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Off-Brand Games: The Krion Conquest - Destructoid




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I am an unoriginal hack. What are you doing? Stop reading my slop! Don't you have any scruples?

I write a series of articles critiquing rip-offs of popular video games that is itself a rip-off of similar online works. Some would call that meta, but I would call it cheap and lazy. This whole mess started when I wanted to do my own version of "Games Time Forgot," but there are already about fifty bazillion clowns out there with startup blogs and YouTube accounts trying to increase the size of their e-peen by blathering on about obscure games that they only discovered on Wikipedia the week prior. Who needs another one of those?

Look at this shit! Look at my feeble attempts at conveying anger and frustration through coarse language and childish ranting. Who do I think I am? The Angry Video Game Nerd? What kind of delusional dillhole must I be to believe that? He's an Internet pioneer who became an overnight success by smashing the retro goggles of thousands of gaming geeks. He is consistently clever and funny, his Jersey accent only adding to his character's charm. I am just Tony the Schmuck, a whitewashed Puerto Rican kid who speaks no Spanish and can't even roll his 'R's. The only way I can thrive is off the backs of others!

It's thanks to your indifference towards basic standards of integrity that I can get away with such repulsive shenanigans. God have mercy on you should one day someone make the mistake of paying me for my services. You'll really be in deep doo-doo then.

Since no one is willing to stop me, I'm gonna talk about The Krion Conquest.



OFFENDER: The Krion Conquest
DEVELOPED BY: Vic Tokai
RELEASED ON: NES, 1991
TASTES LIKE: Mega Man

Vic Tokai is a company that knows a thing or two about capitalizing on what the kiddies are playing at a given time. It is chiefly a telecommunications company that couldn't help itself from trying its hand at game development once the Famicom came to town. Maybe it should have shown some restraint.

The Krion Conquest is the company's answer to that Man of Rock dude that shoots the things at the things and makes 'em dead. According to the game's intro, the Krion Empire descended upon the Earth in 1999. Conventional weaponry had no effect on the empire's robot forces and soon the entire planet was subjugated. However, the robots do in fact have a single weakness: MAGIC! It is for that reason that you, the witch Francesca, have been summoned to send those mechanical miscreants back to the depths of space! It's a shame that Lavos is scheduled to raze the planet any day now, but you gotta pick your battles.

Where did Francesca come from? Who is that mysterious stranger in the opening who broke Francesca's seal? Who is the leader of the Krions? Apart from the prologue text, there is no elaboration on anything whatsoever in-game or in the manual. It would be great to have a little context in a game about a witch battling the Robot Revolution. From what I hear, there are extra cutscenes in the Japanese version. Why the think tanks at Vic Tokai would remove crucial story bits during localization is the biggest mystery of all. Maybe they thought American children don't use their imaginations enough.



HOW SHAMELESS IS IT?

Did you read my overview of Power Blazer? You know how I said that game borrowed too many ideas from Mega Man? I've changed my mind. Power Blazer is not a Mega Man clone anymore. As long as The Krion Conquest exists on the same plane of reality, I cannot in good conscience criticize Power Blazer for its shortcomings.

This game is disgusting. I feel like punching a third-degree burn victim. What is this? I don't even. It's just... I can't... bleh. Blagablaga blah! Pfffffffffffffft! Wuguwuguwugu! Gaaaaaaah!

I... I... *sigh*... I'll break it down for ya. The main character Francesca is quite literally a sprite edit of Mega Man. The big googly eyes, the wide stride of their run animations, the way they lean forward to fire a shot, all of it is the same. They both have a charge shot. They both have the same health bar in the upper-left corner of the screen. Jesus Christ, they both die in an explosive pattern of pulsating lights! Francesca is Mega Man with a magic cane and cleavage!



You are greeted to new levels with flashing text warning you to "get ready." Oh, I'm ready alright. Ready to stuff my balls into a food processor! There really is no other way to describe the sensation of déjà vu in this game other than genital mutilation. It's like the Bizarro World of the Mega Man universe. I don't need to tell you that the enemies are cheap facsimiles of Dr. Wily's mechanical lackeys. I don't need to tell you that the bosses are revived jalopies from the rejected Robot Master scrap heap. Just look at the videos and images on this page and you'll know. You'll know.

Let me reiterate my stance on video game clones. If a game is fun and cohesive then it could be a game about old ladies blowing chimpanzees and I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest. But when a game cribs from a proven template and can't even get the simple things right, I'm gonna be pretty peeved. As such, it's the deviations from the Mega Man formula that really drive me batshit Looney Tunes.

