Game Review: Bishi Bashi Special (PS One Classics)

Bishi Bashi Special PS1

Bishi Bashi Special is an arcade mini game compilation that was originally released on September 27th 1998 in Japan and finally making it to English localisation in 2000 for PS1. Upon its release, Bishi Bashi Special was certainly one of my favourite PS1 games as I spent many an hour playing the mini games in simultaneous multiplayer against my dad as many laughs were had. My previous experience of the game meant that I was very happy to see it released as part of the PS One Classics range available across the PS3, PSP and now the PS Vita.

Whereas most of the PS1 games have graphically aged considerably; there are some that have held up quite well and fortunately this is one of them. Bishi Bashi was never particularly about the graphics as it has always kept to a simplified graphical style that does not require much polish, which gave Bishi Bashi a charming retro vibe when I originally played the game and it still retains that quality to this very day. It all works as the mini games are varyingly based upon retro games from yesteryear.

Upon loading you are presented with two options of play: Super Bishi Bashi and Hyper Bishi Bashi. Choosing Super Bishi Bashi provides you with three choices of gameplay in the form of “Endurance Bishi Bashi Marathon Challenge”, “Time Trial” and “Select Game and Bishi Bashi”. The “Endurance Bishi Bashi Marathon Challenge” presents you with the challenge of attempting to last through as many randomly selected mini games as possible in succession without losing your two lives, while the time trial challenges you to reach the goal of the game within the desired period of time and the “Select Game and Bishi Bashi” which allows you to openly pick any of the mini games of your choice. Choosing Hyper Bishi Bashi provides you with three choices of gameplay in the form of “Hyper Mode”, “Crazy Mode” and “Select Game and Bishi Bashi”. Hyper Bishi Bashi presents you with an entirely different collection of mini games, but in the same manner that Super Bishi Bashi presents itself in regards to whether the mini games are randomly selected or chosen from preference.

The controls for the mini games mostly consist of the triangle, O, X and square buttons in correspondence to the appropriate colour displayed on the screen. For example, in the mini game “I Am The Law” you have to shoot the bad guys that are dressed in particular colours by pressing the appropriate button with triangle representing the bad guys dressed in green, O representing red, X representing blue and square representing pink. There are occasions in which the left and right shoulder buttons are involved, which are set by default to the left and right sides of the rear touchpad, although you can fortunately use the directional pad instead of the rear touchpad as demonstrated in the mini game “Type in Letters” were you have to use the equivalent of L1 and L2 to move your selection of letter to the left with R1 and R2 moving your selection to the right and confirming the appropriate letter with the X button. There are a number of mini games that require pure button mashing, such as “Burst the Balloon” and “Shake the Can to Outer Space”.

The humour of this game will make you laugh hysterically and uncontrollably at times. Whether it is the voice over such as “Winner! Player One!” or the mini games themselves; there are truly golden moments of entertainment to be enjoyed here. The “Oh NO! It’s Gonna Explode” mini game features three characters passing a bomb to one another which will explode in twenty presses of the X button with each character taking three presses of the X button before pressing O to pass the bomb; if you are holding the bomb upon the final press of the X button then you lose the game. It isn’t just the premise of a countdown timer to the explosion of the bomb in twenty presses of the X button, but the fast paced frenetic music that adds to the charm of the particular mini game. Another example is the “Uncle Bean” mini game with two Japanese men attempting to open their mouths wide enough and in time to swallow beans with rather funny facial expressions and sounds whether you make the correct button press or not.

The audio adds a lot to Bishi Bashi Special’s character with the music really setting the tone early on from the moment that you enter the main menu to some of the amusing Japanese centric voice over; it really helps to build upon the expansive charm built elsewhere within the game.

Super Bishi Bashi provides three difficulty levels with easy, normal and hard difficulty settings, while Hyper Bishi Bashi contains five difficulty levels with very easy, easy, normal, hard and very hard difficulty settings. The difference between the easy and hard difficulty levels of Super Bishi Bashi were not distinguishable, while the very easy and very hard difficulty levels of Hyper Bishi Bashi is very apparent as I was easily able to beat the A.I. opponent on the “Uncle Bean” mini game on the very easy difficulty as the A.I. will make regular mistakes, whereas I found it almost impossible on the very hard difficulty. The A.I. opponent is good enough on the higher difficulty levels to give you a challenge worthy enough of a human opponent, so don’t think for a second that this game is not worth your purchase due to the lack of multiplayer in the Vita version of the game.

Despite the lack of multiplayer for the Vita version; the 46 mini games provided by Super Bishi Bashi and the 48 mini games provided by Hyper Bishi Bashi are more than enough to keep you endlessly entertained and with by far enough to keep the overall package fresh and not repetitive. I have found Bishi Bashi Special to be endless hours of fun with three of my highlights being “Uncle Bean” in which you have to collect beans, “Perm” is a rhythm based game in which you have to match the beat to perfect the dance moves and increase the size of your character’s afro with the player who possesses the largest afro at the end of the game being the winner and “Pie” were you control a bride running down the aisle as fast as possible to deliver a pie to the face of anyone who she doesn’t like and gets applauded by the attendees of her wedding for long distance throws.

Unfortunately, despite offering all of the simultaneous multiplayer options and game modes; the Vita version does not allow for any variant of multiplayer – not even pass the Vita multiplayer. This reduces the overall package of the game, but only on Vita as the PS3 provides the full multiplayer experience. Hopefully someday, Sony will patch the Vita’s firmware to allow for a work around for multiplayer games, such as pass the Vita gameplay or Cross Play with PS3 or even PSP versions of the game.

The PS3 version of Bishi Bashi Special contains a rather generous full quota of extremely fun multiplayer game modes via the selection of “Bishi Bashi Together” within Super Bishi Bashi and Hyper Bishi Bashi, which both feature every mini game from the single player meaning that rather appreciatively; it has not compromised any of the features, charm or fun factor from other areas of the game and instead replicates the fun of the single player experience with the only difference being your human opponent. Super Bishi Bashi features round robin and tournament modes with anywhere from three to seven rounds and selection methods including random and first come first served with support for two to eight players, while Hyper Bishi Bashi features an additional roulette selection method for “Bishi Bashi Together” alongside the “Bishi Bashi With Two” multiplayer mode.

Overall, the humour of the game excels it upon all other mini game compilations as it is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. If you only own a PlayStation Vita, then the Vita version loses a point for not providing an opportunity to experience the fun of the chaotic simultaneous multiplayer, although the single player will keep you coming back for more and is an excellent handheld romp for your otherwise dull train or bus journey. However, if you have a PS3 then I would give Bishi Bashi Special full marks as the PS3 version allows you to experience the multiplayer in all its glory. Whether you are a Vita owner, a PS3 owner, a PSP owner or any combination of the three it is easy to recommend Bishi Bashi Special, especially at its affordable price of just £3.99! This is a must buy PS One Classic for anyone that enjoys mini game compilations. Bishi Bashi Special is just that… Special!

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: Bishi Bashi Special
  • Publisher: Konami
  • System: PS One Classics
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: No
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 132Mb

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About Simon Plumbe 1056 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee:

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