Quantcast
Community Discussion: Blog by Lord Spencer | Lord Spencer's ProfileDestructoid
Lord Spencer's Profile - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist





click to hide banner header
About
Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I am an Iraqi-Saudi living in Saudi Arabia.
-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2
-Some weird game in the PS1 that caused my grandfather to kick me out of the house because it had me giving a girl an orgasm by massaging her feet.

Six is as good a number as any, so here is that:

Badges
Following (4)  


For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

S- Lufia & the Fortress of Doom:
Year: 1993.
Genre: RPG.
Publisher: Taito.
Developer: Neverland.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Lufia is perhaps the least well known JRPG of the SNES era, probably due to being published by small publisher Taito. Nevertheless, it is fondly remembered by those who played it, and the second game was critically acclaimed as well.

In order to better review the second game, I decided to play the first. Expecting a basic RPG with probably archaic mechanics, I was caught off-guard by what is actually a pretty decent game, even though it is ancient in some ways.

"And so the final battle begins"

You start the game in control of the world's strongest fighters, a group of four warriors heading for their final battle with the evil Sinisterals. From the start, we learn that the Sinisterals are akin to a natural disaster that reign death and destruction over the world.

By starting with the strongest fighters, you are hugely over-level, and you can take your time learning the game's battle mechanics. If anything, the intro provides some depth to the narration, as well as a window to the future for the player.

With the Sinisterals defeated, a century of peace begins, and at its end is your main character. The end of peace part is where you come in, as a descendent of Maxim, the leader of that aforementioned group, you must take on the resurrected Sinisterals and save the world.

While this is basic RPG storytelling, the game does offer some surprising depth. Especially when it comes to the relationship of the MC with the mysterious Lufia. Which culminates in a truly great ending, despite the childish translation.

Very Good Start:+3
Surprising Story Depth: +3



"Let's see what's up ahead"

After you are introduced to the MC and Lufia, you begins your quest to save the world from the impeding threat of the Sinisterals. Unfortunately, most of the time, you will be questing in order to get through your quest to save the world. You need to go to City A, well, you must first go to cities B and C and do something in order to be able to go into A.

What the game basically boils down to is a huge series of fetch quests. Some of which offer an appreciated glimpse into the game world, most which are basically padding. Highlighting the nature of these fetch quests is the snaky design of the game world, which is linear and seems to offer a singular path towards your goal.

In order to fulfill these quests, you would basically need to go into dangerous caves and dungeons, fight off some monsters, get some item, and repeat. Sometimes, you will have to fight a boss, which actually manages to test you combat ability.

Speaking of combat, its basic turn-based battle, with each round consisting of characters acting in order of their speed. Thankfully, battles don't take a lot of time, with the occasional boss battle that challenges your strategy.

A Series of Fetch Quests: -3
Mostly Boring Side Stories -2
Decent and Fast Battle System:+3

"This country will survive"

Probably due to the abundance of fetch quests, the game needed to provide resting points (towns) at the path of each one. Resulting in one of the most populated RPG worlds in the SNES. With nearly 30 towns, the game boasts a respectable amount of NPCs. While most of them are your run-off-the-mill info dumps, some do sport their amusing eccentricities.

Despite the visual limitations, and the fact that most towns use the same architecture, the personality of the game manages to shine through. Cities are populated with both adults and children, and some cities manage to feel unique due to the complexion of the populace. For example, seeing a cleric man the item shop because "he found faith" is bound to register a smile.

This is actually an extension of the game's own personality, which manages to convey humor, romance, bravery, and other emotions in what is a very limited translation. Despite the limitations, the game manages to have some good dialogue, and more importantly, a consistent charm.

Personality:+4
Some Humor: +2



"Puny knight! I AM EVIL ITSELF"

The Sinisterals might be super evil beings, but besides a very nasty sleeper trap they laid, we are never familiar with their evilness beyond some quotes such as the above. Its just another byproduct of the eternal fetch quests format. What evil we are familiar with is however related to the game itself. Starting with an over zealous random encounter rate, and finishing with an obnoxious final dungeon.

Lufia is a very basic game, and hence lacks the improvements games such as Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger did to advance the genre. Take the lack of a dash button for example coupled with the high encounter rate, both working against the player's time. Perhaps the final dungeon wouldn't be as obnoxious if the aforementioned problems didn't exist, nah, probably would still be.

Admittedly, the game's default walking speed and the battles themselves keep the problems from being as pronounced as Breath of Fire 2 for example. However, the game's other limitations are more serious.

First, items don't specify what they do, which coupled with a shoddy translation forces the player to try the items to discern their use, or simply ignore them. Second, the lack of character portraits is a minus for the art, but the lack of the name of the character who is talking causes some confusion about the direction of the dialogue. Last, the lack of a world map would mean looking for end game targets is a pain.

Not one single issue is a game breaker, but when they combine together, they make the experience more difficult.

Caveman Design: -3
Background Antagonists: -2

"Will this dress make me pretty?"

If we want to make a visual comparison between Lufia, and any other RPG, it would be called Final Fantasy light. Employing the same style, but without as much detail, the game is colorful but is visually repetitive. For instance, most towns use the same architecture, and the game world consist of less than a doze textures. While not ugly, or even bland, the visuals are just very basic.

In contrast to the the world visuals are the battles, which employ a first person view similar to Dragon Quest. Which is both disappointing because we cannot see our characters in action, and great because the monsters are shown in much more detail. In fact, the monster designs are really good, especially the bosses.

