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Friday, 27 March 2009

Landstalker (Sega Megadrive)

This is yesterday's entry... but believe it or not, I was digging up the front garden and planting trees for a lot of yesterday, and before I could write this up, I was asleep on the couch. That couch and I have a very close relationship. So here we are, a bit late.

Technically, I shouldn't be playing this here. I played it a reasonable amount when it was released, so it's not exactly new to me. But I've got the unofficial sequel, Dark Savior, sitting upstairs for my Saturn, and as I've got unfinished business with this game (my brother swapped it for a SNES before I could really get far into it), I thought this would be an opportune moment to have another crack at it and see if it's as good as I remember.

Two words: It is.

If you want a simple, potted description of this game, I would say it's like Wonder Boy in Monster Land, given the Ultimate isometric 3D look. Which means that it's off to a flyer. Landstalker is an epic game, full of questing and fighting and talking. Lots and lots of talking. And you can't speed it up, either. Aaarrgh!

Still, not to worry. The conversations are often quite entertaining and occasionally humourous. And you'll probably need to follow them for clues as to what to do next.

One of the appealing things about Landstalker is that you can avoid a lot of the generic monsters that roam the landscape, if you want. One of the things that irks me about modern RPGs is the way you are forced to fight low-level minions. I don't know why that bothers me now... it never used to when I played The Bard's Tale all those years ago. Anyway, the point is that, with this being more of an action-platformer, you can see where everything is in the landscape, which means that you can just walk right by a lot of the critters. But if you choose to kill them, you'll probably pick up a bit of gold or health for your troubles. Depends how much of a hurry you're in to get on with the game as to how you choose to play it.

Landstalker is an epic game, but it's simple enough that you can play it at a fairly sedate pace and not have to tax your brain too much. You only really need buttons to jump and use your sword... strategy is not a large part of this game. The Wonder Boy in Monster Land in "3D" comparison is, I think, hitting the nail right on the head. I have a feeling that might appeal to quite a few people. If it does, you can get it on the Wii for 800 points. Good value, that.

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