Obscure Video Games: Hachiemon


Put your lips together and throw

Hachiemon is not nearly as weird as it looks. Natsume and Namco unleashed this GBA game onto the people of Japan back in 2003, perhaps as their response to Kirby. The character, however, was created in 1995 as the mascot for the Kansai Telecasting Corporation. An amorphous blob that might be a bird egg with a huge pair of red lips, Hachiemon could be dressed up and used in any advertising situation necessary.

The game, at its heart, is a very straightforward 2D platformer. You collect lips as you travel across each stage, killing bad guys and grabbing power-ups along the way. Occasionally you’ll have to bring down a large-lipped boss before he makes breakfast out of you. Our hero is quite fragile, so this isn’t over easy.

Hachiemon does have a few moves that will help on its quest. The R button will make him throw his lips like a boomerang, enchanting his enemies and/or knocking them off the platform. This boomerang effect also allows the lips to fetch out-of-reach items. Pushing down on the control pad lets Hachiemon roll through enemies, sending them flying out of the way. There is also a kiss button. Kissing stuns enemies just like when you throw lips at them, but it can also be used like a grappling hook to propel yourself around the stage. The L button just seems to make Hachiemon do a Q*bert-style curse, but I’ll be @!#?ed if I can find a use for it. Of course the developers saw fit to include a jump button, because platformer. The ‘mon even changes into stage-appropriate costumes occasionally (such as a penguin in the ice world) but it doesn’t seem to give him any special powers.

So, should you venture into the world of Hachiemon? There’s a lot of variety in the look of the stages, and the pixel art is adorable, too. However the gameplay doesn’t evolve significantly, and it gets extremely difficult — even painful at times. The worst thing for me was the kiss grapple move. You must perform it constantly to get through each stage, and it was incredibly aggravating to get right. Die-hard platformer fans will enjoy the taste of Hachiemon at first, but it can go rotten pretty fast.