Pen Pen Triathlon is one of the first Dreamcast titles which displays a
very cutesy game design. According to Sega Saturn Magazine, the game was
conceived by four Japanese women. The graphics are bright, colourful and
extremely detailed. At first glance, the game may resemble Diddy Kong
Racing for the N64. However, if one looks past the cute graphics, a fresh
idea may be in the making.
The game consists of four courses which have been designed according to
their owners rather unique tastes. Within each course there will be a
number of objectives to clear during the race to move on to the next
course. Each course will also have 3 grades for the course: beginner,
intermediate, and advanced. Although the developer has not given all of
the details, there will be a number of hidden courses and other secrets
that must be earned. There will be eight competitors in each race. One to
four players can play, thanks to the four controller ports found on the
front of Dreamcast.
Unexplored Region Course. This is located on an iced planet. The
uncivilised land is an unexplored northern region known as the jungle of
the tundra. The course is famous for its dynamics and high speeds. There
are a lot of weird things living in caves, gigantic pools, waterfalls, and
more. The course owner is a second generation Ngapugo from the Wakkaka
tribe. He is the youngest of the 4 owners at age 23, and quite laid back.
He lives with his friendly bird who likes to talk a lot, in a small hut.
Sweet Course. Owned by Mrs. Cream, an ice cream cone consisting of
strawberry and vanilla swirls. She is 35 years old and the mayor of Sweet
Village, a candy playland. Mrs. Cream is considered kind and gets along
well with the others. Her main goal is create the best sweets ever made.
In fact, all of the sweets found throughout the course are believed to be
edible. This course is relatively easy and simply designed as everything
is made from sugar.
Toy Course. Kambi Mask, a 53 year old who loves children is the master of
this course. He wears a mask to appeal to his many admirers. His true
facial features are a mystery that may be unfolded throughout the game.
The course consists of mountains made of toy blocks, toy bricks, toy
soldiers and the like laid out haphazardly all over the course.
Horror Course. Touted as the most difficult. Owned by the eerie Horror
Man from the Horror Family. Incredibly aged at 4,771 years old! The level
opens with a mysterious mansion in the middle of a snowy plain. Players
will be treated to a variety of creepy encounters including: rolling bones,
and large monstrous trees that are alive. You have to go through a narrow
mansion with poor visibility and a sunken ship. This will require a lot of
skill as you run, swim and slide your way through the level. Expect to be
confronted by a number of enemies.
Here are a few of the characters that we know of thus far.
One of the creatures is known as Pukuchan. It appears in one of the
swimming areas of the game. It looks like a cutesy angler fish which is
only in the game for aesthetic appeal and will not harm your progress.
Naumanmo are large pink and blue elephants which can be seen in the far off
distance. They slowly approach and then deliberately try to get in your
way. Konpeianis are shaped like Sea Urchins. At this point they seem
harmless to the player. Within the sweet village, players will find
children who are crazy for ice cream. The children appear to have hats
made out of ice cream.
Pen Pen Triathlon is extremely easy to play. The control is simple: use
the analogue pad to manoeuvre the character around the stages. The A button
serves as the primary and single movement control. Simply press the A
button and your flippers start paddling and you will begin to move. By
holding down on the A button, you will be completely flat on the surface.
When you release the button you lose speed. Players must develop rhythm
and timing in order to get the correct speed for the various courses. It
is similar to swimming stages found in many games. In addition to the
swimming movement, players will also have to run throughout some areas of
the game. When running, use the analogue stick to move and the A button to
attack enemies. Press the A button lightly to avoid obstacles by jumping
Pen Pen Triathlon is shaping up to be a worthy title for the Dreamcast
launch. Sega must feel confident, otherwise this title would be pushed
into early next year. We will provide more details when we get a hands on
demo this weekend at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show.