Shanghai Mini is a mahjong solitaire video game developed by Success Corporation and published by SNK for the Neo Geo Pocket Color on 1999-07-29. The game incorporates the standard concept of the Shanghai series, but adds additional features like competitive play and even a story mode.
I started playing this game to get a little familiarity with the Neo Geo Pocket Color catalog. Since I was already familiar with mahjong solitaire games, I assumed this would be fairly easy to win, but I ended up spending several days trying to get through the story mode. I finally finished everything on 2022-08-21.
I don't own this game, but I have beaten all the classic layouts on hard difficulty, all three AI opponents (with monsters off), and the full story mode.
Best Version: Neo Geo Pocket Color
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The story mode adds some clever dialogue and characters, all of which are well-drawn, and some of the passwords are quite apt.
- The game allows for competitive play with a link cable.
- The tournament mode uses pre-arranged sets which are purposely designed to make you lose a lot. Many traps are built into them where picking obvious tiles matches will result in a game over, so you have to learn, by losing several times, to wait for a tile to match a much later revealed title. This is frustrating.
- The same background music plays through almost every level of every mode. It's not a bad tune, but it gets tiring because it's so overused.
- The stronger AIs are so fast you couldn't possibly keep up with them. And, since they know the proper solution order and can never get a game over, you're better off just copying their moves until there are only a few tiles left, then finishing the last few tiles faster to win.
- The ending of the story mode is stupid. Turns out, the Shanghai master was a sexy young woman who really wants to date you.
- Despite being on a system with decent color support, all of the tile art is draw in only black and red. Coupled with the low resolution, this makes them difficult to identify. The flowers and seasons are especially bad.
All regions use the game art, just with variations on the graphic layout. It's the kanji for Shanghai, an Easter dragon, and some mahjong tiles for the word Mini.
- 1F - STR
- 2F - GCM
- 3F - FBI
- 4F - UFO
- 5F - BXR
- 6F - MJK
- 7F - DTH
- 8F - LIW
- 9F - ROV
- 10F - QOM
- 11F - ANY
|Planning||Yoshitaka Tezuka (as SiFi-TZK)|
|Graphics||Masafumi Kon, Yumiko Higuchi|
|Music and Sound Effects||Tetsu|
|Activision Staff||Tom Sloper, Hiroshi Seno|
|Japanese||上海 Mini||Shanhai Mini||Shanghai Mini|