(Classic Case is a column where I take a classic game, and tell you why it's worth your time.)
Ah, Herc's Adventures. I happened upon this game by complete accident. I had just received my Sega Saturn for Christmas and was at the local Blockbuster looking for a game to fire up on my shiny Saturn. Like every kid with only a couple of bucks in my hand, I had to find something I wouldn't beat in a couple of hours and was still fun. I found Herc's Adventures and amused with the artwork and 2-D animation, I rented it, hoping I didn't get a turd.
Well a turd Herc's Adventures isn't. The game was created by Lucasarts, who back in the 90s, couldn't make a bad game. The company literally ate silver and crapped gold. Sam and Max, Full Throttle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. All great games that define any gamer's early education.
Herc's Adventures stars three heroes from Greek mythology. Hercules, who is strong but limited to short range attacks, Jason, who wields a slingshot for ranged attacks and a dagger for close scrapping, and Atlanta, a heroine who specializes in ranged attacks. You could chose any hero to suit your liking, or go co-op with a friend. The game plays like a cross between The Legend of Zelda and Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Like Zelda, you have to gain certain items to access new dungeons and bosses, while the top down view keeps you in an action rpg mode. The combat is frequent, with tons of weapons and items littering the landscape which you can use to dispatch your enemies.
The animation is top notch, feeling like your playing a really funny cartoon. Speaking of the humor, the game has a very goofy sense of humor, with the gods popping in ever so often to chastise you our throw ironic statements your way. Even the final boss is hilarious, being revealed to be a giant robot being manipulated by martians.
Death had a humorous approach as well. When you died, you were sent to Hades, and had to fight your way to the top. If you died again, you were sent further down.
One of the only gripes with the game is the huge overworld and no direction. The game marks on your map where you need to be next, but never how to get there or what item you may need. The map can be deceiving as well, no showing if a mountain may be in your way or not. It's a tiny one though, and some people may prefer this method of exploration, just like the original Zelda.
Herc's Adventures was a missing gem in the sea of Saturn and Playstation titles. If you have either system, I recommend you track it down and give it a whirl. It's good way to laugh and scratch your head on a challenging and fun game.