19, 2000 (Japan)
> I've been a fan of the Cotton series since the day I bought Cotton 2
for Saturn. It had 2D graphics with plenty of action on screen and
bright gem colors. When Cotton Boomerang (Saturn) came out I instantly
bought it and couldn't wait for the next installment. Now, Rainbow
Cotton isn't really as much a sequel to the Saturn iterations as it is
a sequel to the Mega Drive's Panorama Cotton. This is because both
of these games are similar to Space Harrier (of AM2 fame), which is available
on every Sega console except for Sega CD. Yeah, Space Harrier is
on Dreamcast if you own Shenmue. Anyway, you travel into the background
through pastel colored locales while blasting cutesy enemies and fighting
> Importing Rainbow Cotton is a snap. All the menus and game screens
are in English while the dialogue is in Japanese. Besides, no Cotton
has ever made it to America, so what choice do you probably have?
> The first thing I noticed (no big surprise) is that the graphics are
gorgeous, especially when utilizing the VGA Box compatibility. There
are five unique worlds: (my names) Christmas Town, Floating City, Underwater
World, Lava World and the final Kingdom area. Each has a set of unique
enemies as well as some of the standard fare. However, they're all
weird looking cartoonish animals. Each level has a big mid-boss and
end-boss, which are equally as weird. For the most part the graphics
move along at a solid framerate. The Waterworld had some slowdown
when the screen was full, while other areas had little or none. Some
cut-scenes are included which have great art, but minimal animation.
> The third person view takes some getting used to since your view of the
vanishing point is blocked by your character (Cotton, the witch), unless
you move somewhere other than the center of the screen. It doesn't
kill the game, but it can be annoying at times. Sometimes it's hard
to concentrate on the enemies because you're busy admiring the graphics.
Lastly, your magic creates beautiful special effects which are full of
lighting and transparency.
> Your buttons are shoot and magic. The part that may deter some
from enjoying this game is the fact that the directional control is analog.
This means you have to keep the stick deflected in order to maintain a
position which is off-center. It takes a little getting used to,
but didn't affect my enjoyment. Aside from blasting enemies, you
can open up boxes, chests, and urns to reveal power-ups. For instance,
you can collect stars to increase your main weapon's power (up to level
8). Gems can be collected which are used to summon magic spells.
The whole time you'll travel down a predetermined path in each level.
Multiple paths, as in Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Saturn), would have been nice.
Lastly, between levels you can earn extra points in bonus rounds where
you pick up scrolls.
> Rainbow Cotton's music fits the graphics well. You'll hear festive
music with a pleasing beat throughout your journey. It's not memorable,
but it works.
> The sound effects are decent, but not new. You'll hear shots, explosions,
enemy noises, boss attacks, and voice cues. By the way, all voices
are in Japanese.
> There's only one mode and it's basically an Arcade mode. You can
only play as Cotton, but you can gather pixies to help along the way.
The game has four average length levels plus a long fifth and final level.
Sure the main weapon is weak, but the magic is way cool. Overall,
I thought it was good fun for my money, especially since this genre isn't