Nothing quite beats weirdo obscure Japanese games that had no hope of launching in the west. Enter Innsmouth no Yakata, which was doomed from the start!
That’s because it launched on the Virtual Boy in 1995, the product of developer Be Top. And if you’ve seen Waterworld VR, you know the problems already.
But this curious specimen does have some merit behind it. Shiver me timbers, let’s explore the oddity.
Spooky FPS/VR Horror With Innsmouth no Yakata
Innsmouth no Yakata begins with one of the Virtual Boy’s very best intro sequences. It’s really quite impressive!
And it launches you into the game with considerable gusto. No messing about with that one, right into the action.
There’s quite a bit of culture behind the game, too. If you’re wondering about that weird name, it’s a nod to The Shadow over Innsmouth—that’s H. P. Lovefcraft’s 1931 horror novella.
That literary edge reminds us of Otogirisō on the SNES, a 1992 visual horror novel.
All very good, then, but that returns to the big problem Be Top had with its game. It was on the Virtual Boy!
This meant it was lumped with the console’s famous red/black colour scheme. Although that works rather well for this horror game. Not so much with other titles on the system, such as Virtual Boy Golf.
Anyway, for Innsmouth no Yakata the player takes control of a private detective. The game is set in 1922.
And it’s your task to escape a massive mansion that’s packed with fish-like monsters. Here’s a full playthrough!
Yes, the game is only 15 minutes long. Huzzah! And of course you don’t need a Virtual Boy these days, you can use online emulation.
We gave Innsmouth no Yakata a go and it immediately reminded us of the first-person shooter sections of Jurassic Park on the SNES. That kind of vibe.
You take on individual stages, each one being a floor of the mansion.
And the idea is to run forward, gun down monsters, and reach the exit before the time limit runs out.
The time limit is one strict SOB, too, so… no loitering!
There are 45 floors in total, but they’re super short so you can kind of race through the game at considerable speed.
And… it’s okay! It’s really not that bad. Although the consensus is Virtual Boy Wario Land is easily the system’s best game, it doesn’t mean nothing else decent made it onto the system.
However, this isn’t to say Innsmouth no Yakata is amazing or anything. It’s just okay.
What stands it out? The oddball title, its place in the VB’s limited games catalogue, and its Japan-only status.
Another weirdo obscurity that, thanks to the internet, has enjoyed a new lease of life decades after even relative obscurity at launch.
Famitsu magazine, back in 1995, handed over a meagre 24/40. Retrospective reviews have handed over similar ratings. You go, fish monsters!