Thursday, March 17, 2016

Landstalker - 2/20 hours

This is a decent, but flawed game. I didn't want to compare it too much to the Legend of Zelda series, but Landstalker is like an LoZ game without Nintendo's off-the-wall inventiveness or meticulous attention to detail. Certain things feel off. Not just in comparison to another series, but period.

Like the sword-fighting. Swinging your sword stops your movement. So you can't dodge out of the way of an unexpected attack or charge an opponent that's coming your way. Your fighting tactics boil down to "move yourself into the path of the enemy's movement, stand stock still, and swing your sword wildly in the hopes of knocking them back before they can close the distance." If you get the position even slightly wrong, you'll hit nothing but air.

Now, to be fair to Landstalker, I started up my old copy of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Link does the exact same thing, which is something that I hadn't noticed before and I can only assume is a limitation of that generation of hardware. But the difference between the two games is that Link is about twice as fast as Nigel, and thus feels more nimble overall.

Likewise, the jumping doesn't quite work. It's not always easy to see exactly where you are in relationship to your intended destination, thanks to an isometric view that simulates 3-D without actually providing depth.

That being said, if you can get over the awkwardness of the controls, Landstalker has a lot to offer. It's your basic, go into dungeons, smash monsters, move blocks to solve puzzles setup that you'd come to expect as part of this genre, and if it doesn't do this perfectly, it at least does it competently.

The story is as simple as simple can be. You're Nigel, a treasure hunter, and while you're in the middle of looking for some treasure, you stumble upon Friday, a sprite, who is being chased by a group of villains. You help to hide her, and in return, she tells you how to find the legendary treasure of King Nole. But on your way to get the treasure, you fall down a hole, wind up miles away, and have to work your way back. Along the way, you go through various dungeons in order to win the favor of the locals and get the information and support you need to make another run at the big score.

I'm not entirely sold on the characters, yet. They're quite thinly drawn and rely a lot on common types for their characterization. Plus the translation is not doing them any favors (my favorite is the unit of currency "golds.") I'm sure they'll grow on me with time, but for now the real draw is the dungeon-crawling.

Oh, and the mushroom monsters you sometimes fight look a lot like penises with human lips where the testicles normally go. It's kind of gross.

1 comment:

  1. What do you have against penises with lip testicles?