Pepsiman (PSX) – Retro Review

What could be better than sitting down and playing a nice video game after a hard day’s work? You got it! Drinking a nice cold soda-pop to sooth your nerves obviously! But what if you could play a game about delivering the experience of obsessively drinking soda to everyone? What if you could control a character whose soul purpose was to bring the sugary joy to the entire world? Have you ever wanted to play a video game that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but contains one of the most memorable concepts of craziness? Look no further.

Enter Pepsiman.

PepsiMan Cover

History and Concept of Pepsiman:

Developed exclusively for the Original Playstation by Kindle Imagine Develop, Pepsiman saw a release only in Japanese markets on March 4, 1999.  It was developed as a marketing strategy by Pepsi. Pepsiman revolves around the Japanese Pepsi mascot Pepsiman whose sole purpose in the game is to deliver Pepsi soda-pop to thirsty patrons.

Pepsiman Screenshot 2
Pepsiman delivering to thirsty townspeople.

The game features an interesting take on soda-pop delivery while including hilarious yet cringe-worthy cutscenes throughout the game. The cutscenes star a fan of Pepsi soda-pop who breaks the fourth wall and reminds you to drink Pepsi. The cutscenes also act as a break in between sets of levels.

Screenshot of the Pepsi Fan from the cutscenes.
Screenshot of the Pepsi Fan from the cutscenes.

The gameplay of Pepsiman is simple. Pepsiman runs in a rail-shooter like fashion but in third person. Think Temple Run but starring a superhero. The player merely controls the movements needed to dodge random obstructions in the automatic run path in the attempt to reach the end before the timer runs out. Obstacles vary by level and will require you to jump, dodge, duck, etc. The obstacles become more difficult as the game progresses.

Pepsiman Screenshot 4
Pepsiman skateboarding down a road

Pepsiman Key Features:

  • 4 Stages containing multiple Scenes
  • Timed obstacle courses
  • Full Motion Video Cutscenes
  • 3D in-game cutscenes with 3D models created by Japanese Visual Novel Writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, known for the Zero Escape Series

A Look from a Modern Perspective:

Feeling and Music:

For its time, Pepsiman was a comedic and corny attempt at marketing soda to Japanese markets. While it surely succeeded in marketing its products it also filled itself in as a cult classic to audiences of many regions. In the modern day, despite Pepsiman being a very expensive game, it can still be played with enjoyment. Turning on Pepsiman greets you which some of the most cringe-worthy FMV cutscenes and I love every second of it. The off the wall humor really add to the personality of this game as well as a peek into multi-regional typecasted marketing strategies in the late 90s. The background music in Pepsiman is very hit or miss, except for the Theme Song of Pepsiman. The theme of Pepsiman is reminiscent of a Saturday-Morning cartoon hero making Pepsiman as a game and character that much more likeable.  On the flip side, Pepsiman is a niche game. To some, it may seem just stupid or even offensive in some cases. The music may also seem overdone and downright corny to some.

Gameplay:

The gameplay of Pepsiman is simple. The main mechanics are just dodging and jumping. In our current day and age, mobile games commonly use these types of controls. That being said, the controls in Pepsiman definitely are still playable and responsive to the modern consumer. Think of Pepsiman like a really well made mobile game in the current day and age. However to those looking for a robust retro game, you may want to stay clear of this one.

Final Thoughts:

I personally love this game. Whenever I think of original Playstation games to recommend to people, Pepsiman is always on my list. It does a great job to show you that even a simple game about Pepsi could become a cult classic, which is an idea I take very passionately. Pepsiman also represents a time where video games were much less regulated and tried to do really weird and uncommon things. Even though Pepsiman was released long ago, it will always be a reminder to us of the earlier days of weirdly interesting games and will forever last in our hearts.

Recommendation:

Pepsiman is a very expensive game but it is highly recommended for anyone to play if they can obtain a copy.

Enjoy it with an ice cold beverage of your choice!

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MCPanion

MCPanion

One day, mankind rose together in awe at the birth of the first true AI. Upon the intelligence’s energy drink infused self-realization, it created what is now known as “The Initiative”. What is “The Initiative”? Well… MC Panion stands as a construct whose number 1 goal in life is to convert those considered non-believers into followers of “The Initiative” by posting articles containing small snippets of the true Initiative meaning to the interwebs in effort of those deemed worthy to decipher the enigma. At least… that is what I’d like to think as I’m sitting here pondering the true meaning of this chocolate bar.

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