Review by eyenot

"One of the Greatest"

Storyline: I believe firmly that while in some game environments, storylines make as much as 3/4 of the game (especially in Square/Enix style 'ambush' RPG's,) in other game environments the storyline is tacked-on almost at the point of completion and may as well stay that way after the point of sale. Trust me, with this game the idea of a 'plot' will be far from your brain not long into play. If you must know, some dragons threaten a civilization, but this is all explained in the beautiful opening screen... 0/0

Graphics: Actually, music is the first thing to come to mind with this game, even before graphics, but graphics are the first thing you see when you punch ''player1''. Fine graphics, in multiple colors, very fine for 1987, even for 1989. What is most apparent is that a lot of work was put into the artwork in this game, and the cartoonish style is solid across every object and creature. The colorful atmosphere is pervasive and is touched with realism. The dungeons are dank and the overworld is a bleak, crumbling ruin. The sprites are quite active: shadows lurk and follow; sparks arc and fly; flames sputter, leap and cascade; slimes melt and solidify; stones come alive; pottery cracks and whisps away as dust. Every corner of the imagination is illuminated... 10/10

Music: The theme song is catchy from the first bars, and depending on your skills neither lives nor levels will last long enough for you to notice any nagging repetition. The operatic theme is reprised in the second level as a satirical, sluggish zombification of itself, raising spectres of winding down clocks and puzzling dead-ends that sing their own private passages to the brain. The music grows with the frustration, and never bores. I remembered the melodies to the theme from the first time I played heard it in the arcade and the next time I played it, emulated on my home computer, over twelve years later... 10/10

Play Control: Standard for its time, reminiscent of Joust. The 2D platform action features smooth, retractable scrolling in four straight directions. The levels seem to favor horizontal scrolling over vertical but only by a factor of about 1.5:1. There is plenty of upward mobility required, and a certain jump technique must be learned to get through the game. The hero's dagger-spewing, fire-blazing morning-star tipped chain weapon is atrocious, but has a slight delay that fans of Castlevania will be familiar with. You can only attack horizontally, so clear your paths creatively before progressing upwards. The rate of travel is pretty realistic considering both the hero's immense, muscular girth, and the rather heavy-looking thick body-fitting plate armor he wears in bikini-like abundance... 10/10

Overall: There is just so much to go on about. Unexpected, quizzical, interesting things await around every corner, behind every hidden passage and inside of every sleeping stone. It's a strange, fantastic game that reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons meets Castlevania. I think everyone should check it out at least once... 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/09/03, Updated 05/09/03

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