TwinBee (ツインビー) is a video game series composed primarily of cartoon-themed vertical-scrolling shoot-'em-up games produced by Konami, that were released primarily in Japan. The series originated as a coin-operated video game simply titled TwinBee in 1985, which was followed by several home versions and sequels. The character designs of almost every game in the series since Detana!! TwinBee in 1991 were provided by Japanese animator SHUZILOW.HA (Shujirō Hamakawa), who also planned and supervised most of the subsequent installments in the TwinBee series. The series also inspired a radio drama adaptation that lasted three seasons in Japan, as well as an anime adaptation.
The series centers around a blue bee-shaped anthropomorphic spacecraft named TwinBee, who is usually accompanied by a pink "female" counterpart known as WinBee. In most games, the first player controls TwinBee while WinBee is controlled by the second player. A third ship also exists named GwinBee, a green counterpart to TwinBee and WinBee who in most games serves as a power-up, but in some instances also appear as a third playable spacecraft. In contrast to the series sci-fi theme of Konami's Gradius series, the fictional universe of the TwinBee series is set in a cartoon-like world featuring several kinds of anthropomorphic creatures in addition to regular human characters. The player control their spacecraft in most games shooting or punching at airborne enemies while literally throwing bombs on ground ones similarly to Namco's Xevious. The main power-ups in the TwinBee are yellow bells that the player can uncover by shooting at the floating clouds. The player must shoot these bells to keep them afloat and after shooting them a number of times, they will change colors, allowing the player to add new abilities to their spacecraft.
Despite being one of Konami's most prominent series in Japan during most of the 1990s, only a select few titles were localized for the foreign market. Particularly the second console game Moero TwinBee (which was released in America under the changed title Stinger); the two Super NES installments, Pop'n TwinBee and Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures, in Europe and TwinBee Da!! for Game Boy, which was released in Europe as a standalone title with the name Pop'n TwinBee and later in compilations. The second arcade game, Detana!! TwinBee, also had a limited international release under the name of Bells & Whistles. The original arcade game was featured in the Nintendo DS compilation Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits under the name RainbowBell (the European compilation however, uses the original TwinBee name).
List of games
- TwinBee, 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 Family Computer (Famicom) and a MSX version were made in 1986. The Famicom version was re-released for the Game Boy Advance under Nintendo's Famicom Mini label in Japan only. 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.
- TwinBee Deluxe, Released February 25, 2004: The Mobile Version just like a WinBee in a Deluxe Game.
- Famicom Mini: TwinBee, Released May 21, 2004: The Famicom Version was re-released for Game Boy Advance is part for Famicom Mini.
- 2 People! TwinBee, Released on October 22, 2009 in Japan.
- 3D Classics: TwinBee, Released August 10, 2011: The game was also redone in 3D and released on the Nintendo eShop under Nintendo's 3D Classics line.
- Moero TwinBee: Cinnamon Hakase wo Sukue!, released on November 21, 1986 and in 1987 in America as Stinger, this is the first game in the TwinBee series that was released in North America. Some enemy force kidnaps Dr. Cinnamon (creator of the TwinBee ships) and TwinBee, WinBee and GwinBee must rescue him. The Japanese version for the Family Computer 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 Disk System extension was not released in North America, the American version was released as a cartridge, however, it lost the three player mode (only allowing for up to two players), the story scenes were removed and the difficulty was altered. Moero! TwinBee was re-released in cartridge format in with a new easy mode added.
- TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō, 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 in Japan and in Fall 1994 in Europe: A sequel for the Game Boy to the original TwinBee. In Europe, it is known as Pop'n TwinBee (GB).
- Detana!! TwinBee (also known as Bells & Whistles outside Japan), first released on February 21, 1991: An arcade release, also ported to PC Engine (which was ported to Virtual Console), 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 pilots (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'n 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.
- Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures (TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure in Japan), released on January 7, 1994 in Japan and also in Europe during the same year. This Super NES game meant 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.
- TwinBee Taisen Puzzle-Dama published on December 9, 1994 in Japan. It is a puzzle video game for PlayStation simple mechanics are part of a series of puzzles Taisen Puzzle-Dama and that this issue takes as its theme the world TwinBee.
- 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, all voiced by the cast of TwinBee Paradise.
- Detana TwinBee Yahho! DELUXE PACK, a compilation released on September 29, 1995 in Japan for the PlayStation and subsequently ported to the Sega Saturn. It contains Detana!! TwinBee and TwinBee Yahho!.