Unfortunately, the monsters are only still image and do not animate at all beyond shaking when getting hit. In the other hand, spell animations are well done, even if not spectacular. Overall, the Lufia is visually unimpressive, however it is not ugly.

Aurally, the game includes several great tunes, such as the overworld and fortress of doom songs. Aside from those two, which are the best in my opinion, the other tunes serve their function well and are great to listen to. Unfortunately, the game's soundtrack is in the short side, with little more than 30 tracks at the max.

However, the main problem with the sound in Lufia is that it is not continuous. Meaning that you will rarely hear the cool overworld theme to its completion because every time you finish a battle, the music restarts. Luckily, the music continues to play while you are in the menu, so you can customize at your leisure while listening to the best tracks.

Basic Graphics: -1
Some Great Music: +4



In Conclusion:

While it is true that Lufia is more like an early SNES RPG than a middle SNES one, it still manages to be a really good game regardless. With faults that, while noticeable, do little to ruin the experience; they are not an excuse enough not to play the game.

For RPG fans, and for those curious about a game with many ardent admirers, the first Lufia is a welcoming game. In my opinion, any SNES top 100 list would be lacking if it did not include this game, but at such a list, it would be among the highest numbers, not the lowest.

Final: 33/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- Use Drain on bosses regularly.
2- Save your Miracles for the last Bosses.
3- Take care of which rings to use.
4- Heal on anticipation, not need.
5- Use the emulator save feature for the final dungeon.

"Next Game"

I think IGN messed up by not including the first Lufia in their list, especially since this a list that includes such a bad Superman game. Regardless, playing Lufia and the Fortress of Doom better positions me to review Lufia 2, which sits at #34.

From what I know, Lufia 2 is a prequel to the first game, and it follows the quest of Maxim, whom I play as in the intro to this game. I guess I will not be starting from level 70 this time though.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/lufia-the-fortress-of-doom/screenshots
Photo Photo Photo








For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

40- Earthworm Jim 2:
Year: 1995.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Playmates.
Developer: Shiny Entertainment.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The first Earthworm Jim surprised the world with its surreal humor, crazy protagonist, and original style. Its originality was its strongest claim to fame, as it did have its share of shortcomings that were glossed over through its unique charm.

It follows then that a sequel would not have the same surprising impact. We expect the unexpected from Earthworm Jim 2 (EJ2), and thus will not forgive its shortcomings as easily as the first game. Luckily, we wouldn't have to overly extend our mercy, because EJ2 is clearly a better game than its predecessor.

"Groovy!!"

I guess Jim, as a game protagonist, must have felt his CV lacking with its lack of princess rescue missions. Fortunately, his arch-enemy Psy-Crow is giving him the chance to rectify that mistake by kidnapping princess What's-her-name.

In an adventure worthy of the name (even if not as crazy as the first), Jim goes through several levels following Psy-Crows trail in order to save What's-her-name. While still a crazy adventure, with its fair share of humor, EJ2 feels lacking compared to the first one, most probably because it lacks the element of surprise.

Aside from its abundance of Cow Jokes, and a seriously hilarious ending, the game lacks some bite and feels more grounded than the first game. For instance, the enemies you fight are simply not as memorable as those in the first game. No Lawyer from Hell is going to attack you with law suits, and sentient filing cabinets are not an equal substitute.

Less Bite than the Original:-2
[i]Still Crazier than Everything Else: +2



"Udderly Abducted"

Other than its humor, EJ2 is better than the first game in everything else, starting with gameplay. While the first stage might suggest a similarity between the two game, the subsequent carnival of game ideas completely changes the game.

While the game is supposedly an action platformer, the game changes tracks rapidly. One level is played vertically, with your head acting as a hot air balloon. Another charges you with rescuing Cows in a little labyrinth stage. One stage even puts you in the control of a freakish creature that floats, and end in a ridiculous game show. Not all ideas are winners, with the shooter-inspired stage being a huge bore, but the variety keeps each idea from getting stagnant.

More important than the ideas themselves is their execution, which is not nearly flawless. Carrying the problem from the first game, EJ2s mechanics are still suspect, with hit boxes the worst offender. For example, a stage charging you with protecting falling puppies asks you to catch them with a jumping cushion. Imagine the frustration a puppy's death would cause when it clearly touches the cushion but does not register it.

Fortunately, the game elevates some of the issues by being understanding and welcoming instead of unfair and obtuse. Lives are easy to get by, and you would never die due to imprecise platforming. Thus, the shortcomings of the gameplay being elevated by a forgiving game.

Huge Variety: +5[/i]
Imprecise Mechanics: -3
Forgiving Game: +2

"See Jim Run, Run Jim Run"

One mysterious change in Jim's animation from the first game is his run. Now, its always activated, and he even runs in place. It still is cute and full with personality, which it inherits from the personality found in the first game. Still, idle animations show much care, and the characters in the world move and act in hilarious manners.

Besides the animation and sprites, the graphics are crisp and clean, but show little imagination and are mostly boring rendition of alien atmosphere. See the backgrounds for example, which are good looking, but lack the imagination and movement found in some other games. Which is disappointing when compared to the personality found in the game's sprites and animation.

Both of the above issues are direct inheritance from the first game, which had lively sprites besides boring background. Yest, the sound division apparently did not get the inheritance memo.

