Monday, March 23, 2009

Top Shop Review (PSX)

The first game I will look at is the little known Playstation One title, Top Shop. Top Shop is a Japanese game created by developer KID. This game was released in 1999 by A1 games in the US. It was a budget title; if I recall correctly I got it at Best Buy for like five bucks brand new. Why am I looking back at this old budget reason: It's like Monopoly on crack.
The play mechanics are easy like Monoply. You buy property, increase the value of the property, get Chance type cards, and piss off your opponent whenver they hit your space.

You pick from several odd characters such as a kid in a frog suit and a dude with a mullet named Bro. After character selection you will be in a mall (think a giant sized Monoply board) and you roll a pencil with numbers then move to a space. There is a bank that is like the GO! space, whenever you pass it you get cash. Whoever achieves the required amount of money first wins.
The game modes are Free Mode or Story Mode. Story Mode is presented in wonderful Engrish and makes no sense. Story Mode allows you to unlock a few more characters, most notably Santa (mainly because when you are losing it gives you a reason to shout something strange or obscene like "F*ck Your Coffee Shop Santa!") Free Mode is where the game truly shines however.
In Free Mode you play multiplayer. You can have up to eight people or computer controlled bots play. The game is really entertaining when you are trying to reach the target amount and you or your opponent hits the bank with points. Points are obtained randomly throughout the game. Points allow you to do fun stuff to your friend like shut down one of their stores, bankrupt them, or even win the game if you save enough of them. This makes the game have more devious ( and fun) strategy over Monoply.
Top Shop has some problems: the music is pretty bad, some games take waaaaay too long to win, and the graphics are, alright it looks like a freaking NES game. The problems are not too big, and they shouldn't stop you from giving it a try. A sequel was never produced for this game, which is really too bad. I am sure with better marketing this game could have been a popular series.

Random Trivia:
  • In Japan this game was released under the Super Lite label as Tenant Wars Alpha
  • Tenant Wars initially saw release on the Japanese Sega Saturn console; but one year later was ported to the PSX with the Alpha moniker added to the title
  • The US version features fictional stores; but in the Japanese versions of the game players open actual businesses like Denny's and Lotteria

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