Game Cover
©Konami 1991
Release: 1991-01-25 (¥5800)
Cartridge KDS-U8
Action/shooting game

Yume Penguin Monogatari is a side scrolling action game developed and published by Konami. Penta, a cute blue penguin, has a tragic flaw - he really enjoys eating. As a result, his girlfriend Penko left him for another fashionable penguin called Ginji because, she thinks, he has become too chubby for her liking. And yet, she decides to give him a second chance - if he manages to lose all this weight and keep it off, then she will give all her love and attention to him. But the covetous Ginji doesn't share the same sentiments and will do everything in his power to stop the poor flightless seabird before he slims down. The premise of each level is fairly simple - Penta must collect diet potions while avoiding snacks (in the shape of fruits and onigiris) within a time limit in order to lose weight. A weight meter located at the bottom of the screen shows how well Penta performs, and a heart indicates his current weight status. The meter goes down each time Penta gobbles a snack or receives damage, and goes up each time he collects a diet potion. If Penta fails to fill the weight meter to the level indicated by the heart (which increases with each new level), then he will be in trouble and will receive a chastising phone call from Penko, urging him to start the entire level all over again... But the picture is not that bleak and the thinner Penta gets, the more powerful he becomes. Although he is slow and can only kick his enemies at the beginning of the game (or use a belly flop if he gets too fat), he is soon able to move faster and use long-range chirp attacks, or gain temporary invincibility! Various items can also be collected along the way, such as Clocks (adds time to the stage's time limit), 'A' icons (kill everything on the screen), 'H' icons (give Penta the ability to fly) or 'M' icons (temporary invincibility). Yume Penguin Monogatari consist of six long levels and cleverly alternates platforming and shooting action (where Penta pilots a small pink airplane).
Non-direct relation : Parodius Da! (Fc) Parodius Da! (Pce-Hu)
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Penta / Penguin Penta shares a family resemblance with Penguin, another popular Konami character first introduced in Kekkyoku Nankyoku Daibōken (aka Antarctic Adventure) released for the MSX in 1983 (as well as its sequel Yume Tairiku Adventure, aka Penguin Adventure, released for the MSX in 1986). And it wouldn't be a bit of a stretch to say that they are the same penguin indeed - interestingly Penta is spelled ペン太 in Japanese, and the Kanji 太 apparently means something like 'fat', which, if Penta - Suntory commercial/Penguin Memories Shiawase Monogatari correct, would be a logical translation in the context of Yume Penguin Monogatari tested here.

It may be pure coincidence, but a blue penguin virtually identical to Penta first appeared in 1983 in a Japanese commercial to promote Suntory's beer (picture on the upper right). The character became so popular that an animated feature called Penguin Memories Shiawase Monogatari was released in Japan in 1985 (picture on the middle right). Although the movie only stars cute penguins (the main protagonist is a Vietnam War penguin soldier named Mike), it has a serious subject matter and exposes the consequences of war. Again, all of this may be pure coincidence and information is rather thin - did Suntory pay royalties to Konami to use their penguin, or did Konami took inspiration from them ? But one thing is sure, Pentarō is shown wearing a flak jacket in both Parodius Da! and Gokujō Parodius! (the same jacket Mike wears in Penguin Memories) which may suggest a connection between the two...

Penta is also closely related to Pentarō, another blue penguin who first appeared in the arcade game Parodius Da! Shinwa kara Owarai e released in 1990 - it is interesting to notice that the first Parodius game, released for the MSX in 1988, doesn't feature Pentarō, but Penta. Although both penguins are often regarded as the same character, Pentarō is also known as the son of Penta and Penko (the same princess Penta rescues in Penguin Adventure and who also stars in Yume Penguin Monogatari tested here). Penta (aka Penguin) has been a recurring Konami character Pentarō / Pentarou and it appeared in countless games such as Konami's Ping Pong (arcade, 1985), the cheat cartridges Konami Game Master (MSX, 1986) and Konami Game Master 2 (MSX, 1988), Konami no Uranai Sensation (MSX, 1988), Parodius Tako wa Chikyū o Sukū (MSX, 1988), Konami Wai Wai World (Famicom, 1988), Hai no Majutsushi (MSX, 1989), Wai Wai World 2: SOS!! Parsley Jō (Famicom, 1991), Tsurukki Penta (arcade, 1991) and so forth. Pentarō then replaced Penta and stared in a myriad of other Konami games, such as Parodius Da! Shinwa kara Owarai e (arcade, 1990), Gokujō Parodius! Kako no Eikō o Motomete (Arcade, Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn, 1994/1995), Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius (Super Famicom, Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn, 1995/1996) or Paro Wars (Sony Playstation, 1997) to only name a few. Finally, Penta and his pink plane (from Yume Penguin Monogatari) can be unlocked in Airforce Delta Blue Wing Knights (aka Airforce Delta Strike) released for the Playstation 2 in 2004.

An English patch for Yume Penguin Monogatari was released in 2006 by Vice Translations. Interestingly the patch comes in two parts because Konami included a copy protection routine in the game (if the protection test fails, the game starts in an alternate mode where Penta becomes instantly obese when he collects food, thus making the game virtually impossible to play).

Game Staff (Copied from the American version end credits) :

Shinkon Inoue
Zappu Higashi

Batten Takaki
Gonzaresu Shindoo
Nazo Nazo Suzuki
Sukenomiya Fujio
Gurēto Yamada
Poēru Ogikubo
Pīdei Shimoide
Chirorian Kimura
And Everyone Else...

Special Thanks to
Antonio Kido
Jyaionto Kitaue

©KONAMI 1991


Yume Penguin Monogatari manual Registration Card
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Add your Pov here !

Konami is a game company I have always held in high esteem. Gradius, Contra, Castlevania, Twin Bee, Parodius are all timeless classics that still tug at my nostalgia heartstrings. While many Konami games became instant hits, others, such as Yume Penguin Monogatari, just flew under the radar. And this Japan-only gem deserves your attention, not only for its ingenuity and bizarre premise, but also for its undeniable technical qualities. How many games feature a main character who can't technically die and whose only quest is to lose weight? The game's premise is very original - although it has a "save your girlfriend" type storyline, Konami reversed it on its head and Penta has to struggle mostly against his own self in order to win her back. Genius. Then the game is wonderfully executed (alas a bit short) and serves as a testament to Konami's exemplary craftsmanship. The graphics are cute and colorful, the controls are generally responsive and the soundtrack is pretty sweet. The levels are quite varied and inventive (with both shooting and platform action stages!), and the bosses are pure awesomeness (although they are easy to beat). I wonder why it was never released in the west, maybe Konami thought that the game's subject and cuteness wouldn't appear to western audiences... Although Yume Penguin Monogatari is not for everyone (its 'cuteness factor' may scare away the hardcore gamer), it is an excellent action/platform game and a hidden gem... unfortunately the game is quite rare to find these days, especially complete and in good condition...

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