Simply put, the soundtrack of EJ2 is divine, and aside from one soundtrack (which ironically accompanies the worst stage), is truly great. Both alien and traditional, crazy and classic, the musics evokes a sense of contradiction. Explain the moonlight sonata's 3rd movement complementing the final race between Jim and his rival. Beethoven's classic sonata offers a direct contradiction to the crazy world of Jim, and yet it works so well within the game.

This great music acts as a buffer against the rougher parts of the game, alleviating some of its frustrations. For example, I was at the end of my tether in ISE 9000, which I felt had too many mechanical problems. However, the soundtrack, which was a Pink Floyd inspired piece, was just too good for me to ever thinking about quitting the game in rage.

Great Music: +5
Moonlight Sonata: +3
Personality: +3
Boring Graphics: -2



"Puppy Love?"

After dealing with all its shortcomings, and enjoying all its advantages, you suddenly find that the game ends. Just 10 levels or so, and with little reason to replay the game, the game ends. It took me two short session to finish the game, and while other people might do so in more (or even less), it still is a short game.

When compared with other games in the SNES, even platformers, we find EJ2 to be more similar to licensed platformers like The Lion King in length, rather than original platformer like Donkey Kong. Which is disappointing, because EJ2 is an original IP that showed more imagination than can be constrained in 10 levels or so. Perhaps opting to be short and sweet game instead of a long tedious one. Nonetheless, it just ends up as a overly short, so much that if this was back in 1995, I would not recommend that anyone buys the game at full price.

Short: -4

In Conclusion:

If you think that this game wears anything on its sleeve, you would be wrong. With everyone expecting the crazy humor of the first game, EJ2 could not surprise us with that. However, it managed to surprise us with its great soundtrack, and varied gampeplay.

Even though it still has its share of problems, length and mechanical shortcomings being at the forefront. The forgiving challenge, and its other charms do make for a good game. Just not for the full price of 1995.

Final: 34/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- Press Down to Carry things.
2- ISO 9000 Boss requires you to use the wardrobe in the left.
3- The triple gun is probably the best one.

"Next Game"

While I said I will not review sport games, a gold game where Kirby is the ball is a must play. Surprisingly, at #38 Kirby's Dream Course is the highest rated Kirby game in the list. Here is hoping its not below Par.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/earthworm-jim-2/screenshots
Photo Photo Photo








For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

41- Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen:

Year: 1995.
Genre: Strategy RPG.
Publisher: Enix.
Developer: Quest.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Now, Ogre Battle might be the most complex game in the SNES, or at least in the top five. With a cover that claims the game to be "the ultimate fantasy simulation RPG" you would guess a little at its complexity. Ironically, that claim does not mention the fact that Ogre Battle is a strategy RPG, and even then that wouldn't be accurate.

Ogre Battle is a real time strategy tactical RPG hybrid. With units moving in a vast map in real time, while a war economy is being used to support these units, of which each consists of several types of soldiers, etc. By now, you should have figured out that this game is not easy to summarize, and a good portion of any review would be an attempt at explaining the scale of the game.

"This is not child's play!!"

Your army consists of a maximum of 10 units. Each unit takes a certain number of soldiers to fill, with normal soldier taking one space, and creatures taking two for a maximum of five spaces (3 soldier and 1 creature for example. There are different classes for soldiers and creatures, with different abilities and such. Now that your units are in place, you can equip your soldiers with items (1 per solider) and send them to battle.

Here is where this game deviates from other tactical RPGs. First, deploying your units cost money according to their power, and maintaining them in the field cost money as well. With a day-night cycle, you are being charged every day. Now the second point comes into play; the game runs in real time. As your units move and you make your decisions, the in-game clock ticks on, and the enemy moves. As such, movement is shown with units moving in a map, and not in grids.

In order for the player to earn money, they either win the stage, or liberate towns to get taxes. Of course, you can always sell your hard-found treasures and equipment. To stop you, the enemy forces would close down on you in sometimes unpredictable manners. When two units clash, you are transported like if in an RPG into the battle screen and you see the fight is between your soldiers and theirs.

These battles are not at all what you would expect. Indeed, the player is merely a spectator with supervisory powers as the two units duke it out. No, not till one of them is wiped out, but for until each soldier exhausts their turns. In these battles, the player continues their role as a general, and not as an active participant; as they issue tactical commands instead of direct orders. For example, you set a unit's tactics to attacking the weakest members of the enemy units, or the strongest.

However, there is one power the player can use during these battles, Tarot Cards. With these mysterious fortune telling device being a theme of the game, the player collects these cards and can use them in battle. For instance, one card heals your units while another damages the enemy. Some cards have more unique properties, such as flipping the front and back line of the enemy forces (thus exposing their mages).

This is only just the basics of the gameplay, as there are still many underlying mechanics I have yet to explain. However, I would first like to glance over the story of the game.

Unique Gameplay:+5
Tarot Cards: +3



"The destiny in your cards"

From the start, the Tarot card theme is apparent in the personality questions the game asks you. The answers to these questions and the Tarot Cards you draw decides your main character's traits. You are the leader of the rebellion, which is fighting against a conquering empire that might have more sinister motives besides conquest.

Obviously, we have been in countless rebellions against encroaching empires, and Ogre Battle is no different in that regard. Even less, your army has no personality whatsoever and named characters are confined to the few sentences they word in their first appearance.

