Chester Field: Ankoku Shin e no Chousen

Chester Field is a Vic Tokai game that came out in 1987.  It’s a 2D side scrolling game with a fairly early feel to the game.  The translation is by Aeon Genesis.

Press up in front of the damaged area on the ship, and you can enter the first labyrinth. This will kill you at the start of the game.

 

There’s a number of interesting features in Chester Field.  For example, you do have variation in the graphics.  You start on the beach, pass a ship, and then head up into the mountains as you explore the first stage.  While none of the graphics are astounding, the range of sprites helps you tell where you are, and does make the game look fairly ambitious.  There are character portraits when you talk to people.  They tend to have iffy artwork and aren’t that big, but it is ambitious.

This injured knight talks to you. Many of the portraits in the game seem to assume you're looking up at the person you're talking to.

On the gameplay end of things, the screen scrolling is fairly smooth, and your sword is about the width of your sprite.  Unless things go terribly, you have enough knockback to hit enemies.  (For example, you can take an early strong enemy like the werewolves and fight back two at once, thanks to that generous knockback.)  Unfortunately, pits make it easy for things to go terribly.

Another conversation scene in Chester Field is shown here. I wonder if the game was intended to be on other systems, considering how much this resembles some PC-88 style games.

Unfortunately, the layout of the dungeon areas are very old school.  The first dungeon is 17 rooms (counting the boss room and the start) and has one looping area.  For a modern player, this can be way too long to be worth the time to try to find your way around it.  There is some grinding, but that’s not that uncommon for a game of that era.  Healing items and money drop fairly often, so a competent player will be able to progress.

Here, the hero finds an early monster in Chester Field. The upper number is health, and the lower one is "metal" - your currency.

Still, the game is more of a historical curiosity than a lost treasure for my taste. I would place something like Cosmo Police Galivan (flaws and all) as a generally better game.

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