"Good in '90, but too aged to be easily playable now."

Make no mistake: Chaos World for the NES is nothing that'll change the world, for good or for bad. But this little-known Japanese-exclusive 1990 RPG release is arguably the first place where many Strategy/RPG features nowadays taken for granted appeared.

Sprawling worlds. Huge storylines. A quest to save the world and get the girl. Chaos World only does a take on one of these, the rudimentary yet still mandatory save-the-world plot. But for every other seemingly-necessary detail that all RPGs of it's day had that it traded out, it added something new in. A working day-and-night system with more than aesthetic value to it. A guild system akin to Final Fantasy Tactics' taverns, along with 15 recruitable characters from 8 different classes. An extensive 20-hour journey uninflated by gross amounts of text or battle systems that take a long time to set up an attack with.

As cliched to death by now, Chaos World starts you, the nameless hero, off in a pre-apocalyptic world teetering on doom. The King of Rodetia calls upon you, and explains that the foretold times of darkness have come, and that you are the only one who can save the world. From there on, the plot doesn't become archaic as so many Final Fantasies and Dragon Warriors have succumbed to, but instead goes on to become extensive, and surprisingly deep. As the story of a corrupted and dangerous religion unfolds, as the tides of inhumanity sweep across the planet, you learn to really know who everyone is. You'll keep an extensive business relationship with the mayor of Izaruro, you'll become friends with Prince Levin of Ruval, your fear of Prince Adan taking the throne in his evil ways will subside as something happens, and when you finally go to battle individually with each of the three major villains of the game, then it hits you there; these are evil masterminds who you WANT to defeat, and you will NOT forget them once they fall and hope for redemption in death.

Other nice touches include the high-quality MIDIs (you heard it hear, folks: Chaos World makes the best of the NES sound channels), and the large amounts of bright colors used between both character and environment. But the biggest thing of all is the battle system. Instead of setting moves up every round of battle, you design a four-move strategy (ie. Save MP, Attack, Magic Pyramid, Defend) of various actions, and when you press fight, the battle goes on until either your party or the enemies fall. Although admittedly with the slight touch of easiness Chaos World is not too hard until the end, and that this system of battle doesn't really present much strategy so long as you've leveled up enough, other NES RPGs have gone archaic in combat play. Chaos World has not, in the three years I've played it, gotten any worse than what it started out as; short and convenient.

In the end, Chaos World is still merely an average game, having aged horribly. However, if you want a NES game and you were either born in the 90s or joined gaming during or after 1995, this game is the type for you.


Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/05/05

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