Case Study in Fading Magic – Nintendo Entertainment System – Hydlide – 1989

Hydlide1Hydlide
Nintendo Entertainment System
T&E Soft Incorporated/FCI
Genre: Action RPG
1989

Tracing any genre back to its roots is difficult, though you can usually find a batch of games that are clear frontrunners in innovation.  Mechanically speaking, there are a lot of games that owe their predecessors for concepts that were not quite perfect when they appeared but have since been worked to impressive precision.  For better or worse, Hydlide was one of those frontrunners.

Originally released in 1984 for computers in Japan, the game worked to present a fantasy role-playing game like no other, though it was joined by Falcom’s Dragon Slayer series at about the same time.  Both are action RPGs and while Dragon Slayer still comes up pretty frequently in my studies on video games and history, I’d only heard of Hydlide in passing once or twice before I found a complete-in-box version at my local gaming store.

There had to be some reason that I had heard so much about one series and not the other, I figured.  Looking into FCI, the publisher, I noticed that they had some hand in helping the Ultima and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games make it over this way, and I’ve enjoyed what I played of those.

Let me recount my journey for you, then, of how I felt about Hydlide on its own merits, historically and playing through it in the year 2018.

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Lost in Time and Space – Super Nintendo – Secret of Evermore – 1995

secret-of-evermore016

Secret of Evermore
1995
Squaresoft
Genre: Action Role-Playing

Some games run into an issue that comes down to an association of success. Sometimes, this comes down to association by a company’s prior success. It can be chalked up to similar games coming out at the same time, as well. Even similarities in the name can bring about comparisons that can help or hinder a game’s impressions.

Secret of Evermore pretty much succumbs to a triumvirate of these things.

Coming out in Squaresoft’s prime years, Secret of Evermore had a lot to live up to. With game’s surrounding its release like Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana, the game already had a reputation to upkeep for the flourishing developer. Given its proximity to Mana‘s release, as well, many players believed this game to be a sequel or somehow related. Since the Super Nintendo had some great action RPGs coming out already, the competition was even more fierce. Thankfully, it seems that the game received some stellar reviews in most areas at the time- but how has that held up alongside the other games that have become classics over time?

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Do A Little Dance – Game Boy Color – Shantae – 2002

Shantae (USA)_01

Shantae

Game Boy Color

WayForward Technologies

© 2002

Genre: Action RPG Platformer

 

When I look back on games that I’ve played throughout the years, one thing that is sorely lacking, oftentimes, is a female protagonist (something which actually made my younger sister considerably less interested in videogames, I discovered recently).  Hearing this, I decided to set out to find a good game with a female protagonist, preferably one I hadn’t played through, to review.  This cut out two retro games that had immediately come to mind, the original Phantasy Star, and the Metroid series.  I’d played through Tomb Raider, which was my next thought.  At the suggestion of The3rdPlayer, I decided to check out Shantae – an Arabian Nights themed platformer, involving a Bedlah babe half-genie who goes around whipping badguys with her hair. Continue reading