Game Tengoku - The Game Paradise!, also known as The Game Paradise! - Master of Shooting! in the Western release, is a 1995 vertical Shoot 'em Up Arcade Game made by Jaleco featuring actual arcade game characters traveling through the fictional arcade games of a Japanese game center to save it from the menace of one Genius Yamada who wants to conquer it and, through it, the entire arcade game world. Confused yet?
Basically, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring several of Jaleco's characters from their older franchises (and not only shmups) inside shooting stages made to look like other video games and arcade machinery. An arcade game about arcade games set in an arcade... it's all very meta, and this also allows it to feature several nods to other Jaleco properties and parodies of gaming franchises from other companies. It not only homages arcade culture but anime as well, with several anime tropes and, most importantly, the characters being voiced by famous voice actors such as Tomokazu Seki, Hekiru Shiina, Kae Araki, Ryotaro Okiayu, Shigeru Chiba among others. These seiyuu reprised the roles in The Anime of the Game (see the trope list below) in typical hammy fashion.
Game Tengoku received in 1997 an Updated Re-release for Sega Saturn and in 1998 a sequel, GUNbare! Game Tengoku, but only for the Japanese PlayStation. The sequel adds home console games and handhelds to the list of the featured devices. In November 2017 a remake of the Saturn Port titled Game Tengoku CruisinMix was released for Steam, with all the elements from the Saturn port plus new modes like Time Attack Mode and Arcade Mode+, where one can use brand new DLC characters. It was later released for PlayStation 4 in July 2018, and a further enhanced edition subtitled CruisinMix Special was released in November 2018, alongside an English version.
- Game Tengoku lets you control the following Jaleco characters:
- The sequel adds two more characters:
- DLC additions in CruisinMix:
The tropes for both games:
- Anime Hair: Genius Yamada has one of the weirdest coifs ever conceived by Japanese artists. (Also, his long mustache? That's nose hair)
- Anime Theme Song: The first and second game start with these.
- The Anime of the Game: The Sega Saturn limited edition of the game came with an actual tape featuring an anime short with all the characters plus interviews with their voice actors. The PlayStation game had another anime short that could be bought in the in-game shop. All of their tropes will be described below.
- Art Shift: Stage 5 in the original game and 3 in the sequel are the retro world, where games revert to much older displays! In the first example enemies turn into simple sprites made of giant pixels, in the second the polygonal models turn into vector graphics, or rather flat-shaded polygons made to resemble vector graphics.
- A Winner Is You: The last boss has been defeated. Roll credits!
- Mini-Game Credits: ...which you then can shoot to gain more points before a second loop starts.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Miki seems a prim and proper Japanese schoolgirl, but she keeps her little sister Misato on a chain like a dog for no explained reason, uses her as a human shield in the anime and generally mistreats her in several ways. Nobody ever comments on this (but to be fair, nobody comments on the flying, talking, bomb-tossing pig either). Their ship also has a skull for a crosshair in the sequel.
- Boss-Only Level: Stage 5 in GUNbare is mostly a battle against a gigantic Robot Maid in a multi-colored void. The final stage from that game as well, with the fight against a giant Yamada.
- Brainwashing: Yamada's two henchwomen Nakamura and Katou are normal schoolgirls that were brainwashed and forced to work for him.
- Cartoon Bomb: Pig's weapon of choice, coming directly from Butasan.
- Cat Girl: The second boss of the first game is a giant one.
- Combining Mecha: Spoofed with the third boss in the first game. Tons of random stuff get together to form a giant robot with Yamada's face. It's ugly and misshapen (the feet and hands are switched), but with a lot of tricks up its sleeves.
- Crisis Crossover: Old Jaleco characters to the rescue!
- Cute 'em Up: These games can be considered an example.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Outside of the enemies from the arcade games there are pinball bumpers, teddy bears, flying CDs and gaming appliances, random geometric shapes, the lyrics of a song...
- Excuse Plot: The stars of old Jaleco arcade games gain sentience and rush against an evil man that one day appeared in a random Japanese arcade. Who is he? How and why does he travel through games? Who cares?
- Fanservice: Both Momoko and her sister Sakura use smart bombs that make giant images of them in fetishized outfits (nurse, waitress, school gym uniform, Playboy bunny...) appear in the flash of the explosion.
- Fan Disservice: Genius Yamada, who romps around in only an open lab coat, going Full-Frontal Assault the entire game series. Fortunately, Censor Shadow is always in effect.
- Flying Car: Claris' own car now gained the ability to fly, to keep up with the others.
- Gameplay Roulette: Invoked. Game Tengoku's gameplay is the same throughout the levels, but the fictional games visited by our heroes often couldn't be more different from each other. For example, stage four in both games is a top-down racing game that suddenly shifts to a (mostly) regular shmup. One retro-themed stage from the Saturn Updated Re-release has our heroes suddenly sucked inside a mahjong game and then an 8-bit-esque RPG more than a little reminiscent of Dragon Quest. Stage 2 from GUNbare! has a similar structure in that players get sucked into a TV connected to a console possessed by Yamada and get to visit another military shooter and then a horror Visual Novel!
