January 15, 2016

[Game 056] Oni Chronicles: Genesis (GB - 1990)

Translation by Pennywise & aishsha

One thing I like about being the manchine in the 21st century is being able to experience some of the gems that Japan got to but that never made it to my home and native land.  Of course, this is a double-edged sword as there was a lot of boring crap, which is totally the case here.  So far, it's been a sleepy ride on the generic train, with straightforward battles and linear plot.  There is a small taste of freshness in that I'm able to transform into an Oni form, but all it's done is get me into a palace that I otherwise couldn't.  Hopefully this aspect will be developed a little more — and soon, before I slip into sleep mode.

*yawn* Whatever, just shove over and
make me some room on that futon.

The story is hardly worth getting into but since I need to fill a certain quota of words, I'll summarize.  Orphan boy raised in small village turns out to have special abilities and becomes the chosen one.  Village is attacked, sending chosen one out to fulfill his destiny.

Which apparently is just killing hundreds of monsters.

For skills (i.e. magic), the standard fare is served up; there are plenty of damaging skills, some healing, and a warp skill.  All skills fall under one of six categories (fire, shuriken, recovery, nature, flight, or special) but I'm not yet certain whether resistances to these come into play or not.  One skill I wish I had that I don't is the "center the bloody screen on the bleedin' character" ability.  This game likes to wait until I'm two tiles away from the edge before starting to scroll.  It makes navigation a real pain in the ass, especially for a turbo-worthy game such as this.

It's almost acceptable for a dungeon... almost.

Does that dungeon look a little lacking?  Well, it's not a fluke of the screenshot, all dungeons are empty (other than the standard random encounters) except for the singular item/NPC that I'm there to get/attack in the first place.  A chestless dungeon?  Look at that little dead end up there in the screenshot — it's just crying out for a chest to be there.  I don't even care if all it has is one golds — give me a reason to explore you, game!  The void of content doesn't stop there, though.  Oh no, it's just as bad in the towns as well.

Come and experience our fabulous open air
experience, completely free from the annoyance
of any member of the animal kingdom!

Over half the buildings are completely empty; there's
never been a better time to buy!  This spacious
bungalow has an old world charm with lots
of potential.  Includes all appliances.

The few neighbours you will have won't bother
you with pointless chitchat or vital clues.
It's an introvert's dream!

Explore the endless wonder of the nearby wilderness
and — SIKE! I'M STILL IN A TOWN!

Seems like the only thing worth talking about in this game is how it irks me, so here's some more examples.  After completing the retrieving of a MacGuffin and the killing of local boss, I am whisked away to the next area, quite often with a huge seam blatantly showing.  For instance, after getting a boarding pass for a ship, do you think I would get to control the ship?  Nope, but fair enough; lots of linear games just show a little interlude of the ship sailing to its destination.  Don't even get that here; just dumps me right into the next area without so much as the music even missing a beat.  Stranger still, the warp skill comes preloaded with a town so I don't even have to seek out my "base of operations" for the new area (though I do anyway because that's just how I roll).

Quit messing with me then.

The roster of enemies is a joke as well;  there's just a handful of sprites being used.  Sometimes a single sprite representing two different creatures will be used in the same area.  It's like the game thought it could palette-swap the sprites but forgot that it exists in monochrome.  The names are all in romanized Japanese as well and I often would already be knee deep in battle before realizing I was fighting a tougher version of a creature I had just fought.  With some enemies I can apply mnemonic techniques, but these are few and far between.

Who's the boss now?

Right now, I'm stuck at a point where I need to move some damn rock so I can reach some idiot hermit and do a stupid dance for him to get some dumb item.  *sigh*  Back to the grindstone, I guess.

That's a good question... that's
a good fucking question.