First Queen

First Queen feels to me like the game may’ve been designed to use the SNES mouse.  There’s a certain floatiness to the main character and a very chaotic feel to the AI of your other player characters.  The best analogy I can think of is resembling the gameplay of the Lord of the Rings SNES game.  Looking online, however, I found out that the game was a series of four games.  The first game was released in 1988 on Sharp X68000 and the NEC PC-9801.  More information is available on the Wikipedia page about the SNES version of the game.  The SNES version came out in 1994 from Culture Brain.

The hero on the right has just talked to the king and princess on the left. The 50 in the bottom menu is the hero's health.

While I can’t understand a word of the plot, it seems to be a fairly basic fantasy game.  You talk to the king and a princess and then head out to fight enemies.  On the world map, you can see enemies in the distance, but first you need to gather your forces.  This quickly shows the innovation of the game.  The game features many AI controlled soldiers following you.  So, in the course of exploring the castle, the main character gains ten soldiers following him.  Needless to say, this looks ridiculous.

NPC AI seems to try to follow you in a straight line. Here, you can see the typical milling chaos when trying to walk around.

The graphics are quite nice, ignoring the milling of your soldiers.  There’s a sort of pastel tone to the sprite work, and a decent amount of various sprite tiles.  I’d say the overall look of the game is about what I’d expect for the era, especially considering the amount of sprites that can be on screen due to the battle system.

The pastel look to the graphics is kind of obvious in this town. Note the wide variety of tiles shown on this screen.

All in all, it’s an interesting untranslated game.  The real time strategy elements are rough, but there’s a number of nice elements.  For example, you automatically get the option to equip items when you pick them up.  This means that you don’t have to open a menu and flip through your soldiers to equip a specific person.  You also instantly see which stats are improved by the item, and you can see the stats prior to equipping your soldiers.

In the equipment screen, you can see the stats of your soldiers, what they have equipped, and the changes in stats. The hero just put on a sword.

On the rough side of things, the design of some areas is a little poor.  For example, to get a sword and a shield, I needed to walk into the barracks in the castle.  I could see the area, and I could see that there was a bedroom, but the actual entrance had barely any indications that you could enter it.  The floaty feel of control could get annoying, but I never got to a point in the game where it was a problem.

Ignoring the angled shadow to the right of the hero, it's not that obvious that the wall to the right is a passage.

I think I might try to progress farther in this game to see how it looks as you progress.  The experimental nature of the combat system makes it very hard to make snap decisions about how the game plays.  I can tell, at the very least, that the game is not that verbose in the early areas.  So far, I suspect I’ve only seen one to two dialogue boxes from about seven NPCs.

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