The Umihara Kawase series is deeply underappreciated. You control a teen girl named Umihara Kawase as she travels from each level (called fields in this game) trying to find the exit doors. Some levels even have an extra door that is harder to reach and takes you into some of the game's harder levels. Umihara uses a fishing line to traverse around fields (what the levels are called). Think of Umihara Kawase as Bionic Commando, but without having to kill enemy soldiers. There are two challenges to these levels- complete each stage as quickly as you can, or even try to find harder-to-reach doors that warp you to more difficult levels. The laws of physics really come into play as your elastic fishing cord is used. So you'll need to creatively use your elastic fishing line to get through each level effectively. Pick up pink satchels hidden in certain places to gain extra lives. There are also boss battles with massive enemies. You can't actually fight or kill them, but you can make sure they don't try to knock you into the water (and to your death). Contact with anything doesn't necessarily kills you. In fact, some enemies and obstacles just basically knock you on your bottom, giving you the opportunity to try again. While I absolutely hate speedruns, this game is capable and designed for those. The best way to challenge yourself is to clear each level (and even each game) as quickly as your can.
The name "Umihara Kawase" consists of the kanji characters umi, hara, kawa, se and respectively translates to sea, belly, river, and back. "Umihara Kawase" translates to "sea fish are fat in the belly, river fish are fat in the back." "Shun" in "Umihara Kawase Shun" means "in season."
The game was developed by TNN (no, not "The Nashville Network" or "The National Network" (which is nowadays Spike TV)). TNN stands for "Think about Needs of Notice for human being."
Here's a picture of Umihara Kawase herself:
^ from: juegos.tv (best I could find. I'm sorry...) - Umihara Kawase, as seen in Umihara Kawase Shun.
And here are two videos of two games in the Umihara Kawase series:
^ "Umihara Kawase" (1994, Super Famicom) - Boss field against a giant tadpole
^ "Umihara Kawase Shun" (1997 and 2000, PlayStation 1 (Japan Only)) One of the most difficult levels in UKS
There should be versions available for the PlayStation Portable and for the Nintendo DS these days. Uncertain about American versions, though. Thank you for reading!
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