The TurboMento-12: Neutopia

Welcome once again to this NEC of the woods as I play another TurboGrafx-16 game to completion in front of your very eyes. This month's game is Neutopia: An action-adventure game from Hudson - the guys behind Bomberman and Adventure Island and almost every TG16 game of note. It's also an unrepentant Zelda clone, but I'll have plenty to say about that in the screenshot captions themselves. It is not, as I initially suspected, a Bob Barker-endorsed veterinarian simulator.

Neutopia was suggested by @video_game_king, he of nobility from the Sea of Tranquility. As thanks, I've decided to steal his long-form LP thread structure currently being utilized by his Persona 3 screenshot blog. Imitation is the sincerest form of gratitude, or something. Expect this TM-12 to be way longer than usual.

I Wanted to See Your Neutopia, But Now I See It's More of a Fruitopia

Welcome to Neutopia! Do we have a concept page for "Swords In Game Titles" yet? Let's get cracking, people. Here's another good example of that: The Legend of Zelda.
Oh jeez, can I change my name?
Oh jeez, can he change his name?
What's the expression? Don't put all your medallions in the same Princess? Close enough. Hey, maybe Princess Aurora was sleeping on the job, am I right? Anyone? Walt Disney?
Ghost medallions, huh. Do well in life and maybe they'll imprison your tormented spirit within garish jewelry too.
I think I got some spam once that asked me if Dirth was my arch enemy. I believe there was also a line about making something as hard as stone.
You mean wisdom, power and courage, right?
I think "unleash" can only be reserved for powers of evil. Why would you leash the powers of good? Is this one of those "keep the population miserable and subservient" type scenarios?
One for each labyrinth, it turns out. You needed me to tell you that.
Oh right, the compass. This game does do one thing that the first Zelda doesn't: Gives you some idea of which direction you ought to be heading. Of course, it can't do the big overworld map with a flashing symbol that Link to the Past does, but that game did come out a couple years later. I'm giving Neutopia a break for that one.
That's... awfully presumptuous. Maybe I'm not her type?
So this is here is the inventory screen/pause menu. We got our compass (we have to pause the game to check it, conveniently), some dungeon-only stuff on the right and our equipment on the left. Pretty straightforward.
There's a whole mess of these little stairs everywhere. This game isn't hurting for NPCs as this blog will no doubt demonstrate.
The very first non-story NPC we meet gives us this sweet book.
This game has saves but also passwords. I haven't figured that out yet.
Also, some more hints about the compass. Well, "hint" is a strong word. We're just being told how it works again.
Yeah, the compass works in dungeons too. Doesn't always help, given how circuitous they can be.
Really? All of them? I was planning on holding a few back to give Dirth a chance, you know?
Lest I forget.
Oh wow, that's... overt.

Next time, in the comments: More NPCs. Also, I guess I probably stumble across the first dungeon.

The TurboMento-12
January - Ninja SpiritMay - September -
February - Dungeon ExplorerJune - October -
March - The Legendary AxeJuly - November -
April - NeutopiaAugust - December -
Posted by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

As thanks, I've decided to steal his long-form LP thread structure currently being utilized by his Persona 3 screenshot blog.

You mean you're gonna update this shit like crazy? LET US FLOOD THIS SITE UNDER AN OCEAN OF SCREENSHOTS.

Welcome to Neutopia! Do we have a concept page for "Swords In Game Titles" yet? Let's get cracking, people. Here's another good example of that: The Legend of Zelda.

I think Dragon Quest also does that, although I'm not entirely sure. Also, old school Fire Emblem.

What's the expression? Don't put all your medallions in the same Princess? Close enough. Hey, maybe Princess Aurora was sleeping on the job, am I right? Anyone? Walt Disney?

Either you're confusing Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, or the game is. It's hard to tell. Either way, I'm pretty sure you stab animals instead of listen to them sing along.

I think I got some spam once that asked me if Dirth was my arch enemy. I believe there was also a line about making something as hard as stone.

What intrigues me more is the use of "our's". This guy's potent enough to have kids about 50 years apart? Damn.

The very first non-story NPC we meet gives us this sweet book.

What's this old man doing with the Necronomicon? You better stab him, just in case you met Dirth within the first ten minutes of the game.

Edited by Mento

Let's get part 2 on the road!

Why Doesn't Anyone Live In a House?

