Friday, November 12, 2010

Necros no Yousai

Ask Kodansha / LAD-R / Red

Necros is a traditional-style RPG, and it can be a really annoying one at times. In most of its dungeons dwell powerful creatures packing magic spells that can hammer every member of your party at once. You'll have to contend with plenty of those daunting beasts, as the encounter rate leans towards the high side (with frequent spikes that put you in step-by-step peril). Perhaps the worst part of all is the HORRID start-of-battle "jingle." Not all of the game's tunes are as awful as that cacophonous "riff," but few positive things can be said about its crude overhead visuals.

Thank goodness for the charismatic characters who make up your brave assemblage. There are eight of these bold warriors, and your party will consist of three at a time as you play through the seven phases of the adventure.

Now, these aren't your typical knights, elves, and berserkers. No, this is an eclectic crew of misfits and goofballs. I mean, just look at this fruitcake...

It's a unique band of heroes, one that's very hard to dislike--not only because of the wacky personalities and silly facial expressions but also because of the distinct ability sets. You'll have to make good use of your party members' skills as you travel through deserts, forests, snow lands, caverns, dungeons, and futuristic factories. While Necros doesn't dabble in the sort of drama that's present in the greatest PCE CD adventure games, it does offer a fair number of surprising story moments, moments that usually play out in entertainingly goofy fashion. And advancement isn't made in a linear manner, as there are plenty of fun missions to undertake and quite a few secrets to happen upon. Those who don't know Japanese will need to use a walkthrough unless they hope to have remarkable luck while searching and stumbling (here's a good Japanese guide).

So Necros sends you off on an enjoyable adventure with a nutty, likable cast, but its true trump card is its battle system: raucous fight scenes provide closeups of the goofy heroes and their equally ridiculous foes as they leap and dash about.

Even with all the action and theatrics, Necros' battles are fast. Actually, aside from the at-times-irritating encounter rate, the game does a great job with its pacing, particularly in that it allows players to adjust message and walking speeds.

Whether it's annoying you or entertaining you, Necros is sure to draw you in. Thankfully, it spends most of its time amusing its players rather than driving them mad.

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