However, Ogre Battle surprisingly ups the ante with its inner-level narrative. Not every stage has a compelling story, but each stage has its own tale within the grand narrative. These stories are sometimes surprisingly complex. For instance, on one level many towns you liberate say that the famous knight X (that's not his name) betrayed his lord and killed him and his family. However, when you meet the knight himself, he denies the truth of those claims and insists he stayed loyal to the end, and he wishes to the join the fight against the empire. Do we take him at his own word and risk recruiting a disloyal scumbag, or ignore him and believe the rumors.

The narrative is best in these small stories inside the levels, adding up to several good stories that add depth to an otherwise unremarkable tale. However, even by the end, we discover that not everything is what it seems.

Generic Story: -2
Interesting Side Stories +5
Grey Morality:+2



"Ours is a forbidden love, tee hee"

I would actually say that love is a difficult, not forbidden. Love for the game that is. Not because of any fault in the game itself as much as difficulty in understanding it. Besides the already complex gameplay in Ogre Battle, there are many underlining systems that are simply too complex to handle well.

Starting with the class upgrade system, which is for some reason convoluted and confusing. In the simple front, there are classes which directly upgrade to a better version, but then starts the web-work. For the main classes, there are two lines, female and male. Upgrading into any other class requires a certain number of ALI points. These points supposedly monitor the morality of the individual soldier, but are ridiculously hard to control. Therefore you might end up with a Ninja (low ALI) instead of the Samurai (high ALI) you want because this soldier is stealing all the kills (thus reducing his ALI). Stupidly, the only way to raise your ALI is killing higher level soldiers, which is both stupid and difficult; without control in the battle itself how can you make sure the unit you want to get the kill does it?

Other "special" units also have their own roundabout ways of getting upgraded. Some require items, while other require getting bitten by an infected unit. Finally, you either spend more time than is healthy to get the units you want, or simply succumb to whatever your regular playing leaves you with.

This half-baked morality system is not exclusive to class upgrades. Showing a modernity beyond its time Ogre Battle offer different endings depending on your morality scale and performance. Only problem, this morality system is unwieldy and confusing. Even after finishing the game, I am not sure how this system is supposed to work. Should I liberate cities, or shouldn't I? Ridiculously, this mysterious scale eventually controls how the story goes. Important characters don't join me because of my Evil way (and I really don't want to be Evil), and other events refuse to happen because I am not in the right part of the scale.

What I find particularity daunting is the complete lack of any in-game instructions to the use of these confusing systems. Neither the ALI upgrade paths, nor the morality system is ever explained by the game, forcing me to rely on FAQs for the simplest of information. While I am not a big fan of lengthy tutorials and the like, the addition of a simple help menu or something similar would have been much appreciated.

Needless Complexity:-4
Lack of Clarity:-3



"History is shaped with blood and death"

From the grinding and inner workings of such a complex machine, we get these 10 units to attack the enemy with. Even without fully understanding the upgrade system, and not understanding what all classes offer to the table, we get a lot of variety to choose from.

With many viable units to choose from, there is a basic inclination towards the mobility flying units offer, and the coverage mages do. However, there are still several options, and experimenting early on is fun and exciting. The early game in general is both more challenging and interesting due to the early experimentation going on. Epic battles with each stage's boss are common, and sometimes the game forces you to make surprising tactical adjustments.

However, once your units are set, and you gain levels and upgrade your units, the game suddenly becomes easier. Late game units can simply steamroll through anything that is not a boss, and your star units simply outclass all your other units. My only incentive to use Samurai Anderson in late game battles was for participation purposes.

Class Variety:+4
Great Early Game:+5
Formulaic Late Game:-2

"The Zenobian Empire"

Besides complexity in game design, we unfortunately don't find complexity in artistic design. While the character designs are well made and somewhat varied, and the maps are distinctive in shape from one another; everything has a washed out look to it. Graphically, the game lacks the charm to make for its graphical shortcomings, and as a result suffers aesthetically for it.

On the sound front, what music there is is good, but there is very little variety. With what feels like only 10 tracks, maps are separated by their shape more than anything else. For a strategy heavy game, the graphics might not have been top priority, but the limited musical selection is serious problem.

Compared to such comprehensive gameplay elements, the artistic design of the game is obviously barren. For instance, the master Samurai class is differentiated from the regular Samurai class with a simple different color scheme. A more serious effort would have added a sword to one, or removed a helmet form the other.

Some Good Music and Art:+2
Limited Artistic Design:-5



In Conclusion:

As I said before, Ogre Battle might be the most complex game in the SNES, and as a game that someone will exclusively play for a long time, it might have enough depth to hold for a long time. However, that complexity works against it when someone is not dedicating all his existence to figure it out.

In the other hand, even without figuring everything out, the game still manages to be fun. Equally important, there are simply no other games similar to it in any way as far as I know. Even though it took ages for me to finish the game, I am still glad I invested the time to do so, even if I got the worst ending possible and my character died after a year of ruling.

Final: 40/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- At Least have 7 flying units.
2- Don't hoard Tarot Cards.
3- Don't kill units with Tarot cards so that you don't lose experience points.
4- Make sure to protect your base, losing because of one rouge enemy unit is rage-inducing.
5- Most beasts are useless imo, however gryphons rock.
6- Do consult online guides.
7- Clerics are super useful in their final upgrade as Monks.

"Next Game"

I already went through the insanity of Earthworm Jim's world in my review of his first game, which I felt was marred by unnecessary difficulty despite the charm. His second game, which sits at a higher #40 in the IGN list is considered by many to be the better of the two.

