The Let's Play Archive

Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue

by Yapping Eevee

Part 1: No longer looks like a word.

For anyone who wants to watch the start-up cinematic, here’s a video. I’m sure that anyone who watched the English version of the anime will recognise the music even if it is coming out of a GBA.

Rainbow Rescue only supports one save slot, so let’s get this show on the road!

We immediately fade in on one hamster’s arrival at a cliffside viewpoint, joining her in looking out over the little Japanese town where the Ham-Hams happen to reside. (The show is set in the ‘real world’, but focusing on such small protagonists provides a rather different sense of scale. )

Of course, the game wouldn’t be called Rainbow Rescue without at least one rainbow in it! And as it forms, a rather oddly-dressed individual appears to be following it…

But that individual is much too far away to be seen by anyone other than the player, so let’s just go take a little wander around and tell some of our friends about the pretty rainbow.

Also worth noting is that AlphaDream offers multiple headshots for each of the main Ham-Hams, which is a nice improvement from the previous game. It does mean I’ll be having to give the PNGout plugin a workout though…

The game gives us control at this point, and the layout is basically what you’d expect. A is interact, B makes you run, Start opens the menu.

Like so. Yes, that does say stickers. No, we won’t be fighting any dragon turtles with them.

Rainbow Rescue doesn’t share the Ham-Chat system of Ham-Ham Heartbreak, so you no longer need to HifHif (sniff) sunflower seeds before you can collect them. Just hitting A will suffice. They do still serve as the game’s currency though, so I’ll be picking up every one I see.

A magazine for moms asked me to come to Sunny Peak.

Exiting stage left takes us to our first NPCs, including this familiar face. There are a bunch of side characters in this game who have appeared before… just not in the English version of the anime. Sunny Peak was a location in the last game, but there’s little similarity between the two versions of it.

A carrot grew here out of nowhere! It’s in the way, so I’m pulling on it. But it won’t budge. Really, what’s going on here?

Just the game designers making sure we don’t stray from the intro area.

It’s absolutely perfect for fishing. Ho ho ho!♪

I’ll take your word for it, old ham. Anyway, continuing westward (the only direction we can go) makes the screen pan over to…

Some more hamsters from the box art!

Right, those guys! Hamtaro is our protagonist and unofficial leader of the Clubhouse Ham-Hams, and Oxnard is his first-made friend, neighbour and professional devourer of everything (especially sunflower seeds).

Oh, right. I should have probably also introduced the female lead, who’s formerly hailing from France and crushing on Hamtaro pretty bad. Her name implies something small and delicate, usually in the context of jewellery.

You have to come see this rainbow!

Rainbow?! Where?!

It’s over there! Let’s go see it! It’s right over there!

Okay, let’s all go see it together then!

Man, talk about some serious rainbow hype. Guess what word the update title applies to.

And just like that, we have new party members! Yes, this game isn’t just a Hamtaro/Bijou partnership; you can have up to eight of the Ham-Hams roaming around together. They each have their own abilities, but we’ll get to that later on.

Ooh! It is really pretty!

It’s wonderful!♪

Meanwhile, in the skies above…

...Oh my.

Our mystery hamster makes a valiant effort to stay aloft, but… Mayday, mayday! He’s going down!

Well, that’s quite unusual even without noticing the hamster with polka-dot wings. Rainbows shouldn’t fade away that quickly…

I wanted to stare at it all day long… If we wait here, will we ever see one again? Huh…

Ah, I believe that was our winged friend coming down to earth. I wonder where he’ll land…

Let’s go back and look for him.

And now, a brief fade-away to somewhere nearby.

Huh? Where are Hamtaro and Oxnard?

Ah, here’s Boss at last. His house serves as the Ham-Ham’s Clubhouse, since he’s a field hamster unlike most of the others. He’s crushing on Bijou, but she only has eyes for Hamtaro.

...Do you hear something whistling?

Heheh, right on target.

It sounded like something fell over there somewhere.

Let’s go look, Oxnard!

Bijou, please stay here and wait.

Hopefully Boss won’t be too badly concussed from being hit by that meteoric hamster.

Ignoring the obvious prompt to interact with the displaced plank, let’s go check on our buddy.

Huh? Hey! Who’s that other Ham-Ham over there?

We passed a log on the way here, Hamtaro. Let’s bring it over here.

Sounds like a solid idea, Oxnard. Just replace the ‘log’ (that’s clearly flat), and we should be good to go.

...Ah. Seems these two don’t quite have the muscle power for it.

Let’s get more help so we can lift it!

Well, we can’t count on NPCs to lend us a hand. So…

Wha...what?! Boss?!

We were going to help him, but we can’t get to him. There’s a log, but we need your help. We need you to help us move it!

OK! I understand. Let’s go!

I’m not entirely sure how strong Bijou happens to be, but here’s hoping it’s enough to make a difference with that log.

Do you know how to carry things? Want me to tell you?

But when we go to find out, guess what? Tutorial time! Thankfully, it’s optional. The controls are just A to pick up, move to spot, A to put down.

Oh, and the old ham also says that the number of hamsters in your party is what’s important for lifting stuff. Bijou is just as strong as Hamtaro, and even certain supposedly strong hamsters won’t count for more than one hamster’s worth.

