Review by orius
"Decent GameBoy RPG that will likely appeal mainly to genre fans."
Great Greed is a fairly obscure RPG for the GameBoy that was released in the early 90's. Although it has a fairly strong anti-pollution message, the game's message isn't overly distracting from the game itself.
The game starts off when Microwave, the court magician of the Greene Kingdom, flees one of the agents of the villain Bio-Haz and comes to the "human world". The main character bumps into Microwave while investigating the effects of acid rain in a forest, and when Microwave and the agent get in a fight, you get caught in the backlash and transported to the world of Greene Kingdom. It's soon revealed that as a native of the human world, you're more powerful than the inhabitants of the Greene Kingdom, and the king basically ropes you into fighting to save his kingdom.
Great Greed's story doesn't get points for originality; it's essentially a variation of the standard "defeat the evil empire" plot found in many RPGs. On top of that, the game makes use of several shop-worn RPG clichés. To make matters worse, the game is filled with silly names, most of which are somehow related to food in one way or other. Finally, while many of the monster encounters are fairly standard RPG fare, there's goofy stuff like sausage men and pig ninjas.
On the upside some of the story related quests are fairly interesting, like finding an exceptionally spicy flower that makes anyone who eats it run very fast, or the town that has randomly changing laws with a hidden and sinister purpose. The game's ending isn't too lame either, which is more than can be said for many mainstream RPGs. Finally the translation is pretty good; it keeps the "Engrish" to a minimum, and does a good job of getting the jist across within the memory limitations of the GameBoy.
Since this is a first-generation GameBoy title, the graphics are the monochrome graphics found in most early games for the portable. The tiles used for the world and dungeon maps are fairly standard stuff, and are more or less comparable to the graphics found in the original Final Fantasy Legend. The monsters are mostly well drawn, even if the combat system only uses 3 animation frames for both the hero and the monsters.
The sound effects are neither spectacular nor noticeably bad; they're typical for an early RPG like this. The music selections are usually good too, particularly the overworld and battle themes. Although it may not seem like it at times, Great Greed uses about the same number of music tracks found in other Gameboy RPGs (Great Greed's sound test has about 16 unique themes, Final Fantasy Legend 2 has about 18 or 19).
This is Great Greed's strongest point. Most of the game's controls are more of less typical for an RPG; you use the control pad to move around on the screen and navigate menus, and the A & B buttons to talk to people, open chests, select menu options and so on. Equipment and magic can be bought in stores or dropped by monsters, and you replenish your health by resting in inns. Nothing terribly groundbreaking here, but it's a system of which Great Greed makes good use. Magic is represented by various magical books that you must equip before use (usually), and spell use require the expenditure of magic points. Instead of the typical potions/herbs that many RPGs use for healing, Great Greed instead uses a special type of book that casts healing magic for free, but has a limited number of uses.
Combat, however is where Great Greed shines. Instead of a typical turn-based system where you select your characters' action on a menu, then watch as the game executes those moves plus the monster's actions in a somewhat random sequence, Great Greed has a much more active system. You can attack with the A button, try to dodge attacks with the B button, attempt to run with the Start button, and cast spells with the directional pad. If you hesitate, the enemy will probably attack you while you're trying to make up your mind. This makes combat in Great Greed more fast-paced and interesting than the typical RPG. You must select what spell to use on the control panel before combat begins. Down is reserved for healing magic, and is the only place where you can set it. The other 3 spots can be assigned any way you want. Since there are about 2 to 3 dozen different spells in the game, this gives you a number of options to choose from. Magic in Great Greed is fairly typical, with the usual fire/ice/lightning based spells, spells which boost you combat abilities or weaken your enemy's, and some other fairly common stuff like sleep, silence and death spells. The basic elemental spells do have added effects though; fire magic can light an enemy on fire, causing additional damage for a few rounds while he burns, while ice and lightning can freeze/shock your opponent, giving you a few free rounds to act in during which he can do nothing. Using the dodge option in Great Greed isn't as useless in combat as the usual "Defend" options are; some enemies like to body slam you for extra damage; if you dodge while they use such an attack on you, they can end up losing their balance and falling over for a few rounds, and you get a few free rounds to act in while they try to get up.
Choosing your spells wisely ahead of time and using the right sort of tactics in combat is important in this game, since many of the monsters are fairly tough. Some of the bosses in particular are very hard, and sometimes require a certain amount of luck to beat as well as skill. Luckily, the game has a battery save function, and you can save at any point in the game. Also, the game has an auto save function that saves your character after every fight, so you don't have worry too much about making frequent saves.
Finally, there are a number of characters throughout the game that will join you temporarily and assist you during battle. These are the Greene princesses, as well as Microwave and a healer. Some are very useful, like the warrior princess Citrus, who will attack your enemies, the princess Candy, who can boost your defense, or Microwave, who randomly casts spells. Some characters have abilities that aren't as helpful, or really aren't with you long enough to be that useful to your cause.
Replay value 5/10
Since your stats are boosted in exactly the same way when you level each time you play, and you gain the same number of hps and mps when you level, the gameplay experience in Great Greed doesn't really change from game to game. About all that's different is the possibility of finding some rare item drops from monsters. Also, after beating the game and the credits finish, the game gives you access to a sound test and a bestiary where you can look up the stats of all the enemies in the game.
If you're an RPG fan who's looking for a good RPG for the GameBoy, then pick up a copy of Great Greed if you get the chance.
While Great Greed has a fairly lame story, it's a nicely paced game that most RPG fans should enjoy. If you don't like RPGs though, you probably won't like Great Greed that much.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/23/05
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