Cannon Dancer (known as Osman outside Japan) was originally released in the arcades in 1996 by Mitchell Corporation. It is sometimes known as a pseudo-sequel to Capcom’s 1989 game Strider as it was coded by Kouichi “Isuke” Yotsui who had previously coded Strider (in addition to classics like Ghouls N Ghosts).
Cannon Dancer – The Story
The game is set in the 21st Century in a world ruled by a single entity known as Federation (nothing like Star Trek’s Federation) who oppresses it’s people in the name of so called ‘freedom’.
You play as Kirin who is hired by a Federation Attorney General to free one of his cities from a terrorist cult called Slaver who worship a God Without Shape. The first level sees Kirin enter the city at night and make his way to the cult’s temple. Following the end of the level, the Attorney General betrays Kirin with his own police force and leaves him to die in a desert. Kirin spends the rest of the game determined to get revenge on those who betrayed him.
The game plays like Strider, allowing your character massive freedom of movement, being able to climb up walls or grab platforms from underneath and jump onto the platform. Not only can you jump and attack, you can also activate a special move which will clear the screen – you can do this three times per credit. Not only can you do a regular attack, you can also throw opponents, wrestling style body drops and sliding attacks. You can collect various power-ups as the game progresses, which gives you more energy and changes the colour of his clothes while giving him deadlier attacks.
Cannon Dancer is set over six stages, based in exotic locations at different times of the week. Unusually for games, not only are you told which stage you’re in, you’re also told the time and day. Also, which is unusual for arcade games, you get cut scenes to progress the story. A button can be pressed to help speed past them.
The game didn’t get a port to home systems until 2023 when it was released on the two current Playstation and Xbox consoles in addition to the Nintendo Switch. You get both the Japanese version – Cannon Dancer with all the in-game text in Japanese, but also the English language version Osman.
Besides the title and text, there isn’t really any difference between the different versions of the game. It doesn’t really matter what version you play – both play the same. As with many releases of retro games, you can change the graphic style to either look retro or look modern. There’s also enhancements which includes a Cheat Mode which makes it very easy to complete, Double Jumps, invincibility frames for when you slide and finally, a rewind option and the ability to save your progress – very useful if you can’t play for too long.
The 2023 port also includes a Challenge Mode which gives you a better arcade type experience, removing the ability to rewind and save your progress.
I played this using a standard Playstation 4 controller and found it very easy to play. I didn’t notice any slowdown at all and the game-play flowed seamlessly. One button you need to remember is that L3 (the left analog stick) button is the one to press to get more credits.
Cannon Dancer is a very good game, although not one I’d heard of before, graphically looks excellent and the sound is also excellent. The gameplay flows very well and the ability to speed through the cut-scenes help the flow of the game. I would recommend it to anyone.