|Looks a bit like a 'Stealth Super NES/Famicom' - sweet!|
It was around so briefly, in fact, that only 12 games were ever released for it. These included a few RPG's, a couple of puzzle and sports games, platformers, a fighting game, a Bomberman clone, and of course, a mahjong game. Owing to the short-lived nature of the system as well as its meagre selection of games, however, everything to bear the Super A'Can name is now rare and therefore rather expensive.
The obscurity of the system as well as its 68000-ish nature meant I was more than a little intrigued by it and eager to discover more, but, due to its expense, I won't pretend this feature comes after actually using the system 'in the flesh' so to speak. I therefore had to rely on emulation, and it's here I ran into problems - for some reason, it seems to be rather difficult to emulate. Few games are anywhere near authentic (none have sound, for example) and some don't work at all, so here is as best an 'exploration' as I'm able to offer for this unusual system (for now).
Yīnsù Fēilóng (a.k.a. Speedy Dragon) (1995)
Bào Bào Dòngwùyuán (a.k.a. Boom Zoo) (1996)
Sānguózhì Wǔjiàng Zhēngbà (a.k.a. Sango Fighter) (1995)
Xī Yóujì (a.k.a. Journey to the Laugh) (1995)
SonSon and, like that knuckle-dragger, is the hero of his own platform game. Lord only knows what the back-story to his adventure is but it's a pretty standard (for 68000 days) offering. There are some tricky jumps right from the off, too, and the game soon reveals itself to be unusually tough for a cutesy animal-based example. As well as the jumps and traps, our hero's attacks (initially a Blanka-style electrocution thing, then a stick) are very short-range and result in much lost energy, particularly as the collision-detection doesn't seem great either. Oh well, the graphics are really nice anyway, featuring nice sprites and superb backgrounds, and progress is assisted by the many treasure chests that are dotted around the landscape with more energy and other items, and I did end up getting through a few stages of scrolling action. Despite its difficulty I still enjoyed this more than Speedy Dragon too.
And The Rest...
To be honest, it’s really hard to know what to make of the Super A'Can. As a 68000-powered beast it's already at least potentially awesome, and its graphical abilities seem... well, pretty good, though not as impressive as the MegaDrive's (also 68000-powered), so if it were a globally released and supported system it might've possibly had a fair chance of success (although it's not easy to even gauge its abilities with no top development teams working on software for it). It's not the system's technical abilities that vex me, however. My confusion mainly stems from an inability to work out precisely what Funtech were trying to achieve with their console.
At that time, any newcomer to the console market was going to have a very tough time breaking in, with Sega and Nintendo dominating and NEC maintaining a decent presence in Japan (as well as with fans worldwide who enthusiastically imported all the latest releases), with the 3DO and Atari's Jaguar also toiling away, and a little company called Sony were just launching their first console as well. What hope did a little Taiwanese company have, especially when they weren't launching their system anywhere but Taiwan, and didn't have a single recognised developer on board?
The answer to that didn't require too much thought - they had no hope at all, of making their console a success. That's assuming it was even their goal to challenge the higher powers of course, but I can't think why a company would spend lord knows how much money developing and releasing something without wanting it to succeed. Well, it didn't anyway, which really isn't surprising, and it left behind only an obscure curio to be toyed with and puzzled over by us bewildered oafs over the coming years. Give it a try by all means, as I did, but don't expect too much.
Gameplay Video: Check out this video (not made by me - credit to original YouTube uploader) which shows, in what I hope is a purposely ironic title, the 10 games that 'defined the Super A'Can'. In other words, almost all of the games that were released for it!