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Old 06-16-2005, 08:42 AM   #1336
Icarus4578
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Actually, I've been playing Light Crusader for Genesis and want to review that before I do one of the wrestling games. If I beat it by tonight, I'll review it tomorrow. It's such a great game!

Update ~ Didn't beat it. I made it to the final area (B5) and will complete it today.
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Old 06-18-2005, 10:40 AM   #1337
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Light Crusader - Genesis - Rating 8
"This riddle, so far, was now unriddled." ~ from The Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allen Poe

The Sega Genesis is truly one of my favorite game consoles. There's something about Genesis software that's remarkably dissimilar from any other systems' softs. One of the inescapable truths is that the hardware was, for its time, brilliant. A mini-arcade machine, if you will. That was the feeling I got from it, intentionally on Sega's part. Then again, could not most any Sega console be considered a glorified psuedo-arcade machine? Just think about how the Genesis found its legs--arcade ports--and the pieces fall into place. The arcade ports were akin to owning miniature versions of arcade machines, hence its initial allure.

What does the above have to do with this review? I'll explain. In 1995, Treasure/Sega released an action/adventure game that went by the name of Light Crusader. You'd expect a lot of trademark Treasure designs and such, and you'd be right: there's ample usage of polygons, multi-jointed creatures and the like. However, what seperates LC from the other software released later in the Genesis' lifecycle is this strange, overwhelming feeling that you're playing something much older, something which harkens back to the early days of the system. From the old-school visuals and soundtrack to the old-fashioned gameplay and structure, LC feels like it preceded Climax's Genesis magnum opus Landstalker ....and yet it came out afterwards. How's that? Both games are 16-MEGS, if I'm not mistaken, but Landstalker seems like a much more recent title. Hmmm.

With that said, let's dive right in. LC is worth the investment, especially for those of us who love Zelda-inspired adventures. A cheap rip-off, this is not, and nor is it a Landstalker wannabe. What LC is is a no-nonsense, straight up quest delivered to you in classic presentation. You, as Sir David, are sent by King Frederick to meet his brother, King Weeden, at Green Row. The problem presents itself from there -- you fast learn that many of the villagers have been inexplicably disappearing without a trace. So you learn by speaking with the townsfolk that there have been some shadowy people that have been spotted lurking about the cemetary at night. A touch of macabre; how fitting.
Upon entry into Green Row village, you are greeted with that 'oh-how-1990's-evocative' music that is pleasant on the ears and nicely composed. Everything is presented from an isometric view, featuring tall characters and dim-hued locations rich in detail but with a faintly unpleasant air about them. Bright and cheery, this is not. So you set about exploring the vicinity until you uncover the hidden passageway into the underground labyrinths, and it is there that the game truly begins.

The labyrinths are layered in floors, called basements, and, much like in Shining the Holy Ark, the entire labyrinth is one huge location; it isn't like in Zelda or Landstalker where there are various dungeons interspersed throughout the land. No matter how well prepared, well experienced you may be, there will be many challenges and riddles which you will have difficulty solving. Some areas lend themselves to the more traditional fanfare (e.g. killing all enemies in order to open a door) whereas others are much more unconventional, presenting strange contraptions and layouts, and there are plenty of ideas which might make you think that even Nintendo liberally borrowed some of them for future Zelda installments (e.g. podiums with laser rays which need to be moved/turned in order to make the ray make contact with something). Thankfully, Treasure never loses sight of presentation as everything is awash with admirable craftsmanship and minute detail. As well, combat plays a large role. You can expect to face slimes, trolls, zombies (love the way they melt when defeated :cool guy: ), and dragon bosses. Speaking of bosses, nothing says Treasure like boss fights. Although somewhat humble in comparison to something like, say, Gunstar Heroes, these boss fights are certainly events in and of themselves. A huge spider, a massive scorpion, things which defy description. And there's quite a few of them, too.

You create a map as you transverse the labyrinths which can be viewed in the options menu. You also keep an inventory of items, equipment and magic. Equipment works much like in Ys titles in that everything is spread across the menu horizontally, progressing from weakest to strongest. Magic spells can be equipped and even combined (there's that Gunstar influence shining through). Interestingly, you can turn on/off auto item usage for your healing properties. There's a bit more to it but I'll leave it at that.
Although there are just six levels to the labyrinth, it is rather massive and should take you a good five or so hours to fully complete. Granted, that doesn't sound like a long time but that's still five of the best hours I've spent playing an adventure game.

Any gripes? A few. For one thing, I don't like how the shops are set up. You are to touch the item you're interested in purchasing but it's easy to get caught by a dialogue box while trying to move to a different item. The hit detection on your sword is also a tad confusing at times, though this eventually grows on you. And the difficulty level is uneven in that some of the earlier bosses are more harrowing challenges than some of the later ones.

