Game-related ramblings.

Month: December 2023

History Lessons: Cosmo Police Galivan

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. If you’re looking specifically for console games, those are here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

For those just tuning in, I’ve been playing through early console role-playing games, action role-playing hybrids, and Metroidvanias, but since I keep adding more games to my list the timeline has gotten a bit muddled. The farthest I’ve reached is September 1988 with Spellcaster, but since then I’ve gone back to fill in some games I missed. Most recently that was The Battle of Olympus. If I’d done things in order, The Battle of Olympus would have been followed by Ys II and Lord of the Sword, before bringing us to this post about Cosmo Police Galivan, by Nihon Bussan.

Inspired by Japanese tokusatsu television series Space Sheriff Gavan and Space Sheriff Sharivan, Cosmo Police Galivan was originally a 1985 arcade action platformer game. On June 3, 1988, a Famicom port appeared with drastically different gameplay. While still focused on platforming action, it added role-playing mechanics and nonlinear environments reminiscent of Metroid, that require protagonist Galivan to seek out new weapons and abilities in order to open up new paths. It was never released outside of Japan, but fortunately there’s a fan-made translation patch allowing English speakers to play it via emulation (I used the Retroarch frontend and Mesen emulation core, as usual for Famicom/NES games). It sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a go.

Rainbow In The Dark: Knockout City

This is Rainbow In The Dark, a series about games that actually contain colors. This particular entry is also an honorary member of the Keeping Score series, about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

This Rainbow In The Dark entry honors a game that, sadly, no longer exists. Well, sort of. Official servers for Knockout City went offline on June 6, 2023, rendering the game unplayable. But developers Velan Studios released a separate version (PC only, sadly) of the game compatible with private servers, for free. Setting up a server isn’t easy, but fortunately fans came to the rescue. A core group of players created the Knockout City Launcher, which automates installing the game and connecting to an existing fan server (or starting your own). This is great, because the team-based dodgeball antics of Knockout City are a blast, easy to understand for new players but with a lot of nuance to learn and master. I never ended up playing the smash hit Rocket League, but I got the sense that Knockout City is a similar beast: accessible, but with a high skill ceiling. During the COVID-19 lockdown times, I turned to Knockout City often when I needed a break, and it’s the first competitive multiplayer game I ever put a lot of time into.

Oh, and it’s also beautiful, with a bright and optimistic retrofuturistic style full of flying cars, holograms, and 1950s American fashion.

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