really need to know Japanese to understand it. The plot revolves around the original game character and HARIMA's main rival「KISHIN-RYUU」who despite always training himself over the limit is nevertheless defeated by the lazy and over-boastful HARIMA-NADA. This obviously frustrates and infuriates KISHIN-RYUU beyond belief as he just can't understand how can an impertinent guy like HARIMA defeat him.
I must admit I was very disappointed about the lack of storyline cut-scenes in AH HARIMA-NADA. Specially coming out after the fantastic 1992 Judo Simulation game「SHURA NO MON」which was another MEGA DRIVE game from SEGA based on a manga & anime series with a similar contact sport premise. But while SHURA NO MON featured minutes long storyline cut-scenes. AH HARIMA-NADA in turn only has seven relatively short cut-scenes, and which is just very disappointing.
■AH GREAT ENDING
The stellar match for the 70 consecutive win couldn't be any other than the epic battle between HARIMA-NADA and KISHIN-RYUU who has just been promoted to Yokozuna rank.
KISHIN-RYUU has changed his name to「KISHIN-NADA」and now wears a new menacing-looking kabuki make-up. Needless to say he will be by much the most difficult (and cheapest) opponent in the game.
KISHIN-NADA has two special attacks that are unfortunately unavailable to HARIMA (you gotta train harder HARIMA!) : The「DRAGON DANCE」( A+B / also used by other characters), and the incredibly-cheap「HYPER HEADBUTT」(D, DF, F + A+B).
The best tactic to use against KISHIN-NADA (specially on the HARD mode) is to spam him with quick successive headbutt attacks until he gets thrown out of the ring. This (admittedly cheap) tactic won't work all the time, but if you can manage to chain two headbutt attacks in a row on KISHIN-NADA without him blocking them, then it's very likely he won't be blocking them at all.
But if you want to defeat KISHIN-NADA in a more honorable way, then your best bet is to grapple him as soon as you can in order to avoid his deadly special moves and then just aim for a lucky throw that will toss him out of the ring. There's nothing more you can do against such a strong and cheap opponent really.
With KISHIN-NADA defeated for good, HARIMA-NADA has just consagrated himself as the greatest Yokozuna to have ever lived! His record of 70 consecutive wins will become an inspiration for all the young sumo wrestlers for generations to come!!
■AH GREAT CONCLUSION
Unfortunately AH HARIMA-NADA is not without its flaws and undoubtedly the more relevant ones lie in the graphics department. While the in-game graphics are actually very decent, the problem is that there just not enough variety. For example, all characters in the game including HARIMA have only one winning pose that gets really tiresome after a while. Many characters also share basically the same move list, and some of them are only palette swaps of the same character model. There's also only one arena in the whole game, and which is something that alone drastically lowers the overall graphical appeal of the game.
The sound effects also suffer from the same lack of variety than the graphics, and the few voice samples present in the game are also shared by most characters.
Fortunately the music is one of the strongest points of the game thanks to an awesome original soundtrack that successfully mixes the cool sounds of the traditional Japanese taiko drums with modern catchy upbeat tunes. So if you're a fan of traditional Japanese music, then you will certainly love the soundtrack of this game.
・HARIMA'S FIRST EXERCISES : Clearing the game on the HARD difficulty mode will unlock a hilarious hidden visual scene showcasing HARIMA and two other sumo wrestlers dancing to the track「HARIMA'S FIRST EXERCISES」.
The song HARIMA'S FIRST EXERCISES is also featured in the SEGA music CDs「SEGA-CON Vol.1」and「SEGAROCKS Live in Japan」.
・Game Passwords : These are the passwords for the NORMAL difficulty mode. For the HARD mode just replace the first three hiragana characters「うぬっ」with「んんん」.
I love this game!! =D It's so friggin awesome! I never knew what the hell they were saying or how to perform the moves, this helps a lot! =D You are awesome...so, so awesome....(Edit: Finally, a game I recognize =D)