Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Good animation, particularly on the larger characters - worthy of a good arcade game. Neat parallax scrolling effects in some locations. Same old scenery gets repetitive.
Continuous tune that somehow fits the action, with arcade-style spot effects. Unfortunately, there's very little variety or atmosphere.
A vast scrolling landscape to explore, section by section. Not a vast amount of role-playing involved - combat is basically sword or bow-play.
It's dead easy to get into and has a continue option that aUows you to resume where you left off, removing much of the frustration of dying. As much ‘arcade action’ as ‘adventure’ - a good balance that keeps you on your toes! Lots of short sections to traverse -could get dull, despite the variety.
A well thought-out blend of role-playing challenge and arcade action. While a deft hand on the controller is needed to survive, the grey matter is also chaHenged. Great for role-players who like to get in there and mix it with the monsters, rather than relying on combat rules.
A nice, straightforward quest of self-interest, this one. As Landau (surely a four-wheeled carriage? - Ed), you’re a hunky hero who’s entered a contest, a contest that could lead to you being crowned King of the lands of Baljinya.
The minions of the demon lord Ra Goan have killed off the rightful king and are rampaging through the countryside having a fine old time, much to the discomfort of the locals. No-one has the bottle to take the dead king’s place - except you. ah muscles and no brains as your old mum used to say. The Elders are a little unsure of Landau’s kingly capabilities, so they have set him three tests: if you can find the Tree of MeriH, kiU off the goblin who has set up residence in the Balala VaUey and smash the Statue of Evil, you get to be king.
Simple, huh? Not reaHy. For a start, there are several fairly major sub-quests to be undertaken, like finding a kidnapped girl, and making an old man happy by killing a swamp spirit. Setting out from the village of Harfoot, Landau has to travel the length and breadth of the country in search of magical weapons and useful artefacts, kiHing as many demons and mutated animals as he can while keeping in mind his main aim - to become king... The hero starts out with a trusty sword and a bow with a seemingly endless supply of arrows, but additional magic weapons can be won in the later stages of the quest.
(Image caption) Avoiding the onslaught of a leaping Lizard Man in the forest.
The large play area is divided into sections at either end of which some thoughtful person has planted a signpost. There’s no information on the signs, but the direction in which the controUer is moved governs where the hero goes next. A map of the land is presented on screen when PAUSE is activated, but it’s of little use when it comes to finding your way around - there’s no ‘You Are Here’ arrow, for a start... Pencil and paper are definitely caHed for, and there's a useful A-Z in the instruction booklet.
As usual, points are awarded for despatching monsters, and progress is helped if you complete tasks in the right order.
Energy supplies are limited, but can be replenished by taking a rest in the appropriate place - there’s a hospitable householder right near to the start of the game, and other viHages offer similar facilities for R&R inbetween monster-bashing sessions. On the down side, there’s no save game facility as such - but when Landau pops his clogs it’s possible to re-start play at the beginning of the section on which he expired.
(Image caption) The old Wizard provides the first task that you must undertake.
In the villages there’s usuaUy a house or two which the hero can enter, and more often than not a friendly citizen is found indoors. A few villagers offer up useful information readily, others have to be visited and re-visited before they get chatty, while some appear proffer dangerously misleading advice. Perhaps your best friend on the quest is the Wizard - to succeed you need to make many visits to his humble abode.
Brains don’t usually accompany brawn, and to make life simple for the musclebound star, he doesn’t have an inventory to worry about - instead, he has three pockets. Three empty boxes at the top of the screen, and whenever Landau is given something useful it appears in the next vacant slot. Collected items are used automatically upon reaching the right spot - but then you have to get to the right spot in the first place!
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