Video Game Review: Ultraman (Towards the Future)

In 1990, Tsuburaya teamed up with the South Australian Film Corporation to create a new Ultraman show, which was called Ultraman: Towards the Future. Or Ultraman Great. Or simply Ultraman. It depends on who you ask, I guess. It was only 13 episodes long and, from what I’ve read, mainly focused on ecology. To be honest, I've never seen the show. After playing the Super Nintendo game, I’m not sure I want to, either.

Welcome to your nightmare.
Ultraman: Towards the Future was released for the Super Nintendo in 1991 by Bandai. Weirdly enough, the box and label simply say Ultraman. I guess they asked the wrong person. Visually, it sort of resembles a 2D fighting game, but it definitely doesn't play like one. Once I had gotten a few rounds in with the monsters, it actually reminded me more of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. It’s more about pattern memorization than it is a fighting game like Street Fighter. The game takes place on a 2D plane, with a poorly animated Ultraman starting on one side and one of 9 poorly animated monsters on the other. During the fight (and on the title screen) the audio is full of really forgettable, sort-of Ultraman-sounding music and boring sound effects. Of note is the digitized “shuwatch” that plays every single time Ultraman attacks, which is cool the first time but gets more and more annoying every time after.

Every fight begins with Ultraman flying towards the screen.
As Ultraman, you have to punch and kick the enemy until their health bar diminishes to nothing. In a typical fighting game, getting the enemy health bar to nothing usually results in a win, but Ultraman Towards the Future is anything but typical. To finish the match, you have to use the Specium Beam to finish the monster off.
As the fights go on, a power meter fills at the bottom of the screen. The meter is separated into 4 parts, each part corresponding to a special attack. The finishing attack is, as you might guess, the fourth level attack, which requires you to expend your whole meter. While this gameplay mechanic might sound like a smart way to mimic the pacing from fights found in the show, it’s marred by a few huge problems. The most important of which: the bar fills at a despicably slow pace. 

Repeatedly jump-kicking seems to work for the first few fights.
Each fight is appropriately limited to three minutes, but most of this is spent waiting for your power bar to fill. Using the first three special attacks become totally worthless, because you never end up wanting to wait any longer than you have to just to finish the battle. This is made very clear when you realize the enemies have recharging health, and if their health is any higher than zero, your Specium Beam will go to waste. All of this wouldn't necessarily be a problem if Ultraman’s standard attacks were functional in any way, but their limited range and lack of damage make Ultraman out to be a total wuss. Often times the monsters’ attack range outmatch Ultraman’s, meaning the standard attacks are completely worthless and you’re required to use the special attacks just to inflict damage. The combination of the slow meter build, high meter costs, and often pointless standard attacks make this game more frustrating than fun.

Ultraman can't even duck to avoid attacks.

You know, there was a good idea here. In theory, the meter and finishing move would really help the game stay true to pacing of an Ultraman fight. However, in practice, the game is a rushed mess that’s disappointing in all regards. The music and sound effects are lazy and uninspired, the graphics and animation are as smooth as a hot knife through a brick wall, and the whole game is simply grating. While the appearance of an Ultraman-themed fighting game may be enticing, you’re much better off sticking to real fighting games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. However, if you really want to put yourself through this, Ultraman is not a hard game to find nor is it worth much, so finding a copy for dirt cheap really isn't hard. I think I paid maybe $6 for my copy and that came with the box and manual.

Ultraman: Towards the Future gets 1 out of 5 stars.

.… Oh, I guess I should introduce myself. Hey, I’m Derachi! I’m a friend of CCLemon99. You may know me from Twitter, or maybe even my Youtube channel. While I love tokusatsu more than most, my number one passion is video games. Specifically, games from the 80’s and 90’s. When Lemon mentioned accepting guest articles for his blog, I couldn't help but throw my hand up and volunteer to write about when my two biggest passions cross paths. This is my first (hopefully of many) toku game review, so please keep an eye out for more in the future. And hey, they can’t possibly get any worse than Ultraman, right?


Top 7 Tokusatsu Novelty Songs!

Well now...I promised a new Top 7 list and here it is!

On this Top 7 list I will be talking about some oddball novelty Tokusatsu songs. There are loads of novelty songs out there and most of them are...terrible to be honest. Well, here I am to tell you which ones made my Top 7!