- Game-Over Man: The game over sequence in the original arcade game has Yamada's laughing face appearing on every screen in the arcade.
- I Believe I Can Fly: Momoko and Pig don't originally come from shmups; instead of gaining new vehicles the games simply gave them the ability to fly without apparent means. Sakura as well.
- Mythology Gag: One of the images in Momoko's Momoko Bomber has her dress exactly like Lum from Urusei Yatsura. Her origin game Momoko 120% was originally planned to be a Licensed Game based on Urusei Yatsura and eventually became one in its Famicom port.
- Original Generation:
- Jeynus and Miki/Misato were created exclusively for this series since the original games their vehicles come from (Exerion and Field Combat) lack an actual pilot character.
- Sakura in the sequel as well, Momoko's little sister created specifically for the game.
- Z-Dyne Mk-II is also technically one, as he's an upgraded model of the original robot from Formation Z, Expel.
- The Truxton ship gets a brand new female pilot instead of the original, male pilot seen in the game's manual.
- Playboy Bunny: Yuki in the sequel. According to the manga it was made explicity to her specifications (means no one else can wear it) and grants her the power to make all (but Genius Yamada, who is inmune) others follow her lead.
- Retraux: Stage 5 starts as a regular space shmup and then the enemies suddenly turn into homages to Space Invaders and Breakout among others. The sequel uses the gag again, but this time, since the game has polygonal graphics, they get changed to vector graphics instead of pixelated sprites.
- Shout-Out: Bosses in the sequel include a parody of the Andor Genesis Mothership from Xevious, the Big Core from Gradius, and King Fossil from Darius.
- Sigil Spam: Several pieces of hardware and software controlled by Yamada sport his yellow triangular glasses.
- Malevolent Mugshot: His face also appears on several coin-op screens and in multiple places throughout the games, even on bosses.
- Surprisingly Good English: The original arcade game has Z-DYNE speak all his sentences in English (still understandable despite the accent).
- Video Game Caring Potential: Let Misato sing her song "Lovely Star" from start to finish without attacking her, and she will gratefully wave at you for your kindness!
- Vocal Dissonance: Pig is a cute little pig in a polka-dot diaper who speaks in Akio Ohtsuka's deep, manly voice. Then again, you have to be a badass to use bombs as your only weapon of choice.
- Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: One of the additional levels in the Saturn re-release is a karaoke room featuring Misato in the background. The lyrics of the song she sings, represented as Japanese characters, become deadly projectiles. The player can choose whether to destroy them and end the stage early, or avoid them and listen to the whole bubbly J-Pop song.
- You Don't Look Like You: Claris is completely different from her appearance in the 1985 game, probably because the game already two other girls with long blue/purple hair.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: This trope is taken Up to Eleven with the female characters. We have light green (Yuki, changed to dark green in the sequel), blue (Selia, changed to purple in the sequel), lilac (Sakura), teal (Miki), bubblegum pink (Misato). Genius Yamada has dark blue hair as well. Inverted by Claris, who had long aqua hair in her original game and who became a short-haired blonde.
- The Virus: Yamada's virus in GUNbare! Game Tengoku is the main enemy.
The tropes for both anime shorts:
- Big Eater: Sakura in the 2nd short. Her powers rely entirely on having a full tummy, and she ends up devouring the entire content of the group's fridge (which Miki had triple locked to keep her away) in a few bites in order to beat Yamada.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Yuki talks to the viewer at the start of the sequel's bonus anime movie.
- The Cameo: Suchie-Pai from Jaleco's Idol Fighter Suchie-Pai series of strip mah-jong games makes an appearance. The studio that made the Game Tengoku anime also made the Suchie-Pai anime adaptation.
- Comedic Lolicon: Jeynus lusts after little girls in the second anime short.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The destruction of Yamada's robot causes a chain reaction that blows up the entire arcade game world. Thankfully it's just a dream... or is it?
- Lethal Chef: Momoko's cooking is not suitable for human consumption, in fact the only one who can eat it with no problems is Pig. However, her curry rice will become useful in defeating Yamada's giant robot.
- Or Was It a Dream?: The ending to the first short. Yuki apparently passed out on the arcade's floor and dreamed of everything, but then she notices that a few of the coin-ops have been destroyed...
- Sudden Video-Game Moment: Justified since Yuki is literally entering the video game universe. However, the only game represented is Field Combat; the others don't even get a passing mention outside the appearance of their protagonists.
- Terrible Trio: Yamada and his two assistants (Nakamura and Katou) are this, like a gender-swapped version of the Terrible Trio from the Time Bokan metaseries, with the mad scientist berating his incompetent henchwomen.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Everyone in the second anime short.