Shanghai II - Dragons Eye FI

SNES A Day 155: Shanghai II: Dragon’s Eye

shanghai_II_dragons_eye_us_box_art

Approximate Release Month: February 1993
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Hot-B
Publisher: Activision

Shanghai II: Dragon’s Eye is a solid mahjong game.

I just want to get this out of the way: I know Shanghai II isn’t real mahjong. It’s what people think is mahjong. Mahjong is usually played with three or four other people with very complicated rules while the version depicted in this game is (mostly) played solo. I’m going to refer to the game depicted in Shanghai II as mahjong for clarity.

Shanghai II is all about matching tiles with the same pattern until you clear the entire game board. You can only match tiles that aren’t being surrounded by other tiles. Pretty much everyone is familiar with this game and it’s replicated here quite well. This is a great Super Nintendo cartridge to plop into the system for ten minutes at a time.

There are some features here that are missing in many other mahjong games. There’s the usual ability to shuffle boards and choose different tile layouts, of course. My favorite addition in Shanghai II is the large number of alternate tile designs. I stuck with the traditional style, but the alphabet design in particular would be a good way to make the squiggly lines on tiles easier to match up. There are ten styles in all.

One interesting mode is the titular Dragon’s Eye variant. It uses the same mahjong titles as the traditional game. I haven’t actually figured out how to play, but it’s really weird seeing a competitive, one-on-one mahjong-like game! I suspect it might share a genesis with the traditional mahjong game.

Speaking of genesis, Shanghai II does not support the SNES Mouse, even though the Genesis port is compatible  with Sega’s Mega Mouse. Mouse support would help make this game play faster and smoother, so the Genesis port might be the one to get. I didn’t even know Sega had a mouse for their system!

Shanghai II: Dragon’s Eye might be the best game of its kind of this era. It’s full-featured and even includes different games to play with the same tiles. It’s unavoidably clunky, though, so you might be better off finding a more modern version. The Windows 8 Store’s Microsoft Mahjong is a decent free choice.

Tomorrow: Simprepare to simread about SimEarth: The Living Planet simtomorrow.

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