Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Matter of Import 35: Cutie Q [Namco 1979]


Cutie Q is the third game in the Gee Bee trilogy, released the same year as Toru Iwatani's second in the series, Bomb Bee. Like the first two it's a block breaker with elements of pinball.

Aside from the visuals, the game does provide innovations over Bomb Bee far in excess of its predecessors difference from Gee Bee. Most notable are the character sprites, the first to appear in a Namco game, and a clear foreshadowing of the more popular kawaii look in Iwatani's next project, Pac Man. While Galaga creator Shigeru Yokoyama designed the game itself, Iwatani created both the pink Minimon ghosts and the yellow Walkmen.

The gameplay of the paddles is different as well; hitting it regenerates the rainbow brick formations and increases the number of Minimon on the screen.

While the fundamentals remain unchanged, Cutie Q – named after the Clearance Clearwater Revival song Suzie Q – offers a cleaner playfield and a more satisfying play experience without looking too cluttered, and the graphics are less primitive-seeming than its predecessors.

Given its improvements I can see fit to giving the game a B rating. Still no Galaga, but better than the average 1979 arcade title.

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