Baku Baku Animal
|a game by||Sega AM3 R&D Division|
|Platforms:||PC, Arcade, Sega Master System, Saturn, GameGear|
|User Rating:||8.5/10 - 4 votes|
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|See also:||Relaxing Games|
I Have Nightmares About This Sort of thing - you know, giant animals materialising out of my computer and eating everything in sight. My psychiatrist told me to avoid spicy food, but he failed to mention that I should also avoid playing games where giant animals spring out of nowhere and eat food. Boy, am I gonna be in therapy for a loooong time.
Baku Baku, originally a Sega game developed by the team that brought us Sega Rally, now converted for the pc, is a superb but subtle twist on Tetris (which I still play on a regular basis). Instead of having to arrange different shaped blocks in mystical patterns as they fall earthward so that they disappear, you have to match a range of animals with their respective food stuffs. For those of you that need a quick zoology refresher: pandas eat bamboo, monkeys eat bananas, dogs eat bones and rabbits eat carrots - if only ecology was this simple the world would be a happier place. For an added fun element the dogs should really eat the rabbits as well, but the programmers seem to have left that out. Shame.
Elementary play is simple: you have to land an animal on or next to its food, the animal then spookily becomes 3d and eats the food. If you're lucky enough to have more than one of the same food items next to each other the animal will eat that too - and they never seem to lose their appetite. You can also land the food on the animals, but this depends on your own moral judgement. (I don't suppose the rspca will get too upset.)
Unlike the original Tetris there's an added obstacle in your way - Baku Baku is a race against another opponent, and if you're past the age when your mates will play puerile games with you, don't worry because the computer makes a perfect second player. The idea now is to eat the food and avoid it piling up to the top of the screen before your opponent. This is where tactics come in; if you can start a chain reaction of mass mastication it's possible to cause your opponent real problems.
Picture this: you drop a bone next to a dog, the dog eats it, and in doing so allows a rabbit to fall on to a whole bunch of carrots, which, naturally, it devours. This might leave space for a monkey to get at the bananas -and while all this is going on, your opponent is having awful trouble with the blocks that seem to mysteriously appear on his side; these are, of course, the ones your animals have just eaten.
It may be simple by today's standards, it may not tickle the fancy of the Doom generation, but it's got a kicking soundtrack, it's more addictive than cocaine and it's the best argument for having Windows 95 I've seen.