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.