We now come to the last of the Sega Card titles for 1986, and this port of a rather forgotten Japanese arcade game has a rather interesting story behind it. Over in Japan during the 1980s a pop singer named Yoko Ishino scored a hit with the single “Teddy Boy Blues”, and Sega decided to help promote it with a coin-op title named after the song and featuring the singer herself in a cameo. Not surprisingly the home versions released outside of Asia drop all references to that song, including omitting the ‘Blues’ from the title, since all of us in the States wouldn’t get the reference anyway.
So what actually happens in the game is you taking control of a small lad decked out in a green beanie who’s trying to survive a gauntlet of 50 different monster-infested mazes for whatever reason (the manual is never really clear about it). Each screen wraps around in all directions, and you’re beseiged by various creatures that emerge from the dice scattered around each level and hop around everywhere (the number of dots on each die indicate how many monsters are yet to come out of it). Fortunately you’re armed with a pistol to shoot the creatues which turn them into small ball-like objects you must collect. You have a limited amount of time to clear each level but any balls you fail to promptly gather will eventually turn into bugs that will literally munch on your timeline, shortening it. In addition you can only take one hit before dying and if you stand in one spot for too long the floor beneath your feet will disintegrate. Once you’re able to clear out the baddies it’s off to the next level, and every so often you’ll take part in a bouns stage where you hunt for toys for points.
At first the game is enjoyable and even a little addicting as there’s some nice classic-style arcade action, and the constant chaos forces you to be on your toes at all times. The controls are pretty responsive, though NES platformer vets will once again encounter that bugaboo of reversed button functions. However it isn’t long before repetitiveness settles in as the gameplay never really changes from the first stage. The difficulty also spikes within a fairly short time as it’s way too easy for the monsters to slay you, even when you try to avoid them, and the frequent sudden deaths will get on your nerves. You only get three lives but there are continues which are offered via a secret code. Plus there’s no ending as the 50 levels loop indefinitely; should you somehow get past level 50 you just start over at level 1, giving you little reason to keep playing other than the high score. The graphics are a mixture of good and bad; the characters are decent with some okay details and slightly limited animation but the single-color backgrounds are just plain blah. Interestingly enough some of the enemy sprites are recycled in other Sega games, like the moustached red balls that also pop up in Alex Kidd in Miracle World. The music is just there and you’ll get sick of it after hearing it for levels on in, and the sound effects are the usual generic SMS stuff.
So overall Teddy Boy isn’t a totally bad game. It’s certainly one of the better Sega Card offerings and there’s some decent action for a quick Sega session, but its repetitive and cheap gameplay won’t keep you hanging around for very long.