This game was the first game I ever really "wanted." Sure, SMB3 and MM2
looked like good games too, but I was really into medeival stuff back then
(heck, I still am in some respects) and my friends had the other two games
already, so if need be I could always borrow them. I got it as a birthday
gift (when my friend subscribed me to NP, the game was a freebie) and it's
been a great game ever since.
This game is one of my favorites.
You can tell that it's one of the oldest RPGs out there without much
difficulty. The thing that really sets this game apart is its plot
(or lack thereof as the case may be). It's all very straight-forward:
"There's a bad guy. Kill him. Oh, while you're at it, my daughter was
kidnapped too. Save her if you can get around to it." There are no
twists in the storyline, and very little happening between the start of
the game and the end. One thing I did notice, though, was the enormous
amount of backstory and exposition used to counteract the simplicity of the
game. There's a lot of reference to Erdrick, the legendary knight who once
trounced the Dragonlord a long time ago and just happens to be your
ancestor. In fact, quite a bit of your quest involves proving the fact that
you're his descendant.
The technical aspects of this game are fairly average. The graphics are
bright and colorful, but lack detail. There's also a lack of variety in
the terrain. Not only do all the forests and swamps look alike, but none
of them seem blend in with each other. It's as if the programmers
just randomly mapped out the kingdom. Also, there are only two battle
backgrounds, one for the overworld and one for caves. Thus, no matter
where you're attacked, it'll always be the same backdrop behind the enemy.
The enemies do have a decent amount of detail to them, though, and again
everything is rather colorful.
I refuse to play this game without listening to my stereo. The music isn't
that bad, but again there's a lack of variety. It's especially annoying
to hear the first three notes of the traveling theme over and over again,
when you take a step, get attacked, take another step, have another
confrontation, and so on. Besides, that high note is off-key. ^_^ I do like
the ending music, though, and the town music is okay, albeit a bit loud.
The sounds are also average. For one thing, those "attack" noises sound
really wussy. Everything else sounds okay, though.
It'll take a little while to get used to the controls of this game.
The character's movement is a bit sticky. While this isn't a real big issue
for RPGs, there is a bit of a problem when you just miss a corridor i
n a dungeon and wind up getting lost. Another problem is how the
townspeople have no AI. Because of this, they'll block your path
numerous times, and they won't have the sense to get out of the way.
This can be a major pain. Apart from that, everything is pretty good.
Although I do wonder why there's both a pause button and an "action"
button when you're traveling. It isn't like anyone is going to sneak up
behind you when you're standing still.
Since the game is 99% mindless hack-and-slash, it's a fairly easy game,
even more of an exercise in patience than Final Fantasy. Most of the
work regards getting your levels to the point where you can keep those
Magidrakees from pounding you into the ground, while saving up the gold
to buy better weapons and armor. This doesn't mean that the enemies don't
cheat, though. They get a number of unanswered abilities, including the
ability to attack without retribution, the ability to dodge critical
hits (this really gets me mad), and the power to use HEAL and HEALMORE
spells over and over again with seemingly infinite MP. Once you get over
that, though, even the Dragonlord is a pushover.
While the game is technically mediocre with very little plot forwarding,
I like this game a lot. Why? For one thing, it's mindless. Keep fighting
until you drop to X Hit Points, then go back to the castle, heal yourself,
and do it all over again. Also, it's more addictive than you think. Once
I start a new game, it's very difficult to pull myself away from it until
I beat the Dragonlord. Plus, the frustration level is pretty low, and if I
have a CD on, it's a fabulous waste of time.
Because of the Nintendo Power giveaway, this game is not that difficult to
find. Once you get it, though, you'll have the time of your life. It's
not a technical masterpiece, but then again, it never has to be.
Read more NES reviews at Logaroo's NES
site. Republished with permission.