(ツインビー) is a video game series
, which consists mainly of vertical shooters, although it has delved in other genres as well. It stars the eponymous bee-shaped robot Twinbee and its "female" counterpart Winbee. In some games, a green bee named Gwinbee appears, which acts either as a powerup or a playable character. Unlike other Konami shooters, Twinbee
has a cuter design and ambiance (like Fantasy Zone
), which is referred to by fans as "cute 'em up
While the series is very popular in Japan, in America it has been almost unheard of, with only the first two games in the series released. In Europe three games in the series were released to successful reception (all of them for the Super NES and Game Boy), though the franchise is known as Pop 'n' Twinbee, instead of just Twinbee, since that game was the first released there.
In the Twinbee
are obtained by catching bells. In order to make them appear, the player must shoot the clouds
, a specific enemy, and other targets. A bell will come out, and it will start falling to the bottom of the screen.
Shooting the bells make them "jump" to the top of the screen. If a bell is shot enough times, it will change color. This can be done multiple times. Each color gives a different powerup, although in some games, some will turn into an enemy.
In Twinbee, there is heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay. In some games, both characters can join together to enhance their abilities, such as powerful shots, dropping more bombs at once, sharing energy, etc.
Characters in the series
After "Detana!! Twinbee":
- : The main character and his blue bee-shaped robot. He the eldest of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- : Light's cousin and her pink bee-shaped robot. She the younger member of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- : Pastel's little brother and his green bee-shaped robot. He's the youngest member of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- : The Goddess and protector of the Universe.
- : The Twinbees' inventor and Grand father of Light, Pastel and Mint.
- : The Evilbees' inventor, he's Dr Cinnamon's arch-rival. He spends his time building armies of evil bee clones and trying to take over the world. He also dabbles in foreign politics, provoking coups, that sort of thing. He's always thwarted by Twinbee, or course. Probably the most evil man in the Universe. He also has a number of airships which invariably end up getting crashed.
- Evilbee(Zakobee in Japan)
- Madoka: Mardock's granddaughter and friend of Light, Pastel & Mint. Madoka was rescued from her insane grandfather by Twinbee and now enjoys baking and other domestic activities. She's also a fledgeling mechanic, although her efforts don't always work out as planned.
- Teacher Apple
- Nurse Peach
- Dr. Mardock
Games in the series
- TwinBee (known as RainbowBell in North America), released March 5, 1985: An original arcade vertical shooter, TwinBee plays similar to Namco's Xevious. Players use TwinBee or Winbee in a short string of six levels that repeats indefinitely, with a boss at the end of each. A Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and a MSX version were made in 1986, as well as a port for PlayStation. The NES version was re-released for the Game Boy Advance under Nintendo's Famicom Mini label, only released in Japan. It was released in North America as part of an arcade compilation for Nintendo DS in March, 2007, where it was renamed RainbowBell; when the compilation was released in Europe, the TwinBee name was restored.
- Stinger, released on November 21, 1986 and in 1987 in America: Known in Japan as Moero! TwinBee: Cinamon Hakasei wo Sukue, this is the first game in the TwinBee series that was released in the United States and Canada. Some enemy force kidnaps Dr. Cinnamon (creator of the "TwinBees") and TwinBee, Winbee and Gwinbee must rescue him. Originally for the Famicom Disk System in 1986, this game allowed up to three players simultaneously. Unlike its predecessor, Stinger has horizontal shooter levels (like Gradius) in addition to the vertical ones. Since the Famicom Disk System never appeared in North America, the American version was released as a cartridge, however, it lost the three player option (it can be played with two players, though), the story scenes were deleted and the difficulty was altered. At the end of the Nintendo Entertainment System's life, Konami re-released some of their classic FDS games in Japan, in cartridge format, and Stinger was one of them. Unlike the American version, the Japanese one is the same as the disk based one.
- TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaou released on September 29, 1989. This is the last game in the TwinBee series for the Famicom to be released and the third game in the series. It ditches Stinger's horizontal levels, which makes this more in line to the first title.
- TwinBee Da!!, first released on October 12, 1990 and in fall 1994 in Europe: A port of the original TwinBee for the Game Boy. In Europe it is known as Pop'n TwinBee.
- Detana!! TwinBee (also known as Bells & Whistles in Europe), first released on February 21, 1991: An arcade release, also ported to PC Engine, Sharp X68000, PlayStation and Sega Saturn (the latter two bundled with TwinBee Yahho!) It has no relation from the original and Famicom games. While not too different, gameplay wise, from its predecessors, Detana! improves vastly on graphics and audio. It also introduces the current character cast, like TwinBee's and Winbee's characters (Light and Pastel, respectively) and other characters that will remain in the subsequent games. It was the most popular game in the series in Japan, and paved the way for some merchandise products (including audio dramas and an Original Video Animation). This also introduced cutscenes that played between stages, which usually showed Pastel and Winbee getting one up on Light and TwinBee.
