Released: 1989 (Arcade JP) - 1991 (TurboGrafx-16) - 1992 (Genesis)
Platform: Genesis | TG-16 | Xbox
Publisher: Taito (Working Designs [TG-16])
Exploration - Side-scrolling (light platforming)
Combat - Real-time
Series - Standalone
|Four characters available on TG-16 and Xbox (Genesis only has fighter and mage)|
|Grinding on early monsters in the first cave|
|The first cave on the Genesis|
|Comparable shot from the Xbox|
|Part of the arcade's attract mode|
|Same screen on TG-16, there's no comparable screen on Genesis|
|Not available in the Genesis version|
|Oh, Working Designs and their translations... here we're back at the castle before the big reveal|
Xbox - Final Time: 1h15m
TG-16 - Final Time: 1h20m
Genesis - Final Time: 1h40m
|Like saving you...|
|What about the important thing?|
|That's a very good reproduction of the original screen|
Combat is well balanced, and there's little opportunity to get overpowered. Even at max level the final areas pose a threat to the unprepared. There's no chance to heal during the lead up to the final boss all the way to the end. The only character I didn't play was the fighter since he had the least options. The ninja at least had projectile attacks that could fire in any of eight directions, and the priestess' flail covers nearly half the screen. The mage, of course, has his spells.
|The final boss' form has two heads, but not in the TG-16 version|
|I'm not sure two heads would fit on the screen|
|This fight isn't as close as it seems... I had 4 lives and 2 elixirs left|
I suppose one of the main reasons this game falls under the RPG umbrella are levels and stats. Sure these increase through experience gained from defeating monsters. Sure stats play a large role in dishing out more damage and absorbing it. I'll even grant it the fantasy motif complete with rural towns that sell items, weapons, and lodging. In all respects it does well with the dressings of an RPG.
|It even offers a mocking villain|
|My mage dressed in red... also, this area changed in the Genesis to one moving platform from three|
|Thought I was exaggerating? That's about half the screen... the priest's shield spell is the best spell, although I never tried the time spell only available in the Xbox/arcade version|
Yeah, no puzzles. This is really where the game starts to show off its unfinished side. The main quest to find the princess is sprinkled with short objectives like "go through that cave to the end." This mainly consists of going right, but there are a few times left is required.
|There's a small maze at one point|
|This doesn't quite do this part justice...|
|The Genesis' take on the same screen is more impressive, but the flame jet still doesn't curve as it moves|
The names of people and places change, but the story remains the same. The princess of one kingdom is kidnapped by the big bad because he has plans to take over all kingdoms. He's either Baarogue or Balrog. In our adventures we save a young girl revealed to be a mermaid, become a gnome to enter tiny houses, and avenge a town hero killed by bandits. All throughout, NPCs offer a bit of back story to each continent, and at least a few identify where to go next.
|Please don't say 'flesh'... please don't say 'flesh'|
|This is all Working Designs, they were a cooky bunch that loved throwing in pop culture references|
|Other versions didn't even consider the player going back to talk to other animals|
For an arcade game I'm surprised that we're even talking about collecting items. Really equipment is the only thing tracked that isn't consumable, and there's no inventory screen to admire the items. It's unfortunate more wasn't done with this, but it doesn't surprise me it's so limited. There's no sense of collecting, and no difference between buying only the last set of equipment or iterating through them.
|Most shops offer at least one item for each character... I think someone missed a 0, but this is also in the arcade version|
|Strangely, the Genesis version's shop is limited to 4 items, and the final shop only has fighter equipment|
|The price of time increases with every purchase of it|
I found the graphics and music offered their own unique charm to each port, and on the whole they were all enjoyable. The world layout would have been more impressive if they managed the seamless transitions of the original, but I understand there were hardware limitations. The atmosphere was well formed, and each continent had a unique feel. Each was connected via a portal, which felt like stepping into another world.
|One of the more unique areas|
|The fiery underground of the fourth dungeon|
|The console version's environments are similar, but I wasn't able to capture screens as good as these|
Overall, I'm glad I played it instead of discounting it entirely. I don't think it deserved a full post, but showing off the differences intrigued me enough to put in the effort. There is a speedrun on YouTube done with the ninja. It's split into three parts though due to the ancient limit of 10-minute videos. Going forward I'll try to include more details and actually play the games for a couple hours before I cut them. That means I'll postpone my cut of King's Bounty just in case, and get right into Rings of Power. I'm very excited about diving into that one as I just read through the 120 page manual (well, 80+ since the last 30 - 40 are actually a walkthrough).
|Sweet! High score|