Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cut and Run: Hydlide (1989)

Source: HuguesJohnson.com
Hydlide (NES) - Rating(9 RPP)
1) 3 - Character advancement: practice/experience based advancement, stat or level increases, multiple classes or characters, customize characters
2) 3 - Combat: character stats used for combat, additional combat options, turn based
3) 0 - Items and equipment: store to buy and sell, equipment decisions, item decisions
4) 1 - Story: main story at the forefront; world full of hints and lore; descriptions for objects, people, and places
5) 2 - Exploration: open world from the beginning, visited locations remain open
6) 0 - Quests and Puzzles: side quests not related to the main quest, puzzles and riddles to solve

In preparation for the yearly post, I went back and looked at each game. Watching a review of this particular gem, the dread grew deeper in anticipation of having to suffer through it. However, I saw a glimmer of hope. I may have given the game more credit than it deserves. I had thought there were items and equipment decisions to be had, or puzzles to solve. Luckily I found none, yet I had to give it credit for magic spells as something additional to do in combat that I had not accounted for; I'm being lenient giving it a point for the main story.

With the lack of a store, turn based combat, and side quests, I find Hydlide wanting. I hereby dub thee, not an RPG, and am done with it. It is now demoted to action-adventure. Of course, this is all true barring the unforeseen oversight by myself that a helpful reader may provide. For now though, I'm cutting Hydlide. I know it's not a lot of notice (as it's the game following Ultima) to drum up supporters (are there any?), but I was blinded by the experience points and leveling. I'll take another look at Super Hydlide as well very soon.
Maybe next time dear Hydlide, we still have Virtual Hydlide to look forward to.
This is one of the dangers of trying to glean information about a game from videos. I'll grant it that it does come close, so I wasn't too far off the mark. Hopefully this doesn't happen too often, and in most cases I'll play through the game if it's still a good game; this does not qualify. If anyone has thoughts on this, speak up now before I complete Exodus. If I have no other ideas for a poll and the current one regarding changing the name of posts like this runs out before I finish Exodus, then I'll make one regarding this game.

On a side note, does anyone prefer the strike outs vs. the cleaner approach to the RPG scale? I figure this way people are reminded where the point losses come from, and can better recommend modifications. So, on to the third post of the night, and the beginning of Exodus!


  1. Oh, hey, I got this game mixed up with a similar latter one. Ignore my comment a post or two back. Yeah, Dr. Sparkle found this one really painful to play, and only interesting as a very, very early RPG, before the genre conventions had solidified.

    1. Now I'm curious what title you're talking about. Do you recall what game it was?

    2. Deadly Towers, which isn't an RPG.

  2. For those interested, I did check Super Hydlide, and it's a much better fit (with character choices, stores, and item decisions). I feel a little weird skipping the first in the series, but I don't think I'm missing out on much.

  3. I am probably the only one, but I actually really like this game. I bought it because I heard how bad it was and ended up completing it multiple times. I purchased the Japan Only sequel also (have not had time to play much though). I am interested to see how Super Hydlide is, I plan on playing it when I finish the second game.

    1. I'm looking forward to seeing how Super Hydlide shapes up as well. I've tested it for about 5 minutes to make sure it works, and it didn't seem too bad.

    2. I like both games, and beat Super Hydlide not too long ago (I beat Hydlide as a kid). I'd like to check out Hydlide II at some point, and even Virtual Hydlide though my expectations for that one are very low indeed.

      I think the original Hydlide gets waaaaay more flack than it deserves, mainly because of people faulting it for not being what it's not trying to be, i.e. Zelda or Ys. The music is indeed repetitive, and the game is certainly not faultless. But there are secrets to be found and DEFINITELY puzzles to be solved, and I enjoyed it very much back in the day -- yes, even after playing Zelda, Dragon Warrior, et al. (My notes indicate that I beat it right after beating Dragon Warrior, sometime around 1990, so it's not as if I didn't know any better.)

      As you might guess, I think you should reconsider skipping this one. :) But only after you've completed Super Hydlide...

  4. I'm 32 and grew up playing NES RPG's. To this day, I still constantly play the first Final Fantasy, and I dust off the first Dragon Warrior at least once a year.

    Hydlide is the worst game I have ever played, even worse than Deadly Towers. I hated it as a child (unlike Deadly Towers, which I thought was mediocre at best). I went back and played it again. It wasn't me. This game is horrible in every way.

    By the way, you mentioned the ubiquitous adventure game, The Legend of Zelda and its sequel (which is one of my all-time favorites).

    Crystalis is the best adventure game on the NES, period. It even had a TV commercial! It had the usual level-grind, gold-find formula of and kill monsters for their GP/EXP to get better weapons and armor. But, its magic/psionics and elemental sword system was really cool too. Above all, it was really fun!



    1. I'm looking forward to Crystalis (up next). I remember it being really enjoyable, but having one point where I needed to consult Nintendo Power for a hint.

      Hydlide, I tried to get into it again. It's not really happening. The combat mechanics really kill the fun in this game.

  5. I like Hydlide. It's clunky but the game is brief to the point where the awkward mechanics never become an enormous hassle. I'm strongly considering purchasing an MSX so I'll be able to play the sequel sans emulation.

    Part III (Super Hydlide) is probably the highlight of the series. Virtual Hydlide on Saturn is an absolute unmitigated trainwreck.

    1. I definitely enjoyed Super Hydlide more than this version, and considered it more in line with the RPG genre. I still have this on my list of titles to revisit if I should ever find the time. Virtual Hydlide is one I plan to play through for the blog though, so we'll see just how bad it is.