Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Jan 26, 2014
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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A superb platform game that has amazing graphics and excellent sound

The Good

Pulseman is such a glorious-looking game that not many people got to play due to it being a Japan-only release, and being one of the last games to be released for the Mega Drive. Having just read an article on it in Retro Gamer, I thought I would check the game out. It was developed by Game Freak, who would later go on to create the Pokémon series for Nintendo's consoles.

The game has an interesting story, and it has a certain sci-fi feel to it. Scientist Doc Yoshiyama has created the world's most advanced female artificial intelligence capable of human emotion, which he named C-Life. He soon found himself in love with her and uploaded himself into her program core to be with her. Their love-making resulted in the birth of Pulseman, a half-human, half C-Life boy who was capable of channeling electricity through his body and didn't need to be in a computer to survive. Pulseman eventually finds out that he needs to destroy his father who morphed into an evil man named Doc Waruyama and established Team Galaxy, an organization that is spreading cyber-terrorism throughout the world.

Pulseman is a side-scrolling platformer that shares many similarities with other Mega Drive titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Rocket Knight Adventures, while adding a bit of Mega Man into the mix. The game has you going through each of its seven stages, fighting various types of creatures Waruyama has sent to destroy you. At the end of each stage, there is a boss that you need to defeat. The bosses have their own attack patterns, and they can be difficult to bring down. Unique is the display at the top-left corner of the screen, its color changing from blue to yellow to red as you take hits from enemies.

Running left and right without stopping will build up an electrical charge, and only then can Pulseman perform two types of attack. The most powerful of this, and my personal favorite, is the Volteccer, an attack where you are invincible and ricochet off surfaces and destroy enemies in your path.

Each stage have its own spectacular backdrops, especially the first stage which is set in Japan. In this stage, the buildings are well lit up, with searchlights shining behind them and traffic whizzing past below. I like that it contains references to other Sega titles or video game consoles. Each of the stages are unique that there are indoor and outdoor areas which you can enter by using red teleports labeled “In” and “Out” respectively. Each area has its own backdrops, and some of these backdrops are enough to give some people seizures. There are interesting things you can do like explore a Japanese TV station and ancient ruins in Thailand.

The game is littered with obstacles in each stage. In most of them, Wires can be used to teleport Pulseman from one area of the stage to the next, but where you end up depends on both timing and quick reflexes. Water forms the core of the Thailand stage and weakens Pulseman's abilities on contact. (Thanks goes to Waruyama for that advice.)

Most of the stages have a pumping soundtrack, but there are a few that have a relaxing feel to them. The soundtracks are brilliant composed and they are far better than the music in any other Mega Drive game. In the options menu, you can choose to listen to each soundtrack (in the game's order.) A building serves as the background, and the way it lights up as you listen to a single beat is rather neat.

The Bad

There is nothing bad about this game.

The Bottom Line

So in conclusion, Pulseman is a superb platform game that not many people got to play in the Mega Drive years due to it being only released in Japan. That all changed when it was released on Nintendo's Virtual Console. Although the voices in the original release were English, all the text was not. As a result, Sega went to a lot of trouble providing translations before they could release it in North America.

Pulseman contains great graphics and sound, and it is the type of game that could rival other Mega Drive platformers. It is a shame that Game Freak didn't release a sequel, instead of focusing on those cute creatures that became all the rage shortly after.