Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Game 29: Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger (NES) - The Manual Lies! (Finished)

Credits have the best music
Faria was a game full of promise, but ultimately didn't deliver. It felt a bit out of place comparing it to Crystalis or The Legend of Zelda since those are actually fun. It lacks the same charm, and more closely resembles Little Ninja Boy, although I'm not sure many people would understand that comparison. It's generic through and through. Faria is probably the better game only because it's shorter, and the enemies are less annoying.
Which hole would you choose?
I was lost in the clouds last time, and this time tackled it methodically. The only point of interest was a castle in the sky. An old man told me the rope was found through a narrow hole in the clouds. Of course, that meant I would pick the wrong hole first. There was nothing below it except a waste of time getting back to the correct one.
What other game allows the character to climb directly on top of previously impassable mountains?
With the rope in hand I went back to the mountain area outside Riria as I previously spied a town to the east. Climbing the mountains was a fun. Inside the town were some wise men who told me the princess was an impostor. The real one was locked in the Phantom Tower, which can only be entered while holding the Crystal of Truth. They provided it, and I was off to the tower.
Using the crystal causes all but the real tower to disappear
The Phantom Tower is a genuine maze. It wraps around on itself east-to-west and north-to-south, except for specific rooms; rooms that aren't marked in any special way. I could have easily been lost in this mess for a lot longer, but I just happened to stumble across the correct path to the boss room. It's not impossible to map, but not every loop is not of equal length and exits will jump rooms at times (e.g. the north exit of a room on the 4th row might exit to the 1st row instead of the 3rd). In any case, I got lucky here, and the boss was easily dispatched.
The king must be colorblind
The real princess was awaiting my arrival. We quickly made our way to the castle to confront the impostor. The wizard's guise fell away when the princess arrived. A battle ensued with the wizard, who had two different attacks and was invisible for the entire battle. He fell easily with the goggles equipped; he moves rather slowly. With the wizard defeated, his spells fell away. The king returned to flesh, and the warrior became a man.
Sprite changed to look more manly
However, the wizard had one more trick up his sleeve. He attached his soul to the dragon he constructed from the royal scrolls. Then he used his magic to block out the sun. The final caves and tower awaited in the middle of the map. Again I scaled a mountain, and entered the town of Baig. Prior to this point the guard at the front would not let me pass unless I was a man.
We are men! Manly men!
The town was the last stopping point to fill up on the latest gear (which included the final bow and shield) and elixirs (full heal medicine). One particular NPC told me the dragon's weak spot was on his neck, so I would need to leap to attack it. However, my biggest obstacle to defeating the dragon was the manual. In the manual, the Legendary Sword has a description that says it's needed to beat the dragon. This is completely untrue. However, I headed off to the final tower thinking I would need to locate this sword.
This game's version of Death Mountain
The cave system is fairly easy to get through, but I got lost in it once. I had to go through it multiple times because I continued to die in the final tower searching for the final sword. I mapped out the entire thing, and stared at it for a good hour trying to figure out a room I might have missed. At one point, I even tried to take on the dragon, but I only heard the clink of no damage.
It wasn't until hours later that I found I could actually damage the dragon just fine without the Legendary Sword
So where was the Legendary Sword? It was recovered after defeating the dragon. Someone messed up the translation in the booklet, or something changed in localization. I spent well over 2 hours looking for that sword after finding the dragon the first time. The most annoying enemy in the dungeon poisoned me with a white poison (what I previously thought was blue... I still don't know what blue poison does), and prevented me from regenerating.
Quite easily might I add
The dragon was pretty easy to defeat. With a good amount of elixirs I went straight to the dragon after exhausting all possible locations for the sword. After the dragon, I fell down into a room that held the sword. It's rather superfluous. No more enemies exist after obtaining the sword, and my path back to the castle was swift with the use of a wing. The king was pleased that peace had returned, and finally offered his daughter's hand in marriage. The warrior could not stay though; instead he was determined to return home. The princess declared she would follow him wherever he went.
The best music and artwork appear at the end of the game, it's a nice reward for putting up with this game
Elapsed Time: 4h40m (Final Time: 11h10m)

Another game done. This one I have trouble endorsing. It's rather average with a couple of cool ideas, but the encounter rate and rather bland story isn't interesting enough to put time into it. Next up is Dragon Warrior III, which I've already started playing. I'll try to get a post out before the week is over. Now for a quick rating.
Some of the credits, if you'd like to see the whole thing then click on the link in the first caption
Combatant - Combat feels very chaotic. Sword attacks are the main form of damage. It would have been nice to have a few other viable options in an action game. Magic is prohibitively expensive, and arrows are inferior. Saba magic is the best. Enemies are a weird lot with flies, blobs, elephants, and other slightly mutated wildlife paired with demons and wizards. The AI is varied for the first half, but doesn't expand much beyond that. Bosses are mostly a joke. While combat is action based, there are stats that increase by level and improve damage considerably. Unfortunately, experience and gold are slow to accumulate. This makes combat fairly static and uninteresting.
Rating: 4
Concept art > pixel art
Admirer - It's hard to give a lot of compliments here. There's some customization to the sub-weapons as you can forgo all except the jumping shoes. The sprite of the hero is hard to see, and was not obviously female from the start. There's a visible difference once the spell is broken at least. Controls are pretty spot on, which is good for an action game. My biggest complaint is the sword will only hit a single enemy even if there are multiple on the same tile.
Rating: 3
A close-up in the beginning like this would have cemented the gender... maybe
Puzzler - Honestly, I don't expect many games to score high in this area until much later. The main quest is there, and it's hard to get lost. One side quest is available to pick up the ultimate armor (at least I believe it's a side quest). It's pretty much a straight shot to the end. The towers have stone statues to push, but there's nothing puzzling about them, just push them all.
Rating: 2
I'm not really sure what's on that tree
Instigator - The story does have a couple interesting points, but the game is so excited about them it spoils them half-way through. The manual does well to hide the fact the main character is currently female. Yet one NPC goes into detail about a town in a faraway land where the men have been turned into women. There are new sights in every town, but nearly every one had an issue to solve by destroying a nearby tower. The one that didn't had an enemy in the middle of a forest. The plot does progress and while basic, does provide motivation to keep going.
Rating: 4
What's the story behind this little guy?
Collector - I thought about giving this a lower value for the extremely limited inventory, but most key items don't take up a permanent slot. There's no sense of collecting. The economy remains relevant. Relative strength is obvious either from the manual, testing equipment, or judging based on price.
Rating: 3
Princess doesn't look very happy about her new home
Explorer - Visuals are acceptable, but the game music is rather grating. For the third time, the best track comes at the end. There's not much to see in the game world, and nothing to discover for the sake of discovery. Everything was consistent, but bland. The world was tightly controlled by impassable monsters, ships that refused to sail until after plot points were met, and mountain towns that remained inaccessible until items were found.
Rating: 3

