~ EXILE ~
Renovation / Telenet / Working Designs (US)
1992 (JPN: 1991)
Exile is a decent action-RPG; it might even look like a good one from afar. After all, it does feature a badass protagonist in the callous assassin Sadler...
...and many of the monsters he slays during the game's sidescrolling action sequences look pretty darn cool.
The music is very good, and the story is fairly interesting, so even the overhead-view "talk to people" scenes are often entertaining.
Unfortunately, the game is extremely short and ridiculously easy. None of the bosses came even remotely close to doing significant damage to me. I never used any items, nor did I cast any spells except for Warp to save myself some travel time (in the Japanese version, that is; Working Designs chose to leave that particular incantation out of the US game). In light of the lack of challenge, I guess it's a blessing that the journey is a brief one; during the final stretch, I just wanted the whole thing to end. Since I knew I wasn't going to face any sort of challenge and the designers didn't provide anything particularly interesting in the way of level designs or puzzles, it all started to seem rather pointless. Vic Ireland and company did buff up the monsters for the US release, but not to the absurd Wicked Phenomenon extent, and the poor creatures still can't put up much of a fight.
The only real difference WD's "efforts" made is that some of the still-easy bosses take a lot longer to kill (especially the last fool).
If you don't think you'll mind the ridiculously low level of difficulty, then you'll likely find that Exile plays well enough, but it's certainly not in the same league as some other titles that take similar approaches, like The Legend of Xanadu and Blood Gear.