And I'm back with the obscure stuff! To make up for last week featuring games people have actually heard of, I'm bringing out the big guns with Sorcerer's Kingdom! What's the history behind this? I have no goddamn clue. I have no clue as to how people came together to make a stealth strategy JRPG for the Genesis with half mad, half poorly translated dialogue abounding. I guess that's just part of the game's beauty.
Beauty I will tarnish by describing the story, or what amounts to one. No, you don't get any explanations on why a sorcerer has a kingdom. Hell, the titular Kingdom isn't even ruled by a sorcerer. It's ruled by some fuck, sending you out to find daddy, gather some spirits, and cause some monster genocide on the way. (More on that last part later.) That's all the story you get. Not much in the way of characterization or even a narrative structure, really. Want to know why the King's so keen on sending you out to adventure, or what the hell happened to your dad? Like, any clue at all? Too bad. Go fight some monsters for a bit while we organize something resembling a story. In the meantime, here's some crazy dialogue. That's really what makes the story work so damn well: oddly sexist magic spirits. Or random declarations of love. I'd call it accidental, mayhap even poorly translated, but some of it just seems too perfect. Like I can imagine the developers not being aware of how funny it is to rescue a wizard from crushing desolation, but at the same time, I can easily imagine them being perfectly aware. But given the time, I'd have to err more toward it being an accident.
Hell, every aspect about this game is an accident. None of the game's best qualities seem to be the result of purpose and actual thought, but more because somebody fucked up along the way. In fact, those last six words perfectly describe how the battle system plays out. Not the battle system, mind you; it's like somebody adapted Shining Force to a top-down action RPG thing and made it super-fast paced. Good thing, too, given how many fights you'll be fighting. The game's so full of grind that it's legally recognized as a windmill. First, you only start with one party member, named.....however the hell you pronounce what I named him. Don't let that utterly swag walk cycle fool you. He lives with his mom, so he's not going to get any friends for a while and he's the weakest thing in the world. True, by the end of the game, he's gonna be the front line guy with all the best armor, but at the beginning, he's gonna get his ass kicked just by sitting down. Better buy some armor, then, right? Well, two problems: armor is expensive and no monster carries more than two dollars in change at a time. And don't think of eschewing armor in favor of simply leveling up, because Sorcerer's Kingdom follows the Romancing Saga school of stat progression where getting stabbed in the chest a bunch improves your defense against chest-stabs. (And then better armor can bring this stat down, for some reason. I don't know how anything in this game is supposed to function.) Stats upgrade regularly, if in small intervals, but what does that matter? All this simply means you'll be fighting one enemy at a time before insta-teleporting back to mommy, hoping that someday, this all pays off with that pair of Air Jordans that somehow protects you from goblin attacks.
So what's so damn fun about this, again? Oddly enough, all those flaws I mentioned, along with a few things I forgot to mention: first, you only fight the enemies that are on screen. Second, you can initiate battle at any time. Now we have a strategic stealth element at play. Just wait for one enemy to wander away from the group, hit that battle button, and then rush a sword up their ass before they can do any significant damage. Suddenly, all those flaws become assets to be coveted. The slow pace now becomes patience, and your weakness becomes godly strength as you strike from the shadows. (Well, plain day. There aren't really any shadows in Sorcerer's Kingdom.) And then the bosses laugh at your fun and force you back to a grinding hell. Remember that whole "accidental" thing before? This is my proof. No stealth, and not as much in the way of strategy. Hell, later boss battles devolve into ol' Elrad spa-
You know, something has struck me as odd: poor little....let's go with Gaia...didn't get any friends yet. Let's give him some friends so I can discuss how the systems change when you actually get party members. Oddly, there aren't as many changes as you'd expect. Sure, more party members allows you to tackle more enemies than before, which, in turn, means you get to explore areas past the first three feet you could before. But you have to keep in mind that the game responds to this by giving you more of everything. More enemies, more dungeon to explore, more checkpoints (in that you now get checkpoints), more menus, more strategy, a bit more stealth, more everything. The only real difference is that Elrad makes bosses slightly easier. I can't tell you how many boss battles devolved to that mage just spamming his most powerful spell while everybody else just cherry tapped the boss until death realized how useless they were to the battle. It was fun, but probably not for the right reasons, which is probably the best way to summarize Sorcerer's Kingdom. The only part of the game I enjoyed unironically was the energetic, in-your-face presentation. Anything else about the game, though? Exploding bitchiness.
- Once upon a time, absolutely nothing of interest happened. The end.
- It's Metal Gear Shining Force!
- With a strong hint of The 7th Saga.
Who will win in the battle for best Persona protagonist? Also, what are Aigis and Naoto doing here?
The only accurate part of this title is the word "girls". That Miracle right there? It has nothing do with the game. I'm aware that the game is based on a manga called Miracle Girls (because I can read wikis, too), but I consider that a coincidence, because there isn't a lot here to consider a miracle. If anything, the game's every argument against girl games, making the title "Every Argument Against Girl Games Girls".
At first, things don't seem so bad. I mean, it's a basic platformer; what's so offensive about that? Hell, you even have this cool candy mechanic that lets you freeze enemies and use them as platforms. Granted, this comes at the cost of being able to kill enemies (but they can certainly kill you!), but you know what? Trade well worth it. After all, enemy platforms probably means you have to think your way through levels and have an eye for how paths diverge and such, which would suggest that.....Takara? Oh hell. OK, that aside, the platform enemies would suggest an eye for level design, something also reflected in the Oz-esque hint system. Not interested in levels, though? Strange that you're playing a platformer, but you're in luck, mysterious mystery person, because this game has boss "battles". Well, less "battles" and more "simplistic distractions that often control like crap", but whatever. The point is that you get something to maintain variety, and something that promises promise.
Unfortunately, the game never delivers on that promise of promise, so we're left with....jack shit. Literally nothing else. Every level (all five of them) is the exact same thing. First, you walk forward. This is the entirety of the level design, because I guess branching paths or expecting things of the player are too hard to program in. Next comes a pointless roulette that I've never lost, for some reason. Next up is the Oz stuff I mentioned before. Hope you can tell the difference between 赤 and 白, because that's all there is here, too. Repeat that a bit and then end the level. Now does that sound fun? Of course not! It's needlessly pandering, repetitive, and completely lacking in engagement. Otherwise known as Miracle Girls.
And I haven't even mentioned how sickeningly cute this game is. But why do I need to? The evidence is in that picture, from the candy levels and saccharine colors to the larger-than-their-heads eyes and the end-goal of the narrative (friendship, presumably through magical means). Who would want this? I don't know for certain, but I have to imagine Takrara thought the answer was "girls", which certainly explains the main problem with this game: Takara doesn't know what girls want. Again, I only know as much about girls as Swordboothelmetguantletaxeamuletshield9, but when I hear "bright colors, story lacking conflict, ludicrously easy", I don't think about women. I think about little kids, and even then, I don't think they deserve this. Give little Billy a better name and then give him some Aladdin. (Genesis version, unless you're a horrible parent.) But what about the girls? What do they want? Well, I don't know (I can't make that clear enough), but I can't imagine it's Miracle Girls.
- Wait, if the girls have the power to teleport, why do they have such a problem rescuing their friends from....uh....
- Hey, that gameplay sure looks good!
- Too bad it isn't!