Title: Ja-man Tanteidan Marine-gumi
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Bandai
Released by: Bandai
Date: November 29, 1988
Japanese level: 3
MSRP: 3300 yen
Current Price: 500 yen

Anyone who's had the unfortunate catastrophe of watching Fox on weekday afternoons is probably more than familiar with the "ranger" genre of kids' shows - four or five teenage dudes (Japanese or American, depending on what country you're watching TV in), usually with a little kid or two in tow, engage in wholesome school activity and occasionally switch into latex mode to fight interstellar monsters invading Japan (I mean America).

In the late 80s Toei, the company behind most of these shows, created a couple of series with a twist to the genre: four or five normal kids form a team of detectives, give it some sort of weird name, and fight against master thieves and criminals, most of which are in latex mode. Hence this game, based off of one such TV show.

Each level starts out with our group of five kids receiving a cryptic message from Jigoma, the dude on the cover. Jigoma has a habit of faxing cryptic messages to the Marine-gumi just before he makes off with the diamonds or whatnot, so our team of five kids hit the street for information. This is pretty standard adventure stuff and it sort of reminds me of ET Phone Home on the Atari 800 - walk around, talk to people, get items and eventually find out where Jigoma will strike and ambush him. Or her. I don't know.

The main problem with this game is (a) it's very graphically uninspiring as the game map features nothing but an urban sprawl with houses the same size as you, and (b) everything moves extremely slowly, from the scrolling of the map to the printing of text when you talk to people. The fact that there's a time limit to each game map makes things even more aggravating. This is one game that no one should have to play.