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 Post subject: Sapo Xule: S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida (Sega Master System)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:16 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Time for another retro based shmup. For this review, let's pick an obscure shmup from Brazil: Sapo Xule S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida.

If you were reading my reviews, you'll probably remember me mentioning this game in my review of Triggerheart Exelica for the XBLA/XBOX One when i was complaining about the censorship on Crueltear's Normal Ending.

Sturmvogel Prime wrote:
"If any of them had a problem with the skimpy-clothed girls, it'd be more convenient to change the characters with something different. ¿Remember Probotector?, those european versions of Contra where humans were replaced with robots?, or even like Sapo Xule: S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida (Brazilian Astro Warrior). They could do the same with Triggerheart Exelica..."

SOS Lagoa Poluida, like the title screen of this 1995 game calls it, is actually the 1986 shooter Astro Warrior. This is where the question enters "¿How do you adapt a space shooter to a children's cartoon/toyline character like Sapo Xule?". To begin with, let's talk about Sapo Xule. This frog is based on a popular brazilian character known as "que não lava o pé" (Who doesn't wash his feet), as a result Sapo Xule is a frog with sneakers put it simple, they stink. The character got its popularity at the point of taking its few steps on videogames, which ironically were pallete edits of Sega Master System games changing the characters with those of Sapo Xule on pure Probotector style.

Psycho Fox > Sapo Xule VS Os Invasores do Brejo (Sapo Xule VS The Swamp Invaders)
Kung Fu Kid > Sapo Xule: O Mestre do Kung Fu (Sapo Xule: The Master of Kung Fu)
Astro Warrior > Sapo Xule: S.O.S. Lagoa Poluida (Sapo Xule: S.O.S. Polluted Lagoon)

If Astro Warrior takes place on space and you're the hot shot sent to "beat the odds" in space, how could a character like Sapo Xule fit on the game?, As the title implies, the game takes place on the bottom of a lake.
The plot in this version tells us that three scientists had built a complex of underwater waste processing facilities to obtain affordable energy. However they kept a major detail as "Top Secret": Nature would be affected as waste would contaminate the lake. The animals asked the old and wise Cagado Adao for help, and he came up with the solution: building a submarine equipped with lasers and small ships that will work synchronized with the sub's movement. Sapo Xule was chosen for the mission, and he was sent to destroy the facilities, Scientists detected him and they head into battle with their super submarines and weaponized waste as unmanned vehicles such as scissors, bananas, bitten apples and matches, all with the sole purpose of destroying Sapo Xule.

The gameplay is basically the same as in Astro Warrior, which is very reminiscent of Star Force as your basic vertical shooter where you destroy blocks as ground targets, while you engage underwater enemies (space in Astro Warrior). This was one of the first shmups to feature chain reactions that destroy a formation as we have a six ship formation that if we destroy the first one to appear when the entire formation is already on screen they will explode one by one. The game provides you two Gradius-style options called Drones (flies in the Sapo Xule version) that goes along with the ship's every move while providing additional firepower. You're given the option of powering up with a Triple frontal shot and a more powerful Twin Laser shot. Like in Gradius, you've got the ability to increase the ship's speed by picking a speed up item.
Having a good speed and all the Options is a must in later levels since there's gonna be enemies that appear on sides and shoot you and they'll leave before you can intercept them unless you're fast enough, and God help you if you don't have options in the Asteroid Zone (Gulpb Lake in SOS Lagoa Poluida) 'cos the game will pelt you with rocks at fast speeds.
The boss battles are quite challenging despite its simplicity as they have "Multi-parts" like destructable cannons before going to the core of the boss. The only disappointment is that the boss don't die, it just "Surely Revive" as the game loops after three stages. With only three stages long that loops forever, this game doesn't have continues if you lose all your lives.

While the color palette of Astro Warrior and SOS Lagoa Poluida is the same, the brazilian version made some changes to differ from Astro Warrior. Starting off with the background where the black space and the white stars were replaced by a dark green with black dots to give the impression of a contaminated underwater environment, while the rest of the "asteroid based" scenery is the same, the enemies were changed to trash-themed objects like screws, matches, scissors, apples, bananas and food cans. The bosses were also redesigned as well: Zanoni is Plurb, Nebiros is Blublu and Belzebul is Sblug, a submarine with a red frog piloting it.
However, your ship is quite different to the submarine seen in the title screen since the in-game sprite is more like a green frog face with engines. The Drones are flies and your power ups were changed: Speed ups are now red chilis, Triple shot is a fly in a green circle and the Twin Laser is a fly in a blue circle. The laser beam was curved up to make it different from the Astro Warrior version.

The music and sounds are the same of Astro Warrior. With quite happy fast-paced tunes that bring a different atmosphere from the fanfarrious style of Star Force and Star Soldier. Seems like the Master System always had a preference for the catchy and fast-paced style on its "Non-Coin up conversions", 'cos even the Game Over music is quite upbeat and happy.

- While the individual Astro Warrior, its Pit-Pot/Astro Warrior combo cartridge and the Sapo Xule versions loop forever, the Hang-On/Astro Warrior combo cartridge version of Astro Warrior ends when Belzebul is defeated for the third time.
- TecToy released other original Master System games based on brazilian shows like Castelo Ra-Tim-Bum and Sitio do Picapau Amarelho.
- Other edits made by TecToy was the Turma da Monica (Monica's gang) games which were character swaps of Wonder Boy games.
- The Sega Master System was the longest living console in Brazil where TecToy continued its production up to 2016.

If you're looking for a basic Master System shmup to kill a few minutes until the pizza arrives, better stick to the original Astro Warrior. The brazilian version will be an OK for Sapo Xule fans, unless you're a super collector of SMS shooters.
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STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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