Rabbit Punch

-V-System/Bally Midway (1987)


The Story:

The Lepus constellation can be found just below Orion. It is said that Lepus was placed there so Orion could hunt it. Among the stars of Lepus lies a planet that contains an abundance of the furry species. The rabbit is considered a sacred animal among the people here. The rabbit has been made into many forms such as statues, costumes, toys, cars, and space ships. During a joyous celebration on Rabbit Day, a day where the people celebrate the rabbit, an enormous space craft appeared overhead. From this craft spewed evil space demons and robots. They terrorized the kingdom of Lepus and kidnapped the king and the princess. Not only that, but the space demons stole all of the carrots, the divine food of the rabbits. It is now up to the two protectors of the planet, the Space Lepus, to teach these cyber-ized demons a lesson in kindness.

My Thoughts:

In a game where you fly rabbit space ships you expect fusillades of cuteness coming at you from all angles. While there are a bunch of cute things in Rabbit Punch, most of it is not. This is a game about shooting robots and demons. There is nothing cute about the robots you shoot. The demons are a little on the cuter side of demonology, but are still quite fiendish. At least the ship dies in a cute way.

The game is called Rabbit Punch because of the ships’ ability to throw a punch with a big boxing glove. The downside is that you need to get close to the enemies to punch them. There is a normal shot energy weapon and missiles that are collected from rotating carrot containers. If you collect the the super missile the rabbit gets to wear a pretty yellow bow. Other things to collect are sacks of money and limited invincibility. The regular enemies mostly consist of shapes, a few small space craft, and disturbing disembodied heads. The graphics are pretty good. There is some nice detail in the robot enemies and everything is colorful. The music is upbeat and happy, but no so much where it gets on your nerves.

The game is divided into three main sections; ship, asteroid, and planet. The big space ship keeps a robot boss theme going with robo-bulls, mech suits, robo-cheetahs and some weird generator with a statuesque humanoid trying to get out. After the ship is cleared its on to an asteroid base filled with demons, an Arab, and some strange bed sheet ghost. When the base is destroyed and the king is saved its on to the planet to save the princess in the kingdom you flew away from at the beginning of the game. There are a couple bosses that have no place in this game. I’m fine with robots and demons in the same game because I've played a lot of Doom. As such, most of the bosses are robots and demons. But what do the Arab and dragon bosses have to do with this carrot-snatching plan? Are Arabs really evil killing robots? Are majestic dragons actually mighty demons? In one of the backgrounds is the picture of an angel. Was the asteroid base used for religious practices before the demon assault? And if so are we then witnessing the apocalypse of the Lepus? The mysteries of the universe may never be answered.

The game is a bit on the easy side until you start the planet-based stages. Here the game goes from easy to almost impossibly hard. You no longer get to continue from where you left off and if you die, that’s it. Your continue will put you back at the start of the first stage of the planet missions, even if you’re on the third stage on the planet you’ll have to start the planet completely over. That also means you have only three lives to clear the final four missions. If the difficulty of the rest of the game stayed the same, this wouldn’t be as tough. But, of course, the final stages are filled with more enemy fire and obstacles than the earlier ones.

Rabbit Punch was turning out to be a decent shooter until the final stages. My recommendation is to play the first two sections of the game and forget the rest. You will only be continually infuriated if you try to beat the planet stages.

Score: 6.0