Final Rating: 19 [32%]

Overall, I'll say it again, it's a bland, generic, mediocre experience. Faria seems to have remained obscure for a reason. I don't see anyone championing this game. Let's move on now to Dragon Warrior III.
Who is this Colon Co.?


  1. I'm curious to see how long it takes you to beat Dragon Warrior III. I've been playing the same game on an actual NES for over two years now. It's not a game that rewards small amounts of time dedicated to it and sadly I do not have a lot of time to play.One day I'll get through it.

    Thanks for playing through Faria. I've seen it for sale on eBay and Lukie Games at quite expensive prices, but I'm not so obsessive a collector to drop $70 on a mediocre game just to say I have the cartridge.

    1. Well, hopefully I won't get as lost as that. I'm taking good notes on everything, and expect the game to probably take about 30 hours (judging from online sources). I'm not sure if you're going to read through all the way, or continue on your own, but either way, I wish you luck with completing this one.

      As for Faria, I'm not really a collector at heart. It's nice to have the carts while playing the games, but if I don't plan to play it again then I usually sell the game at the end of the gaming year. If you'd like it now though, I bought it for $36 and I'd be willing to sell it for that if you're interested. If not, I'll probably throw it on Ebay and see how much it can net there. You still have some time to think about it though. Probably another year before I reach the end of 1991.

  2. Phil at RPGamer.com recently pointed out two completely unintuitive things about DQ3's class change system. The game warns you up front that changing a character's class will cut their stats in half and reset them to level 1 (although they keep all learned spells/abilities), but it doesn't warn you that

    1) the game is programmed to even-out stats to a certain average over the long haul. So your recently class-changed level 1 character with high initial stats might end up getting teeny-tiny stat gains as it levels up.

    2) character MP and possibly HP totals are tied to increases in the stats that influence them. So a class-changed character with high int/wisdom(?) or some such gets jack for MP as it levels. Phil complained bitterly about class-changing to a Sage that gained virtually no MP as it leveled up.

    I didn't encounter anything that made DQ3 unwinnable when I played it, but I also played the much less grind-heavy Game Boy Color version. I assume you're playing the NES version, so... good luck.

    If you want to almost break the game (rot13 time):

    Znxr na nyy-srznyr cnegl, tnzr gur Ureb'f crefbanyvgl dhvm sbe gur frkl crefbanyvgl, naq rdhvc vgrzf gb genafsbez gur bgure zrzoref' crefbanyvgvrf gb frkl nf fbba nf lbh pna svaq gurz. Guvf tvirf znkvzhz fgngvfgvp tebjgu nyy nebhaq.

    But that's not really any fun... or is it?

    1. You've got me curious to see what's behind the rot13, but I won't look. I've already broken the game somewhat. Apparently creating a bunch of characters does something weird to the Hero's spell list. I'll get to that in the next post though.

      I'm a bit behind at the moment just because I started up a new project (beating all the Game Boy games released for the system). I spent my normal blog writing time getting it organized and kicking it off this past week. I should be able to catch up with a post on Friday I'm thinking.

      Thanks for the heads up about class changing. Someone also warned me to stay away from vitality and intelligence seeds for the same MP/HP gain reason. It's interesting how those mechanics can conflict.

    2. The ROT13 hint doesn't apply to the NES game anyway. It involves gaming the personalities of your party, but the GBC port and has the personality system, the NES version does not.

    3. Well I won't worry about it too much then. :)

      Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been playing (and meaning to get a post up), but haven't been in the right mindset to go about writing. Soon is all I can promise.

  3. The Japanese cover makes it abundantly clear that your character is female: http://auction.thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/@0_aucitem/image1/978/10002978/0827/img091039348651.jpg

    1. I guess it was a twist introduced by localization. The US cover is much more ambiguous: http://www.nesconsole.com/images/thumbs/faria-a-word-of-mystery-and-danger.jpg

  4. Looking forward to your Dragon Warrior III posts. I had a lot of good memories with it!

    1. I hear it's a popular title. This is my first time playing it, so I'm a little glad I've delayed the posts (to avoid spoilers in the comments). At the same time, sorry for the delay. I'm getting caught up this weekend.