It is a truth universally accepted that at one time or another, every Japanese developer has made a horny game. And shoot ’em up maestros Toaplan, best known for titles such as Truxton, Zero Wing and Batsugun, are no exception to this, as their 1992 release Pipi and Bibi’s (also known as Whoopee!) aptly demonstrates.
It’s not only an uncharacteristically lewd game for Toaplan, it’s also a game in a genre not typically associated with them — rather than being a shoot ’em up, it’s a platformer of sorts. And quite an interesting one, at that.
In Pipi and Bibi’s, you (and, optionally, a friend) take on the role of the eponymous main characters as you attempt to infiltrate a series of buildings, plant time bombs in their computer rooms and then escape before you blow yourself to smithereens.
Each of the six buildings is split into four separate stages, and each building has its own distinctive backdrop, set of level gimmicks and set of enemies to deal with.
In the first stage, for example, you’ll have to get around using Elevator Action-style elevators and staircases while avoiding local mobsters; in the second, meanwhile, you’ll need to make use of Mappy-style trampolines while avoiding the unwanted attentions of some fairly horrifying clown-type enemies.
There are several distinct types of enemies in Pipi and Bibi’s. Some simply walk back and forth on the platform they are on; some run at high speed in unpredictable routes; some make use of the various means of changing “floor” to pursue you. Quickly learning to understand which enemy behaves in which way is vital to mastering each of the six buildings, because managing where the enemies are is just as important as finding your own way around.
You’re not completely defenseless, thankfully. Tapping the fire button shoots out a laser-type thing that temporarily stuns an enemy, allowing you to pass them safely while they’re unconscious. The longer you hold the button on the enemy, the more points you get and the longer they stay stunned, but after a particular amount of time held (which varies by enemy) they’ll be knocked down onto a lower platform and you’ll get a flat amount of points.
This latter option is a good means of getting an enemy quickly out of your hair, but you need to be careful you don’t dump too many enemies at once in a place you still need to get to. You can only grab one enemy at a time, even if they’re overlapping, so if you’re confronted with multiple enemies at once it can be difficult to manage the situation.
Well-timed or positioned shots can knock enemies off the screen entirely — if you catch an enemy while they’re jumping, bouncing on a trampoline or falling they’ll be defeated completely for a few moments. You can also throw enemies off the bottom level of the screen with the same effect. Defeated enemies will emerge from a door again after a moment, but proper use of this will give you some helpful breathing room now and again.
So where’s the horny? Well, at the start of each building in Pipi and Bibi’s, you’re presented with a silhouette of a lovely young lady. After completing each individual stage, you’re treated to a quarter of the final image, and upon completion of all four stages of a building, you have a few seconds to use the joystick in order to perv over the complete picture at your leisure.
That’s not all, though. At some point in each stage, a coin bearing an “H” inscription will appear — remember, “H” in Japanese is pronounced “ecchi” — and the more of these you collect as you progress through each building, the more clothes the lady will remove for the final image. And yes, they get naked if you get a coin in each stage — nipples are visible, but there’s mosaicing over their nether regions.
Like most lewd arcade games, the saucy content is almost completely incongruous with the main “point” of the gameplay — but it is a fun reward that doubtless encouraged plenty of players to keep feeding in credits if they happened to stumble across this one in the arcades. Collected “H” coins are maintained even if you have to continue, so as long as you grab them before the fairly generous window of time they’re available for expires, you’ll get to enjoy the nudity in all its glory.
Pipi and Bibi’s is a genuinely enjoyable arcade game. It has some lovely, well-animated pixel art with plenty of personality, engaging gameplay, catchy music and a well-paced difficulty curve. Unlike many single-screen platformers, Pipi and Bibi’s rewards patience to a certain degree; observing enemy movement patterns and using your laser to manage their positions is key to success, giving the game a much stronger puzzle feel than some other games that might appear superficially similar.
Did it need to be a lewd game? Of course not; as noted above, the images of the girls have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of the game, and there’s no narrative context provided at all — either for why Pipi and Bibi are blowing up buildings, or why their success reveals cute girls in varying states of undress.
But it doesn’t really matter — it is what it is, and the lewd side of things is part of its presentation. So we might as well enjoy it, no?
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