Pooyan, Arcade

A relatively obscure arcade game from Konami, released into arcades in 1982. Pooyan is a simple, but hectic (and fun) shooting game where you play a mother pig, moving up and down a cliff in a basket, trying to rescue, then protect, her piglets from invading wolves with a bow and arrow. It’s a bizarre idea that works very well as a video game.

The wolves float – on balloons – either up or down the screen in order to get to you and you must shoot the balloons with your bow and arrow before they reach you. Some balloons take more than one shot to burst, but luckily you can fire quite rapidly and don’t seem to run out of ammo, so you at least have a fighting chance.

As the levels progress the wolves get more cunning and start coming in waves. Thankfully you do have a trick up your sleeve that can help keep them back. Namely: a piece of meat that appears intermittently at the top of the screen, that you can throw at them, knocking them down.

Every third stage is a bonus level where you only use meat to knock the wolves down, or shoot fruits that they throw at you. These two extra levels alternate as you progress.

Pooyan is both cute and also very challenging. The first level is easy enough, but from stage two onward you are really up against a relentless barrage and it takes skill and a cool head to rescue the piglets. Then afterwards: keep the wolves at bay. There’s even a boss battle, with the boss of the wolves, of course.

Pooyan has been converted to various home systems over the years and is still a favourite among retro game fans today. It’s a jolly good game!

More: Pooyan on Wikipedia

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