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Pensky Plays: Pocky & Rocky (SNES) [Episode 1]

I lost yet another Spelunky Daily Challenge to the overwhelming talents of YKYMrFalcon and KeiruKeiru.

As such I’ve been forced to Play “Pocky & Rocky”. From Wikipedia:

Pocky & Rocky, known in Japan as KiKi KaiKai: Nazo no Kuro Manto (奇々怪界~謎の黒マント?, “Mysterious Ghost World: The Riddle of the Black Mantle”), is an arcade-style scrolling shooter video game with an anime graphical style. Licensed by Taito to Natsume, who developed and published the game for release in Japan in 1992 and the rest of the world in 1993, it is the sequel to the 1986 arcade game KiKi KaiKai (unofficially released in North America as Knight Boy).

Pocky & Rocky is a scrolling shooter type of video game that takes place from a top-down perspective. In a Single-player game the player can choose to control either Pocky or Rocky. In a two-player game both characters are on the screen at the same time. The screen can move either horizontally or vertically and the player-controlled characters can move in eight directions.
Pocky can use her ofudas (throwing cards in the English release) to attack enemies from afar, or Harai wand (magic stick in the English release), to hit enemies close up. Likewise, Rocky can throw leaves across the screen or quickly turn his backside towards the enemy and swing his tail from side to side. Both characters can also slide across the ground, covering an area quickly. If a player bumps into the other while sliding (in a two-player game), it will cause the other player to spin out of control across the screen, damaging any enemies they come in contact with. A limited-use special attack, called “bomb” in the English language release, can be used to hit several or all the enemies present on the screen.
Although Pocky and Rocky are the same gameplay-wise, there are some differences between the characters. First of all, Pocky moves slightly faster than Rocky does. Secondly, Pocky’s slide attack makes her slide faster than Rocky can, but Rocky’s slide attack makes him slide further. Thirdly, Pocky’s bomb attack is more powerful than Rocky’s, although Rocky’s bombs cover a wider area. Finally, Pocky can perform a spinning attack that can hit any enemy around her, while Rocky is able to transform into a statue, rendering him invulnerable to all attacks for a short time but leaving him immobile.
Various power-ups can be acquired that will increase the effectiveness of either Pocky or Rocky’s attacks, such as making their projectiles larger or giving them the ability to throw multiple ones at once. Others include a shield that absorbs a certain number of enemy attacks, and a power-up that replenishes hit points, giving Pocky and Rocky more endurance. A floating being called “Help man” is hidden in each level and will drop some of the power-ups when found.
At the end of each of the six levels is a boss and defeating it triggers a cutscene that helps move the story forward. These scenes, though present in the Japanese and North American versions of the game, were omitted for the PAL region releases. An overview map helps the player keep track of progress when changing level. Unlimited continues allows the player(s) to restart at the beginning of the level.

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