TwinBee is a long-running Cute 'em Up series by Konami, makers of Gradius. It's a much more light-hearted top-down entry into the genre, with the main ships being sentient beings with arms and legs and fighting enemies like watermelon slices and ladybugs.
Yeah, it's a weird game.
In its original format, only one of the games managed to be released in North America — Moero TwinBee: Cinamon Hakasei wo Sukue became Stinger upon translation. Unfortunately, that one is widely considered to be the weakest in the series, which resulted in none of the games getting exported for a long time. Much to the United States' detriment, of course, as later games managed to make some great improvements to the basic setup (including a Life Meter and a plot).
However, the series is finally starting to see the light of day in the United States: Konami first released the original game as Rainbow Bell as a part of their Konami Arcade Classics collection for the Nintendo DS and some of the games are starting to appear for purchase on download services for each console.
Here's a list of games in the series.
- TwinBee (Arcade/Famicom/MSX, included in Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the DS as Rainbow Bell)
- Moero TwinBee (Famicom, released on the US NES as Stinger)
- TwinBee 3 (Famicom)
- TwinBee Da!! (Game Boy, released as Pop'n TwinBee in Europe)
- Detana!! TwinBee (Arcade/X68000/PC Engine, had an export arcade release titled Bells & Whistles)
- Pop'n TwinBee (Super Famicom/European SNES)
- TwinBee Rainbow Bell Adventure (Super Famicom/European SNES)
- TwinBee Taisen Puzzle Dama (PlayStation)
- TwinBee Yahho! (Arcade)
- Detana!! TwinBee Yahho! Deluxe Pack (PlayStation/Saturn)
- TwinBee RPG (PlayStation)
- TwinBee Portable (PSP)
- TwinBee (3D Classics; based on the Famicom version)
- Arcade Archives: Bells & Whistles (Nintendo Switch)
There was also a radio drama version named TwinBee Paradise which aired following Pop'n TwinBee, which was popular enough in Japan to last three seasons and a five-episode OVA series.
Has an Awesome Music page.
This series has examples of:
- Affably Evil: Dr. Warumon. He's practically an expy of Dr. Eggman.
- Badass Adorable: All the ships are adorable and they can kick some butt.
- Border-Occupying Decorations: The 3D Classics release fills leftover space thanks to the 3DS's larger screen ratio with a red curtain.
- Brainy Baby: Mint. He's not able to speak with anything other than blabbles yet, though, so his ship Gwinbee has to translate for the other characters so they can understand the useful advice and comments he gives.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Played with. The letters on Light and Pastel's shirts stand for the ships they pilot: TwinBee, and WinBee. Of course, since the pilots didn't have names originally, naturally people just called them TwinBee and WinBee after the ships.
- The Cameo: In the anime, various other Konami characters appear as judges in the beauty pageant.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Dr. Warumon.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Madoka, oh so much. Her grandfather Dr. Mardock counts too, but is a milder case.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The bells and which power-up they grant. Similarly, each of the Bees has their own color.
- Combination Attack: In two-player mode, there are two different ones — one if the players line up horizontally, and one if they line up vertically.
- Cool Ship: TwinBee, WinBee, and GwinBee. They're sentient, and they regularly fight by punching things.
- Cute 'em Up: May be the Trope Maker, along with Sega's Fantasy Zone.
- Denser and Wackier: Upon the introduction of Light and Pastel as pilots, more comedic gags and sillier (than usual) plots were introduced along with their Dr. Wily Expy villain, Dr. Warumon.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The first game's main pilots are named Annamon and Donnamon, who pilot the TwinBee and WinBee respectively. The second game's, Moero TwinBee, main pilots are Squash who pilots TwinBee, Whip who pilots WinBee, and Mellow who pilots GwinBee. The third game and the Game Boy game, TwinBee 3 and TwinBee Da!! respectively, have no names for the pilots.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: We're not kidding about the deadly watermelons.
- Evil Counterpart: Dr. Warumon is this to Dr. Cinnamon (Warumon being a portmanteau of warui and "cinnamon").
- And of course, there's "Nise" (Fake) TwinBee.
- Eyecatch: Starting with Detana! TwinBee, and TwinBee Yahho! has some good ones. Only the PSP version of TwinBee Da! lacks it.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to Pastel and an alley cat in one episode of the anime. It even happens to Light and TwinBee in the same episode.
- Genre Shift: Rainbow Bell Adventure is a side-scrolling platformer, while TwinBee RPG is an RPG.
- Ghibli Hills: All over the series, but the first stage of Detana!! Twinbee/Bells And Whistles takes it literally, going all the way to being a Shout-Out to Castle in the Sky, meaning that at some points, the pastoral hills give way to mining cities deep within massive chasms.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Present in RPG, since the protagonist is supposed to be the player.
- The Hero: Light usually fills this spot. In RPG, the player takes this role.
