Dateline :5th November 2011


It is the most explosive night of the year and what better way to relax than whipping out your own brand of fiery fun. RetroBear must burst as many balls as he can and light up that dark night with the many bright colours of Super Pang…..


There is not much I can add to that - what is a pang anyway ?


The great thing about arcade conversions is that every now and again a machine which didn’t collect all that many 20p’s gets licensed for the home computer market, and then gets a stunningly good conversion into the bargain. Being a decent arcade smash doesn’t guarantee a belting home conversion – why for example could the Amiga not produce a full arcade version of Bubble Bobble whereas lesser versions contained extra elements missing from the arcade ?

One such title that passed under the bridge on it’s release was Pang, or Buster Bros as it was originally known in Japan. Created by Capcom and licensed by Ocean in 1990/1, Pang was known and appreciated by few gamers. The good thing though was that Ocean gave it their full treatment and some excellent marketing and as a result had a huge hit on their hands.


Use your gun to pop the bubbles and keep popping till the screen is clear


When the game appeared over on the SNES in 1993 it got the word “Super” slapped in front of it – not because this was a souped-up version of the game but that was just what Nintendo did, making Tennis, Soccer, Castlevania and, errrr, Chase HQ sound special. This didn’t detract from the gaming experience at all and on reflection Super Pang is most definitely worth of it’s name.


The premise is simple : use your gun to pop the bubbles whilst trying to avoid being hit by them and the odd monster that infiltrates the screen. You can collect fruit – it’s always fruit for some reason – and weapons upgrades allowing you to have multiple shots rather than the standard one. Clear the screen of bubbles to move on. You can either play the normal version of the game, moving from continent to continent, and believe me this is very much a challenge in itself, or there is Panic mode (Panic Pang ?) where you simply have to survive as long as you can.


The first thing that strikes you about Super Pang is how cute and colourful the graphics are. They really capture that Japanese essence of the original games. While the sounds aren’t up to much it is the game play which wins through. You simply cannot put it down once you pick it up. Make no mistake it is one heck of a challenge to go through all the levels, and in some cases it is insanely tough and unforgiving. Like all good games though it does reward you for continual play and the feeling of achievement as you progress is terribly pleasing.


Patience shall be rewarded my friends, keep the faith


All in all Super Pang is one game worth seeking out. Mixing puzzle with arcade action you’ll keep playing it until you succeed or end up pulling all your hair it. It’s one of those games where it could go either way.


VERDICT : Bubble bustingly good but leave yourself enough room to throw the control pad when you get frustrated.


NOTES : Super Pang is a very rare breed indeed. Only one copy exists on Amazon and that is a Japanese copy at around £30.00. Ebay isn’t going to save you much either – a boxed copy will set you back around the £20.00 mark, possibly more. The Super Pang Collection, released on PS1 and containing Pang, Super Pang and Mighty Pang is equally as expensive.


UP NEXT : Handheld Heaven or Tiny Screen Torture ? It’s WarioLand II on the Game Boy.