Sometimes, for a wide variety of reasons, Japanese games don’t get localized for sale stateside. Sometimes this decision makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t. Pulseman was, in my opinion, one of the latter. This Genesis title was a cool little sci-fi action platformer that gives players the role of Pulseman, a half-human-half-AI who has to save the futuristic world from an evil mad scientist (because in 1994 you were always either saving the world from evil mad scientists or evil wizard-kings; there really wasn’t a whole lot of plot variety outside of that), who also happens to be his father. It was even weirder because the voiceover (if you can call scratchy, synthesized speech coming out of a Sega Genesis “voiceover”) was all in English; the only captions were in Japanese. The only good explanation I’ve heard for this not getting localized is that the plot (explained only in the manual as far as I know) involves a scientist who creates a true AI, falls in love with her, scans his brain into a computer to be with her, and ends up conceiving a child named Pulseman who can move between the real and virtual worlds. I guess they figured this would cause too many kids to ask where human-AI hybrid babies come from and that would cause a moral panic in America, so they kept this game to themselves. But given how much game plots changed when they were westernized in that era, I feel like it could have been done. In any event, we finally got this game imported on the Wii Virtual Console, and it’s worth giving a try. And it’s definitely worth listening to the music.
Platform: Genesis/Mega Drive
Composer: Junichi Masuda