As a compilation of the arcade and Sega Saturn versions of a shoot 'em up from the mid-'90s, Game Tengoku CruisinMix holds up impressively well. Here's hoping we get to see a port of GunBare! Game Tengoku 2 soon.
Game Tengoku CrusinMix Special is best thought of as an experience. There are a lot of scenes where the main characters chat with each other and goof off - not to mention the multiple songs with vocals, commentary tracks, and even an interactive karaoke performance. This creates an atmosphere not often seen in such a tradition-focused genre. None of this comes at the expense of the game itself, which is a solidly enjoyable trip down memory lane. The scoring mechanics are well-realized, while the stages are cluttered with things to see and destroy. Ideally, all of the clutter could have been stretched out to create a more consistent and fully-realized shmup, but what's there is perfectly all right.
Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special is a friendly opportunity to visit with a videogame-about-a-videogames pioneer. As a six-stage shoot 'em up, Game Tengoku is stretched as far as $30 can take it. As a peak into the ultra-novelty of 1995's Japanese arcade scene, it may be priceless. It is both Important and Good that Game Tengoku is now somewhat localized and available.
SummaryGame Tengoku CrusinMix is a vertically scrolling shooting game mixing cute characters, a game world parodying a wide range of gaming tropes and history, tight controls, refined mechanics and eggplants?!