GAME REVIEWS

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rastan Saga II

~ RASTAN SAGA II ~
Taito
HuCard
1990

It's always interesting (for me, at least) to see how games with really huge sprites turn out. I mean, I expect a game with oversized characters to control a little... unusually, so the risk of disaster is constantly present within the "genre"; but I often end up enjoying such titles, and in a variety of ways. Sometimes, I'm lucky enough to stumble upon a Veigues Tactical Gladiator, a title that actually plays pretty darn well and proves itself to be genuinely good. Other times, I encounter China Warrior types, games that are definitely flawed but built on solid enough systems to make for occasional pick-up-and-play enjoyment. And then there are the horror shows like Sword of Sodan that are broken in so many different ways that I can't help but have fun by deriding them.

Having fun is the common denominator in those cases, and I was hoping it'd be the end result when I picked up Rastan Saga II. I didn't expect RS2 to be a quality title, and it certainly didn't seem to be smooth or solid in any particular way, so I knew it wouldn't be making colleagues of Veigues and China Warrior. But the possibility of it being a kitschy favorite a la Sodan didn't seem remote.

Unfortunately, RS2 is not amusing at all. It's just slow, clunky, and, well... dumb. The designers seemed to be on the right track with the enemy designs and stage visuals, but the beasts are feeble and score hits only because your character is so slow to act, and the backgrounds often consist of a single mountain or tree trunk drawn over and over again. This is a disgusting example of awful, awful concept execution.


Taken on their own, the enemies are quite easy to deal with.


The sections where you're supposed to proceed carefully are absurd, as being careful is out of the question when you're dealing with RS2's poor controls.


The bosses might seem cheap at first, but once you figure out the proper "tactic" to utilize against each, you shouldn't have any problems at all... except that there's a stupid time limit for each stage, which actually encourages rushed, mindless hacking rather than shrewd planning.


The "mighty" barbarian reveals himself to be a blubbering baby in between stages.


Even something as simple as picking up a new weapon apparently causes him great pain.


My strategy for the final boss? Hack away as fast as I possibly can and kill him before he kills me. Not the most impressive of stratagems, but by the time I reach this fight, I just want to get the whole ordeal over with.

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