Pop Flamer

 

PopFlamer

There’s a whole lot of awesome happening on this cover.

 

PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating

PUBLISHER: Sega

DEVELOPER: Sega (SG-1000); Jaleco (Arcade)

GENRE: Arcade

RELEASE DATE: 1983

 

Pop Flamer is about a mouse that happens to be named Pop Flamer. He pops balloons to progress to the next level. He charbroils his enemies – frogs, dragons, and Muppet rejects – with a flamethrower. When he drinks from serums located at both the top and bottom of the stage, he becomes Super Mouse (not Super Flamer?) and crushes his enemies simply by touching them. Pop Flamer the mouse is a badass. The premise of Pop Flamer the game is badass. Who wouldn’t be hyped to play a flame thrower-wielding mouse, presumably out for revenge and all the balloons he can pop?

 

Pop Flamer (Japan, Europe)001

Lincoln Log-surroundings or not, Pop Flamer is abnormally tough.

 

Unfortunately, Pop Flamer‘s fantastic, 80s-riffic premise is undermined by stiff controls and overbearing difficulty. The enemies are stupid, aggressive, and outnumber you four to one. Yes, you have a flamethrower, but your maneuverability is limited, thanks to cramped stage layouts and overabundance of enemies.

Should you set the creatures ablaze (it’s a little disturbing to watch a smiling frog go up in flames), they immediately regenerate from a door in the middle of the level, leaving you little resting time. After a few creature bonfires, your flamethrower’s reach will shorten. Pop balloons to refill the flamethrower, but don’t be surprised if some balloons don’t pop, even as you walk over them.

After several playthroughs, I noticed that it was best to approach and pop each balloon from a different angle, though I never understood why. Drinking the serum to turn into Super Mouse was a pointless endeavor, as well. Even if you place Pop next to the serum and press buttons like mad, he won’t drink at all. Despite my best efforts (the serum has a straw coming out of it, for crying out loud!), I never saw Pop turn into Super Mouse. This led me to believe that Super Mouse, like Pop Flamer itself, was an unrepentant sham.

 

Pop Flamer (Japan, Europe)000

You get busy flaming or you get busy being flamed.

 

Pop Flamer had two responsibilities: turn a mouse into an 80s action hero and be a serviceable arcade game. Challenging objectives, to be sure, and the SG-1000 version of the game failed at both. Whether the game’s arcade counterpart (developed by Jaleco, not Sega) achieved these goals, I can’t say, as I was unable to play a version that worked on my computer. Nevertheless, if SG-1000 Pop Flamer proves anything, it’s that badass ideas don’t always translate into badass gameplay.

D+

Play Pop Flamer

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6 thoughts on “Pop Flamer

  1. I was kinda hoping this was going to be one of the better titles, but alas no. So far only two good SG-1000 titles in Star Jacker and Monaco GP. Hopefully Sega Galaga will increase the good game ratio.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Odd that you couldn’t get the arcade version running. Do you have an android device? Seems to run fine on mame4droid. I have the opposite problem, can’t get the sg-1000 port running on my Sega emus.

    Apparently you have to stand next to the serum until it’s completely empty. No need to press buttons and you don’t have to finish the serum all at once. Your mouse then sucks in all the enemies on-screen, turns red, and becomes faster and invincible for a short time. I became too bored to get deeper into the gameplay…

    Like

    • Never mind, got this port up and running. You’re right about the balloons not always popping when you touch them, obviously some kind of glitch.

      The layout of the level is drastically different than the arcade version and the enemies seem faster and more relentless. Drinking the serum works the same way…

      Like

  3. Pingback: Hustle Chumy | Sega Does

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