Saturday, February 14, 2009

Makai Hakkenden Shada

Data East

Shada is an unabashed Ys rip-off, and it was going to have to be a heck of a lot of fun in order to impress me, as I'd already experienced not only the magnificent Falcom bump-and-run titles but also a very successful Ys clone in Xak I & II. Well, the little HuCard managed to come through. Its music is absolutely fantastic, and some of its bosses are extremely cool.

The crash-into-your-foes gameplay here feels a bit different from Ys' in that there's no "bouncing" upon collision; instead, your enemies basically run right through you, taking or dealing damage in the process. It feels slightly weird at first, but it's quite easy to get used to. There are usually a good number of enemies to deal with at any given time (not as many as you'd encounter in a Xanadu foe flock but enough to rival the roving Ys gangs), so there's a fair amount of brawling to keep you occupied as you scour the countryside and its labyrinths, and the gameplay is nice and fast.

The quest can be completed incredibly quickly; I played through the whole adventure in one day, and I certainly didn't need a huge chunk of time to do so. But that's no big deal considering this is a cheap chip game (and a fun one at that). There's XP grinding to do, just as you'd expect in an Ys-type game, but it doesn't take very long to advance in level, and the process never becomes tedious or dull.

Shada isn't a difficult game. You can really set yourself up for success by hanging around the first town and saving up a lot of cash so that you can buy the best equipment in the next town. Most of the game's secrets aren't very difficult to uncover (especially for Ys fans, as some of the conundrums here were lifted right from Falcom's flagship series), but they're just obscure enough to make the discoveries enjoyable.

Here's a good guide (written in Japanese) in case anybody needs one.

This large creature's tough exterior repels your attacks and forces you to run inside his mouth (when he's not exhaling flames, of course) and kill him from within (kinda reminiscent of the whale fight in The New Zealand Story).

The menu is really easy to figure out, and there isn't much equipment to mess around with.

This centipede thing moves really quickly.

The non-boss enemy graphics are quite crude, but the environments don't look too bad.

This scene is reminiscent of Ys with its graphic style and mirrors. You have to equip a certain item to see that "special" mirror, a process also reminiscent of Ys.

Reach this part and you'll be very close to the end. ^_^

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