While sometimes confused or mistakenly lumped in with the Parodius series of shooters, the TwinBee series is really an entity all its own. What separates it from the Parodius games is the fact that it's more "cute" than "zany" and it's a vertical-style shooter instead of the horizontal-style Parodius series. But much like the Parodius releases the TwinBee series has a large cult following among the gaming community and for good reason. They're some of the best and most playable vertical shooters available. Konami has taken five of the best TwinBee games and put them together in yet another outstanding shooter collection. But is this a game that's worth importing?
The high degree of quality that Konami used in putting these shooter packages together is greatly applaudable. Everything from the menus to the ability to play all of the music tracks from the games really adds to the already high value of the collection. Let's face it, five great vertical shooters on one UMD disc is nice enough, but adding in a music playing feature to the package that the fans will love is even better. But how do the games stack up individually? Read on.
TwinBee (1985) - This is where it all began for TwinBee. As you'd expect, since the game was released in 1985, the graphics aren't that great. And this is the only game in the package that doesn't look great when zoomed to fit the PSP's widescreen LCD. All of the other games look great zoomed in or at their original resolution, but not TwinBee. It just makes everything look stretched and blocky. The music in TwinBee is cute and happy but doesn't have quite the variety that the music in the later releases has. The game is fairly challenging, but it's just hard for a game this old to compete with some of the later TwinBee releases. A fun shooter but still the weakest game in the collection. (RATING: 7/10)
TwinBee Da! (1990) - TwinBee Da! was originally released on the monochrome Gameboy system, but fear not, Konami hasn't left the game in black & white. This is a complete remake of the original Gameboy version and features some of the best visuals in this package. Beautiful use of pastel colors and an attention to detail in the surrounding areas that's impressive to say the least. When Konami put a fresh coat of paint on this classic they didn't hold back. The music in the game is also remixed and sounds fantastic. This was a fantastic game even in its original Gameboy form so I don't need to tell you how taking an already great game and updating it musically and visually really made this game shine even brighter. This is one of the best TwinBee games in the package and has commanded the majority of my playing time so far. (RATING: 9/10)
Detana TwinBee (1991) - Here's another great TwinBee game. Detana TwinBee sports longer levels and slightly tougher bosses, at least later on in the game. Visually this game is quite good for a 1991 release and manages to throw quite a bit at you without any slowdown. The bosses in this game are among the best the series has to offer as well. Of all the TwinBee soundtracks this one seems to be the one I like the most. It's very happy and upbeat and carries the cute and silly premise of the game perfectly. This game, like the others, allows you to set the screen to display vertically in which you can turn your PSP vertically and play the game in it's original vertical aspect ratio. While this is a nice novelty, it's not very comfortable on the hands during long playing sessions. The game looks great stretched to fit the widescreen or you can still play it in its original resolution with little difficulty seeing the action onscreen. Another great TwinBee game. (RATING: 8/10)
Pop'n TwinBee (1993) - One of the best looking TwinBee games in this package, this game has no trouble looking sharp even zoomed to fit the widescreen of the PSP. It's also one of the most playable of the releases in this collection with the ability to upgrade your firepower. I've loved this game for a long time and it was the initial reason I bought this package, although it turned out to be my second favorite game in the collection after all. This game has seen releases on many systems over the years and for good reason. It's one of the best vertical shooters out there and a true gem in the TwinBee series. Musically the game is just outstanding, and the tunes just get better and better as you progress into the game. While Pop'n TwinBee might be the second best game in this collection, it's not far behind #1. (RATING: 9/10)
TwinBee Yahho (1995) - Now here's the best game in this package. Graphically, musically, and game play-wise this is the pinnacle of the TwinBee series. I had never gotten the chance to play this game before I purchased this package and what a treat I was in for when I got to this game. The pastel-colored visuals in this game are superb and really make the game jump off the screen. As if that weren't enough, the bosses in this game are the best the series has seen so far. The challenge is also just about right in TwinBee Yahho as it starts off pretty tame and gradually increases as you get further into the game. Of all the TwinBee games in this collection it's this one that really seems to shine on the PSP screen. As I said, it was a close call between this game and Pop'n TwinBee but I have to give the nod to this one because it's just a little better in most areas. TwinBee Yahho is worth the price of this package alone and the fact that all the other games are good is just a nice bonus. Outstanding! (RATING: 10/10)
When you read about companies putting together collections of classic games you don't normally associate high-quality with them but Konami has pulled out all the stops with these shooter collections. The TwinBee games have long had a loyal following and this game is a real gift for anyone that loves this series of shooters. Konami did such a fantastic job with all three shooter packages and this one's no different. Obviously the visual quality isn't quite as good as the other two packages, but that's to be understood given that these are vertically-scrolling games with a vertical aspect ratio in most cases. They still look outstanding and no TwinBee fan should be without this collection of gems. (OVERALL RATING: 9/10)