Super Happy Happy Mega-Fun Monday!
Tail Concerto

By Jamie Love - November 24th, 2008

Super Happy Happy Mega-Fun Monday!

Good morning, fellow Thumbs! Do you know what day it is? It’s Super Happy Happy Mega-Fun Monday!

We here at Toronto Thumbs know that there are so many ways you’d prefer to spend today rather than going to (or being at) work. Perhaps running a power drill through your frontal lobe comes to mind? But before you start puzzling over which bit size might best penetrate your skull, why not allow us to distract you with the fun remembrance of games past…

During the storied reign of the PSOne, Atlus truly established itself as both a developer and publisher of uniquely epic RPGs, offering gamers vastly new experiences during an unparalleled RPG renaissance. But one title that slipped passed many was CyberConnect 2’s 3D platformer, Tail Concerto. While Sony was pushing for more mature titles to expand sales, Tail Concerto harkened back to a simpler time. Do you remember when dogs and cats lived in a world of floating islands called Prairie? When robotic suits assisted police dogs in chasing down mischievous kittens, capturing them with bubbles? Doesn’t sound familiar? Well Pepperidge Farms remembers!

Players take on the role of police dog Waffle Ryebread, who wants nothing more than a vacation just as the whiskered hordes of the Black Cats Gang begin terrorizing Prairie. Of course what starts as a simple investigation into these attacks soon has Waffle tracking down mystical crystals and confronting a feline friend from his past.

As a platformer, Tail Concerto is solidly designed but ultimately simple, offering most gamers a few hours at best. Waffle’s suit is capable of grabbing ledges and light hovering at times, equipped with the long flailing arms of the law for catching kittens or tossing bombs back at enemies. Most boss encounters involve the “volley back their shot” technique. Alternatively a chest mounted bubble cannon can both briefly capture small enemies, or deal damage to larger targets. The platforming is light compared to contemporaries. There are no coins or gems to gather. Instead players will find pieces of photographs that Waffle adds to his scrapbook, or stolen items that can be returned to the citizens of Prairie. Essentially players move from area to area while capturing kittens that giggle at their attempts.

What Tail Concerto really offers to players is a feeling of magic and charm in its overall presentation. The islands of Prairie are navigated via a map, as Waffle travels to each via his airship in a steam powered universe. The design of these islands, vehicles, and other unique oddities all show a level of artwork separating Tail Concerto from blander titles of that time. The story unfolds exactly like the type of cartoons I watched while waiting for the school bus, many developments advanced by Anime segments. From the moment the game loads, players are brought back to those early Japanese offerings, that despite obvious budget limitations still captivated audiences with the type of oddities and unbridled imagination less prevalent today. When I finally tracked down my copy at a collector’s meet I found two gamers who shared the same sentiment – “I bought the game for the Atlus logo, but it actually turned out to be fun.” And since I’m inclined to agree, I’ll have to leave you with the thought that while in one sense there just isn’t enough to do in Prairie, there is plenty to savor, and players who share those animated memories I mentioned should make a point of visiting at least once.

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    3 responses so far:
  2. Posted on Nov 24, 2008

    I love the title! I love pirate kittens! And I love Pepperidge Farm moments.

    Awesome retro review Jamie!

  3. Posted on Nov 24, 2008

    I haven’t played the game…but damn those pirate cats are cute.

    – Paul

  4. By Alex
    Posted on Nov 25, 2008

    Wow I had long forgotten about this game. I use to have it on a demo disc way back when, it also hadn’t been translated from japanese yet so I got to play through it figureing things out as I went. I remember it finally came out here in North America but I unfortunately never got a copy, im thinking its something I will have to keep my eyes out for. Cheers!

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