You don't choose in which order you tackle levels. Instead, the game is a linear run through five stages of increasing blandness. It's hard to distinguish exactly what type of environments you are in because the same generic tile patterns are used for everything. Backgrounds are unexciting patchworks of cold steel plating and level design is the epitome of minimal work ethic. The worlds couldn't look more boring if they tried.

Unlike Mega Man, stages are broken up into three subsections and a boss room. There is no sign or landmark to mark the end of a section. You just jump into a hole and poof! Area complete! Death at any time will send you back to the beginning of that particular section. For some "particular" (read: "bullshit") reason, death during a boss battle will send you back to the beginning of the third section rather than to the start the battle. Your health doesn't refill between sections, so you are doubly screwed when you confront a boss with a single hit point left. And what's with the Wily logo rip-off in the boss chambers? Why is it the letter 'A' instead of 'K'? Does the name of the enemy leader begin with an 'A'? Explanations, people!



This game doesn't fuck around. There are no continues. If you exhaust your lives, it's back to the title screen. There is no password. Health pumpkins and 1-ups drop at a pathetically low rate. You muck up, your unborn grandchildren will feel it. Who I wouldn't kill for an E Tank system. You couldn't have copied that little feature, could you Victor? Can I call you, Victor? You're a jerk, Victor.

Francesca's skill set expands upon Mega Man's, but for every new trick in her bag, like ducking or shooting straight up, there is a wonderful new quirk along for the ride! Mega Man has three Mega Buster levels, a standard shot, a fully charged shot, and a medium-strength shot that is fired when you release the 'B' button before the charge is maxed out. In Francesca's case, instead of an intermediary shot she has nothing. If you release the button before the charge bar at the bottom of the screen gives the go-ahead, your charge drops back to zero and that's it. If you play Mega Man like I do then you like to keep your finger on that 'B' button at all times. In The Krion Conquest, if you are building up a charge when a helicopter fucker dive bombs you, your instinct will be to unload on his ass. If you aren't fully charged... ha ha, here's an eyeful of dick.

In a game where tight platforming jumps are required, it's crucial to be ably to defend yourself in mid-air. Better check your expectations at the door because The Krion Conquest is dancing to its own rhythm! In Mega Man, you can fire your weapon at any time during a jump. You can shoot during your ascent, at the apex, or during the fall. In The Krion Conquest, if you fire during the ascent, your jump arc abruptly ends and you plummet back to the ground. To put it another way, if you were to press the 'A' and 'B' buttons at the same time, you'd shoot but remain planted to the floor. Should you be jumping over a bed of spikes and a baddie zooms in from off-screen, impalement will be in your future whether you shoot the guy or not. Victor must have taxed the NES hardware so much for the game to be unable to recognize two inputs at once.



The last acquisition from Mega Man is a pause menu where you can choose an appropriate weapon from a list and thereby change the color of your outfit. Classy, Victor. There are only five weapons total but they are all available from the start and don't require ammo. You have fire magic that transforms you into a screen-clearing phoenix but drains a sizeable portion of your health, freeze magic with a predictable function, ball magic that launches a projectile that ricochets around the room, and shield magic that produces a stationary ethereal wall to protect against frontal attacks. Aside from the ball, all are about as useful as the Top Spin.

The final magic is your flying broomstick, the game's answer to the Rush Jet. Since it requires no ammo, the broom gets put to good use from the moment the game begins. While the Rush Jet is controlled by D-pad input, the broom's flight path is controlled by the direction in which Francesca fires her cane. That means you can only move from side to side and straight up. Want to dive to avoid an incoming attack? Not happening. Thinking of jumping over an attack that you can't dive under? The broom vanishes instantly if your feet disconnect from its handle. Comforting, isn't it? So glad that I get to use it all the time.



How could this game be so bad? It had everything it needed to succeed! All Victor had to do was copy a successful game and change a few art assets. The work was done for you, Victor! You had to literally think, "How can I make this game extra shitty?" That's the only way you could have let things get this out of hand. Can I even call it laziness? It requires hard work to produce something this terrible.

Or maybe it is laziness. Laziness distilled to its purest essence. Laziness that is so beautifully repulsive that the only way to fathom its existence is to believe that it was planned down to the last detail. How else could you explain the game's "thrilling" climax as seen below?



Yeah, I'm fucking done here.

THE PROFESSOR CHAOS SCALE OF "SIMPSONS DID IT":
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