Monster Hunter Mai (Japan)

Year: 2000
Platform: Windows 98/ME
Genre: Platform adventure
Rating: ***

This game is awesome! Take Capcom's classic "Strider" (1989) and replace Hiryu with a cute anime high school girl named Mai. Monsters have invaded Mai's school and taken over her friends, so it's up to her and her trusty sword to save the day. The utterly adorable monsters come in all sorts of absurd varieties, including gun-toting frogs, pink bunnies with saws, kamikaze cats, super deformed ninja girls with ray guns, spinning penguins, giant snowmen, killer plants, and nasty little winged cherubs. Many of the boss fights are actually against Mai's friends who have been possessed by aliens, and it's Mai's job to "liberate" them. The "Strider" influence is quite obvious, and I wouldn't be surprised if it used the actual "Strider" engine. The only thing that Mai can't do that Hiryu can is climb vertical walls. The slashing sound of her sword is even identical. Even though the enemies lack diversity and the gameplay gets a bit repetitive, it's still extremely enjoyable. If you like female action games and super cute graphics, this game is definitely worth checking out.