Review by PickHut

"Hopejillion"

For me, seeing the name Micronet associated with any video game brings great discomfort. The first game I played from them, Warrior of Rome, is a mind-numbingly slow and irritating strategy title that's easily one of the Sega Genesis' worst. It only has four stages, but those four alone will steal a part of your spirit, a part you'll never see again. I got Warrior of Rome 2 purely out of curiosity, to see if they learned from their mistakes. They didn't. I was horrified to find out that it was more or less the same game, except this had the inclusion of dancing soldiers in the sound mode. After that, I didn't touch anything from them for a few years, until I unknowingly bought a third game for the Sega Saturn, Robotica. Their name was nowhere to be seen on the box, however, once I reached the game's title screen, I was shocked to see their name plastered on the lower right corner... Damn those cunning ninjas! Sadly, this game also turned out to be an annoyingly repetitive title.

After my experience with Robotica, I was distrait; was it really possible that Micronet only churned out terrible games? Was this development team actually owned by Cobra Commander, used as part of another one of his poorly planned schemes to dominate the world? I simply refused to believe it, and with that thought in mind, I picked up Heir of Zendor: The Legend and The Land the moment I found out it was developed by Micronet. I just had to find out, before I die, if there was a Micronet game in existence that wasn't trash.

Well... even before I popped the un-played disc (go figure) into my sturdy Saturn, Heir of Zendor didn't show a lot of promise. First off, it's a Saturn game that I've rarely heard about, which is amazing, because the US Saturn didn't have a lot of releases to begin with. Once I found out it was actually a sequel (Gotha II) to a Saturn game that never saw light outside of Japan, that... that didn't ease my mind one bit. Checking out the screenshots I could find didn't help, either, since it was just a bunch of confusing gameplay angles and cutscenes that explained nothing. Though, when I eventually skimmed through the unusually thick Saturn manual, I discovered that it was a turn-based strategy title with planes. Flashbacks quickly filled my mind of the last two "strategy" "games" I played from Micronet, the two WoR titles.

However, despite these worries, I bravely pressed forward, turned on my Saturn, and played Heir of Zendor. I ended up playing for two and a half hours straight. Not for the reasons you're probably thinking, though. I kept playing because I was in denial of what I was witnessing: a Micronet game that doesn't suck majorly. I continued to go at it for days, looking for anything truly offensive, but I always got the same result: standard turn-based battle in the clouds after standard turn-based battle in the clouds. That's literally all there is to Heir of Zendor. It's pretty long at it, too: play for around five hours, and you'll only net about a 20% completion rate. So if you want a lengthy, plain, turn-based strategy title with almost the exact same battles taking place in cloudy skies, Heir of Zendor is the game you've been dreaming about!

Okay, yeah, that doesn't sound like a great experience. In fact, Heir of Zendor is purely an average title that happens to have a nice soundtrack. However, an average game coming from Micronet, of all developers, is quite a miracle.

Maybe there's hope for the human race after all...


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 06/23/09

Game Release: Heir of Zendor: The Legend and The Land (US, 11/30/96)


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