Flint? What are you doing here?
I like my women like I like my elephants: With a large memory. Also, you can't actually save on a TG-16 HuCard I found out.
Clearly not humble, though.
Oh that's what that was. Damn tinnitus.
Bombs! They do precisely what you'd expect. (You can also find them after defeating enemies.)
Health potions! Ditto.
Captured the powers? So the actual medallions are useless now? Probably explains why Dirth just abandoned them all over the place.
Yes, I'm sure that's what she told you.
Is that why you all live in holes and the Princess has a big castle somewhere?
Maybe he got sick of living in a hole.
This guy explains what the wings do, since the inventory screen sure won't.
Here they are. They can be found after killing enemies sometimes. They're handy, since you'll need to head back to the hub a few times for story purposes (plus healing).
Talking of enemies, here's the first one you meet. These little Slime guys mill around and melt occasionally. In fact, most enemies just kind of mill around benignly. Doesn't mean I won't cut them all down though - I'm a hero.
In case you didn't know what I meant by "bombs do exactly what you'd expect".
So much hidden shit in this game. Really could use that issue of Nintendo Powe- oh right, this isn't Zelda.
Not so much traps as just dumb monsters and inexplicably hidden stuff so far.
Why? Can I use my bombs to destroy the wall?
A better screenshot-taking guy would've remembered to demonstrate this. Hey, you can blow up suspicious parts of walls everyone.
Just to leave this entry on an exciting note: Scorpions.

Oh good lord, I'm going to have to find a way to make this game more interesting.

Edited by Mento

@video_game_king: Aurora's definitely Sleeping Beauty. If it was Snow White there'd only be seven medallions.

Also you could interpret it as the one lady having multiple fathers. Maybe Dirth is anti-gay marriage. He does sound pretty Republican from what I've read so far.

I don't know if the new site lets you double-post, so this might get interesting. Anyway I'll stick part 3 in here:

Oof. Lady, you're killing me.
The game doesn't let you lame it out with a thousand health potions, unfortunately. Apparently magic potions are what amount to medical science in this world. This doesn't seem very "Neutopia" so far.
Here's another enemy. I don't know what they're called. I just call them Crash Bandicoots.
And here are some gooey mud guys. They have the exact same pattern as those slimes earlier.
What the hell? Sphere? Crypts? Labyrinths? Well as it turns out there's two dungeons per world, or "sphere", and after finding the medallions in both you are whisked away to a new one. It's a bit odd, but it means never having to wander too far away from the hub.
I think I just said that, Flint.
I can forgive Flint for repeating a lot of this stuff. He's had a hard life after all.
These gigantic-ass bees are annoying. Should've killed them all in Mario Paint when I had the chance.
This guy is explaining what a boss key is. Why did I capture this screen?
Yep, that's what a boss key does too.
So... it's a dungeon map?
Yes, it's a dungeon map.
On this screen there is a secret entrance. I know right? It's secret as hell.
I figured I ought to tell you all that the secret entrance was actually right here.
Inside is a friendly health-regenerating lady. Her house (or hole in the ground, let's not mince words) doesn't have any beds, though, just a side-table and a piano. You know, the necessities.
I seriously cannot get enough NPCs saying obvious things. This screenshot LP would be about 5 images long without them.
Oh hey, I actually reach a labyrinth finally. It's only been, what, three updates?
So this ought to be good. And completely unlike anything you've ever seen before at least a dozen times. Let's go spelunking!
A bat! In a completely empty room! THRILLS.
These slimes bounce instead of melt. They're adorable. Look how mean they look!
These tentacle things are Ropers and are usually found in Tales RPGs and 70s sitcoms.
Hooray! I have the crystal ball. You see, the crystal ball tells you where all the rooms are so you can write it down on a blank map you keep with you. Way more convenient than a dungeon map.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

If it was Snow White there'd only be seven medallions.

What about Corpsey? Everybody always forgets about Corpsey. (And does this mean that the second half of Ocarina of Time is Snow White? That has to change everything.)

Holy shit, another update!? This is Renegade Photo on fast forward, isn't it? Now I have to respond to all the other screenshots, too.

Why Doesn't Anyone Live In a House?

Flintstones! Meet th-

Flint? What are you doing here?

Well, that was fast. How much longer until he's swinging flaming logs?

Bombs! They do precisely what you'd expect. (You can also find them after defeating enemies.)

They bam?

Is that why you all live in holes and the Princess has a big castle somewhere?

To be fair, the medals were providing wealth, so without them, they're probably living in a recession. That's probably why he can only afford two flowers and a fireplace (but no fire).

Talking of enemies, here's the first one you meet. These little Slime guys mill around and melt occasionally. In fact, most enemies just kind of mill around benignly. Doesn't mean I won't cut them all down though - I'm a hero.

Does Jazeta's last name happen to be Rage?

Edited by Mento

I figured with this long-form I could just spam screenshots everywhere. There's something to be said about being a little more judicious, though. Anyway, here's more nonsense:

