Pulseman is a Platform Game for the Sega Genesis developed by Game Freak and released in 1994. Initially, it was only released outside Japan as a title on the Sega Channel service in North America, where it would only be temporarily playable on the system's RAM. A more widespread and accessible release later came to the Wii Virtual Console in 2009, with it later being released as part of Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack in 2023.
Pulseman was born from the union of Dr. Shakuei Yoshiyama and the "C-Life" (abbreviation of Computer Life) form Dr. Yoshiyama created (specifically, Dr. Yoshiyama created the C-Life form, fell in love with her, and entered the computer world to be with her; their union then resulted in Pulseman). Pulseman is half C-Life, and this means Pulseman can freely travel between the real world and the computer world. This comes in handy when the world is attacked by a mysterious evil organization called the "Galaxy Gang", led by the evil Dr. Waruyama, a megalomaniac who plans to rule the entire galaxy. It's up to Pulseman and his girlfriend, Beatrice (who used to be a member of the Galaxy Gang, but was then rescued by Pulseman) to stand up against the evil intentions of Dr. Waruyama.
It is notable for featuring staff members (such as Ken Sugimori and Junichi Masuda) who would later work on Pokémon.
Pulseman contains examples of:
- 20 Minutes into the Future: The game was released in 1994, and it takes place in 2015.
- All There in the Manual: Some of the game's plot.
- Badass Adorable: Pulseman looks cute, and he kicks a lot of ass throughout the game.
- Big Bad: Dr. Waruyama.
- Big "WHAT?!": Beatrice when she realizes water is Pulseman's weakness.
- Boss Warning Siren: Beatrice's "Be Careful" shouts work this way when the player's approaching the boss area.
- Calling Your Attacks: When Pulseman uses either Slash Arrow or Volteccer, or dashes forwards.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: The ending has Pulseman briefly take over a news broadcast to prove he's still alive.
- Finishing Move: If Pulseman is electrically charged, he can use either "Slash Arrow" to destroy enemies at a distance, or turn himself into a ball of lightning and charge around the room in a move called "Volteccer".
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
- The intro has Pulseman appear in static, implying he's taken over the TV.
- The final battle against Dr. Waruyama has the same static effect, this time pasting the Galaxy Gang's logo across the screen.
- A God Am I: Sort of. Dr. Waruyama's motivation for plotting to rule the galaxy is that he thinks he's the godliest, most divinely genius scientist in the world.
- The Hero: Pulseman.
- High-Heel–Face Turn: And one that isn't even a spoiler, since it happens before the game takes place. Beatrice used to be a member of the Galaxy Gang, but she left the gang after meeting Pulseman and became his girlfriend. However, this is only mentioned in the manual, not in the game itself.
- Damsel in Distress: However, depending on which translation of the manual you're using, Beatrice might have been this instead; that is, she might have been kidnapped and held hostage against her will to help the Galaxy Gang, and Pulseman might've rescued her from the gang.
- Intrepid Reporter: Lisa Hatfield, a beautiful woman and competent reporter who provides news on Pulseman's adventures.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Pulseman is the offspring of the human scientist Dr. Yoshiyama and his C-Life creation. In present day, Pulseman is in a relationship with Beatrice, who herself is a C-Life.
- Large Ham: Dr. Waruyama comes off as this when you hear his voice clips, all of which are in English despite this being a Japanese game. For example: "Water can destroy Pulseman!"
- Love Interest: Beatrice.
- Mirror Match: Veil, described under The Rival below, fights like a copy of Pulseman, complete with his own Volteccer attack.
- Mission Control: Beatrice.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: If Pulseman and Veil both use Volteccer and they collide with each other, Pulseman's Volteccer will knock Veil out of his own, giving Pulseman time to damage Veil using his close-range electric attack before they both land on the ground. This is the only way to actually damage Veil during his boss fight.
- While Pulseman is normally drawn out of Volteccer as well, a tool-assisted speedrun discovered a 1-frame window where Pulseman could continue Volteccer. Veil would, therefore, be damaged by Volteccer instead of stunned.
- Red Is Heroic: The titular protagonist has a color scheme that mostly consists of a bold red color. This was meant to give him the look of a Japanese superhero in contrast to Sonic the Hedgehog, who is colored blue and is designed with Western appeal in mind, instead.
- The Rival: Veil, the C-Life form that Dr. Waruyama creates to oppose Pulseman (although Veil, unlike Pulseman, is fully C-Life and can only "substantiate" in the real world thanks to Dr. Waruyama's EUREKA system). In the game, Veil is the Stage 5 boss.
- Take Over the World: Dr. Waruyama's goal, except he wants to take over the galaxy as well.
- Warmup Boss: The boss of Stage 1 is just a random criminal from the Galaxy Gang. His goal is certainly heinous enough; he wants to control people using electromagnetic waves from the TV station. But he's easily beaten: Pulseman first has to go into the computer system and defeat a giant floating wireframe hand (which only attacks by moving around and punching through blocks), but then he simply comes out and slashes the criminal's computer, creating explosions that defeat the criminal.
- Weaksauce Weakness: If Pulseman enters water, he shorts out and can no longer use Volteccer, Slash Arrow, or even use his basic electric slash. Contrary to Dr. Waruyama's hammy voice acting though, water will not actually destroy Pulseman: but it's pretty dang inconvenient, anyway.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It is never explained what became of either Dr. Shakuei Yoshiyama or his C-Life wife after Pulseman was born.
- The English VC release implies that Yoshiyama became Waruyama due to his mind being fried over time from repeatedly entering and re-entering the computer world from the real world, although nothing like this is mentioned in the original Japanese version.