This time I know what to expect, so the surreal style of the game won't catch me off-guard. As such, the game will actually be even more carefully reviews than the first. Let's see what I unEARTH,

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/ogre-battle/screenshots
Photo Photo Photo








For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

42- E.V.O. Search for Eden:

Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Enix.
Developer: Almanic.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
Search for Eden at once promised a different gaming experience to all of its contemporary games. You take control of a single life-form as it evolves through time, all the while taking control of its own evolution.

While this promises widely different changes to your character, it does not manage to fulfill that promise. Even-though, it still manages to be a decent start for the Evolution genre.

"The Survival of the Fittest"

While it is weird that a game about Evolution starts with a creationist theme, you nonetheless start as an agent of Gaia trying to prove you deserve entering Eden through your subsequent evolution. Surprising no one, the overall plot of a game that simply wants you to evolve your character and play around with it is a thin one. It serves the purpose of giving you a reason to evolve and play through five different eras utill you reach Eden.

However, it was surprising seeing the story of the world told, even if very simply, as you evolve in each Era. In fact, some instances even managed to be melancholy and a perfect testament to the underlying cruelty of the Darwinian principle.

Better still, through exploration and perhaps random luck, you might catch glimpse of a different narrative arc. One that perhaps undermines the entire plot of the game. This narrative is smartly not being showcased in the core game, but is mysteriously in the background, available to those who seek it.

Going back to the original narrative arc, your journey to Eden is not as smooth as you would hope it to be. Some events throw the balance of nature, and you are tasked with correcting it again. Perhaps the insect kingdom is growing too large threatening the plants necessary for survival. Maybe the ocean is being dominated by one species that plan to kill all others.

Regardless of the objective, you are expected to beat the offending party to a pulp. Yet, you might opt to join them for a number of different endings. Some of which are a little funny. When all is beaten, and your path to Eden is cleared, you might at last appreciate the heart of the tale. While not at all a specially engrossing story, it still manages to give adequate reason for the player to care about the world beyond deciding which horn suits his beast best.

Surprisingly Good Story +3
Mysterious Alternative Story: +2



"Only the strong would survive"

According to actual Darwinian theory, survival depends more on adaptability and fertility than actual physical strength. In EVO, it is really all about that physical strength. With the game basically being an action platformer, you walk, swim, fly in a 2D plane while fighting whatever is in your path. You only need attack power, some mobility, and strong defense to survive.

Basically, the hundreds of different evolutionary combinations simply converge to the strongest in each category. There is no reason to mix and match when simply "buying" the more expensive evolutions gets you the best stats. With the exception of the similarly priced evolutions (where you get a different bonus for each), the more evo points (currency) you spend the stronger you get.

Hence, the actual evolution in the game takes the appearance of an RPG shop, where the different body parts you evolve are armor, and those similar priced parts are accessories. For the greatest success, mot players would end the game looking exactly the same, while evolving in exactly the same paths.

Whereas I imagined the evolution to take place organically and intuitively, it ended up being a glorified RPG armor shop. Yet, it is not a bad armor-shop by any stretch of the imagination. Only lacking in the concept of the game. However, the game does deliver in its evolutionary premise in a non-player driven way.

With each era demanding different traits, you evolve through the game from a fish to a humanoid as you go past the eras. Even more, you get the chance to become a bird in one era (which is necessary to uncover the mystery) granting you the ability to fly. While each of these evolutionary "paths" can only be upgraded within with stats only, they play different to each other.

Regular Evolution is Like an Equipment Shop: -2
Evolution Paths Differentiate Gameplay +5

"Lead into the new world"

Each era's objective is going through to the next era. Predictably, you start in the ocean, and go through Earth's slow transformation  through Jurassic and the Ice Age into early-man time. The game plays like the most regular 2D Action platformers, with the added twists of swimming and flight depending on the evolution in hand.

Obstacles to your search for Eden are the many enemies of the game, who are little more than fodder for your evolution needs. Yet, there are those beings who are ruining the balance of nature, and are such more ferocious and deadly. The game's bosses are miscalculations of Evolution, mostly bent up on destroying the world via their own refusal to coexist with it.

While your only fighting tools is a bite or a jump, they are adequate when facing regular enemies. However, bosses require more strategy and more mobility. One basic strategy most EVO players would use over and over again is evolutionary healing. Since you can evolve by simply entering a menu and clicking the required evolution, you can do so at any time. Against bosses, it is optimal to heal yourself and evolve stronger at the same time.

Yet, even with that health tricks, some bosses prove to be more than a match. Unfortunately, it is mostly to due with the excessive stun-locking in the game. At one point, a pink Yeti monster held me for 20 minutes in one stun-lock chain. I tried escaping while chugging away at unwanted evolutions to heal up  with no avail.

Aside from these tense and interesting boss battles, the rest of the game grows repetitive after a while. With little challenge and increasingly boring landscape, EVO becomes a chore, especially because of the grinding required to get the best gear (I mean body parts). However, the anticipation of beginning a new evolutionary path in a new era always brought me back eager and ready.

Boring Regular Play: -3
Interesting Boss Battles: +2
Infinite Stun-Locks: -2



"Protect Earth's beauty"

With such a noble goal in mind, it is a shame EVO does not enforce the sentiment by actually providing a beautiful world to protect. Instead, it offers barren and mostly repetitive levels with the laziest of SNES backgrounds I ever encountered. In fact, the entire background visual design is one of the worst I seen.

It is a testament to the sprite-work then that the game's graphics does not end as a complete disaster. With imaginative sprite design, and different personalities conveyed through the sprites animation and visual ticks. Each of the creatures you encounter, and those you evolve into yourself have a unique visual flair. Through their menacing predatory grins, or through their lazy eating animation, you know exactly what you are dealing with.