Jazeta Regrets Wishing His Baby Brother Away

So here's the rest of the labyrinth. It's the first one, so we're not exactly talking Cretan Labyrinth here.
New enemy: These are bats that are like the other bats but are bigger. Bigger bats. "Heroes are a superstitious and cowardly lot," thought Dirth.
The key to the crypt! With this (it's a Boss Key) Jazeta can find the door (it's a Boss Key) to the boss and, subsequently, the medallion (it's a Boss Key) we've been sent to find (it's a Boss Key).
Blue snakes! These guys have a rather novel way of attacking you: They simply walk around randomly. Did I say novel? It's neat that they're blue though, right? You don't see many blue snakes in the real world. High fantasy and all that.
These bony guys have an awesome strut. "We love you, skeletal minotaur!" "Shut up baby, I know it."
These enormous wolf guys use the devious tactic of walking around randomly, but they also hurt like heck if they happen to bump into you. Fortunately...
This new armor we found ought to help dull the pain.
You were doing a fantastic job - this is one of the cleanest dungeons I've ever seen.
Well, he would've had to get past you to put it there, so exactly how uncertain are you?
This guy doesn't even care that he'll have a huge mess to clean up afterwards. Dungeon custodians have it rough.
Yeah, there are antlions now. I don't know how the ecology in this game works.
This is a cool dragon boss, sort of. It fires a chain of fireballs at you every five seconds, during which you can poke the crap out of it. I guess underwhelming is more the word.
You mean I did it. Me. The player. That incredibly soporific dragon wasn't going to poke itself to death.
After defeating a boss, you're warped back here to the beginning. I get the next task (fetch another medallion? Never saw it coming) and sent on my way.
Oh, I also get a health boost too. No heart pieces or anything, I just get extra health as a reward for being brave or something. At the risk of sounding not-so-brave, is there a reason I can't get all these health upgrades at once?
Apparently the only prerequisites for healing powers is to be old and to know shit. It's this world's equivalent of getting a telegram from the Queen.
OK, I guess I'll just... leave this super valuable medallion here. Unguarded.
Dirtbag Dirth and his dozens of demons deserve destruction, definitely. What dastardly desires drive Dirth's devastating deeds?
Hallowed halls? You mean the outdoors where the labyrinth entrances are? What are you even saying? There's a whole world out there beyond your piano, missy.
These guys are also adorable. They're like little super deformed Gundam or something. As for tactics, well, what they do is mill around randomly. It's a little unorthodox so you need to be on your guard.
Finally, an enemy that seems to acknowledge your presence. These are octo rocks - I call them that because they're octopuses that throw rocks at you. Clever huh?
Yeah, no doubt. Any chance of giving me a map?
Oh the fire wand, OK. I'll keep an eye out. Honestly, that sounds like it'd be pretty useful.
Vampire frogs! They have their own version of Sesame Street's Count, but he only counts in fractions.
Yep, this game even steals that part of The Legend of Zelda. The part where you push everything just in case.
In this particular case, pushing all the rocks makes a new stairway appear over on the left.
Yeah, I heard about that from the other guy.
I'm getting some strong hints here.
Like maybe I should find this fire wand?
Yeah, thanks Nick Fury, I think I got it. Go get the fire wand. On it.
Oh, yeah that thing. You might've spotted it in my inventory in one of the previous screenshots.
It's a one-use item that Babalitys everything in the room in case you're suffering. It's dumb, but at least it's not something ripped off of Zelda.
What? Why? Who could live here? It's underwater!
Apparently this guy can! What street is this, exactly? Conch Street? Does this monk live in a pineapple by any chance?
He sounds like quite the healer. It's unlikely we'll find his secret location though.
Well, hey there. Presumably in Allahbaba the path to enlightenment can only be found after saying "open sesame".
Oh and he also boosts your health. Hooray!
Ugh, he's not wrong. Even the labyrinth monsters have to go sometime. Just walk around them and hold your nose.

Is it just me or can you post way more than 20 images these days?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

Inside is a friendly health-regenerating lady. Her house (or hole in the ground, let's not mince words) doesn't have any beds, though, just a side-table and a piano. You know, the necessities.

Why did my mind immediately spring to "TUFF Puppy reference"?

@mento said:

I figured with this long-form I could just spam screenshots everywhere. There's something to be said about being a little more judicious, though. Anyway, here's more nonsense:

Jazeta Regrets Wishing His Baby Brother Away

These bony guys have an awesome strut. "We love you, skeletal minotaur!" "Shut up baby, I know it."

Probably for the same reason that you jumped to a Futurama reference here. At least you're justified, since there's a Futurama episode called Neutopia.

Also, what happened to everybody's eyes? Did Dirth go around the land of Neutopia poking people's eyes out, or is this just the part of Les Enfants Terribles that nobody cares to mention?

Edited by Mento

Last one for today. Which means this part will need a suitably epic subtitle.

Last One For Today

So the brown bricks are actually traps. I'll show them off later.
Ye... yes? Wait, all dangers? I don't think I'm prepared for a nuclear explosion.
Fine! I'll go get the damn fire wand. It would help if anyone around here gave me the slightest damn hint where to-
-oh. Um, thanks?
Where women glow and men plunder?
I don't remember that lyric. Is that from the new cover?
Is that... really the word you wanted to use?
THANK you. Also your hole is delightful. I love what you've done with the, uh, pools.
Hopefully the guy is made out of kindling.
You hear that Lowtax? I'm coming for you. Make the SA forums private again, will ya?
Second labyrinth! I've got my wand and I'm ready to set a lot of innocent monsters on fire.
Apparently I also need a lot of bombs. This game's all about the trial and error explosions.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Or is he doing that thing where he's indirectly asking me to get the medallion? "Boy, it sure would be sweet if someone grabbed that shiny doodad and I didn't have to starve to death."
And here's the boss! Apparently they wanted a legit golem, hence the Star of David: It's not a real golem unless it's Jewish.
I don't know if the golem of legend could split itself apart and send its ball core after you, but I'm not proficient in Jewish history. It does make me wonder if we'll see the Passover ghost later on.
And presumably also the evils that skulk, slink and creep.
After two medallions, we now have access to the second overworld: The subterranean world.
Definite "Bowser's Castle" feel down here.

