Outlanders is a manga / anime tie in game.  It’s from 1987, and was developed by Micronics.  The publisher was Victor Musical Industries.  The author of Outlanders is Johji Manabe.  It’s basically a space opera with a fair amount of humor as best I can tell.  The original run of the manga was 1985 – 1987, so this game came out near the end of the run of the manga.

The hero finds an underground area with what I assume is a city.

As games go, Outlanders feels early.  There’s very little text, with very minimal punctuation.  Your main character (I believe Wakatsuki Tetsuya, a Tokyo News reporter) begins the game talking to a jawa like guy.  He then proceeds to break out of prison, and begins to explore a large city.  Without the text, there’s very little visual clues for direction.  Like many early games, you need to pick talk from a menu to talk to someone, and you need to use a pick up command to take items.

The first large map area. The blue thing to the lower right is a random battle - it may be the octopus like "Biomech" ships from the series.

On the other hand, the game does show some well done elements.  The music is suspenseful and pretty pleasant on the ears.  Colors and NPC placement varies from area to area.  You can avoid the guard patrols, and if you’re caught, the random battles aren’t too terrible.  While your sword is ridiculously tiny (and awkwardly handled,) the range seems pretty forgiving, and the enemies do have knockback to prevent cheap hits.

The hero seems to use this sword a bit like a fly swatter. The animation is slow, but it was pretty easy to defeat the early fights I encountered.

Is Outlanders a lost gem on the NES?  I kind of doubt it even without being able to read the text.  I’m pretty sure the brief amounts of text means that the humor (if there is any) isn’t that complex.  I’m also pretty sure that you could get lost considering the size of the maps and the lack of direction in anything but text.  Late in the game, the fights probably get more difficult and harder to avoid, so the ease of play now likely does not carry through to the end of the game.  Still, it’s a smoothly done early action RPG.  I suppose you could say that it’s equivelent to a Ys with a sci-fi flair.

Fighting my way out of prison, the hero finds a key and a bag of money. The upper right option on the menu seems to be "take" or something like that. Here, I took the money.


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