If you're looking for a great classic soundtrack then look no further. Light Crusader boasts some fine tunes which fit in perfectly with the phantasmagoric game designs. Upon first entring B1 of the labyrinth, I felt almost as if I were embarking on a religious experience. And wherever the music sounds kinda stale, it still seems to flawlessly replicate the atmosphere to a T. The sound quality is that of an early Genesis title, intentionally no doubt on the part of Treasure, and I don't mind that one bit. The sound effects are decent and there's even voice acting such as when you're about to die, "It's gonna kill you!", to when there's a room full of enemies which must be destroyed in order to open a door, "Beat them all!"

I've said pretty much all that needs to be said. You owe it to yourself to live the adventure that is Light Crusader and experience a true original which will probably never get the sequel it so rightly deserves, unfortunately. What can you do?

Here are a couple of screenshots ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/pics4/light.html
And here's a selection of Treasure software ~ http://www.the-nextlevel.com/feature...re/games.shtml
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Old 06-19-2005, 02:40 AM   #1338
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Light Crusader was awesome. It's magic system is still one of my favorite things in a game.
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Old 06-19-2005, 07:59 AM   #1339
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Yes, that's one of those things you've gotta love about Treasure: no matter how unconventional an idea may seem for a particular genre, they can find a way to implement it well. Did you know that LC was originally called Relayer while still in development? Both are cool names but Light Crusader is more fitting, IMO.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: Oh man, I can't believe it. I promised Vicviper that I'd review Milon's Secret Castle and I didn't get around to it. Sorry about that. I simply forgot about it. Since I keep my promises, I'll review Milon tomorrow for you. The N64 wrestling game of my choosing will follow shortly thereafter.
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Old 06-19-2005, 11:04 AM   #1340
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And then E.V.O!
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Old 06-19-2005, 03:11 PM   #1341
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Bloody hell. That dragon is CHEAP! What do you do to beat him?
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Old 06-20-2005, 01:57 AM   #1342
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Thanks Icarus. I knew you were a man of integrity. I look forward to reading your review and in the mean time playing some Milon.
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:45 AM   #1343
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Originally Posted by Xander
And then E.V.O!
evo was a pain in the butt to beat. dang last boss is cheap.
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Old 06-20-2005, 08:22 AM   #1344
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Xander ~ "And then E.V.O!"

Right on.

Alucard ~ "Bloody hell. That dragon is CHEAP! What do you do to beat him?"

??? Which dragon? You mean one of the bosses in Light Crusader? This should come in handy ~ http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/genes...t_crusader.txt

Vicviper ~ "Thanks Icarus. I knew you were a man of integrity. I look forward to reading your review and in the mean time playing some Milon."

Yup. But there's just one oh-so-slight problem: I haven't beaten it yet. In fact, I played it for an hour and a half and was stuck on the lowest floor trying to figure out what to do next! It's pathetic when you consider the fact that I used to beat this game when I was around ten years old. :annoyed: I will figure it out today and I will conquer it!!!

SavedFromSin, :cool guy:
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:06 AM   #1345
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People love this game?

Milon's Secret Castle - NES - Rating 3
I hardly see what's so great about this game. I look at it and say to myself, "Blah. Why am I playing this?" And then I remember how much even I used to enjoy it and wonder what the hell was wrong with me. But the answer never comes into focus. Then again, wasn't I the same person who used to watch shows like Zoobile Zoo ....and enjoy it? Lots of originality, oh yes -- it's definitely one-of-a-kind. (I'm talking about Milon, not Zoobile Zoo; there's nothing original about people dressing up in animal costumes. Heck, the New Zoo Review had Zoobile Zoo beat by a mile. Err, just ignore that.) You've more than likely never played anything quite like it. But, after the fact, there's where most of its positive points subsides. Just because a game is highly original ....doesn't mean it's an especially worthy product.

On the surface Milon's Secret Castle is an action game with puzzle elements. You, as Milon, must take back Castle Garland and rescue Princess Eliza from the evil clutches of Maharito. Epic stuff, I know, but who in their right minds plays video games for storyline rather than funfactor? That's what books were invented for. Anyway, you must conquer your own castle floor by floor, with a little backtracking thrown in for good measure. During your quest you'll obtain useful items and equipment needed to complete certain objectives such as obtaining a hammer in order to enter hidden passageways. As well, by uncovering and obtaining honeycombs, Milon can power-up his health meter. What you're doing, essentially, is exploring the compounds of the castle, trying to make it to the top floor. As you can imagine, Milon can jump (though he cannot duck) and he attacks by shooting out bubbles. Hudson Soft didn't even bother to give him an attack animation, so the bubbles just fly outward from his body. Yeah, real nice. And this game came out in 1997. I take it that Hudson Soft felt that they were too damn awesome to bother with programming character animation. They may as well have just released Milon's Secret Castle: The Board Game and given you a motionless cardboard cutout of Milon to use because you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference either way.