Join us next time for more meandering around, talking to useless NPCs and fighting monsters which don't seem to know or care that you're stabbing them. Games from the 1980s, everyone!

Edited by Mento

Back to the grind. We're going to get through this, you guys! We'll find something fun to talk about in this incredibly generic Zelda clone! Perhaps!

Underworld World

Rocks that aren't actually rocks but rock monsters. Oldest trick in the book. Old as dirt, you might even say.
These little oni guys swing their arms around whenever they walk. It is The Goofiest Thing.
Yeah, I'll bet it was pleasant. Who wouldn't want to live in a dark, sunless hole?
Well, that's what a nasty gan- wait, what in jumping Jazetas is a "gool"? Was someone worried about a lawsuit from Capcom?
These moths are assholes. Just felt like sharing.
Sweet. Why do I even have a magical compass that tells me where to go?
You mean... that golem we already destroyed? Or is the next boss also a rock monster? (Spoilers: It is not).
whoa Whoa WHOA ARE THOSE MOBLINS? Good lord, Neutopia.
Giant. Bipedal. Ants. No words. Should've sent an entomologist.
Oh wait, this sounds important. Like all that business with the fire wand.
I.. all right, I'm sensing it is important.
Hey , he's gotta be hanging around somewhere. Am I right? High five, up top!
Dammit he's right. I need to eat some bombs right now.
At least he's not talking about the moonbeam moss.
As usual, I found the entrance to the next dungeon before I found the item I need to finish it. Remember those ugly ass statues for later.
Well that didn't take long. Appreciation for what? I just got here.
Surely "the thick of darkness"?
Before I close out and start labyrinth #3, here's a couple of weird things this game does. The first is that all health pick-ups are cherries. I guess the lead designer really likes cherries?
There's also this hourglass, which will freeze every enemy on the screen for a surprisingly substantial amount of time. It's curious that these never made it to Zelda; they're a pretty cool idea.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

Giant. Bipedal. Ants. No words. Should've sent an entomologist.

Except "giant bipedal ants", presumably.

(Also, I can't tell if your last screenshot is a joke about this being a Zelda rip-off, or about time freeze only appearing in the first one.)

Posted by Mento

@video_game_king: I honestly completely forgot about the clocks in Legend of Zelda. It's been so long since I played it and I so rarely saw them. So... yeah, another complete theft there. I thought the Moblins were really taking the mickey, especially.

I'll save it for the appraisal at the end but this game really feels like the missing link between LoZ and LTTP. It also feels like this highly competent version of Zelda that has absolutely no personality with which to differentiate itself. Really quite eerie.

Edited by Mento

It's time to go...

Under the Underworld World

Can the sarcasm, Gramps, I'm here to rob that chest.
Well, if you're just going to let me have it that's no fun.
Here's the deal with the shields: As with Zelda, the stronger the shield the more projectiles it can deflect. However, there doesn't seem to be a solid rule here. I can block arrows and magic, but not fireballs.
These guys are one of the few enemies to actually hone in on you if they spot you. I mean, they still just run at your sword like idiots, but at least they're acknowledging your presence.
For instance, if these ambulatory mushrooms give a shit that you're there, they don't make it clear.
OK, wait, an entirely different kind of giant bipedal ant? Did we really need two? They have the exact same behavior pattern too, incidentally.
These guys like to a-shimmy-shake a little to the left - and if time permits - shimmy-shake a little to the right.
Terrifying disappearing/reappearing ghosts. Or would be if they attacked you. But they don't. They're just hanging out.
BUT THESE GUYS also just hover around. They do have this groovy little hand jive thing though.
I forgot to follow up on that brown brick business a while back. These are the brown bricks that guy was referring to. They just jab you with swords when you pass them. Jerks.
Labyrinth 3 boss: These ridiculous purple bat things. The little animation where they hold handfuls of daggers and throw them is kind of neat though, and it's easy to get hit with two of them around.
More fun with the fire rod. When close to full health, they do this neat fire pillar thing which is twice as powerful as the usual fireball.
This lady has lost her darling little son.
Oh, you mean that grown-ass guy in the overworld? I imagine he's fine.
Oh hey, another McGuffin. Can't access the next dungeon without it, you'd be surprised to hear.
And so begins a runaround to fetch this darn Rainbow Drop. They didn't steal the Rainbow Drop from Zelda at least. Nope, it's all Dragon Quest.
Look inside darkness? How exactly? It's dark. Why don't I just listen to silence while I'm at it.
OH! I found him! Time to get stabbin'
Bitch you almost lost your other eye! These mole people, I swear.
So yeah I eventually found this thing under some random guy's house.
This random guy. Apparently he stole it?
Oh, hell yeah! I mean, I kind of need the drop, but maybe I'll be given it and a sweet reward for returning it.
The ones I've met have been more of a scummy slime, if I'm being needlessly pedantic.
Holy shit, he called his home base the Climactic Castle? Is he one of those genre-savvy cartoon villains?
No, you'll give me some vague ass directions and I'll have to keep trudging around to-
...oh. Maybe no-one told this guy that Zelda NPCs had to be a little more cryptic than that.
So that leads me to this little stone pyramid in the middle of a lava lake. Cozy.
I'd be kind of boned without it, so thanks.
My reward, by the way? A free health refill. Big woop. Handing magical artifacts to weird pyramid-dwelling hermits is its own reward, I suppose.
Anyway, here's the next labyrinth. It's incredibly uneventful, so look forward to that!