In the game's best graphical set-pieces, the game's sprites manages to cover up the sloppy background through intelligent artistic vision. With meteor dropping by signalling the extension of the mighty dinosaurs, the enter-wining necks of two of those long necked dinosaurs somehow hides the appalling boredom of the background in the scene.

However, the music department gets no such saving grace. Carrying the obvious distinction of being a low-budget title, the music of the game manages to grate instead of entertain, and is at once alien from the atmosphere of the game. Worse still, it repeats the terrible tunes infinitely while keeping the half decent ones exclusive.

My view of game music is that it adds another dimension to the game. With 2D games the most needing of that extra dimension, we find the tunes with best melodies in the SNES era. Yet, EVO manages to use its musical score not to add to the game, but to actually subtract from it.

Visual Design: +2
Terrible Music: -5

"A different world"

In many ways, EVO is undercooked and perhaps owing to its low budget, underdeveloped. From its very basic backgrounds, to the very rigid menu, the game has many faults. However, its also the first of its type, and it was bold enough to break through new ground.

In equally many ways, EVO is adventurous and unique. Despite the volutinary mechanic not being what it could have been, EVO manages to let you play in land, air, and sea. And if anything, the illusion of controlling your own evolution is enough to sustain the premise of the game.

Interesting Premise +3

In Conclusion:

The SNES was home to many interesting ideas. Many games matured as series's, while others introduced new mechanics and genres. Not all of those game succeeded however, and for many of them, it robbed us of a more polished take on a great idea.

Perhaps a sequel for EVO would have fixed its problems while expanding on its theme. At it is, search for Eden have yet to reach its own Eden. However, it is still a worthwhile search to make.

Final: 32/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- Save for the most expensive evolutions.
2- Heal evolve against bosses.
3- Save evo points to heal-evolve.
4- Be wary of stun-locking.
5- Register a flying evolution to explore vertical levels through green crystals.
6- Horns break, and therefore are useless as an attack.

"Next Game"

Talking about games introducing new ideas and genres, the next game in the list introduced a well-respected unique series. Numbering 41, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen is a unique tactical strategy game that I am looking forward to try.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/e-v-o-search-for-eden/screenshots
Photo Photo Photo








For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

44- Demon's Crest:

Year: 1994.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Off all the critical successes of Capcom in the SNES era, Demon's Crest (DC) earns the solitary dishonor of being the biggest financial flop. In fact, the game registered negative sales at one point, with more people returning the game than those buying it.

Born from the single most annoying enemy in the Ghouls and Ghosts series, DC nonetheless was a huge departure from its parent series. Perhaps that departure alienated series fans, and perhaps having a demon as protagonist hurt sales (as research would suggest it would). Regardless of the reasons for its poor sales, I struggle to find a legitimate one, because DC is one very good game. Even if it falls short from greatness.

"What are you!!"

You are Fireband, the powerful demon just fresh from gaining all the Demon crests. However, the traitorous Phalanx managed to back-stab you and take the crests for himself. With some ambition, DCs story could have been a great one. It has all the elements in place, as well as a good sense of presentation to boot. However, it does not go the extra length needed to flesh out what could have been a great story.

For instance, Fireband is not your regular hero. In fact, Phalanx arguably helps demonkind by stunting his tyrannical ambitions. Playing as an Evil character has its charms, but when little of those are explored you might as well be an angel as well as a demon.

Which is a shame, because the story sets up nicely, with Fireband waking up to be executed by the Zombie of the Dragon he killed in the last game to get the crests. It was not a tough opening , but it provided a glimpse of the stylish boss fights the game provides throughout, as well as a sense of style that is unfortunately not complemented by the story.

Also, the game feels like a legitimate quest for vengeance, with Phalanx's castle open to assault at any time (causing a different ending if you kill him without getting the crests first). You travel around the realm trying to get your strength back together (by finding health expansions and crests) in order to beat Phalanx in his castle. It is a non-linear quest, with most of the levels including the final castle being open from the start.

Style: +3
Non-Linear quest: +3

"Bring me a velum for a spell"

If you played Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, you would know that the red gargoyle has wings. These wings come into place greatly in DC. While Fireband can only jump once, he can hover in the air at a set height indefinitely. This hovering mechanic works great in order stay airborne to hit enemies while also dodging their attack. Better still, you can change your hover height by rapid disengagement of your wings and re-engagement.

However, this is only the original form of Fireband. As each crest gives you a different transformation, each useful in one part of the game. With the appropriate crests, Fireband can swim, fly (instead of hover), and more.

Attack-wise, all the red gargoyle does is shoot fireballs. However, these fireballs are altered by the form he wears, and the items he uses. These items are found by exploring the game-world, while the froms are gained by progressing the story and gaining crests. While these fireballs are his only mode of attack, they are actually not rapid enough or travel enough to feel as a shooting mechanic, and with the consistent need to fly closer to the enemy, they feel more like long ranged melee attacks.

Along with his crests and firebreathing abilities, Fireband carries around talismans that increase his power, and potion bottles to recover. Also, while he should be also supported with a number of cool-sounding spells, those were entirely useless.

Also, don't forget to look around for health-expansions. With as many items as Fireband boosts, and with a the non-linear quest. DC feels like an Action Platformer Zelda game. Not quite the metroidvania, but close enough.