(*Note* You can shoot the bubbles at a downward angle by holding down as you shoot.)

There is plenty of platforming, much of which is sloppy due to the haphazardous stage designs, and lots of cheap hits. There were times when it would get so bad that I'd throw myself down the stairs to inflict punishment on myself for playing such a sorry product. Here's an example: In one of the rooms on the third floor, when I'd enter the shop or bonus stage and then come back out into the room I'd automatically take a hit due to appearing in the same area as an enemy. If that's not a forewarning of the inevitable, I don't know what is. Don't think that it was due to me sucking at the game because, even though I did get stuck on the first floor for awhile over something as simplistic as pushing a red block, the game suffers from glaring flaws. As if some of the enemy placement wasn't ridiculous enough, they respawn within a few seconds of being destroyed!! And then there are the bosses. These are, without question, some of the worst bosses ever conceived, and they all use the exact same pattern! They all jump back and forth while spewing flame balls or whatever and the only differences between them is in the visual designs (which suck) and that subsequent boss encounters take more hits (and more damage from you).

On a small note, one of the enemies I saw looks EXACTLY like one of the enemies in Kraid's area in Metroid. Y'know, that one with the two big eyes which can crawl along the walls? It's as if Hudson Soft ripped the sprite from Metroid and just changed around some of the pixels.

Most of the puzzles revolve around shrinking, destroying blocks and finding hidden passages. As you explore your surroundings, you'll inevitably uncover money (to be used in the assorted shops) and hidden goodies like the "Hudson Bee" which adds a barrier around Milon and which can be maintained with proper care and a few hearts. You will have to locate the key to each area and then uncover the hidden door to exit an area. If you die, you can continue--granted you've obtained the first crystal from the first boss--by holding left and pressing start. And don't doubt for a second that most all of your inevitable deaths will occur due to cheap hits. What really sucks is that you can get 'bounced around' by a foe or a string of shots and cannot retaliate until you're in the clear. On the positive side, some of the puzzles require smart thinking, even though some of them are just ridiculous and require sheer chance and/or luck moreso than anything else (the left tower comes immediately to mind....).

The final blow is the ending. It SUCKS, plain and simple. After all that effort, all I got was that lousy ending.

You'll notice that the game has a bit to do with music. That's because --it does. With each subsequent bonus stage that you find and enter there's another member of the "orchestra" playing his instrument at the top of the screen, though the reason is less obvious. At any rate, the music is a letdown, not because I was expecting another classic soundtrack akin to Mega Man 2 but because of how repetitious much of the music is. Not that it's all that bad but it definitely could've used a little more effort. The sound effects are adequate. Ho-hum.

I think I've found a more appropriate title for the game ~ Milon's Secret Castle: The Bored Game. I'm not trying to be funny, I'm not even trying to be coy -- I'm way too frustrated with this product to be in a humorous mood. This game is a sorry, sappy production from beginning to end. It's too bad because, judging from the contents, this had the potential to be something much, much better.

Too bad.

(Sorry Vicviper, that's my honest opinion.)
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:57 PM   #1346
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Epic stuff, I know, but who in their right minds plays video games for storyline rather than funfactor? That's what books were invented for.
That's just what I think. :cool guy:
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Old 06-22-2005, 07:41 AM   #1347
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Epic stuff, I know, but who in their right minds plays video games for storyline rather than funfactor? That's what books were invented for.
With books you have to imagine everything yourself. Games have graphics, sound and interactive references. You dont have all of those in movies and books (more importantly the interactive part) and thats exatly what makes gaming storylines unique. Of course im not saying fun factor doesnt play a major role, but its too much to think someone isnt in their right mind to play videogames for the storylines.
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Old 06-22-2005, 10:32 PM   #1348
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OK a 3 is fair as if I played the game all the way through to the end I guarantee my enjoyment would not be as great as the first time I played 13 years ago or how ever old the game is.
So let me ask you do you feel that you would have gave this game the same score back when it was released?
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:08 AM   #1349
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I probably would've given it an 8.0 because I would've probably gone by EGM's scoring method and also because I used to enjoy it far more than I do now. I'm not as easy to satisfy as when I was younger, that's for damn sure.
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:51 PM   #1350
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amen brother. I still get satisfaction from a handful of current games but nothing like the satisfaction I used to get.
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