August 14, 2015

[Game 052] Doraemon: The Revenge of Giga Zombie (NES - 1990)

Translation by WakdHacks

Here in the West, we all know that games based off movies or shows have around a zero percent chance of being anything better than mediocre.  But that doesn't apply to Japan, right?  Because those guys know and respect vidja like no other nation on Earth, correct?  I mean, just look at the great examples from Inconsolable's past!  We've got Spooky Kitaro which... oh wait, that one has the dubious honour of being my lowest ranked game so far.  Okay, bad example.  But what about Dragon Ball?  Hrmmm, well, that game was fun but was ridiculously short, being easily completed within a day.  Okay, so maybe it doesn't matter which side of the Pond spacificially you're on.  It appears that this universal rule of uninspiredness is holding true as Doraemon, so far, is about as tepid as that forgotten iced tea in the sun room.  The gist of the story is that Doraemon and his crew were travelling in time to try to stop the titular Giga Zombie from gaining power in order to rule the world (of course!).  Gigs found out and distorted the space-time continuum, splitting up the crew.  Doraemon attempts to enlist the aid of yours truly to help gather the posse together, but really, I've got much better things to be doing (like drinking iced tea).

But thou must!

It's here, right smack dab at the beginning of the game, that Doraemon caught me completely off-guard.  I was expecting an infinite loop of "but thou musts!", but after three denials, I was rewarded for my patient dickishness.

Oh... well... next game then?

When I restarted, Doraemon seemed to remember my previous rebuff, as there was a palpable animosity between us.  His usual cheery demeanor was replaced with a quietly simmering loathing, evident in his response to any of my innocent questions.  And you knows me, I would never dun do anything to antagonize nobody.

Maybe — just maybe — we could try the door.
It may be a long shot, but it's our only hope
and we also only have one chance.

As I was gathering my things for the journey, an obvious crush of Doraemon's, named Dorami, stopped by to unneccesarily refill our hit points and save our game.  I immediately liked her as she took the time to fuck around with Doraemon, who sucked it up like a little bitch.

HaAHahAHAhA, friendzoned again, eh, Doraemon?

When I finally got out of that first room (I forget how, possibly the door), and was exploring the town, the game again messed with standard RPG conventions and made me look quite the fool in front of the NPCs.

I searched for hours in this spot
and there's nothing there!!!

I soon picked up a second companion; a kitty named Miyoko who is magical or something.  In order to be able to talk to her, I needed to find a special quest item.

Yeah, I know how to shake a bag of treats, thanks.

From here, the quests are lazily spliced together in a predictable manner.  Not much explanation is given for anything, and what is given is rushed and come on, Shen, just go to the next dungeon already.  Go find some NPC, get that MacGuffin, and kill some demons.  What?  You need a submarine in order to explore a sunken ship?  Well, it just so happens that I've got a submarine right here in my pants!  Here you go!  You also need a crystal that's been mined from the infernal pits of the Abyss and enchanted by mutant space lesbians?  I think my grandma has one of those!  She lives right next door, lucky you!  Don't bother talking to us again after you get your MacGuffies!

I have fulfilled my contractual obligation.

Talking with regular NPCs will garner nuggets of wisdom such as "Gather lots of gold" and some have completely pointless, simple branching dialogue options.  For example, in response to the question "Have you seen the buggy's grave?", answering no gives "Go see it" while a yes gives "That's good!".  I've only encountered one NPC who said anything even remotely interesting to me, and even then, I completely disagreed with her.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

The combat system isn't quite so bad, as it incorporates Final Fantasy's missed action when a targeted monster dies before a character's turn (a minor plus, but it's something).  The magic system is something new and interesting, but quite broken.  Instead of characters having MP, spells require gold, and so the cost is shared by the entire party.  There also isn't any stat dealing with magic, so everyone casts at the same effectiveness.  The spells themselves are acquired through items, enabling one to finely tune the magic distribution throughout the party.  Unfortunately, the status ailment and direct damage spells don't work often enough/do enough damage to make using them worthwhile, so the always successful healing and defensive magic it is then.  The game is super easy in the early game, with levels coming fast and furious with a complimentary refilling of HP.  I only used two healing potions before finding the first curing spell, which ensured that the rest of the game was going to be whatever is easier than super easy.  The spell costs 10 golds and the party has maintained a balance of a thousand gold for quite some time.  It's easy to be flush with cash because, so far, there's nothing to buy other than potions for 5 or 10 gold and even these are soon replaced with their spelltacular counterparts.  With well over 100 castings of cure at my disposal, I fear nothing other than maybe a boss outputting more damage than I can heal.  Further increasing the ease is the Repel spell, which halts random encounters and lasts for a decent amount of time.  I'm fine with this; combat isn't very interesting although the monsters themselves are a creative-looking bunch, if a tad on the small side.

Cue segue to one of my patented monstages.

I almost begrudgingly gave Doraemon some respect for his battle prowess.  Statistically, we are on par with each other and, in most battles, big Dee can keep up with me.  However, he does have a weakness in that he's afraid of rodents, even though he's a robot cat.  Encountering one guarantees that he'll be stunned for at least one round.  I'm actually okay with this; now I can go back to playa hatin' on him.  Our first major challenge lay in taking out the EvilKing; he'd been turning people to stone or something, I dunno.  Miyoko wanted us to do it and I never say no to some nice pussy, so it was off to navigate his castle stronghold.

He can't be too difficult since he's obviously blind.

And I don't even want to know what
that thing he's flinging at us is.

After the EvilKing's demise, we bid a sad farewell to Miyoko but hello to a new companion, Nobita, who, after gaining a few levels, is pretty much identical to Miyoko.  Since the third slot companion has always been weaker than Dora or I, I've been loading them with the most commonly used spells (i.e. healing).  We're due for a big change in scenery, as we're taking the aforementioned submarine and diving to some underwater town where I'm sure the NPCs will be happy to immediately hand over random items to us.

Thanks, this will be very useful underwater.