Friday, February 5, 2010

A Note of Overlooked Gems Part 1

So, with not much to talk about tonight and in desperate need of a breather from...well...thinking, I decided to post about something that would be quick to type but still carry a bit of substance.  Every now and then, I'd like to draw attention to games, shows or movies that I've noticed seem mostly unknown but are still good enough that people should at least give them a quick try.
In this case, I'm going to focus on two NES games.
To start, let's take a look at Willow, the 1989 game based on the 1988 film of the same name.  Of course we're all aware of movie tie-ins tendency to be horrible and, honestly, I haven't even seen Willow (nor did I know it was a movie before I played the game).  Regardless, occasional exceptions come along and Willow is the earliest example I can think of.  Willow, much like the other game I'm going to mention, has a very Zelda-esque style; traversing environments from a top-down perspective, wielding a sword and shield, combat in the standard action-adventure formula.  What makes this game stand out is that the gameplay mechanics are a significant improvement over those used in the original Zelda game on the same system.  There are multiple sword attacks and you can actually walk in a diagonal path (the lack of which is a huge nuisance in The Legend of Zelda).  The graphics, as well, are significantly more detailed than those found in the first Zelda.  So, not only is Willow a good movie tie-in video game, but it even manages to out-perform the far more popular and renowned title.  Though it's no mystery that Zelda got the spotlight, particularly on account of first party support.
The next game is a bit better known (successful enough to warrant a Gameboy Color port in 2000) but I still find myself talking to several people who aren't aware of it:  Crystalis.  Everything Willow does right with the mechanics, Crystalis does even better.  The game falls a bit short in the visuals but that's not something people would often judge NES games on; Willow does look significantly better though.  Combining well-polished control with a simple but enticing story makes this game at least a 'must-try'.  If you know of a store that still carries Gameboy Color games, unlikely as that is, I recommend seeing if you can track down the port.  I'd say the same of the NES version, but it's probably far more unlikely you'd ever find a place that carries it.

Acquire these titles and enjoy.  Thank you.

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