Japan: January 6, 2000
Jump Pack compatible
Some of you may have heard of Columns. If you're a collector, you might even have it. It was released for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive in 1990. 10 years later, a sequel is released. It's not an ordinary sequel. It has a Hanagumi Taisen (Sakura Wars) theme to it. And, of course, it's in Japanese. Fortunately, it doesn't affect the game since, well, it's a Columns game. But it's a little frustrating in the menus. But, I'm going to put that aside and speak about the gameplay itself.
Hanagumi Taisen Columns II is a mediocre game. It features the same style as the original Columns, but unfortunately they decided to add new elements to it. Sometimes that's a good thing. In this case it's a bad thing. They added the option to play as different characters, you can use special attacks on your opponent and there's a story mode. All of this was featured in the first Hanagumi Taisen Columns. It's just so unnecessary to add these things into a Columns game. What I love about the original Columns is that you could pick it up and play at any time. No story mode, no characters and no special attacks. Columns isn't supposed to be an RPG. I feel like they wanted to bring in some more cash so they released a game that is based on Hanagumi Taisen. And Hanagumi Taisen was huge back then in Japan. That pretty much explains why it was only released in Japan. It does feature some hentai which makes the game a little better.
As I said before, it features a story mode. The difference between the arcade mode and the story mode is that you get to see some ”cutscenes” after each round. If you're a Hanagumi Taisen fan you'll probably know the story already.
What can I say about the graphics in this kind of game? They're certainly better than the original Columns. The blocks look a lot better, which they should. The background art during the rounds look great. Here's where you see the hentai. Makes you forget about the game too...
Jokes aside, the graphics aren't impressive. I understand that there's not much you can do in a 2D puzzle game. But they could've used their imagination. Add some cool graphics instead of the story mode.
The music is actually really good! They probably put a lot of effort to it, considering the rest of the game. Although, the Japanese voices kind of ruin it for me. But, still, the music is great!
If you're fan of Hanagumi Taisen you'll most certainly be able to play it. If you can speak Japanese, even better! But if you don't know about Hanagumi Taisen, or Japanese for that matter, you won't enjoy this. If you've got nothing, I mean nothing, else to do. Pick this up. Well, pick it up if you don't have any games at all.