There’s a robust probability you’ve by no means performed Cannon Dancer, or Osman because it’s maybe higher recognized to North American arcade goers. That’s the fantastic thing about this present retro renaissance, although: we’re not solely seeing the return of well-loved classics on modern consoles, but in addition obscure underground gems like this one from the Mitchell Company have gotten accessible for the primary time. And even by means of a contemporary lens, this religious Strider successor holds up.
Designed by a celebrity group of ex-Capcom employees, together with key artistic determine Kouichi Yotsui, this chunky side-scrolling beat-‘em-up first launched in Japanese arcades all the best way again in 1996, however by no means obtained a house console model – till now. Ratalaika Video games has dealt with the conversion, and so those that’ve performed ports like Gleylancer will likely be acquainted with the options of its emulator wraparound, which incorporates numerous CRT filters, wallpapers, and different high quality of life enhancements.
You’ll get each the unique Japanese launch and its North American counterpart, and there are two strategies of play, with one unlocking key comfort options corresponding to rewind and save states. In contrast to the remainder of Ratalaika Video games’ library, nevertheless, Trophies are disabled on this simpler choice, so that you’ll have to play by means of Problem Mode to earn the gongs. You do get to decide on a complete of two enhancements right here, which embody additional credit or double jumps.
The sport itself is a rollercoaster experience of vivid colors and seemingly never-ending creativeness. With a cyberpunk-style Arabian theme, you’ll play as a martial artist named Kirin, who punches his means by means of robotic armies and statue-esque deities. From the primary explosive upper-cut by means of to the boss rush-esque ending, this romp is relentless, pitting you towards charging vehicles, big sand monsters, and lethal open waters.
The protagonist’s acrobatic moveset and skill to scramble up sharp architectural inclines evokes reminiscences of Strider, however launching seven years after Capcom’s inspirational effort, the gameplay feels a lot tighter and extra gratifying total. Armed with a particular karate kick and the power to energy up and place mimics of your self in key strategic positions, this recreation makes you are feeling extremely succesful – even whenever you’re burning by means of a number of credit in 60 seconds.
Regardless of having a sub-30 minute operating time, the discharge fills each single body with memorable moments, whether or not you’re sizing up a crooked legal professional on the prime of his workplace tower constructing or boarding a ship with pirates – it’s a thrill experience from begin to end. The problem does spike unfairly within the remaining stage, that means many will battle to see the credit with out leaning into rewind and the opposite high quality of life enhancements, however it is a minor gripe in an in any other case excellent marketing campaign.
Cannon Dancer is an obscure underground cult traditional that’s lastly going to seek out the viewers it’s all the time deserved. That we dwell in an period the place video games like this may be made simply accessible is value celebrating, however even taken by itself deserves, this religious successor to Strider is a breathless, good affair. A pointy problem spike, frequent within the arcade releases of the period, feels unfair – but it surely gained’t stop you from falling in love with the entire high-stakes motion that precedes it.