Next time: Rainbows and Seaworld!

Posted by Ravenlight
Posted by ajamafalous

Oh god this thread is so long

Posted by BisonHero

Haha, I love that Stephen Hawking line.

Also: Goddamn, so many pictures. You two are silly.

Edited by Video_Game_King

Haha, I love that Stephen Hawking line.

Also: Goddamn, so many pictures. You two are silly.

If we're judging by sheer volume of pictures, I'm the silliest. Clearly.

Edited by Mento

@ajamafalous: @bisonhero: You fellows aren't wrong. Since this thread will just keep getting longer, I've done the *spoiler tag* thing to keep things reasonable. Well, superficially reasonable at least. A facade of rationality. It's the best we can hope for at this juncture.

But yeah, this is just too much fun. The hundreds of screenshots LP, I mean, not the game itself so much. Were I a little more discerning I could probably get it down to four or five entries, but I just can't get enough NPCs explaining how basic concepts work past the halfway point of the game. The first Zelda was a little too inscrutable for its own good at times, but this goes way too far in the opposite direction.

Posted by Mento

Talking of inscrutable:

The Lost City of Atlanta

This is what the Rainbow Drop does. Yeah, it's the Ladder. You know, from Zelda.
Pretty jovial for a prisoner chained up in a hellhole, aren'tcha?
Apparently the next boss is weak against cars. Great. I'm sure I have one of those in my inventory bag.
You might've noticed the pattern here, but every dungeon contains an upgrade to your sword, shield or armor. The steel armor, as you might expect, is bright purple.
One of the weirder traps, this spiky... thing reaches out towards you. It's anchored in the center so you have to walk around it. It's a little creepy.
Damn centipede bosses. We were bound to bump into one eventually. I just hacked the slow-ass thing to pieces.
Huzzah and so forth.
And with the second Underworld medallion, we head to the Sea Sphere.
Well, sea and a whole lot of islands anyway. This place kind of reminds me of Mu from Illusion of Gaia. As 16-bit aquatic dungeons go at least.
Oh no! It's an anemone enemy emanating imminently!
Helpful man is helpful.
We'd best go find that shield before heading to the next labyrinth then. Every little helps.
Here are some more of the new enemies. The purple caterpillars jump around randomly and the little Marvin the Martian guys will charge you if you get close. These are patterns we've seen before, granted, but at least they do something. I'll honestly take anything at this point.
These nautilus guys look menacing, but they just randomly wander around. At least the Zora over there does something interesting, albeit plagiaristically.
Oh hey, does this game have an illicit money making game too?
No, he just opens a shortcut back to the old lady at the temple. That's his idea of excitement. Free healing and a save password. I'm going to stop talking to him now.
These fish guys are awesome. They carry spears but belch arrows.
Impressing chicks with all my open wounds, you know how it is.
Dude, I blew up a wall. I'm either Sherlock Holmes or Bomberman.
How can I rely on it if north isn't always up? Do you even know what a compass is? I swear I need to stop talking to so many of these people.

Coming up next: Labyrinth the fifth and more Futurama references, probably.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Instead of quoting the actual pictures (because for multiple pictures, that's absolute hell), I'll just number the ones I actually want to comment on. Just as much a pain for me as it is for you.

2. I would have put "But order in the next 30 minutes, and I'll throw in this shield and buckler for absolutely nothing!" For some reason, we're both reading that in Billy Mays' voice.

4. Still better than the Ronald McDonald armor in the sequel. That's about the only thing I remember about it outside "more Neutopia" and "cool dungeon tower thing".

5. The way you phrase it, it sounds like one of those spiky squares that just rush out at you in LTTP. You know, the ones that you could block with a block.

