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Old 01-18-2003, 12:26 PM   #21
Deal with it.
Icarus4578's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
And now presenting my first review of an import title that never got the worldwide release it so deserved...

Monster World IV - Mega Drive - Rating 8
I must say, having enjoyed previous installments of Monster World, this one is the best by far (3 was great, but way too easy). If you don't know the MW series that's ok; just another thing that's Sega of America's fault. Well sorta. I'm actually disappointed in a lot of Genesis owners for not reacting strongly enough to Sega's decision at the time to not bring us the quality gaming that is this masterpiece.
Anyway, this is perhaps the most highly polished action/adventure game for the Genesis/Mega Drive. Everything is crystal clear, colorful and animated wonderfully. Think of Zelda - A Link to the Past's colorful, vibrant world making a transition to side-scroller, put in a female protagonist named Asha and her sidekick pet Papalog, and make the characters and enemies bigger, glossier and more anime-ish in look. Put this all together and add one of the coolest quests ever to grace any console and viola! You'd have Monster World IV!
First things first, if you don't understand Japanese you're going to be playing a guessing game most of the time. Though for the most part it's rather easy to figure out what you need to do, sometimes it's just a pain, especially once you reach the Ice Pyramids. If you're desperate there should be some walkthroughs on-line that you can use to help.
The game looks absolutely beautiful, like it should've been on SNES (no, I'm not exaggerating; this game looks beautiful, with some of the very best use of color ever in a game). Everything alive has animation to it, and most of it is nice and smooth. As a result, the control is excellent and there's just so much Asha and her pet can do, it's almost staggering. You must learn how to coexist with Papalog because the key to solving many of the game's puzzles and avoiding punishment is a direct result of how well you cooperate. Fighting plays an important role as well. As with all action/adventure games you will get better weapons, shields and armors as you progress and the usual healing herbs and potions. Like Zelda you're give hearts for life and every time you collect 10 of these shiny blue things (no, I don't know the name so don't get all over my case) you gain another heart in your life meter.
The enemies and bosses are all very well done, especially the bosses, and almost all have a unique manner in which they attack. Some bosses are very cool, like the big red blob near the end of the game that sticks its tongue out at you while smaller, yellow electrically-charged blobs keep jumping out after you. I like stuff like that.
The puzzles can be very difficult later on and some are frusturating. To me though, it was more difficult dealing with all the booby-traps and enemies. After all, they're what kill you. ;) Especially near the end, when you no longer have the convenience of Papalog around and you're on your own. That level, by the way, is more like Super Mario than anything else (complete with coins floating around in the all too familiar Mario-esque patterns) and is perhaps the most aggravating stage, though I was very impressed with the ride to Aegis Island on the magic carpet (very cool). What was sad was how they tried to create a zoom effect on Genesis as you're entering Aegis, which isn't built to do it as you'll see if you play through it. It just doesn't work. At least they tried...
The music is very good and melds with the game's visual appeal pretty well. Some is enjoyable, some is just there. The sounds are good also. It's nothing amazing though.
The most similar game to this that I've played is Popful Mail on Sega CD which was released in the US by Working Designs and has perhaps the best voice acting and writing of any game I've ever played. HIGHLY recommended, so if you don't want to go through the effort to play a great game like MWIV you can't go wrong with Popful Mail. They're very similar.
Just so you know, if you don't know Japanese, there's a VERY difficult part in the game (at the Ice Pyramid) which requires you to place statues you find in a particular order. Not only that, you have to do this 3 TIMES. Because I rock so hard I've decided to tell you all 3 put the statues into the slots in this order~
Ice Temple #1 Turtle - Dog - Owl - Bird - Angel
Ice Temple #2 Bird - Angel - Owl - Dog - Turtle
Ice Temple #3 Owl - Angel - Turtle - Bird - Dog
Before you can even enter Ice Temple #3 the statue at the door throws questions at you in Japanese at random and you have to respond with a "yes" or a "no" to each question. If you make a mistake, it tries to drop you onto a pile of spiked ice (which can be avoided simply by holding a direction right as you're falling and then you have to exit the screen, come back, and try again) and this part I can't really help with. But I can say that whenever you get a question with a 3 in the dialogue select "no" but that's about all the help I can be. Good luck and happy memorizing.
Definitely worth the invested time because it is so damn fun and challenging to play that it becomes an addiction, just like all of the greatest games out there. My only gripe is that SMB-esque stage because it's trial and error.
Oh, and I'll put this here so you can check out the game and see how cool it looks for yourself.
I'll finish simply by saying it looks as good as it plays.

Walkthrough ~

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-22-2004 at 08:39 AM.
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