- TwinBee PARADISE in Donburi Shima, released on February 26, 1998: More than a game, this is a CD-ROM with accessories inspired by the series (as a screensaver, etc.) for Windows 95.
- TwinBee RPG, released on 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.
- Pastel Jan, released on 2002: A rock-paper-scissors video game for mobile phones.
- Konami Suzume ~TwinBee Taisen-ban~, released on May 6, 2003: A mobile title that is part of the Konami Taisen Colosseum series.
- TwinBee Dungeon, released on May 14, 2004: A roguelike dungeon RPG for cell phones themed on TwinBee universe which is part of the Mystery Dungeon series.
- TwinBee Portable, released on January 25, 2007 (Japan): A PSP compilation featuring TwinBee, Detana!! TwinBee, Pop'n TwinBee, TwinBee Yahho!, and a remake of the Game Boy game TwinBee Da!.
- TwinBee (pachislot), released in September, 2007 (Japan): A TwinBee themed pachislot machine released by KPE. The machine is based on TwinBee Yahho! world.
- Line GoGo! TwinBee, released on May 20, 2013, is a classic TwinBee shooter for iOS and Android developed by NAVER JAPAN and distributed by LINE GAME (LINE Corporation).
A radio drama version of the series was produced following the release of Pop'n TwinBee for the Super Famicom titled TwinBee Paradise (ツインビーPARADISE), which began airing on the radio station NCB on October 10, 1993. The series lasted three seasons, with the third and final series concluding on March 30, 1997, comprising a total of 96 episodes, which were later released in drama CD collections.
TwinBee Paradise features the same cast of characters previously introduced in Detana!! TwinBee and Pop'n TwinBee. TwinBee Paradise further developed the fictional universe of the TwinBee and many story elements introduced in the serials, including the names of TwinBee's and WinBee's pilots, Light and Pastel (who were originally nameless characters in the games), were canonized in later video games such as TwinBee Yahho! and TwinBee RPG.
Two short anime films and an OVA mini-series based on the TwinBee were produced:
- The first was TwinBee WinBee ⅛ Panic (ツインビー ウィンビーの1/8パニック TwinBee and WinBee's ⅛ Panic ), a short film released in 1994 released as a promotional tie-in to the Super Famicom game Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures. Sometimes shortened to WinBee's ⅛ Panic.
- The second anime short, Tulip Kaigan Monogatari (チューリップ海岸物語 The Tulip Coast Story ), was released in 1998 alongside the first short in a promotional tie-in to the subsequent OVA series. Alternatively titled Tulip Beach Stories.
- Venus' Smile (ヴィーナスの微笑み Venus no Hohoemi )
- Midsummer Mirage (真夏の蜃気楼（そのままじゃん) Manatsu no Shinkirou (Sono Mama Jan) )
- Evil Revival! (悪よ復活せよ！ Aku yo Fukkatsu Seyo! )
- Four Gamest supplements from 1993 (volumes 85, 89, 93 and 97) contained manga of Detana!! TwinBee drawn and written by Mine Yoshizaki. Between 1994 and 1996, an official manga, also by Yoshizaki, was published in three volumes in the collection Gamest Comics (numbers 11, 39 and 76).
- TwinBee and Moero TwinBee were featured in Famicom Rocky, a manga published by Comic Coro Coro from 1985 to 1987.
- TwinBee was one of the games featured in Famicom Ryu (1985-1987) and Nekketsu! Famicom Shōnendan (1986-1987), published by Comic Coro Coro.
- In Issue 4, episode 46, TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Daimaō was adapted for the manga Warera Hobby's Famicom Seminar (われらホビーズファミコンゼミナール Ware-ra Hobīzu Famikon Zemināru ) from 1988 to 1990.
- Moero TwinBee: Cinnamon-hakase o Sukue!, the second game in the series, was adapted in the manga Shape of Happiness (しあわせのかたち Shiawase no Katachi ), drawn by Tamakichi Sakura and published in the Famitsu Comics collection from March 1989.
- TwinBee is one of the games featured in the manga Rock'n Game Boy by Shigeto Ikehara and published by Comic BomBom from October 1989 to December 1991.
List of characters
- Annamon: TwinBee's pilot in the TwinBee.
- Donnamon: WinBee's pilot in the TwinBee.
