OK. So I am probably one of about ten people who still remembers Super Zugan, a Kitty Films / Studio Dean production from the early 90s, but the damn theme song keeps getting stuck in my head whenever I buy a new mahjong game and I feel like inflicting it on you.
Not that I bought a NEW mahjong game, mind you. Rather, I just paid a princely Y1980 for a very old mahjong game that just happened to get a Switch port, from MightyCraft. We were originally supposed to get this back in January, but the release got pulled at the very last minute for some “discussions” with Nintendo. I half expected that it would never resurface, but apparently those discussions were fruitful.
I’ve owned the Saturn version of the game for well over 20 years at this point, so rebuying it on Switch was half for the novelty and half for the nostalgia and maybe a little bit for the convenience factor. It takes some time to hook up a Saturn whenever I feel like raging at how insufferable of a cheater Akira is, after all, but now I will be able to think very unkind thoughts about her wherever I go! We are truly in a gilded age.
On that topic, however, this release does have a difficulty setting. I don’t recall the Saturn version having any difficulty settings, or maybe I just never checked. Akira may be slightly less vicious if you crank the difficulty down a bit.
SRMPV is a pretty good example of mid-90s slightly-naughty mahjong games, though not up to the production values of something like the Suchie-Pai Series. You only have three opponents to play against and it doesn’t have the huge cast of famous voice actresses or Kenichi Sonoda character designs.
It DOES have Sakura Tange’s first role, though. That’s an actress who went on to do much bigger and better things.
To further compare it to that series, it’s more of a pure mahjong game, which is a strong selling point. There aren’t any power-ups or any mini games that you can use to defeat your opponent. If you want to win, you need to mahjong the bejesus out of her. It’s a fine game, and I recommend it to one and all.
So, let’s talk about the port.
It may annoy the super purists, but MightyCraft did some tweaking to fit it to the Switch screen. They didn’t mess with the aspect ratio of any of the FMVs, fortunately. You get a lovely pillar boxed version, like so…
..but they did change the title screen and play field to fit the wider screen. I suspect they did some cropping at the top and bottom, but it’s not anything offensive.
(Though, guys, the Switch does not have a “Start” button, and pressing the + button does nothing. You could have edited out the “St” and “rt” there.)
I kind of wish it had a faux-scanline filter that you could turn on, but that is a super minor quibble.
SRMPV is especially good if you are new to the game and need prompting for when you can meld off your opponent’s hand. You will be prompted for every single chi and pon as they discard tiles, notified when you can call riichi, all very convenient stuff.
One other thing of note – the Saturn original of this game was one of the notorious red label 18+ games, featuring some low-resolution nudity once you managed to play well enough to completely run your opponent out of clothing, and I suspect that is WHY it disappeared at the 11th hour and just now managed to get a release. I haven’t played enough to confirm this, but I suspect the art went through a little bit of editing to conform to 2019 standards.
Well, technically, the last red label game was released over 20 years ago. So “edited to conform to 1997 standards” is maybe more accurate.
Followup: Yup, the original FMVs have been visited by the Mysterious Light Rays Of Decency, blotting out all offensive bits.
Anyway. I have occasionally made fun of the Switch for its wide variety of The Hottest Games Of 2011, but I am not going to deny that it makes me giddy to see publishers dig DEEP into the back catalog and unearth some long-buried gems. They’re even talking about bringing out PVI and P7, presumably if enough of us old weirdos buy PV.
Hopefully we never get Mahou no Janshi Poe Poe Poemy, though. Digging THAT deep, that’s how you get balrogs.