- Pop'n TwinBee, first released on March 26, 1993, and later 1993 in Europe: A Super NES game. It is one of Detana!'s sequels, though they play different. Pop uses a large energy bar, which if it depletes, the game is over. The player starts the game with no lives, although it is possible to earn them later. When playing with two players, it is also possible to share energy.
- TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure (Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures in Europe), first released in 1993 in Europe and on January 7, 1994 in Japan: Also for Super NES. The first real departure in the series, Rainbow Bell Adventures is a side-scrolling platformer. Also released in Europe, though the level order, some dialogue and the back-up system (the European version uses passwords, the Japanese one uses battery) are different. Notably, You cannot play some of the Japanese levels in the European version.
- TwinBee Yahho!, released on April 19, 1995: Another sequel for Detana!, originally released in arcades, and later ported to the PlayStation and Saturn (along with Detana! TwinBee). Included a vocal theme song, among other vocals, with Winbee greeting the arcade owner each time it is booted, and various snatches of dialogue from most of the characters.
- TwinBee RPG, released April 3, 1998: Featuring 3D graphics and made for the PlayStation, this simplistic role playing game, set in the complete universe of the series, is possibly the final game in the series.
- TwinBee Portable, released January 25, 2007 (Japan): A PSP compilation featuring TwinBee, Detana!! TwinBee, Pop'n TwinBee, TwinBee Yahho!, and a remake of TwinBee DA!.
Appearances in other games and media
- Wai Wai World: Twinbee is one of two playable ships (Vic Viper being the other one) in the second to last stage, which is a generic vertical shooting stage.
- Wai Wai World 2: Twinbee is a playable character in certain levels. However, the levels in which he is playable are not just vertical shooting stages, but on-rails shooting stages in the vein of Space Harrier, as well.
- Parodius series: In most of the series, Twinbee and Winbee made an appearance as playable characters, while Shooting Star (the enemy red ship in Twinbee Yahho!) is playable in Sexy Parodius. Also, while Parodius is more of a parody of Gradius, it features the bell powerup system in addition to the Gradius's bar system one, as well. Both systems works in parallel and give different powerups. Also, the bell system's powerups are temporary, while the bar system not.
- Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginesu: Pastel makes an appearance as an NPC in a house at the village which is visited at night.
- Konami Krazy Racers: Pastel is a playable character in this kart-racing game with Konami characters. Since Pastel is available from the beginning this game represents her first time as a primary-tier character. It is the second game released in United States with a Twinbee character. Also, different colored bells in this game have different powerups.
- DreamMix TV World Fighters: Twinbee is a regular character in this fighting game.
- Music from the game is remixed in another game by Konami, Beatmania III, which later featured in a remix for the Konami arcade game, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme.
The video games later spawned a long-running audio drama and later an anime OVA (both of which were titled Twinbee Paradise) which feature a cast of well-known seiyū that includes Kappei Yamaguchi, Mayumi Tanaka, Hekiru Shiina, Kumiko Nishihara, Miki Ito, Mariko Kōda, Megumi Ogata, Yukimasa Kishino, and Wakana Yamazaki.
Many soundtracks have been released for the various Twinbee games. These include Pop'n Twinbee Graffiti and Twinbee RPG Original Game Soundtrack.
- At one point the original Twinbee game was supposed to be released in the U.S. as Bells & Whistles. However, the release was cancelled for reasons unknown. The code for Bells & Whistles is present within the Twinbee coding and can be accessed through the use of a DIP switch.
- It has been rumored that the design of the Renault Twingo was partially inspired by the ships from the game; however, Renault has made no statement regarding this.
- Michiru Yamane (who composed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), partially composed the music for Detana! Twinbee and Twinbee Yahho!.
- Pastel, rather than Light, is used more often in merchandise and cameos. This is evidenced by a 'color bug' turning the Parodius Twinbee pink, making it Winbee who is attending the parody tournament, for the early games, and that it is Pastel, rather than Winbee, who is driving the kart in Konami Krazy Racers. Also, Cutscenes in the later Twinbee games favor Pastel seriously, and Pastel's merchandising is more widespread.
- Character Designs for the game and anime were handled by the same character designer, Shujirou Hamakawa AKA Shuzilow.HA, the same character designer of Solty Rei.