Different Forms: +4
Many Items: +3
Useless Spells:-2



"You shall go no further"

While the game feels really open due to its non-linear structure. You soon realize that it basically consists of stages within stages, with a boss in the end of each sub-stage. This not necessarily a bad thing, because the game maintains the illusion of freedom well throughout.

More importantly, because the formula also works. While the stages are mostly run-of-the-mill action platfomer fare, the bosses are not. It is slightly unfortunate that the stages do no extensively use the cool flight mechanics unique to the game, and instead manage to be weaker than the brilliant stages of its parent series. However, the bosses redeem those stages greatly with intense fights all over the game.

In fact, the early bosses in the game would keep the more hard-core gamers on their toes. Better yet, those boss fights are never cheap, with DC being ahead of its time by giving infinite retries and generous checkpoints. These does not cheapen the bosses, who are still intense as ever, but levels the playing field between the players and the bosses allowing for skill to evolve with practice without unnecessary frustration.

Also, perfection is not DCs goal as a game, in contrast to its parent series.

However, it must be said that due to the abundance of items in the final stages of the games, the bosses at the end feel really weak. Especially the final boss, who is underwhelming in all regards. Even though, before that point, the proto-man like fights with your rival Arma would be the highlight of the game.

Savor them well.

Great Boss Fights: +5
Arma Boss Foghts: +3
Lack of Balancing in Late Boss Fights: -3



"Dance the dance of the dead"

With Capcom on the wheels, you should always expect a great soundtrack. Unfortunately, DC only half delivers. While the soundtrack is suitable to the game, and it does have its highs, it nevertheless fails to excite.

Decent is not a good enough adjective. Perhaps, I wouldn't feel such about the soundtrack if it delivered a good final boss theme. However, as I stated, the final battle fell flat in many ways, one of which is the pedestrian theme.

With the sound department not giving much of an atmosphere to the game, it was up to the art department to do so. Continuing with the game's excellence with the bosses, the game's prime artistic achievements are in the boss design, as well as the designs for Fireband and his different forms.

The stages and the environment in the other hand are well done, if not spectacular. Obviously getting inspiration from gothic motifs, the game's cemeteries and castles look decent enough, with good backgrounds throughout. However, we do not get any of the visual flair Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts was famous for.

Decent Music: -1
Boss Design: +2

"Now feel the Wrath of Heaven"

Having excellent action gameplay mechanics, a non-linear quest, varied forms and collectibles, as well as a unique premise and cool bosses. You would imagine DC would be a critical success cited among the greatest games of all time.

However, this is not the case, because as in many other games, DC manages to have all the pieces in the board but it doesn't go far enough with them. Perhaps, DC2 would have fulfilled the promise if DC did not flop so badly.

As it is now, the game would have really needed another stage. Perhaps better music and a better final fight. However, the most it needs is actually just a tightening of the game's core mechanics and objectives. For example, pressing the shoulder buttons to change forms would have been much better than having to enter the menu every time. Also, as I stated before, the game becomes ridiculously easy at the end. Yet, getting the best ending and the real final fight is nigh impossible.

To explain, you need to find all items before facing the final boss. Which is mostly easy by exploring the game-world. However, one health expansion can only be earned by completing an obtusely hard mini-game. In my opinion, mastering that game enough to get the health expansion would be more difficult than finishing the entire game without getting hit once. Worse still, its not a bloody fun game.

Bloody Stupid Mini-Game: -10000 (-2 if you don't care about getting the "best ending")

In Conclusion:

If there is one game I would like to see a sequel for, not just because I liked it but also because I want to see it fulfill its promise, that game would be DC. While I will never reach the game's true ending, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the game is.

With very few games having flying protagonists, it was cool reigning terror on my enemies as Fireband. Too bad not many people experienced that feeling in the game's initial run.

Final: 40/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- First time fighting a boss, don't use potions.
2- Press start in the World Map to know where the levels are.
3- Don't bother with any potions other than Ginsing.
4- Don't waste money on spells..
5- If you must use spells, the only one that does anything is Death.
6- Don't try to beat that stupid mini-game, your time is worth much more.

"Next Game"

If you ever felt like you wanted to be part of the great evolutionary chain of some animal, then this game is for you. At #42, EVO: Search for Eden, is game that gives you the freedom of evolving a fish into something other than a fish, sparking hundreds of combinations that you can try.

Hopefully the game is as fun as the concept.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List
Photo Photo Photo








For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.

After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:

http://www.ign.com/top/snes-games

I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."

We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.


Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

48-Zombies Ate my Neighbors:

Year: 1993.
Genre: Run and Gun.
Publisher: Konami.
Developer: Lucas Arts.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

It is no wonder that with such a box art, this game did not sell well. Not many game box arts represented the games themselves. That this terrible art actually manages to express the game thoroughly well is perhaps the secret behind both its commercial failure and its enduring cult statues.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (ZAMN) manages to be a representative of all the experimental and downright weird games of the SNES era, and era where major powerhouses like Konami were OK taking risks. In some sense, ZAMN is a hilarious reflection of Horror B-Movie culture. In another, it is a prophetic satire of the current fixation of popular culture with zombies.

Unfortunately, while the game is revolutionary in its concept, it is not revolutionary in its execution.

"Save the Neighbors"

In each and every level in the game, the objective is to simply run around saving (collecting) the neighbors from the nightmarish creatures prancing around. Of course, these B-Mobie rejects will try hard to foil your well meaning effort. However, few if any of the game's normal enemies are threatening enough, not until middle of the game that the game becomes any challenge. From the top down preview ala Zelda, it becomes easy to navigate and look around for your objective, especially with a handy radar you could switch on.