>>07. Youki na Ako-chan Chojin Sentai Jetman 1991<<

I'm starting this list off with a song that is probably the most well-known here and is barely a song in itself.

This is the brief little jingle that played in the CM for the Ako inspired ramen that the Noodle Jigen created in episode 10. This song has been released in song collections and music collections many times over the years.

It's just so low budget and perfect. Vyram clearly spared no expense putting this together.

>>06. Denko Sekka Disco Gavan 1982<<

OK, this song isn't exactly rare or anything since it's part of Gavan's song collection. It is, however, hilarious.

My favorite lyric? ".....EH....." I think Kushida gives up at the midpoint of the song.

>>05. miwaku no Mambo Ultraman Zearth 2 1997<<

As little as I know about Ultraman, I know even less about the film parody series of Ultraman Zearth.

What I can say is this...a CD Single was released for the second film that contained two mambo styled songs. There is the titular track, Mambo de Kanegon...which is a thing. The second track is miwaku no Mambo, which is a medley of Mambo No.5, Tequila, El Mambo, and El Cumbanchero.

Not sure what the meaning of this is, but it is an official Ultraman song somehow.

>>04. Kamen Rider 99 no uta 1989<<

This song is, what I picture to be, a blue-faced Ichiro Mizuki blasting through the multiplication tables with a little bit of Kamen Rider heroics thrown in.

This song was originally released on it's own cassette/CD Single with Mahou Tsukai Sally 99 no uta. It was later featured on the Kamen Rider BLACK RX Complete Song Collection CD as well as the Kamen Rider EXTRAS CD from a few years back.

It's definitely hypnotic...

>>03. Scatultraman 1995<<

There is a weird story behind this notorious song. I wrote about it previously, but I suppose I can post a brief refresher.

Scatman John was at the top of his game in the mid-90s with the worldwide hit Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop). His popularity in Japan managed to manifest itself into this bizarre novelty song--Scatultraman.

In case you are wondering, the music used in Scatultraman is the exact tune used in Scatman. This is one of the rare times when existing music is officially licensed for a Tokusatsu production. I mean, that video that I uploaded earlier was even hit with a copyright claim for being the Scatman John version.

>>02. Disco Ultraseven 1979<<

I don't know what to say about this song. Actually, I do know what to say. I listen to this song more frequently than a normal person should. Heh.

Disco Ultraseven is a disco flavored beat for Ultraseven to shake his booty to. I'm not being corny..."Shake your booty now" is one of the lyrics.

Now that I think about it, the better disco songs have English lyrics. This and Denko Sekka Disco Gavan being among the winners.

>>01. Jingle Bell~Full Accel Version Gekisou Sentai Carranger 1996<<

Wow. Where to begin on this one...

The album that this is from (Merry Xmas! from Carranger!) is actually a lot of fun. I genuinely hate Christmas music. Hate it. When I got this CD in the late 90s, I really didn't know what to expect since I couldn't even find the tracklisting online. It is a collection of covers of the classic Christmas songs with a Carranger spin. There is some unique material as well, but the better songs are the covers. I mean, Mamoru even mentions a Kamen Rider V3 Henshin Belt in his song! That's some weird meta stuff right there!

The whole album is fun, but the best track is totally the top track--Jingle Bell~Full Accel Version.

They somehow managed to take a dumbass song and make it interesting. Peppered throughout the track is the Carranger BGM that we all know and love. What's not to like about that? It totally tops my list for being interesting, funny, and very unexpected.


This is a hard choice. I usually go into a Top Seven post knowing what the loser is. As I type this...three songs swirl in my head. They are...

-Stars on Kamen Rider 1982
-Super Sentai Banparaban 1982
-Super Sentai Hero Getter Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger 2011


It's Super Sentai Hero Getter. The other two songs are an example of when disco isn't fun and more tragic than anything. The redeeming factor that they have is that they were put on their own EP and have been seldom heard from since.

Hero Getter on the other hand is not only fucking awful, it was used as the ending song for an entire year during an anniversary year for Super Sentai.

Musically, that song is nothing. It is pretty much fast talking over a crappy beat. If you like it for some reason, what the hell is the matter with you?


Well, there you have it--my Top 7 favorite Tokusatsu Novelty songs. Be sure to check out my other Top 7 lists.

Oh, and stay tuned for a review of a Video Game written by this guy......this guy right here.

See you soon!