The option to put something down anywhere is rarely useful on account of Hamtaro prompting us whenever we’re in the right spot. With that tiny tutorial out of the way, it’s time that we help Boss and our mystery guest.

Right after the Barbariccia impression and victory dance, of course.

Gee, perhaps it’s a pair of massive head injuries. Just at a guess.

Boss! Come on, you need to wake up!

This Ham-Ham won’t wake up either. What should we do now?

Oh, hey there Cappy. One of the younger Ham-Hams, this guy’s main quirk should be fairly obvious. He also looks up to Boss, so this must be a bit of a shock for him.

Cappy! Boss and the other Ham-Ham won’t wake up!

I hope they’ll be ok! I’m really worried.

I think we should take them back to the Clubhouse!

Good idea. Let’s take them back to the Clubhouse!

Sure, let’s drag Boss all the way home on his face. It’s not like it’ll make him any uglier.

Once we arrive at the Clubhouse, it seems almost everyone wants a look at our mystery guest. So expect a fair few short introductions before the update is over.

Maxwell here is the brainbox, often found reading or spouting facts to try and educate his friends. Though he asks a good question… The last flying hamsters around here were both pests in their own ways.

Oh, he’s waking up. I’m sure he won’t be bothered by everyone staring at him.

...Or the second concussion.

I’d call him a crybaby, but that’s honestly a pretty fair reaction to waking up in a strange place, surrounded by a bunch of folks you don’t recognise.

...Perhaps you should clarify what you mean by friendly, Hamtaro.

Boy, that expression sure is something.

Insert merciful fadecut here. This series is generally pretty good with those.

Oh! And I made such a scene without even knowing…

Oh, the antenna light up. Guess your parents went all out on that costume, huh kid?

So, what’s your name?

Well, that’s certainly one way to make an introduction. Also note Snoozer napping in the corner; no prizes for guessing what his deal is.

Rainbow Land?! Just what is Rainbow Land?!

I’d love to show you Rainbow Land, my beautiful home.

It’s late! I need to go now, or everyone back home will be worried!

Sorry to crash and run, but I’d better get going! Adios, hamigos!

And with that, everyone files out onto the Ham-Ham Lawn. The game won’t tell you that’s what this screen is called until the postgame.

Everyone is hanging around here to see Bo off, so let’s talk to them before getting on with the next cutscene.

Dexter is a gentlemanly hamster (whose ‘glasses’ are just his fur markings) that seeks the affection of one of the female Clubhouses hams, but also has to contend with his eternal rival…

Ha Ha Ha HA HA HA! I’m mighty funny!

...The eternal punster himself, Howdy. He speaks with a southern accent in the English version of the anime (obviously), and he likes to keep things nice and clean.

Also pictured: My reaction to Howdy’s lame joke.

Moving on, we have the twins Sandy and Stan. They’re both very athletic and active, with Sandy favouring rhythmic gymnastics while Stan enjoys other pursuits like skateboarding, playing the maracas… and flirting with every girl he sees.

We’ve already met Maxwell, who’s naturally most interested in the academic prospects of this situation. Also worth noting is that Sandy has a crush on him, so this trio tends to be found together.

And here we have Pashmina and Penelope. The former is the target of Dexter and Howdy’s affections, but she’s more interested in being the big sister figure to her little blanket-wearing friend. Don’t expect Penelope to say anything other than ‘Ookwee’; she’s too young to talk properly.

Perhaps with those wings on his back, he’ll just fly home!

Panda here (again, named such for obvious reasons) is the industrious one of the Clubhouse group. To date, he’s built everything from bridges to fun parks! So if you need something built or repaired, Panda’s the one to ask.

Well, if games and cartoons have taught me anything, it’s that rainbows and lands in the sky are almost always associated with candy. So don’t fill up on seeds beforehand, okay buddy?

Anyway, that’s all of the Clubhouse Ham-Hams who are around. Cappy is probably tending to Boss’ massive head injury, so… Let’s see Bo off!

Well, good! Prepare yourselves for something truly amazing!

Listen up! I can make rainbows with my umbrella!

Wh-what? A rainbow with your umbrella?! That’s incredible!

Hey, they avoided using just the bog-standard ‘Metal Gear?’ bit! Good on you, AlphaDream.

I’m now imagining Bo singing ‘Walking on Rainbows’, sung to the tune of ‘Walking on Sunshine’.

With my umbrella, I’ll make a rainbow that goes to Rainbow Land!

Surely this can only go well. We rescued Bo after his fall, so the game must be over now, right?

Yeah, as if. Bo’s observational skills are perhaps a little lacking.



Well, I’m pretty sure your umbrella exploded right in your face.

It did seem rather drab for a magical rainbow-making umbrella. I mean, I like sky blue as much as the next person, but…

It’s the truth!

Ah, there we go. Now that feels like a game-spanning quest!

Whaaa! I want to go home! Mommy! Daddy!

Yeah, he may seem hopeless and probably useless, but he’s still better than Harmony.


We’ll find what you need to get back home!

What a really great idea, Hamtaro! Really!

Plus, a rainbow is just so pretty. Don’t you think, Penelope?


And with everyone in agreement, the search for the seven coloured ingredients can begin! I hope you’ll join me next time as we return to Sunny Peak for some proper exploration.