Since every-level has the same basic objective, each of the supposed 55 levels are completed the same way. With the last neighbor you save, a handy exit pops up. Unfortunately, with the same basic objective in every level, and with little variety in the levels themselves, I found the game to get boring midway.

While each level is a different labyrinth, both the level design and neighbor placements (which are always the same) are quite underwhelming. Some levels inspired by ancient temples are examples of solid level design, but most other levels feel like a random take on a previous level put in to inflate the game's length.

It would of course be forgivable to repeat similar looking levels if there were gameplay nuances to each one. Yet, here is another area where ZAMN fall flat. Despite having a large number of items and weapons, as well as a decent variety of enemies, the gameplay in ZAMN basically asks you to run around and look for your neighbors as fast as you can.

Some challenge can be found in trying to win the game using the first 3 lives in what is basically a survival run. It asks the player to manage their resources well in order to conserve them for the harder stages. However, it is boredom that is most likely to be survived than the game itself.

Repetitive Levels: -4
Underwhelming Gameplay: -4
Potential for Survival Runs: +2

"Nightmare in Terror Street"

Puns like the latter on popular horror B-Movies is just a semblance of ZAMN's style. On closer analysis, it is one reason why the game gained such a cult following. Playing against enemies resembling Jason and Freddie all the while saving Cheerleaders and Toddlers have its own psychedelic charm.

Speaking of toddlers, one of the "boss" enemies in the game is a gigantic baby that squirts milk at you from his baby bottle. I cannot say I have had such conflicting feelings while playing against a boss as I did against big diaper boy here.

The graphical style of the game, which looks to be inspired by early 90's cartoons, homes in the satirical style of the game. With well detailed sprites and inspired design of American suburbia, the game does feel like a B-Movie parody. Yet, knowing how bad B-Movies are, it might be a straight adaptation of one as well.

B-Movie Homage Style:+3
Giant Baby Boss: +2



"Forty Feet of Terror In"

Assisting you with you thankless job against the B-Movie rejects is the multitude of supplies you could use against them. These are divided into weapons and items. While most Items are the usual fair of health items and decoy bombs usually found in Horde games, some items are unique and sometimes surprising. For instance, a rare potion transforms you into a Hulk-like beast for some time, however another potion (with a ? sign) might do anything from transforming you to said monster, to leaving you with one health bar. These items are scattered around in decent amounts, but a survival run would require care in their use.

Weapons are even more numerous than items. Ranging from your water machine gun, to Bazookas and Soda grenades. While the number of different weapons might suggest variety, the fact is that only four of them are of any use.

First, a large number of weapons actually behave similarly, and their damage output is pathetic considering the lag they induce when used. For instance, I could not find any difference between the Snow Cone, Football, and Cherry Bomb weapons. I rarely ever used them though, since they were outclassed by the simple Water Gun.

Second, the blast radius of the Soda Grenade makes it useless. Coupled with the difficulty in landing diagonal attacks, using it is more a hindrance than a help.

Third, since the game uses a scrolling inventory system, the useless weapons clog your selcetion making it difficult for you to quickly pick out your desired weapon.

In fact, I suggest anyone playing should only pick up Fire Hydrant, Bazookas, Lawn Blades, and the ever useful water gun.

Item Variety: +2
Weapon Variety is a Sham: -2

"Zombie Homecoming Dance in the Graveyard"

One area where the game consistently delivers is in its soundtrack. With tones inspired by shows such as the Adams Family and Scooby Doo, ZAMN manages to be aurally pleasant and atmospheric. Of course, the atmosphere is one of cartoonish horror and mysterious undertones.

While the soundtrack is not as large as it could have been, it manages to have no weak tracks, even if it doesn't have outstanding ones as well. Better still, the sound effects complement the music. Hearing the creepy moans of the Zombie hoard adds another layer to the creepy music of the neighborhood stages. The start up of Chainsaws add a frantic element to a calmer tune. All together, both sound departments did their job thoroughly well.

Music and Sound Design: +5

In Conclusion:

There are hardly more unique games than ZAMN, which explains its statues as a cult classic. However, most of this reputation is based on the special aesthetics of the game rather than its gameplay. While not mechanically deficient or broken, it does not inspire more than mild amusement. A fact that I wanted the game to end by the 25th level.

If the player is looking for a unique SNES experience, then it will be found here. However, it is not going to be a deep one except if Survival Runs, and I would hazard to guess that it won't be a fulfilling one for most. Even though, the prospect of facing off against a giant baby might be too tempting for some to pass by.

Final: 29/50

*****************************************************************

"Tips"
1- Use only the Weapons I suggested.
2- Conserve your Health packs till you get one hit left.
3- Conserve your keys.
4- Sometimes, you need to defeat "boss" enemies to get special keys.
5- Bazookas can be used to shred hedges and break some walls.
6- Lawn Blades are the only weapons capable of killing ground fungus.

"Next Game"

Many players who braved the famed Ghosts 'n Ghouls (Goblins) series probably recognize the Red Gargoyle enemy as the most obnoxious of them all. Apparently Capcom thought he was too obnoxious not to have a series of his own. The Red Ace manages to best his enemy in IGN's list by placing #44 in his game "Demon Crest".

Here is hoping it holds up to its parent series.

Stay Tuned

For Previous SNES game Reviews:

The List
Photo Photo