Hard Head

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Hard Head
Developer(s)SunA Electronics
Platform(s)Arcade
ReleaseJanuary 12, 1988
Genre(s)Platform
Mode(s)Single-player, Two-player

Hard Head (stylized as HAP.D HEAD internationally) originally known in Korea as Dr. Bulgehead (hangul = 짱구 박사|RR = Jjang-gu Bagsa|MR = Jjang-gu Baksa), which both the original title and characters were loosely based on a comic book series of the same name, created by painter Woo-young Koh with his author and brother Go Woo-young. This is an obscure 2D side-scrolling platform game that was developed and produced by SunA Electronics in 1987, and internationally released only for the arcades in 1988 from South Korea to arcades worldwide.

Classical music is extensively used as the soundtrack for this game. Edited extracts from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Op. 20 (1st movement), Mozart's 40th Symphony K. 550 (1st movement), and Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66 can repeatedly be heard through the game.

Gameplay[edit]

The gameplay and visuals are similar to NES or Famicom games such as Super Mario Bros. (1985) but with a more bizarre and offbeat twist as well as a strange and questionable story. Player(s) take the roles of the two titular protagonists who are on a quest to please their female companion and fight off enemies, the names of the three-haired heroic duo are Hard Head (하드 헤드) who dons red overalls, alongside his twin brother Dr. Bulgehead (짱구 박사) who dons cyan overalls. Similar to Bubble Bobble (1986), the Head Twins are able to use bubble-guns to entrap inexplicable hazards such as Indians, chicks, scissors, bandits, toothbrush, insects, snails, larva, cat like creatures, little purple skulls, and monsters so they can jump on their heads to knock them off the stage, they can also find bombs and steel mallets to clobber anything in their paths, which is also a homage to the game Wrecking Crew (1985).[1][2]

The twins live up to their names by using their protruding and powerful heads to break blocks, some of which contain items and power-ups, other times, there is a heart-shaped collectible that must be obtained during each stages which would show an animation played of their lover having a deeply intimate moment with one of the heroes by kissing them after stripping down, the only thing that will effect the character(s) is a raised score. Levels go from start to finish by surpassing each time limits and finding soccer balls to kick through each goal for bonus points.

There are a total of 16 levels to traverse from. The game can be played in either single player mode or cooperative mode, allowing Player 2 to control the second twin brother whenever they choose to join the gameplay, both players must progress each level at the same time or encounter monstrous-looking bosses. If one stands still the other can only move a few steps before the screen will not scroll any farther.[1]

Reception[edit]

Advanced Computer Entertainment compared the game to Super Mario Bros. and called it "unoriginal but addicting fun."[1] Your Sinclair also compared the game to Super Mario Bros., calling it a tribute to Nintendo's game. They also made note of the game's offbeat humor, saying that the game was a "good laugh" and "exactly the same as one of the funniest computer games ever." They rated the game an 8 out of 10.[2]

Legacy[edit]

Bootleg[edit]

A hacked version of this game titled "POPPER" was manufactured and released in 1989, but it is unknown of what region it was developed and produced from.

Sequel[edit]

In 1991, a second installment was released, titled Hard Head 2, originally titled Dr. Bulgehead 2 (hangul = 짱구 박사 2|RR = Jjang-gu Bagsa Du|MR = Jjang-gu Baksa Du). It was released in North America by Space Age Electronics.[3] Unlike the original game, Hard Head 2 has similar gameplay to other arcade platform games such as Ghouls 'n Ghosts (1988) and Toki (1989). In the game's story, Hard Head is dancing with his girlfriend until all of a sudden, the devil of hell rises and holds her hostage in his mouth. In between levels, the devil chews on Hard Head’s girlfriend, then he heroically says "I am going to rescue you, may you being safe!...". Hard Head once again enlists the help of his twin brother Dr. Bulgehead to the rescue, they both can take two hits from any foe. After one hit, the hero(s) lose their overalls and runs around only in their foot-wear. New weapons have been added: a kanabō and a morning star. Also, now the heroes can pick up wings, which make them able to glide by holding the jump button down.

Other games[edit]

SunA Electronics throughout the years have released 20 other different arcade cabinets since 1985. Here are the other arcade machines made by SunA Electronics before and after the time period that Hard Head 1 & 2 was produced:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Hard Head review. Advanced Computer Entertainment. February 1989. p. 21
  2. ^ a b Hard Head. Your Sinclair. March 1989. p. 78.
  3. ^ "Hard Head 2 flyer". Retrieved 2019-08-11.