Review by The Manx

"Has a message, doesn't beat you over the head with it"

A lot of games with messages try too hard to promote their message and don't devote enough attention to making a fun game at the same time. Captain Novolin was like that, Awesome Possum was like that, and I'm sure the Captain Planet games were like that. So into this bleak arena steps a game called Great Greed, which tells you that you need to save the environment but doesn't lecture you about it.

The back of the box talks about you being Sierra Sam after some polluting villain named Biohazard Harry, but fortunately that is not the case in the game itself. You and your dad are ecological investigators checking out acid rain levels in a forest when a witch and a mutant appear out of thin air and attack you. When you try to help, all three of you are sucked into a parallel world called Greene that's under attack from the villain Bio-Haz. And only you can stop him.

On the surface this game would seem a lot like the dreaded Captain Planet because of an environmental subtext and goofy names for the main characters. The daughters of the royal family are named, seriously, Candy, Cup Cake, Citrus, Gum Drop, and Truffle. But unlike in lesser games where you'd have to save them all from the bad guys, each is capable in their own way and helps you out in the different kingdoms of the game.

The game also isn't your typical ''kill all the monsters and bring peace back to each land'' deal either. Bringing peace back involves an unusual side quest in each area like finding the last album of a famous singer or racing to a toxic lake in time to get an antidote into the water. Even getting a dress for your companion princess to participate in a beauty contest. Pretty original stuff for an old-school Gameboy title.

The game is also simple, though, saddling you not with an entire party but just a partner character who can cast useful spells during battle, which is okay because monsters only attack in ones. There are good and bad things about this. Good: you don't have to spend money buying them weapons, armor and spells in addition to your own. Or worry about their hit points. You can also talk to them on the menu screen if you need to be reminded what your next goal is. Bad: this means that you alone are the brunt of the attacks of every monster in the game. Also, you have no control of when they help you.

Great Greed is one of the best sleeper games I've ever played. It was an awesome Gameboy RPG but almost nobody has played it and there are no sequels I've heard about. If you'd like an unusual 8-bit RPG, or a game that doesn't club you over the head with its message, get into Great Greed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/09/04, Updated 07/22/04

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