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Bucky O’Hare and Gunstar Heroes – From Konami to Treasure / MY LIFE IN GAMING

October 12, 2019


In the early 1990s, a rag tag team lead by
a programmer named Masato Maegawa left Konami to create one of my favorite developers of
all time, Treasure. They burst onto the scene with Gunstar Heroes
on the Sega Genesis in ‘93, and continued to give us amazing games over the years like
Sin and Punishment and Gradius 5. In the years before, however, Maegawa was
deeply entrenched in NES and Game Boy development at Konami. After taking various roles working on titles
like Rollergames and Castlevania The Adventure, he took the lead on a killer NES game based
on a little known cartoon called Bucky O’Hare, which would end up being his final game with
Konami calling the shots. [ INTRO ] [ BUCKY O’HARE THEME ] I’ll be the first to admit that I never
watched Bucky O’Hare when it was on TV. It ran for something like 13 episodes in 1991
– so needless to say, it arrived with little fanfare and disappeared shortly after. Especially when compared to other similarly
themed TV shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which showed some serious staying
power. During this time period, Konami was on a roll,
snapping up just about any animated property they could get their hands on and making games
based on them. If you were a kid at this time, I’m sure
you were familiar with their multiplayer arcade beat em ups like The Simpsons and the previously
mentioned Ninja Turtles. Bucky O’Hare was also lumped in as part
of this group, though I never came across a cabinet in person until recently. Now when there was a huge gulf between the
power of an arcade game and the power of an 8 bit console, it wasn’t uncommon for a
game to be changed completely when ported. And thus, Bucky O’hare become a run and
gun with serious platforming, character changing and special abilities… not to mention a
unique challenge for even the best players. The game opens up with a cut scene of Bucky’s
space ship being attacked by their sworn enemy, the Toads. Four members of his crew are kidnapped and
taken to separate planets, and it’s up to Bucky to rescue them. So right off the bat, you’re faced with
a Mega Man style level select where you can choose between Green, Red, Blue and Yellow
planets. Obviously, you can probably guess what kinds
of challenges await you on these planets based on just their colors. Each of these levels has a number of acts
which present a fairly standard variety of enemies, but really, those are the least of
your concerns. You can grab power ups that will increase
your health bar, but most times that hardly matters since each level has an absolutely
massive amount of things that will kill you with one hit. Seriously, you are gonna die like crazy in
this game. Like…a comical amount of times. Thankfully they give you unlimited continues
which makes the ride a little easier and keeps you from going insane, but in my opinion this
one is right up there with the hardest of the hard on the NES. I was continually decimated before I realized
what was even happening. Of course repetition is key, but damn this
game really made me feel like I was awful at video games. [ GAME AUDIO ] Finishing each planet gives you access to
another character with their own unique weapon and special ability. LIke, Blinky can destroy ice and stone blocks,
Deadeye has a 3 way shot and can climb walls, Jenny has a weird controllable ball of electricity
and Willy has a charge shot. After I finished up those first four levels
I thought I was nearing the end. But in reality, i wasn’t even close. There’s another four levels that will make
you use everything you’ve learned, and every character in your arsenal. I was very surprised to find that this is
quite the lengthy game…thankfully it has a password feature because I can’t imagine
doing this in one sitting. Treasure are masters of innovative gameplay,
and you can definitely see the beginnings of that here. It just FEELS like a Treasure game. For instance, during the final level, the
game becomes a full on side scrolling shoot em up. Each act presents its own unique challenge. You’re certainly not going to be bored here. [ GAME AUDIO ] From their very beginnings, Treasure has excelled
at pushing the limits of the hardware their games are on and Bucky O’hare is no different
in the way it tests the limit of what the NES is capable of. There’s some nice colorful graphics and
parallax scrolling throughout. I mean, it’s not the nicest looking game to
grace the NES, but it’s gotta be up there. During the 8 bit era, if you saw a Konami
logo on a box, you had a pretty good idea that the music was gonna be fairly good. So I guess it goes without saying that the
soundtrack here is also excellent. [ GAME AUDIO ] These days, Bucky O’hare is one of the most
sought after NES games, fetching a fairly high price wherever you may stumble upon it. It’s fairly well known among the NES hardcore
and has shown up on numerous hidden gems lists. So, is it worth that price? Well, probably – it’s a cool piece of history
especially if you’re a big a fan of Treasure’s games. For me, I love what the game signifies. Whatever happened during the development of
this game must be what lead Masato Maegawa to leave Konami, bringing with him an amazing
team that would make up one of the best developers out there. Can you imagine a world without Ikaruga?

27 Comments

  • Reply N64 Glenn Plant September 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I love treasure. Their 3 n64 games are 3 of the best on the system! Loved this episode

  • Reply RarefoilB September 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Wait, Bucky O 'Hare's expensive and rare? Since it was Cygnus Destroyer's favorite game of all time, I just kinda assumed it was common and cheap. That'll teach me to shut up.

