SunSoft has always been my favourite NES developer/publisher, with NES classics such as Batman, Gremlins 2, Blaster Master, SunSoft is known for great gameplay,
kicking NES graphics to the limit, okay I may not exactly know if they do that but the games sure look great. Last but not least SunSoft is also known for making
some of the greatest NES tunes I've ever heard.
Europe was blessed with a SunSoft game that the US didn't get to play, being Ufouria - known in Japan as Hebereke. The original game, Hebereke, was released in
Japan back in 1991, followed by a European and Australian release in 1992, featuring minor changes to the game.
One of the major differences was the 4 playable characters in the game changed names. The main character Hebe became "Bop Louie", O-Chan became "Freeon Leon",
Sukezaemon became "Shades" and finally Jennifer became "Gil". Also the look of some of the characters changed, Hebe went from being a Penguin to sort of a
snowman. O-Chan changed from an orange cat to an orange dinosaur.
The game sets off with you playing as Bop Louie who is out to rescue his three friends, Freeon Leon, Shades and Gil who are kept captured in an evil sub
world of Ufouria. The problems arrised when they all fell into a giant crater in the Ufouria world after having been a bit too curious and wanted to look down
into the crater. When Bop Louie awakened deep in the crater he realized that his friends were missing and he is off to rescue the them.
When a friend has been located, the player - whoever you are of the rescued characters - has to battle them to regain their lost memory, and once all 4 friends
are rejoined the quest changes to collecting keys for the Temple Gate, which is said to lead back to Ufouria.
The game type is pretty much your typical platformer, but as the 4 playable characters in the game all have different powers and abilities, so they'll
all have their different roles in completing the game. The gameplay may seem a little strange and fustrating at times, mainly the control of the characters, but
this only adds to the definate fact that the game requires some skill to complete.
I must admit though that I at first shot at playing Ufouria really hated the game, main due to the fact that the first "leg" (stage) of the game is extremely
boring really. The password option is a pain in the ass to "write down", I remember making a special sheet for Ufouria passwords back in the day. To give you an
idea of the password, it reminds me of the one used in Megaman 2.
With that said, the graphics, like other SunSoft games, are very colorful and well drawn - the characters in Ufouria are hilariously well made, you're actually
able to make Bop Louie moonwalk. I have seen reviews claiming that this game was made with the designer being on a major LSD trip. I can't confirm that rumor,
but I wouldn't necessarily say that was bad thing if it was the case - a damn great mix of Megaman, Kirby and Super Mario Bros came to life.
The game may be a bit on the easy side and the crater world isn't exactly large. The controls in the game is the worst thing to be said about the game. When you
want to jump on an enemy you have to keep down pressed on the d-pad, otherwise you won't kill the enemy, it'll just hit you and you loose energy. Often when
walking, especially with Bop Louise he tends to lie down and move forward looking like a worm. It looks funny but it can be annoying at times.
It's unknown why the game never made it to the states and as far as I know a complete NTSC (US) version prototype has been discovered, so the game was indeed
considered to be released state side, but a will guess at the unreleased fate of the game could be that SunSoft changed focus to the Super Nintendo by the time
an NTSC version was ready, and the release was then scrapped. Another reason could have been poor sales in Europe - as far as I remember the game didn't do too
well here and quickly dissapeared from the shelves - later to reappear in the bargain bin of games.
Ufouria was previously thought to be extremely rare, but I believe it's fair to say that the game is uncommon - but definately not rare, so it should be
possible to find a copy on an online auction site or other. Prices at the time of writing was around 20 euros for a loose copy and as much as 50 euros for a
Oh and one thing... what's with the slogan "Bop 'till you drop!" on the back of the box?... I don't get it, oh well! :-)