Gals Panic! (1990) By:Kaneko Genre:Puzzle Players:1-2 Difficulty:Medium Featured Version:Arcade First Day Score: 38,000 (one credit) Also Available For:Nothing
The more I look into these so-called 'adult games', the more I discover the same old formula. Take a liked, well-known, simple title, copy it, and add some naked (or at least scantily-clad) girlies while doing so. It's not a very complicated process and neither are the games that generally result from such unions. Arriving courtesy of the reasonably-prolific Japanese arcade outfit, Kaneko, this effort graced a small number of the world's arcades at the start of the 90's and followed a similar trend. The game on which it's based is Taito's classic 'space-filling' puzzler, Qix, and that means that, unless executed with exceptional incompetence, it should at least be a pretty darn addictive game!
For the benefit of those who've never played Taito's game, it consists of a series of single-screen stages which require you to fill-in a set percentage of the playfield by 'drawing' shapes over it (at least 80% in the case of this game). To do this you need to move your marker thing which can move around the outer edge of the screen. Pressing the fire button allows you to move into the screen with the objective of 'fencing off' as much of it as you can. However, if any of the annoying enemies that inhabit this area touch your line as you're drawing it, you'll lose a life. Reconnecting with the outer edge of the playfield without this happening, however, will then fill-in the area in question.
Like most adult games I've covered so far, the gameplay here differs little from the game on which it's based and, also like those other games, the main difference is the background graphics on each stage which, believe it or not, feature one of six saucy girlies from whom you can choose before play (no pun intended). There are three stages for each girl and at the start of each your chosen vixen is silhouetted and is uncovered only by drawing over the area she occupies. On the first stage she will be mostly fully clothed (though still positioned provocatively), on the second down to her underwear, and on the third... harumph, I reel with inchoate shock at such brazen titillation!
Indeed, if you're talented (or pervy) enough, not only will you get to see them in their birthday suits in the pixelly manner shown in the shots here but afterwards you'll be treated to a digitised photo of the real girl! It's not always easy to get that far though. Each of the three stages for each girl features a different enemy and they're all pretty tough. The first is a large spider which produces numerous smaller versions of itself while also spinning large webs which slow down your marker thing, the second is a whirly, fiery thing which creates lots of smaller flames, and the third is a big spinning triangle which releases lots of smaller (and slightly less terrifying) geometric shapes.
The main enemies get smaller as you fill in more space but they still create the smaller thingies which makes the going pretty tricky, as do the block obstacles that you have to move around, and if you hang around for too long or fill in too much 'uninteresting' parts of the screen, the game will switch the girl for something rather less appealing such as the giant blue bear pictured above or even worse! It's not as frustrating as some other examples I've played before though (Lynx version of Qix - grrrrr!), and that could be down to the colourful and surprisingly varied graphics and decent sound effects (including inappropriate moans from the girls as you uncover their 'parts'!) which help make it a rather pleasant experience, despite the questionable content. So, against all the odds, Gals Panic is actually a perfectly decent Qix clone which has surprisingly proven to be not only well known but also rather popular (there are multiple sequels with some even appearing on the Saturn and PlayStation). The girls add little to it but it's a well made, typically addictive, and enjoyable game. It's perhaps even the best Qix clone around.