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Video Game / Hebereke

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Clockwise from top-right, O-Chan, Hebe, Jennifer, and Suzukezaemon.

Hebereke is a cult game series made by Sunsoft from 1991 to 2001. The titular character, a penguin with a detachable head, was Sunsoft's mascot for the 1990s. The only game in the series to be exported outside of Japan was Ufouria. Nearly all the titles in the series were vastly different, being sold more on the marketing power of its appealingly strange, Sanrio-esque characters than unifying gameplay hooks. The franchise overall was very similar to the longer-running Kirby series.

Games in the series include:

  • Hebereke / Ufouria: The Saga (Metroidvania Platformer)
  • Hebereke no Popoon / Hebereke's Popoon (Puyo Puyo-esque puzzle game)
  • Popoitto Hebereke / Hebereke's Popoitto (Dr. Mario-esque puzzle game)
  • Hashire Hebereke (Racing game - though a foot race, not a kart-racer)
  • Sugoi Hebereke (Platform Fighter)
  • Hebereke no Oishii Puzzle (Literal puzzle game)
  • O-Chan no Oekaki Logic (nonogram/picross Puzzle Game)
  • Gimmick! (1992) (Though not directly related, it is often grouped as being part of the Hebereke series in retrospect thanks to being similar to Ufouria. The Hebereke soundtrack included clips from Mr. Gimmick, for instance)
  • Ufouria: The Saga 2 (Metroidvania platformer that serves as a sequel/remake to Ufouria)

Recurring members of the cast included:

  • Hebe - A ditzy penguin with a detachable head. For no reason, he has an evil twin.
  • O-Chan - A spoiled-rich ice-breathing catgirl (as in she's a girl wearing a cat suit) who sees all the other characters as her servants.
  • Sukezaemon - A serene, calm, ghost who speaks in archaic Japanese with eyes that double as homing rockets.
  • Jennifer - A grumpy anglerfish that vomits explosives.
  • Pen-chan - A constantly crying little girl in a penguin suit.
  • Bobodori - A purple mama bird with a man's voice who constantly loses her eggs and flies with a propeller beanie.
  • Utsujin - A cat in an alien costume riding a flying saucer.
  • Unyo - A greedy cyborg space pirate who is the Big Bad and looks suspiciously similar to King Dedede.
  • Popoon - Little balls with faces that characters in the Hebe universe become when they die, used as ammunition and as puzzle blocks.

The series provides examples of:

  • Animal Stereotypes: Inverted - Hebereke is a penguin who can't swim or walk on ice, but can scale walls. O-Chan is a cat who can't climb but can swim, walk on ice, and freeze enemies.
  • Cartoon Creature: Hebereke looks like a penguin but cannot swim, has an extendable head, and suction cups for feet. O-Chan may or may not be a little girl or an alien dressed as a cat. Jennifer is some weird hybrid of a frog and an anglerfish, and Utsujin is the opposite of O-Chan - a cat dressed up as an alien.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The main characters (and especially the titular character, Hebe) seem to be this.
  • Cute Kitten: O-chan is a cute kitten, or at least a girl dressed as one.
  • Cute Slime Mook: Called Popoons in the series, they are basically equivalent to the puyos from Puyo Puyo, especially in Hebereke no Popoon.
  • Gameplay Roulette: The only repeated gameplay style in the series was amongst the Match Three Puzzle Games.
  • Grid Puzzle: O-Chan no Oekaki Logic revolves around solving nonograms with the help of The Ojou O-chan.
  • Odd Name Out: Jennifer is the only character to have a normal person's name.
  • Platform Fighter: Sugoi Hebereke was one of the first, and one of the earliest to feature the four-player set-up that has become the standard.