Kouryuu Densetsu Villgust Gaiden (NES)

Armored Dragon Legend Villgust Gaiden is an anime tie-in.  It was developed by TOSE Software and published by Angel.  It came out in 1993.  While the graphics are quite pretty, the game feels a lot like Majin Eiyuuden Wataru Gaiden (Hudson 1990.) The gameplay feels even more archaic.

Note the large character sprites in the center of the screen. Having such large character sprites allows more expression on the characters.

The game starts with a goddess telling Murobo about the troubles in Villgust.  As best I can understand it, Murobo is a character from the anime.  The game quickly sets you off trying to find party members and exploring with fairly minimal grinding.  However, the entire game has pretty strict event flags (you can’t find X until you do Y, you can’t get Z without X, etc. etc.)  This means that you can get stuck because you didn’t talk a specific character.

The status screen offers another large sprite for your characters. This is pretty common in a anime tie-in game.

When you do access the first character, she arrives without armor, and at a low level (you’re likely to be, at the least, one level above her.)  This means you get stuck dying fairly often while you get armor for her and level her up.  This, again, is clunky.  It extends game-time while not really being that fun.

Here, Murobo is talking to an old guy in the first town. Note the two pots and the big armoire. These are three areas where items can be hidden.

Secret items are another frustration.  Every secret item I found in an early area of the game (one in the first town, and two in the second town,) was hidden in the left hand pot of a random house.  Yes, the items aren’t that exciting, but considering that each town has about 9 hiding spots, it’s another example of tedium.

A zombie hops into the air while flinging sticks at the hero.

On the other hand, the battle system is pretty fluid and has quite nice graphics with large sprites.  It works via a pie chart representing who is under attack from your party, and then you go into battle in a side scrolling fight.  Towns are pretty large and attractive, and there are even animated trees.  Musically, the game sounds a lot like a late era NES game, and some of the tracks are pretty catchy.  While the translation isn’t really relevant to discussing the actual game, it does have some flaws, which may make the game seem more rough than it is.

The trees wave in the wind. This little animation is a nice touch.

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