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Boy in Gray

One fun thing about travel is that you get to see things and meet people which broaden your experiences different video game stores, which usually happen to have different bad video games!
While I found a number of mind-bending unknown Super Nintendo and NES games, I was particularly impressed by THIS festive mini-cartridge:
Sumo Fighter, for Nintendo's OTHER early-1990s system...the GameBoy!
Between the lousy cover art, the seemingly-Street Fighter II-inspired title, and the presense of DTMC's logo, I knew I was in for a treat!
When I returned from my trip, I loaded Sumo Fighter into my Super Gameboy*, and I was sumoing and fighting!
*: that's the Super Nintendo adapter that lets you play GameBoy cartridges on your television without squinting at a gray and green postage stamp
You would expect my first GameBoy review to discuss the GameBoy itself...
...if you'd never been to this website before. Repeat visitors to my site (Russian federation spam bots, people who pressed the "back" button after leaving, or individuals with weird keyboard-acronym-related Tourettes outbursts while trying to type "gamefaqs.com") will know it's mainly for showing screen-captures from feeble games that few have seen, then poking them with a stick.
But I'll just say that I have been branching out into gameboy games over the last year or so; it's weird in that it co-existed alongside the NES and the SNES, has a few fine action-adventure titles, and seems to offer an even broader horizon of under-reported-on bad games than the SNES itself.
Anyway; Sumo Fighter begins with a time-tested story...
Girl meets Ninja,
Ninja abducts Girl, who says "HELP HELP" (unless her name is Help Help, and she's just introducing herself)
(then the Ninja continues to carry Girl off stage-left),
Until SOMEONE shows up to answer the clarion call of "HELP HELP" (in this case, a sumo)
Yes, like every rescuer before him, our nameless Sumo Fighter has shown up right after the ninja has taken the girl to the end of 16 stages of pulse-pounding battle!
Though, I'd imagine that even a brisk trot is a pulse-pounding event for our featured sumo; you have to be quite heavy to get into sumo wrestling, as we learned last week.
So, what are the Sumo Fighter's powers?
Well, ummm...is "platformer hero" enough? Ok, here's a little more detail:
He wanders along and meets some weird enemies.
Then he palm-strikes them, followed by flinging them into the stratosphere
And occasionally his acts of violence are rewarded by the enemies dropping food.
...but there's so much a little bit more!
There's a surprising number of different power-ups (dropped by enemies or (the old standby) smashable rocks!). The Kabobs (pictured above) return 1 block of energy, but you gain experience points for bowls of rice
or weird "wind up toy's key" things. Experience eventually "levels you up",
so you can power up your Palm, Foot, or Heart.
Your "Palm" is your palm-strike/punch power, and of course Hearts summons Captain Planet adds to your maximum hitpoints. But your FOOT helps you unleash your uniquely sumo "stomp the ring/yard" move:
...at its lowest level, it just stuns all enemies on the screen, but after a power-up or two, it actually kills minor enemies.
Hmmm, what else; there's also tedious boss-fights at the end of every 3rd level, but the game's most noteworthy other feature is...
Horrible bonus games for EXP!
The game occasionally presents you with the Bonus Game Pagoda!
If you grab it, you choose between 1 of 3 cards.
The "bad" card sends you back to the beginning of the stage.
But the "good" cards are two types of three-round experience-earning game...
Arm Wrestling
or (ironically enough), SUMO Wrestling!
Unfortunately Sumo Fighter takes a page from Tommy Moe's Winter Extreme: Skiing & Snowboarding (which postulated that "skiing" handles completely identically to "snowboarding"), by saying that "arm wrestling" works completely identically to "sumo wrestling":
they both require you to tap the button while the fast-moving slider is in the middle "shaded" part of the guage. Do this enough and you win 1 of the 3 rounds, and gain an amount of EXP!
Unfortunately each round takes about 10 successful taps to win or lose, and unsuccessful taps take away some of your successes, so you're sick of it before you've won round two.
So, I'm sad to report that the only sumo wrestling that our Sumo Fighter does may give you flashbacks to other horrible minigame games, and you'll want to avoid the Bonus Game Pagoda like the plague.
Actually, you can probably pretty safely skip Sumo Fighter altogether. Though, since it's on the original black-and-white dark-gray-and-green GameBoy, none of you were going to play it anyway. But nevertheless, tune in for future episodes of my new GameBoy-centric Boy in Gray category!
Now, some additional weird pictures!
I've been playing more over the weekend, and have found some more wackiness to share --
What's even less exciting than an Arm Wrestling bonus game?
THUMB WRESTLING!
Now, with some more Japanese weirdness - Geishas and those weird umbrella demons!
Um, Geisha don't normally do that, do they?
The horror. The horror.
— carlmarksguy, 2014-08-01
1
This is another game I remember seeing in Nintendo Power years ago. They didn't say much about it and they only showed screenshots of the actual sumo wrestling part, so I thought the whole game was just that. I had no idea it was a sidescrolling platformer. I also remember thinking the pre-fight cinema guy looked like he's picking his nose.
2
It's exciting to be able to bring so much knowledge about forgotten Original Gameboy games (for example, there's a "Batman Forever" port). As far as nosepicking, do you mean the Arm Wrestler or the cutscene ninja abductor?
3
FO means the Arm Wrestler, because I remember that exact picture that he's referring to in Nintendo Power. It was in the review section, and it was...not positive, haha. But seeing this made me feel the actual game was better than advertised.
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