8. I'm surprised you didn't make a Little Mermaid reference...yet.

16. Maybe some freaky stuff is going on between him and the old lady. You don't know. He didn't give you the password.

19. To be fair, in one of those Sherlock Holmes stories I reviewed a while back, Holmes starts a fake fire by launching explosives into a woman's house. You don't fuck with Sherlock Holmes.

Edited by Mento

Time for part... I don't even know. 30? Seems like that much.

We All Miss Our Loved Ones and Gasses

This looks like a dungeon, but it isn't. We're here to see somebody. Now, Shadow Weaver over there looks like the big problem, but it's actually all these Orkos wandering around. They do ridiculous amounts of damage to you for whatever reason.
I ought to respond to these terrible "chained up" jokes with some man hackles.
Yeah, I have to push a block down here before the next dungeon will open. I guess they couldn't think of an item for me to track down.
I wonder if I could cut through the chains of death with the jaws of life? That might be one of those philosophical "immovable object meets an unstoppable force" quandaries.
He's talking about Orian by the way, who is about ten feet from this guy's cave. 1000 years of wisdom and he can't escape a single chain around his leg.
I'm going to be Jesus. So I got that going for me.
Ah yes, the venerable monk of the Far East that says "Howdee!" How could I forget?
This is the same guy that upgraded your health in the first world, incidentally. If you find him again in the second and third worlds, he'll upgrade your bombs both times. Bigger bomb bags, essentially. I'd like to see Zelda pull something like that off!
Boogey man.
Great, so you'll hand it over, right? I mean, you want me to get rid of this boogey guy for you don't you?
It comes with a guarantee that I'll kick your ass you penny-pinching mohawk motherf- Anyway, there are vendors for pretty much every item in the game, but in each world their prices go up. Since that starting temple is the hub, you might as well use the Wings of Return and buy cheaper items back in the first world.
These are the islands that guy was talking about last time. The one who told me about the shield. It's actually behind the red guy up there, but that means going around. Good thing I have that Rainbow Ladder thing.
Here it is! It's Samus's helmet for some reason. Well, if it can survive multiple plasma beams and the vacuum of space, it ought to suit my defensive needs for the time being.
Well this looks fishy.
New sphere means new dungeon enemies! These tadpole things are really hard to hit. Good thing they just wander around. Did I mention about good the AI is in this game? Truly remarkable.
I don't know what this is. I call it Kitty Ghost. Or a Phantomcat.
Ghost slugs! My ghost cabbages are ruined!
Turtles with cow skulls. You figure it out. Cow-a-bone-ga? Fuuc-
Oh hey, that Silver Sword that guy said would be in here is in here. Looks like a bright purple phallic object to me, but then I gave up dignity when I put on this purple shirt. Let's see if the Saints let me join now.
Maybe the second thing is more important than the first thing? Also, notice how all the NPCs keep interchangeably using "sphere", "labyrinth" and "crypt"? Ambiguity is actually a major issue with many Design Documents, though I think in this case it's more that the localization team didn't give a shit.
A weak point, you say? I suppose that means...
Yep... yep. This boss is actually quite tough, because he's only vulnerable when shooting impossible-to-block projectiles at you. He's also a giant enemy crab because fuuuuck everything.
One enormous Crab Rangoon meal later and we're out of here. Also, thanks for putting this one in a big spiral, you guys. Classiest of dick moves.

OK, tomorrow I wrap this thing up. I swear I'll find a better balance between "20 images" and "400 images" next month. Maybe.

Edited by Video_Game_King

11. I call it Okage: Shadow King. (Did you expect anything less obscure from someone as I?)

13. I'm going with either Bowser from New Super Mario Bros., or the Mock Turtle if taken to his logical conclusion.

20. Dicks? Spirals? I can only think of one set of animal genitalia that would make this work. Duck Fuckem.

Edited by Mento

All right, I've beaten the game, so now we're into the home stretch. Beating the game is perhaps something competent LPers do before starting enormous screenshot threads with minimal curation. I wouldn't know.

I May Have Sea Sphere Madness, But That's No Excuse for Sea Sphere Rudeness

He means this sphere. Or maybe he means the next labyrinth. Either way, I'm done trying to parse this awful translation.
From now on, it's just absurd bon mots like this. He has a point though. I am partial to cuisses.
I got a hot tip about this guy a while back. He's here to bequeath Falcon Shoes, which just make you move slightly faster. Useful for some of the bosses coming up.
The "light as a feather" thing doesn't ever seem to come up. No cracked floors I can walk across with impunity or anything. I guess he's trying out for the next Air Jordans advertising campaign.
Fine, fine, put me down for three pairs.
But will it help me slam and/or jam?
Haunted entrance of evilness. I can't even.
Anyway, here we have Fishhead part 2. The triangular mural is a nice touch.
Couldn't they have stored it somewhere slightly more obvious? Ah well, this sounds promising. I wonder what type of armor it will be? Gold? Platinum? Mithril?
This particular dungeon introduces these stairwells. This isn't a multi-floor dungeon or anything, but it's something at least.
For instance, the staircase in this dungeon takes me from here... here. I needed three screenshots to demonstrate this, evidently.
I guess... it's just called "the strongest armor". How pragmatic.
Boss number 6 is this skeletal three-headed turtle. Because why wouldn't it be.
Oh, and the heads fly off and chase you around the room.
A few more traps to avoid and we're outta here! So long, Seaworld! Toodle-oo Shamu!
It's on Earth but in the sky.
Welcome to Zeal! Nah, just kidding. Last sphere now. Let's get 'splorin'.

