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Famicom Doraemon is three, three, three games in one.

When I sat down to start writing a guide for Doraemon (which you will find right here), I originally thought this was going to fall under the "Retro Pain" category. No such luck, I actually started to enjoy the game somewhat once I figured out what the hell I was doing.

Doraemon is a bit of a quirky game. The game has three worlds, and each world was handled by a different lead designer. So while you have to complete all of the worlds linearly to progress through the game, each world essentially belongs to it's own little game genre. The first world is a four-direction scrolling action game where you roam through a city, the second world is a shmup with secret pathways, and the final world is a room-by-room underwater exploration adventure. If it sounds wacky, that's because it is. Ordinarily, I wouldn't think that it would work, but it really fits Doraemon's style of presentation (read: one that is suitable for Attention Deficit Disorder-like children.)

The first world just kind of drops you off in the corner of some industrial complex in the middle of a city. There are manholes which lead down to the sewer. In these sewers is where you find most of the good stuff like weapons and health upgrades. The problem, most of the really useful manholes are hidden, so you have to fire randomly throughout the world in hopes of noticing that your shots happened to hit something invisible, and then blast away at it until it materializes. Once you find the hidden door that can advance you to the final portion of the city, you take another sewer tunnel to a completely new part of town; an unappealing brown region complete with a cemetery and a large factory where the boss of the level resides. I assure you, I'm not creative enough to make this stuff up.

When you beat the boss, you'll move on to the next world which is a side-scrolling shooter. But at times, the path bends and you find yourself scrolling vertically as well. As the terrain scrolls by, you may notice gaps in the floor or ceiling, and if you're curious enough to investigate them, you may find that you have accessed a secret pathway. These pathways are the only places where you can acquire assistants in the form of Doraemon's owner's friends. They tend to fall away if Doraemon takes too much damage, but if you hold on to them, you can get really good items that will help you stay alive long. The stage is broken up into three sections, each with it's own boss. The final boss, shown below, is the face of a bull dog, and is actually one of the easier bosses in the game.

The last world is more like a giant Zelda dungeon, only underwater, where you have to swim from room to room to find and unlock three treasure chests that contain Doraemon's friends. The problem is that in order to do that, you need to make use of a couple of items, but you can only hold one item at a time. One item in particular, a bag, lets you cart two other items around with you to make things easier, but a ghost has a habit of appearing and stealing one of your items away so that you have to relocate it. It's not too hard to accomplish, but it does take a bit of thinking and wit to solve the puzzle in a timely fashion.

All in all, it's not a game that I would recommend anyone rush out and find or play, but if you've got some time to kill, and the only thing that you have access to is a NES emulator (and doesn't that happen all the time?), you could pick worse games to play than Doraemon.
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About Procyonone of us since 10:16 AM on 12.08.2006

My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.

I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.

After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.

I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.

3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.

3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.

After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.

Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.

By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.

I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Xbox LIVE:ProcyonSJJ


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