- Squash: TwinBee's pilot in Moero TwinBee and TwinBee 3.
- Whip: WinBee's pilot in Moero TwinBee and TwinBee 3.
- Mellow: GwinBee's pilot in Moero TwinBee and TwinBee 3.
- Dr. Spice: Main villain in the TwinBee.
After Detana!! TwinBee
- Light and TwinBee (ライト＆ツインビー Raito to TsuinBī ): The main character and his blue bee-shaped robot. He the eldest of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- Pastel and WinBee (パステル＆ウインビー Pasuteru to UinBī ): Light's cousin and her pink bee-shaped robot. She is a younger member of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- Mint-Herb and GwinBee (ミントアーブ＆グインビー Minto Ābu to GuinBī ): Pastel's little brother and his green bee-shaped robot. He's the youngest member of Dr. Cinnamon's grandchildren.
- Princess Melora (メローラ姫 Merōra-hime ): The ruler of Planet Meru.
- Dr. Cinnamon (シナモン博士 Shinamon-hakase ): The TwinBees' inventor and grandfather of Light, Pastel and Mint.
- Dr. Warumon (ワルモン博士 Warumon-hakase ): The Evilbees' inventor, he's Dr Cinnamon's arch-rival. He spends his time building armies of Evilbees 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, of course. Probably the most evil man in the universe. He also has a number of airships which invariably end up getting crashed.
- ZakoBee (ザコビー ZakoBī )
- Madoka (マドカ 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 fledgling mechanic, although her efforts don't always work out as planned.
- Seeds (シーズ Shīzu ): Pilot of "Black TwinBee 01" (BT-01) Ship. Android created by Dr. Warumon.
- Salute (サリュート Saryūto ) Pilot of "Black TwinBee 02" (BT-02) Ship. Android created by Dr. Warumon. Equivalent to the sister of seeds.
- Miss Apple
- Teacher Peach
- Dr. Mardock
- Queen Melody
- Ace (エース Ēsu ): Pilot of the Shooting Star airship.
- Archduke Nonsense (ナンセンス大公 Nansensu-taikō ): Main villain in TwinBee Yahho!
- Greed: Main villain in TwinBee RPG.
Appearances in other games
- Airforce Delta
- Airforce Delta Storm
- Airforce Delta Strike
- Battle Tryst: Pastel is an unlockable playable character in this fighting game.
- beatmania III
- Busou Shinki: Battle Rondo
- Castlevania series: TwinBee makes an appearance as a secret item in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Dance Dance Revolution EXTREME 2
- DreamMix TV: World Fighters: TwinBee is a playable character in this fighting game.
- Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero
- Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shōgun Magginesu: Pastel makes a cameo appearance in a house at a village that is visited at night.
- Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijūrokubē no Karakuri Manji Gatame
- Gokuraku Parodius
- Hayate no Gotoku! Boku ga Romeo de Romeo ga Boku de
- Konami Characore World
- 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 the United States with a TwinBee character. In addition, different colored bells in this game grant different power-ups.
- Konami Wai Wai World: TwinBee is one of two playable ships (Vic Viper being the other) in the second to last stage, which is a generic vertical shooting stage.
- KPE Dream Master
- Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken-hen
- NEW LovePlus
- Nou Kaihatsu Kenkyujo Kuru Kuru Lab
- Parodius: In most of the series, TwinBee and WinBee made an appearance as playable characters, while Shooting Star (the enemy red ship from TwinBee Yahho!) is playable in Sexy Parodius. Also, while Parodius is more of a parody of Gradius, it features the bell power-up system in addition to Gradius's power meter. Both systems works in parallel and give different power-ups, but the bell system's power-ups are temporary, while the power meter's aren't.
- pop'n music 16: PARTY♪
- pop'n music 17: THE MOVIE
- Quiz Magic Academy V
- Reflec Beat
- Snatcher: In the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions, Light and Pastel appear as clients at the Outer Heaven nightclub, among other Konami characters.
- Speed King NEO KOBE 2045
- THE ★ BishiBashi
- The Goonies
- Tokimeki Memorial
- Tokimeki Memorial 2
- Violent Storm
- Wai Wai Poker
- Wai Wai World 2: SOS!! Parsley Castle: TwinBee is a playable character in certain levels. However, the levels in which he's playable are not just vertical shooting stages, but on-rails shooting stages in the vein of Space Harrier as well.