Next time: Jazeta in the Sky with Medallions.

Edited by Mento

Three more updates to go!

We All Float Up Here

Grasshoppers with human legs. Welcome to the Sky Sphere!
I really can't tell between earnestness and sarcasm any more. This really feels more the latter.
You mean the only other way to leave this section of the overworld? Thanks, old man. I'll just brick up the entrance to your house as I leave.
More giant bipedal insects. Thanks a brundle, you guys.
I don't even know what these things are. Horned grimers? Whatever they are, they sure hop around a lot.
So that monk of Kee isn't actually the same person. Just identical NPCs with rhyming names. As long as they keep giving me extra bombs, I won't ask questions.
No clue what those red guys are supposed to be, but that angry cloud just pelts you with fireballs the moment you step on-screen.
The first dungeon, found by walking around a bit. The Sky Sphere is a lot more circuitous than the others were.
Since we're talking about Pokemon horrors, these angry Ditto characters like to hide in their red shells.
More new enemies: Those purple-legged things stay perfectly still and then skitter right at you. It's a little off-putting The fat little red bat thing just floats away while fireballing you constantly. Nothing but the most charming monsters in the final dungeons of the game.
Mummies! Can't fault the classics. Also, that blue guy on the left is very hard to pin down. Best bet is to lay some flame pillars down with the fire wand and hope it flies into them.
If the problem is that every damn wall might be explodable but there's no telling which, I'm way ahead of you.
That was the problem by the way. It was also the problem in the last six labyrinths too. Whoever wrote the dialogue for NPCs was getting paid by the word.
Finally, we have these not-Stalfoses. They would be the strongest enemies in the game, were they not also the type of enemy that just wanders around and ignores you. I call it enemy pattern 1.
In that chest they were guarding is the final shield. Which is the last shield, but blue and with horns. Despite being told repeatedly that I must have it in order to face the final boss, it does not deflect the boss's projectiles.
Anyway, here's boss 7. They really start ramping up the boss difficulty from here on. This is another golem and is only vulnerable for a split second when he lands to fire projectiles. Otherwise he just flies around with his six painful floating rock things.
I scrape through and the penultimate medallion is ours.

Next time: I start to die a lot.

Edited by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Enjoying the hell out of this. This game actually sorta looks like my type of crazy.

Posted by Mento

Phew, thanks @sparky_buzzsaw (and @video_game_king too, who presumably knew about this issue from the offset) for letting me continue with this thread. Turns out the site's anti-spamming measures won't let me post more than twice simultaneously. Anyway! We got more sky monsters to chop to pieces.

Things Get Airy, Aries and Hairy. In That Order.

Funny how you think that's a perfectly reasonable price for four bombs. Seriously, just walk away from any merchants up here. It's not like an RPG where you earn way more money towards the end of the game - cash drops are just as frequent now as they were at the start of the game.
One last health increase before the final dungeon. The one we'll earn after defeating the next boss will be the last, and will max out our bar at 16.
Goat magicians. Well, that would be the Aries I mentioned. See? It's a visual pu... oh wait, the goat is Capricorn's symbol isn't it? Goddammit.
Last dungeon of the game! It's a doozy. It's also shaped like a skull, because that's original. Look at me, still expecting something original from this game like a big idiot.
How, exactly? Did Dirth leave a TV in here? Are you Obi-Wan?
OK, either this guy is Obi-Wan or he's coming onto me. I really hope-
So exploring the dungeon nets you this little thing. I neglected to screen capture any NPCs who tell you what to do (and there's plenty of them, as there are for absolutely anything this game might keep "secret"). You'll have to wait and see.
This is the eighth dungeon boss and it is a DOOZY. A giant golden tiger head that shoots lasers out of its eyes, that old chestnut.
But wait! Hiding inside the Tiger Head is our old friend Dirth. He's only vulnerable when he's like this, naturally, and he fires projectiles in eight directions a second after emerging. It's tough to hit him without getting severely pummeled yourself. Let's just say I died a few times here.
Thanks random lady! You were just sitting here the whole time, then?
Never saw that coming. Old Dirth's scarpered to the North Pole with the princess in tow. Only me or Santa can save the world now.
Anyway, the last medallion is ours. It's as crimson as the liquid I keep spitting up.
So this game is just Star Wars now. Don't fight it.
As I head to the final encounter, I can't help but feel that I'm missing something...

