April 03, 2012

[Game 019] Legend of the Ghost Lion (NES - 1989)

The legend of Legend of the Ghost Lion begins with a mysterious white lion running amok in a village.  Many soldiers tried to subdue but to no avail.  It was only when one brave soldier threw his spear with such courage that the lion ran away into a cave and was never seen again.  Ages pass and a little girl's parents decided that it would be best if they left their little Maria and went and solved the mystery of the white Ghost Lion.  To no one's surprise, they never returned.  Too bad they didn't take the time to hop on AltaVista and find out the answer is albino lion.  Evidently neither did Maria because she resolves to try to find her parents and also solve this grand mystery.

I'm sure this rusty old spear in my
untrained hands will protect me.

Finally, a game where I get to play as a girl.  And a girly-girl as well; Maria is no Red Sonja.  Hell, her hit points are called courage and her magic points are called dreams.

Where's my chocolate rainbow unicorn stat?

She's terrible in battle and takes a lot of damage when hit.  In order to offset this weakness, Maria acquires various items that allow her to call forth spirits to assist her in combat.  Using the spear she is given in the beginning calls forth the spirit of the warrior that originally chased the white lion away.  Very quickly, Maria also acquires a lamp that lets her summon forth the mage, Twana.  This setup of having a weak main character protected by various minions scratches an itch I didn't even know I had.  Since minions are powered by Maria's dreams and therefore limited, care must taken to balance out when and which minions will be summoned.  This also means that Maria will have to fight some of the battles by herself, usually to her detriment.

Bad mr. monsie, I'll wave my fairy

So there's a reason why everything is in sunshine-and-lollipops-talk.  As soon as Maria sets off on her adventure in the same monsterless cave as her parents did, she gets swept away by a river while crossing a bridge and falls unconscious.  When she awakes, she finds herself by a small pool in the middle of a meadow, surrounded by some kind of butterfly eyeball creature.  These disturbing monstrosities fill her in on the roles of courage, dreams, and hope.

Do nightmares count as dreams?

The questing structure is pretty generic so far; find a MacGuffin in a cave and mosey on into the next area.  Rinse and repeat.  There are more pools with freaky eye creatures which refills all of Maria's dreams and courage.  The only other healing in the game so far is in the form of bread for courage and *sigh* tears for dreams.  None of Maria's companions have a healing spell and even if they did, it could only be used in combat.  These items have so far only been found in one place, at the very first town.

Yeah, do you sell bread here?

The layout is pretty linear and the farther into the questing Maria gets, the farther she gets away from Bread.  So far the game hasn't coughed up a warp item yet, so every time Maria needs to restock she has to haul her ass all the way back.  The game does, however, boast a large inventory system and once Maria has the funds to fill it up, trips back will drop drastically.  This point may become moot anyway as there's a rumour about a witch's broom that sounds pretty warpy.

You'd probably just waste
it and play Quidditch.

Here's hoping that there actually is a broom and not just that this clown misheard witch's brew (unless Maria can fly that as well).