- Idol Singer: Pastel aims to become one and be the best of them.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Despite being the Big Bad of most games of the series and being considered as Light and friends' Arch-Enemy, Dr. Warumon falls square in this trope, as his Evil Plans and his Artifacts of Doom get invariably thwarted and destroyed by the heroes, and like Team Rocket, needs to resort to part-time jobs to fund his next line of evil inventions. He's also made fun of very frequently.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Herb Mint.
- Life Meter: In some of the later games in the series.
- Lighter and Softer: TwinBee is basically a lighter and softer version of the dark and edgy Xevious with elements of Gradius thrown into the mix. Instead of dealing with an Alien Invasion, TwinBee instead faces off against a Fantasy Kitchen Sink of dinner-themed or mundane-themed mascot-like enemies straight out of a Sanrio greeting card.
- Lethal Chef: Madoka, regarding cookies. She never gives up at trying to make delicious ones, but each attempt is a failure that either horribly food poisons the unfortunate people who taste them, or make ovens explode. In any other kind of food than that one, however, she's a Supreme Chef.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Warumon for the evil version, Dr. Mardock for the heroic yet Cloud Cuckoo Lander version.
- Market-Based Title: The few games that were released internationally were sometimes retitled — the second Famicom game was released in America as Stinger, while Europe received TwinBee Da!! and Rainbow Bell Adventure under the Pop'n TwinBee moniker (since the SNES version was the first game in the series released there).
- Named by the Adaptation: Light and Pastel first got their names in the radio drama, which came out after they first appeared in "Detana!!..." .
- Nintendo Hard:
- Contact with an enemy, unlike contact with a bullet, is instant death for the player.
- In the arcade version of the game, if you're shot by a bullet you only lose one of your arms on the side where you were hit. In the Famicom and MSX versions, an enemy bullet can destroy both bomb-throwing arms at once. A special craft will then appear on the screen and if the player makes contact with it, the arms will be restored. This can only be done once per life.
- In the arcade version, you can shoot the bells indefinitely. However, in the home versions, after the bell is hit approximately 32 times, it turns into something deadly.
- In the Famicom version, the bell turns into a Famicom bee you must also fire at like with an ordinary enemy to score points. If you receive them like you would the other bells, your ship will instead explode.
- The MSX version of the game has a black bell that appears after the bell is hit approximately 32 times. It acts like a power-down instead of a powerup, with it killing you as well upon contact. In future games, the black bell only slows you down.
- Obviously Evil: Dr. Warumon is a textbook example. He has the villainous goatee, the evil monocle, the Ominous Opera Cape, and the smug smile. And of course, his ultimate goal is to Take Over The Whole Universe.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Pastel and Light, and their respective ships.
- P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Light and Pastel are a non-romantic example.
- Princesses Rule: Princess Melora, who's actually the gentle Queen of Planet Mel (the world of TwinBee), yet is called with the "Princess" title.
- The Professor: Dr. Cinnamon.
- Punny Name: The "Waru" in Dr. Warumon's name comes from the Japanese word for "bad". Similarly, the "Nise" in Nise TwinBee means "Fake".
- Ret-Canon: Much of the series' story was fleshed out in the TwinBee Paradise radio drama and then brought back to the game. For example, the pilots of TwinBee and WinBee were originally nameless and were given the names Light and Pastel in the radio drama.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Pastel.
- Sapient Ship: All three of the ships are sentient.
- Scenery Porn: The first three games did have little dull scrolling backgrounds, but starting from Bells & Whistles, the lands or the skies you fly over are extremely detailed and beautiful, constantly changing as you go on.
- The first level of Bells & Whistles really feels like flying over a small, but very wonderful land. You start flying above the forest, and then arrive into a small town: soon you're flying in mountain scapes which have train tracks on them, then you arrive into a large construction site... Just see it for yourself.
- TwinBee Yahho!, being the pinnacle of the series and thus having the best backgrounds of the series, mixes this with awesome emotional parallax scrolling and voice acting, giving out the feeling that of an 90's action anime episodes. A memorable moment is when TwinBee makes a somersault in the air at the first stage, background changing like if you were on the cockpit.(See at 2:54) It gets much better at the third stage.
- Ship Tease: The ending of TwinBee Yahho! teases the possibility of Ace/Queen Melody.
- Spell My Name with an S: On this very page, "TwinBee" can be spelled as "Twinbee" or even "Twin Bee" (but that one mostly refers to the plane TwinBee is based on).
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Pastel and WinBee, ordinarily the second player, have proven much more popular than Light and TwinBee (the first player), and as such are used as the poster figures of the franchise.
- Suspend Save: 3D Classics: TwinBee lets you Quick Save at any time, but your save is deleted upon loading, meaning you have to start from the beginning if you get a Game Over. However, this can easily be cheesed with the Nintendo 3DS's built-in Save-Data Backup feature.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Winbee, the female ship, has a cockpit in the shape of a heart (though it also goes into the theme design of the ships).
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pastel and Madoka.