What is that something? What indeed? Does anyone still care? Why did I think taking 300 of these images was a good idea? All questions will be answered (except the last) in the upcoming conclusion.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

Phew, thanks @sparky_buzzsaw (and @video_game_king too, who presumably knew about this issue from the offset) for letting me continue with this thread.

I know from experience. The way things are going, I won't be able to post tomorrow's update....hint hint.

Edited by Mento

Considering how long this got, I should've just named this thread "Never Bet Against Me Being Stupid!" It's applicable and it also happens to be a quote from the Neutopia episode of Futurama. Truly, I am but a dilettante enjoying my salad days in the art of apt TV show references.

Talking of brave neu topias, it's time to conclude Legend of Aurora: A Jazeta to the Past.

A Dearth of Dirth Fills the Earth with Mirth

Oh right. That. I need to go get me the strongest sword, you guys. Probably would've helped with that last boss, huh.
So this is where the bell comes in. Rather than just letting me pick up the sword from a chest in the final dungeon, I now have to wander halfway across the Sky Sphere to find an altar.
And then I get to ring the bell to make a staircase appear. Meandering? Nah, it's all mystical n' shit.
Time to get the strongest sword, ensconsed inside the sky shrine. Good thing I don't have a lisp.
Hooray! It's a big red sword that's slightly thicker around the tip. Sometimes a sword is a cigar.
And sometimes a creepy pentagram is the path to the final boss. No more skywalking: this Dirth's evaded his fate for long enough. YES IT'S STILL STAR WARS SORRY.
I suppose you heard this from all those people who refuse to leave their house-holes? Or maybe your dead minions told you?
He's also the Alliterative Abductor of Aurora, but that's further down the business card.
Even the end boss gives the hero way too much credit. I barely made it past a few of those guys.
Oh this whole spiel. Why do these end bosses always have to be the spirit of all darkness in men's hearts? He's not a spirit, he's a big knight wearing a dress.
Sure, and next you're going to tell me that you're going to knock me down.
Sure talks a lot for the harbinger of doom. Eh, he's been trapped in the Arctic for who knows how long. Nice to find someone who will listen to you, you know?
So yeah, this is the final boss fight. Dude has a fairly obvious pattern, so it's one of those battles of attrition where you see who outlasts who. He teleports, splits into a fake version and a real version, then fires a ball of blue thingies that quickly hone in on wherever you were just standing. It's a bit easier than that Tiger Head boss fight, frankly, but requires the same amount of meticulousness.

Eventually, Mr "I'll never die I'm evil I exist in the hearts of all men my extraterritorial rights are too powerful blah de blah" just kind of slumps over and disintegrates. Dude was a cool looking knight though. I can identify with that.
As video game Princesses go, she's not exactly demure. No coy promises of cake for Jazeta.
Really? On the snow? On the ashes of Dirth, perhaps, since they're still warm.
Ah, she meant metaphorically. Still, if destroying the source of all evil doesn't get a lady hot and bothered, what will? Flowers? No, seriously, I'm asking. For a friend.
I just stuck this preachy end-game message in a big window here. The crux is that you need to not be a dick, otherwise a giant death knight will show up out of nowhere and steal your royalty. Words to live by.
Do we have "highlight reel ending sequence" as a concept page yet? Get crackin'.
And so ends Neutopia. Classy Final Fantasy-esque spotlight shot on a sword and shield I never used. Couldn't ask for more.
Edited by Video_Game_King

As far as "as long as men exist" speeches go, at least Dirth is rather brief about his. Medeus kept that shit going for a WHILE.

Edited by Mento

Honestly, as critical as I was about Neutopia, it's not a bad Zelda clone as Zelda clones go. There have been plenty of equally overt examples on the NES itself, of varying quality, and Neutopia is among the better examples of a sub-genre with absolutely no spark of originality. If you're one of those crazy types who has played every Zelda ever made and are in that horrible, unenviable position where you're strongly considering buying an overpriced CD-i off eBay to play they that shall not be named, Neutopia would be a far better alternative. It's on the Wii Virtual Console I believe, as is its sequel.

It doesn't come across with screenshots (yet!) but the game has some pretty good music for the era too. Nothing exciting, but well-made. Here's a 10-minute medley of the game's music.

Thanks to all who read this entire thing. I'll be back with more nonsense in the coming month. May Madness, my droogs!

@video_game_king: You might even say he drags on a bit.

Edited by Video_Game_King

@mento said:

@video_game_king: You might even say he drags on a bit.

I guess when you gather this many screenshots in a single thread, a pun's bound to pop up eventually.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Hah, no problem. Feel free to hit me up with a PM for that sort of thing when you need it. That's the best way for me to notice it.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I've just now realized that this is your 200th blog. Huzzah.

Posted by Mento

@video_game_king: I'm not quite sure that's true, but then I'm not entirely sure that it isn't either. The blog total was a little higher than it ought to be because of that time the site inadvertently generated a dozen copies of the same blog, but that issue seems to have fixed itself recently by removing all the duplicates. At this point, I'm not eve-

You know what? This is the 200th blog. Thanks for reading everyone.