There’s a meme in Japan about games called “kusoge” or more literally “shitty game.” Sometimes these games are just dire, and other times, they’re laughably bad.
Hoshi wo Miru Hito (Stargazers / Those Who Seek the Stars) came out in 1987. Dragon Quest II came out that year, as did Final Fantasy. It’s so bad that it almost starts to become hilarious.
Physically, the game is painful to play. The walking speed is glacial, and the art style is a busy mess that makes it hard to tell where you can walk. Many items, as shown above, are invisible.
When you start the game, you’re level 0. You’re on a peninsula. There’s a random enemy in the area that can one hit kill you. One step to the left, there’s an invisible town where you can buy weapons (expensive), heal, and the usual activities. You have no way of knowing this. There’s a town to the north, but you’re highly unlikely to survive walking up there.
Of course, you can’t sell back your old weapons. Apparently your hero just flings them in the nearest bush when he buys them.
If you get into battle, you quickly find out that the battle system is – quirky. You can’t back out of a magic menu without casting a spell. You can’t run. Your hit points are divided by ten and rounded up in the display, so attacks do seemingly random amounts of damage. You start with 50 HP, and it increases by random amounts: 150, 310, 530, 810, and so on.
Let’s say you survive that. You get to level threeish and start learning your Jump magic skills. Now you can jump across that river in the invisible town to get to a garden on your quest for magic herbs. You can also leap the sea in a single bound on the world map. And walls. Into houses. Apparently no one has a roof.
Another charming quirk – every time you leave the town to the north, you get teleported back to the starting area. Right next to the invisible town.
You get new graphics for your characters as they level up. Your hero starts out looking like a very cranky five year old screaming at the world. I suppose that explains why he can barely fight.
Plot is actually semi-interesting. You’re an amnesiac psychic, fleeing from people trying to capture you in the big city. It all leads up to deciding if you want your dolphin overlords – well, that’s a spoiler. Not that you’ll ever see that ending.