  • Reply Mellow Gaming September 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    The series was one of my favourites as a kid. Was really quite popular in the UK I believe. Quite a few friends I have now love it too. I had every issue of the comic that was released in the UK to go alongside it somewhere. Such a great show for the time it ran.

    This game looks hard as nails. I remember seeing things about it before but never realised it was such a rare title now. Really feel the need to get it.

  • Reply Christopher September 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    The current pricing for this game hurts my head. I bought this game a year and a half ago from a reseller for $15 loose.

    How in the hell has this game. In a year and a half ago jumped from $15 to $70+?

    This is why I don't have little Samson. I am not dropping $700+ on a lose copy

  • Reply theimporter September 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    You should try Monster in my Pocket, another great Konami game from the past (need to mention this because today's Konami kinda of sucks)

  • Reply Enigma//UnboxedTV September 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I LOVE Sin & Punishment, I even have a Physical N64 copy of the game. I would love to see these guys make a Kid Icarus sequel

  • Reply Zero Counts September 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    A world without Ikaruga? Deep stuff, man..

  • Reply Kid*Apoc September 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    What he says at the end makes me think of what the future will be for Hideo Kojima.

  • Reply Zebbe September 16, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I also love Treasure and their gimmicky gameplay. Alien Soldier, Gradius V – just wow!

  • Reply Rick V. September 16, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    It is very funny that there is a video game to Roller Games. A show that I don't think lasted three weeks. I love the game.
    And of course, I love your videos and love your new abrupt endings.

  • Reply Jeffrey Wittenhagen September 16, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    I like the before and after series. Awesome!

  • Reply reclusivebear September 19, 2015 at 8:41 am

    i can't believe how much this game has gone up in price over the years. i bought a boxed copy for £8 a few years back, just looked on ebay and it's apparently now worth between £70-110. insane!

  • Reply Christmas Ape September 20, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Bucky O'Hare! From Larry Hama! The dude that pretty made G.I. Joe as we know it!

  • Reply Last Gamer November 27, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Great video 🙂 just a note , Masato Maegaw did help make nemesis 90 Kia and gradius 2 on the x68000 before leaving konami. That's what I've been told from a friend who use to work in konami 20 years ago

  • Reply MissPlayAndWatch December 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I wasn't aware that the NES Rollergames had such a pedigree. It's actually a genuinely good game once you get past the slippery-ness of being in rollerblades the whole game. I think it's still fairly cheap nowadays too.

  • Reply stringanime May 3, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    subbing due to this video. Really like TREASURE and obscure or old games

  • Reply -SG6000- June 23, 2016 at 3:08 am

    More Treasure game showcases please! They're the reason I got back into gaming after a long hiatus as a teen. Dreams of fighting Seven Force reawakened the passion and luckily it happened so long ago that it was cheap and easy finding most of their output. Ikaruga, Sin and Punishment, Guardian & Gunstar Heroes, Bangaioh, Alien Soldier..the list of ultimate (and misunderstood) gaming classics is huge. Pity that – like with so many devs – adapting to the demands and realities of the HD gaming environment pretty much killed the creativity off. Still, nothing can touch their first 10 years. Gods of gaming bar none.

  • Reply Camous September 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Back in the day, when it came to developers, in particular in the west, if they were very technically gifted their games would usually be pretty bad in terms of game design. It was like they were wizards at coding, but had no clue when it came to making a game fun. Treasure masterfully mastered both aspects.

  • Reply pmcollectorboy December 31, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Guardian Heroes for me.

  • Reply PraiseTheAlmightyGod March 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I LOVE Alien Soldier, one of the finest damn games I have ever had the privilege of owning.

  • Reply Curt Immerfall August 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    You guys should do a documentary on Treasure!

  • Reply TheShibbybear March 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Just like developers Konami and Treasure, My Life in Gaming is a channel which produces such quality content, that it can choose to watch a video without having to be familiar with the subject matter, knowing I will be greeted with high quality content every time. You guys deserve more subscribers!

  • Reply Fidel Castrosolis May 3, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Bucky ohare is for what system?

  • Reply Kevin Simplecom May 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Treasure really dislikes SONY

  • Reply Bloodreign1 September 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I paid $17 for this a few years ago locally, the guy gave me a pretty good deal for it. He had accidentally bought it home from his shop for his roommate to play, and he knew I wanted him to hold on to it for me. Well he didn't raise the price, brought it back to the store, called me, and my ex-girlfriend brought me over to buy it. Shortly after I did, the games value exploded. I am thankful to have my cart only copy in my collection, pretty satisfied to have it.

  • Reply emanuel arriaza October 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Omg i play the arcade with a group of kids so cool had 5 players crazy

  • Reply Mai Kim Dang November 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Treasure are awesome

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