VGA 101: Twinkle Knights – Not Inexpensive, But Reeks of Cheapness

(Whee, another fun reprint from the old blog because I’m busy working on something goofy here – back with a new post later today.)

Twinkle Knights 3DOWhile it’s rare and probably still fairly expensive once found, Intarus’ Twinkle Knights has far too many problems keeping it from being anything other than a cool prize for hardcore 3DO fanatics, collectors of Japanese strip games (of which there are plenty, according to one friend who seems to have dozens for all sorts of systems) or those folks heavily into Kusoge (“shit” games).

As an actual game experience, it’s far too short and quite easy to beat, yet can be infuriating at times when the CPU decides to put a stop to your progress. As “adult” entertainment, it’s pretty poor (OK, it’s beyond terrible) and of course, if you’re still one of those people that thinks imports like these are packed with all sorts of hidden salacious content, you’ll be very sorely disappointed in a WYSIWYG manner. Besides, there are far better ways to get that sort of er, “sexy interactive excitement” on a shiny disc you can pop in a player of some sort.

(Thanks, Game Smacks!)

The “game” is a full motion video (FMV) card battle fighter that gives you a mere four opponents and five chances to strip each from their fantasy get-ups using a dirt simple card battle system. Marina, Kaori, Haruka and Miyuki are all here and waiting to take on all comers, but don’t expect much of a challenge… at first. After a FMV intro (and some quick videos of all four fighters doing their anime-styled heroine thing in intro sequences if you don’t touch the controller), you can select any of the ladies and get to the “action.” There’s a lot of grainy 3DO video going on here along with some cheesy after effects that give the game the look of a half-inspired student or fan project than a full-on retail game. The again, all the import and some western adult games I’ve ever seen using live action footage from this era look mighty awful and grainy, so it’s not as if Twinkle Knights is alone in its lousy presentation.

As you beat each gal about with card “attacks”, the game shows her reactions to attacks in brief video clips. Win a round and in the next one, she’s missing a bit of clothing. Win the match and you get another clip of her topless and defeated before the game boots you back to the beginning so you can play against another gal. This yawn-worthy presentation is almost the same in the more humorous Yakyuken Special games (which are at least cute to some extent), but you’re not going to mistake anything here for “classy” no matter how you shake it. Granted, the actual nudity is pretty PG stuff overall (there are 80’s sex comedies and current TV shows that show far more skin), but I’d keep this away from the kids (just so they don’t have to go blind looking at grainy gals and cheap special effects). Developer not-so-supreme Axes Art Amuse seems to have made this one game and vanished, but I’m gathering some of the talent there moved on to other projects (and hopefully better ones) after this bomb.

As for the ladies themselves, well, they’re attractive, but I’ve shown this game to people who get ugly because they aren’t their “type” of women. Eeek. Eh, it’s a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I’ll admit that the only reason I own this game is because of my interest in the 3DO library up to and including everything I can get my hands on, so I ended up grabbing this one off ebay a few years back. It sat sealed for a while until someone on a message board asked about playing 3DO imports on a US console. As I had a bunch of unopened import games for the system here, I decided to check which games would run and which wouldn’t and amusingly enough, found that Twinkle Knights is actually one of the few incompatible with a non-Japanese 3DO. I was fortunate enough to own a Sanyo TRY-1 system (one of the harder to find consoles from what I hear) and a US Panasonic FZ-10, so I was able to help out some fellow collectors by playing through one really bad (and quite dull) adult game.

So, is it a buy or a (no pun intended) bust? Well, as noted above, Twinkle Knights is for the collector of all things obscure more than it is a “must-have” 3DO classic. It’s something you’ll probably play through one or two times then stick back on the shelf to maybe whip out when you’ve a few friends over and want to show off a rarity not so many people own (or can play once they own it).


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