The Master System was the only serious challenge to Nintendo’s dominance from the mid ‘80s onwards. Due to Nintendo neglecting Europe/UK and Australasia (PAL regions, my friends) the Master System was able to defeat or at least achieve parity with the all-conquering NES. However, in North America and Japan, children would be beaten up and left for dead if they were found to have a Master System.
I owned neither an NES or Master System (now unfortunately abbreviated to SMS), but I did borrow a Master System in the early nineties. I think the friend who lent it to me even offered it, since he had the superior Mega Drive. Even though this console was obsolete by five or six years, I was very excited to try it out.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World was of course included, since this game comes built in to the console. It was an enjoyable game, as was Shinobi, although both I found to be very difficult. I’m sure there were other games that I borrowed, but the most important game that I played was Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap.
Wonder Boy III is a side scrolling, open world, role playing adventure game. You control Wonder Boy through his adventure by killing monsters, collecting money and upgrading your gear, the usual RPG tropes. The twist in this game begins with the prologue. Wonder Boy easily defeats the game’s first boss, Mecha Dragon, but Wonder Boy is cursed and transforms into a lizard! The journey to become human (or Hu-Man heh) again is on a grand scale, especially considering the limits of the Master System.
Each dragon that is defeated (at the end of a castle or other grand structure) allows you to change into a new form. Lizard, Mouse, Piranha, Lion and Bird. All with different abilities, they allow (or block) progress to certain parts of the world. After changing form, you can go back and change your form at will, allowing a return to otherwise restricted areas.
In scope, the game seems small and quaint but is actually a large world that will take completionist first time players around ten to fifteen hours to complete.
The colours, controls and sounds of this game all combine to create a wonderful experience. In my opinion this is the apex of the 8-bit era. Although it was greatly appreciated at the time, I feel that Wonder Boy III is underappreciated by most retro gamer enthusiasts.
If I ever try to do an all time top ten, this one gets in there. Somewhere below Total Annihilation, but above Dead Space.
Play this classic 😀
In a week that’s had me talking about Eye of the Beholder and an Eye of the Beholder tribute band (Legend of Grimrock), it isn’t surprising a third thing has come up to make a real EOB week. Soon to be arriving at my house are this wonderful duo!
As you can see, they both come not only with their respective rulebooks and boxes, but also their ‘Clue Books’.
Clue books, for all you youngsters out there, is the ye olde and polite name for a walk-through, in the days before you’d freely admit to having the game ruined for you.
I think older games needed these much more than modern titles. Objective compass? Map? Hahahaha.
The main reason I spent the money was for the two boxes, the box art is by prolific D&D artist Jeff Easley, a man responsible for more 80s fantasy art than just about anyone. These two covers represent just about the best pieces of his work.
I’ve thought for a long time that the best artwork looks even better on a game cover. I like art, and love video games so it makes sense. When it comes to collective video games (or anything) you’ve got to be at least a little covetous, petty and a desperately trying to return to the ‘good old days’
I’m brought one step closer with this find.
This is a game that I have dreamed of since I was a small boy. Sure there have been plenty of Transformers games, but this is the first to let you take control of everyone’s favorite challenge loving, mechanical T-Rex: Grimlock!
Far from the most cerebral of the Autobots, Grimlock offered little in way of sage counsel or strategic depth. His strength lies in… his strength! One of the strongest transformers, Grimlock’s raw power is matched only by his fearlessness. He gladly took the command from Optimus Prime to “Destroy Devastator”. It was a mission that Grimlock and his dinobot crew were only partially successful. I will be very happy tearing through crappy un-named decepticons for hours with this game. I’d imagine it’s in the style of God of War and…
After being brought to my senses by several sharp blows, I realised my error. The game I was so excited about isn’t called Legend of Grimlock, but Legend of GrimROCK. Ughhhh how contrived and time-wasting could my mistake get! Good Lord.
The Legend of Grimrock is being made by Almost Human, a small Finnish developer. I am guessing that they’re being Finnish means the game will be hewn from frozen rocks, deep under some glacier. Not much else to do there except prepare for the next Soviet invasion.
From the first few glimpses at it, I’m very excited. It is a first person grid movement based RPG, set in a dungeon. You control four characters. Oh It is sounding very familiar. It has been many years since I’ve noticed a real dungeon crawler that wasn’t a mod for something else.
Very similar to Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master, it uses block movement so you’re moving in 2 meter increments. What sets it apart from these older games (at least in the small part I have seen) is being able to look up and down in a limited sense. No doubt this will make some of the puzzles a little more engaging for the 2011 audience, EOB and Dungeon Master were definitely limited by their perspective, since the secret door buttons were always in one of two places.
Not sure if there is any character generation as yet, but you do pick from a pool of pre-made dudes so this should give those min-maxers of you out there some leeway to make a power party.
I’ll keep track of this game’s development, for those of you interested in hearing what I have to say. Remember use the numpad to move, not the mouse. Mouse use results in getting lost very quickly.
Also, did you know Grimlock could breathe fire? Fascinating.