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 Post subject: Rabio Lepus (Arcade - PlayStation 2)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:35 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 250
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
I've reviewed Turbo Force, the whole Aero Fighters series, and now let's finish these Video System reviews with the very first shmup of the company: Rabio Lepus.

Space Rabbits. This is not your tipical Kiddie-corner game.

The game has two "Courses" to offer: Normal and Expert. Normal Course is your regular game session while Expert Course makes things harder, but duplicates the obtained score by x2.

Regardless of which course you've picked, the gameplay is the same: An horizontal scrolling shooter where you can use your bullets or your fists. Yeah, you can punch your enemies if you get close enough to them, making this game one of the first (if its not the first) shooters that uses melee attacks. Also, punching enemies causes a lot more of damage than the regular bullets, but requires some excellent manuevering and know the hit detection of this game perfectly in order to punch a boss and avoiding any possible damage or death from a collision. Rabio and Lepus have another weapon at their disposal and that's the Homing Missiles, which are the "Bomb" weapon of the game. Pressing the button will fire a volley of missiles that will lock on every enemy on sight. The missiles are also good to destroy obstacles that can't be destroyed by your bullets like the laser reflecting crystals.

Difficulty is the main problem of Rabio Lepus, because you don't get power ups for your regular shots. Also, the rate of fire decreases as long as you're holding the fire button, which can be a problem when it comes to boss fights or large enemy formations, and this game will take advantage of all these situations, just like Metal Black takes advantage of the lack of bombs and shields to protect your ship. Fortunately, you've got items to help you in your mission to save Bunnyland. Starting off with the carrots that provide replenish your health (and gives you a 1,000 point bonus), missile packs with 3 or 9 missiles, a red Tanuki that grants you temporary invincibility so you can ram through everything and the Ribbon which increases the missiles speed and strength. But you have to be careful when you're gonna pick an item, because if you touch the carrot can, it will drop and you might not be able to pick the item inside, so it is more convenient to shoot it open.
After defeating the boss you'll be playing a bonus mini-game where you (and your friend) have to pick all the carrots you can before one hits the ground. If one single carrot hits the ground, the bonus ends.

The american version, called Rabbit Punch is almost the same thing, and I say almost because the life bars are different, each life bar has 3 Hit Points rather than a gradually depleting bar, not to mention the game has things removed (I'll mention this on the "Graphics" part of the review).

Rabio Lepus was released on the PlayStation 2 as part of the Oretachi Gesen Zoku series (which Aero Fighters was later included). Unlike the PC Engine's Rabio Lepus Special which was a whole different game, the PS2 port is arcade perfect and it features the japanese Rabio Lepus game instead of its Rabbit Punch location. It also includes some physical exclusive items like a DVD with a promotional video, soundtrack CD, CD with Remixes, an Official Guidebook, a collector's card and a replica of the arcade flyer.

Have you ever had that feeling you were being watched?

For a cute'em up game, the graphics are quite serious and sometimes sinister and dark. Unlike Twinbee and Fantasy Zone where the pastel colors and kid-friendly backgrounds are basically everywhere, Rabio Lepus pits our cute lovely rabbits in sci-fi looking spaceships and sinister caverns with eerie backgrounds and sinister details like the human face on the second stage with its brain exposed as an omnipresent being that watches everything in the spaceship.

Take a look at the mountains. Take a look at the beautiful river of blood.
The liquid surrounds me. I fight to rise from this river of hell!

While the Asteroid Base has water in the Normal Course, in Expert it is changed for a blood red one. That's an interesting detail of this game: the scenery changes its colors depending on which course you've selecting, giving them an unique feel as if you're playing an "Old" and "New" version of the game bundled in one "compilation".

Attack of the Killer Sculptures.

If you're expecting kid-friendly characters to fight, think again. the cast of enemies of Rabio Lepus isn't the silly-looking critters that you would expect. Rabio Lepus features high-tech enemies like the Metal Soldiers and bosses that blend technology with demonic appearance like Moving Core (Spaceship) and Golem Head (Asteroid), although there is a cute'em up like boss (Tenukie). To put it simple, Rabio Lepus is the Metal Black of Cute-em' Ups.

Apparently, Yohmaoh has a very subtle way to say Princess Komomo is a "Divine Beauty".

There's a fan-service instance in Stage 7, where a bikini wearing "Angel Komomo" (I think its Komomo since the angel looks like her) can be found in the background. In the Rabbit Punch version the game censors the hostage photo at the beginning of the game and there's no one to rescue, with the exception of the King Taro Kitashirakawa (mentioning the princess) although we can hear Princess Komomo thanking Rabio for saving her at the end of the game, there's no mention of any of them in the game. Curiously, the Angel Komomo in Stage 7 wasn't censored out.

The sound department throws us spaced music that fits quite well with Taito's Darius due to its otherworldly upbeat pace, mostly heard in the Spaceship stages, the Asteroid stages have a sinister tune that fits on the cavern segment, along with a mysterious "Temple" like music for the third Asteroid level. The voice samples are in english: "Welcome" (Player 2 entering the game), "Destroy Enemy Master", and the stage numbers are spoken like "Stage Two" rather than "Suteji Tsu". Not to mention, Kotomi and King Taro say "Thank you" when they're rescued. The only instance of Japanese can be found at the end of the game when Komomo says "Arigato, Usagi-san" (Thank you, Mr. Rabbit).

- First and only shmup released by Video System as V-System.
- Also, this was the first Video System game not released by their Mc O'River division, since Rabbit Punch was released by Bally-Midway.
- Lepus is the latin word for "Hare".
- Sanda-Worm, the tapeworm enemy spew by Golem Head, is a misspelling of the katakana サナダーワーム "Sanada Worm".
- The name of the final boss "Yohmaoh" means "Demon King".
- Komomo means "Little Peach" and Kotomi means "Pretty Little Rabit" (According to Sonic Wings Wiki).

- King Taro Kitashirakawa will reappear in Aero Fighters as Lord River N. White, leader of the Aero Fighters/Project Blue and pilot of the Tornado IDS, Ju-87 Stuka (along with Kohful) and AV-8B Harrier (with Alex's cat Pictus).
- His new name comes from a rearrangement of his Japanese family name, 北白川: 北 means "north" (N), 白 means "white," and 川 means "river."
- Rabio and Lepus made an appearance in Aero Fighters as the secret exclusive characters of the SNES version.
- Tenukie will reappear in many of the Aero Fighters games, starting with Aero Fighters 2 as a random final boss.
- The Kame Chargers appear in Aero Fighters 2 as the projectile weapons of Tenukie.
- The "Carrot drop" bonus returns in Aero Fighters 2 after the player defeats Tenukie.
- The Fire Master will return in Spinal Breakers, Turbo Force (using ice-based powers) and Aero Fighters 3 (as one of the forms of Mars-Vesta).
- Kotomi Kitashirakawa returns in Aero Fighters 3 and Sonic Wings Special as pilot of Aka Usagi, a manned version of Rabio, which is the hidden plane of the game.
- Rabio will later reappear in other Video System games like Gapporin / Pop N' Bounce and Quiz & Variety Sukusuku Inufuku.

In the end, Rabio Lepus is an interesting Cute-em' Up that is worth a few tries. Also, its a great retrospective to Video System/Aero Fighters history.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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