Game Gear

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Eternal Legend

Eternal Legend feels older than 1991 when it was published.  Looking at the ways that it feels anachronistic might be interesting.

While the town isn't graphically amazing, there are several types of buildings and different sprites used to build them.

The other elements of the game is pretty basic.  The battle system is a basic Dragon Quest like system.  The music isn’t astonishing.  Towns look a lot like a basic NES RPG, if you ignore the sprite complexity. For example, note the subtle details of how the logs make up the house on the lower right, or the stone on the roof.

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Shining Force games on the Game Gear always struck me as sort of light weight fanservice style sequels.  Final Conflict, for example, has your team of heroes heading out to try to rescue or find the hero of Shining Force II.  You get to fight in similar areas, and there’s a cameo from Shining Force in the game as well.  When you discuss a strategy game like this, it’s really hard to do a traditional overview.

Note the mage in blue in the center of this screenshot. He is tucked behind the other soldiers to protect him from the dying enemy on the left.

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In the classic reviewing standpoint, it’s almost impossible to imagine what the game would be like after several hours of leisurely gameplay.  Between deadlines and boredom, you can’t really replicate playing 60 hours of a game over several months in the space of weeks or even days.  One aspect of games that stands out to me is how games design efficiency into repetitive actions. Mostly in RPGs there’s four really common activities.  One would be shopping, two would be talking, three would be searching, four would be fighting.

Shopping in RPGs is something that tends to be hampered by technology. I remember in the SNES era that people would specifically cite “this equipment is better” arrows as being an amazing feature.  Another handy feature is something showing that your characters can, or can’t, equip something.  On NES and Gameboy systems, space was sometimes saved with little icons showing if your “silver” was a sword or a boot.  Usually, however, there was not enough room to show in the icons if the equipment was male or female.  In even earlier games, you shopped by price points.

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Defenders of Oasis is a Sega Gamegear RPG.  It came out in Japan and the US in 1992, and is an interesting but flawed little RPG.  Since the Gamegear doesn’t have a ton of classic Dragon Quest style RPGs, any game is interesting on the system, but Defenders of Oasis definitely isn’t an amazing game when compared to RPGs available in 1992.  In Japan, Final Fantasy V is out in 1992, and in the US, Dragon Quest III and IV came out in 1992.  On the Gameboy, you could find a Wizardry port, a couple of quirky RPGs, and Twin all in that year.

In the intro, the hero (in the center of the screen) is brought to talk to his father.

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Dragon Crystal came out in 1990 – 1991 for the Sega Master System and the Game Gear.  Much like Fatal Labyrinth, it’s a randomized rougelike rpg with a very luck based progression through the game.  On some runs, you may get amazing luck, and on others you literally had no chance of winning from the beginning.

The start of this run was in a field of flowers. The yellow object behind the hero is an egg. As the game goes on, the egg hatches into a dragon.

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