When I say that the controls are awkward in STED, it’s kind of hard to explain what I mean. After all, there’s a certain level of awkwardness in any NES game, due to the size limitations and conventions of the era. A good example of this would be how you talk to people. In STED, like many early RPGs, you must have the person facing you, and then you bring up the menu and select talk. No modern game would force this to be the only way to talk. How various games handle this more archaic system is relevant, however. For example, in STED, you can ‘bump’ a person to make them face you. This is nice compared to some systems that make you hunt down a villager and try to force them to face you. On the other hand, if you try to talk to a person not facing you, you get nowhere fast in STED.
STED has numerous little elements that are rough. For example, to load the game, you have to scroll down from the title screen (it defaults to showing “new game.”) It does, thankfully, not erase your save if you accidentally pick “new game.” Another awkward element is guns. Last time, I had just bought a Battle Pack for Gap, the robot. I remembered, eventually, to equip it and discovered that by default, Gap’s weapon starts out uncharged. To charge a weapon, you need an item called battery.
Now, here’s where there’s a subtle planning problem. The trek north to Orvis is pretty long, and has sort of two classes of higher level monsters inhabiting the area. When you get to Orvis, the monsters seem to upgrade in the entire area (but this may be due to your higher levels.) Usually, you have a gun for Actes, and Gap’s weapon by this point in the game. Both need batteries. Orvis has new weapons as well. Orvis does not have a place to buy batteries. I suspect new weapons in Orvis would also need to be charged.
Why don’t I know? Because Orvis’ weapons are startlingly high. You get about 150 credits per walk to Orvis, and the weapons range from about 300 credits to 800 credits. Price jumps aren’t uncommon in early NES rpgs, but when you’re already struggling to progress, it can be fustrating.
In Orvis, you hear about Reedpark (which I suspect may be a translation error or some kind of blurred word.) Reedpark is supposed to be able to translate anything. You can buy a Leadpack to get Gap to be able to interface with computers. Is the “lead pack” a mistranslation of “reed park?” You can also run into an ill man in the hospital who seems to think he’s a king. (It’s far more likely that “we” was used because it’s gender neutral and the translator couldn’t find the context of the sentence.)
Orvis itself is quite pretty. The first two towns are pretty similar, so the green colors in Orvis makes it stand out. Other than that, the town is pretty typical. The next mission is to travel to another island and find the Litromin for that ill man.
Another part of the game that is apparent is the size of the world map. You can’t get lost easily, since there’s enough features that are different. However, if you just know you have to go “north,” you can get turned to the wrong path. Obviously, this helps you level up, but it’s also frustrating if you’re barely able to handle your “level” of enemies. For example, in Dragon Quest like games, you tend to have a new “level” of enemies in a new area. In STED, you get a mix of very high level enemies, lower level enemies, and easy enemies. This means I discovered that the upgraded moss enemy could “steal” ESP. This meant Corona became almost useless due to losing her flame spell. I saw only one of these monsters over about four trips to Orvis.