View Full Version : Rez style game, circa 1987

12-02-2004, 11:36 AM
Title: Otocky
Released: 27/03/87
Initial price: 3500 Yen
Developer: ASCII
System: Japanese Famicom Disc System
Media: Really awful Nintendo made floppy discs

Recently looking through a Famicom almanac, I came across a description of a game, that to me at least, sounded vagually similar to music based shooter so many love:

The game was an ambitious game that aimed at combining videogames and organic composition.This shooting game took the style of horizontal scroll, and you could alter the sound according to the direction you shot the bullets, and you could improvise while playing with. It was a game between media art and videogames.

So I set about tracking down said game, to evaluate it for myself.

Anyway, finally got round to testing it today, and its strangeness is only matched by the difficulty of getting it to run, since it comes on a double sided floppy disc, and the Disc Drive is notorious to get running properly.

Put machine on.
Nothing happens.
Replace batteries, make sure drive belt isnt broken, ensure all is connected.
Try again.
"Please set disk"
Put floppy disc in, side A.
Wait a while as game loads
"Insert Disc side B"
Eject disc, insert side B
Wait as game loads

Finally the game starts up, you name your file, and start. There are 3 modes, game mode, B.G music mode, and music maker. Only the game mode is available.

The game uses the D-Pad and A/B buttons on the famicom controller.
Its a side scrolling shooter, with a surreal cuboid landscap below.

You can move your ship in 8 compass directions, and you fire your "music ball" with the A button. Once you colect a power up, you can fire normal bullets with B, that spread out, kinda like a safety button. It destroys most enemies on screen.

Basic premise is to fly to the right, and shoot your music ball at passing musical notes, collecting them. And to collide with various power ups named "A" and "B" which power up each of your buttons.

To fire your music ball, you must push in a direction and hit the A button, you will sound off a musical note in an 8 note scale. Depending on which compass direction you fire in, you will create a different note.
You can shoot multiple balls at a time, building up the sound.

Collecting power ups will sound off a special musical note.
Killing enemies will sound off music as well.

Shooting normally with B, (though only once youve got a power up), will kill enemies, but NOT collect muscial notes.

Some notes float by in balls, whilst other exist in the landscap, shooting the lnadscap releases them, allowing you to collect them.

Enemies look a combination of PuyoPuyo characters and toys. All very deadly. Touching them reduces the size of your music ball, and you lose some notes that you collected. If your music ball dissapears, its game over.

By doing all of this, you create the games music while shooting.
BGM is a basic drum beat. As you progress through that level, and colect more notes, its tempo and composition changes and increases. So at first it could be 2 beats repeating, and later it would be 3.

Slowly you build up your ammount of collected musical notes, (by shooting the floating musical note balls), once you reach 5 giant balls worth, you are transported to boss, who is in fact a giant musical note.

Whereby you have to avoid the enemies he shoots, and you must quite literally pump him full of music, until he becomes a "good" note. There are a variety of holes in him, which you must shoot your music filled ball into. Once youve given him all your collected music, you move onto the next stage.

Good points:
Improvising music is quite fun, and since its all done via the Famicom music chip, it all has a very synth feel to it. Though not quite as techno inspired as Rez, it has a more school-esque atmosphere. I can almost picture Japanese kids being made to play it during class.

Power ups allow you to change the instrument played whilst shooting, so you can get an EPiano, or a synth violin, and the sound of everything can change dramatically.

Very intense shmupping, since you have to take into account alot of different things going on. Shooting enemies, the landscape, power music balls and trying to collide with ammo power ups can get quite rhythmic.

Very wierd and surreal. As I thought, similar to Rez, but not to extent where magazines wil be writing headlines about it.

Sadly a forgotten little game, thats actually quite good fun, and certainly very original. Nice style and design, cute and surreal, reminds me strangely of "the fantasy zone", though its completely different.

Bad points:
Horrible control. To fire the music ball, you HAVE to hold a direction down, rather than it remembering your last movement, meaning all too often you collide into enemies you are trying to shoot.

Can be confusing at times, sometimes shooting the landscap will release enemies, and sometimes enemies will be holding power ups, with the poor control, I ended up dying quite abit.


It really is very difficult to describe. Im probably making it sound complex than it really is.
I dont think it influenced the design of Rez, but it is certainly worth mentioning that they are similar.

Anyway, hope that was of interest to some of you. If I find some pics Ill post them up.

Forgot to add, other powers up include tempo changes, ability to use recording (which basically means recording shot pattern, and then the COM automatically shooting for you), and other things.

Also, once a level is completed, it can replayed, in a free style mode, without any enemies. Where you can pause the screen (not the game) at will, select any instrument you want for the main weapon, and any sub weapon, and then it lets you fool around making whatever music you like by shooting various music balls that float around. Quite interesting, up to the 3rd level so far.

12-02-2004, 02:44 PM
You tried getting a ROM of this? Looks like the original media isn't going to hold it toghether much longer...

12-02-2004, 05:14 PM
Dont I know it! All my magnetic media has started to rot due to age, including my prized film collection.

I keep all pre-32 bit games of mine backed up on PC.
Due to drive belt problems, and the annoying need for batteries, I run most of my FDS games via PC emu and roms.

info on the guy who made the game:

Incredibly crappy picture of the game:

Big fat assed PDF file featuring it AND rez side by side:

The PDF is excellent, its some guys thesis, and he compares parrapa, otocky and Rez. Gives full well written explanations on each. Well worth a read.

More JPN info and a pic: