Friday, February 15, 2008

Lifting the Dragon's Curse

Yesterday I beat Dragon's Curse. The final scene transpired exactly how a good video game should: my jaw was clinched and my hands gripped the wiimote. The last dragon was a sword swipe away from death, but only a half-heart of life separated me from a game over screen. All or nothing, baby. I slew the dragon, and the precious Salamander Cross was finally mine. Victory was never sweeter.

Listen to me when I say Go. Play. This. Game. With a 6 buck price-tag on the virtual console, there is little excuse not to treat yourself to this gem. You deserve it.

Gameplay rundown: fight boss, get transformed into a monster. Rinse, repeat. Over the course of your journey you will be transformed into a lizard, mouse, piranha, tiger, and, finally, a hawk. Each form provides you with a special power/ability, which will allow you to access a new area of the map. It's pretty standard metroidvania stuff, but considering metroidvanias have never really been a huge market, it comes as a welcome addition to the all-too-small "niche genre."

An interesting fact about this game, is that it was originally a Wonder Boy title. The Wonder Boy series is confusing, convoluted, and amazing (I'll be sure to cover the entire series in a future post). As Wonder Boy, it was released on the Sega Master System and Game Gear, but for the Turbo Grafx 16 port they changed the characters up a bit, and left us with Dragon's Curse. No worries, however, Dragon's Curse has improved graphics, and no sprite flicker.

I've always been a fan of the side-scrolling adventure. The genre embodies all of the cool aspects of video games. You have Mario-style platforming, but without the hop-and-bop. Instead you're given a sword, spells, and plenty of abilities. Throw in a grander scale than Mario, longer levels, non-linear gameplay, better music (well, debatable)... and these aspects come together in an amazing way, that provides the "epic" quality of RPGs; giving the player a goal, and watching as the goal treks progressively closer, while cutting out the menu-based non-action in favor of real-time battles.


Benjamin Fennell said...

Great game. (This is Jinto Lin from over on GameFAQs by the way, saw your post on Wii General about Bonk's Revenge and thought I'd check your blog out.) I had the Sega Master System version of Dragon's Curse, as Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap when I was a kid, and when I snagged my Wii last summer, Dragon's Curse was one of the first games I picked up on the VC. It still definitely has the same kind of magic and wonderment today that it did over a decade and a half ago. They don't make games like this anymore.

8bitcity said...

Hey! Nice to meet another Wonder Boy fan, but I do have to disagree on one point: they definitely do make great games today! Odin Sphere and Contact are 2 fairly recent games that are simply amazing, among others.

A game called Cave Story, comes to mind... a google search should prove fruitful... but I think I'll actually make a post about it in the morning, so check back if its not already up.

Benjamin Fennell said...

Well, at least in that genre, haha. I haven't picked up Odin Sphere yet, and I'm looking forward to Oboro Muramasa Yotouden as well. And I picked up Contact soon as it hit. I'm still in the final dungeon and haven't beaten it yet. Great game, though.

Indeed, Cave Story is top notch.